GTO Engineering Project ModernaAs we come to the end of another week we look at some of the Motoring news which you may have missed starting with the new GTO Engineering Project Moderna

Following GTO Engineering’s drives and specification reveal of its 250 SWB Revival, the UK-based engineering firm and renowned Ferrari specialist has confirmed it is working on a new project. Codenamed Moderna, the new car will be a sub-1,000 kg sports car celebrating the best of Sixties motoring with modern and motorsport-derived engineering, and be created by hand under the GTO Engineering name.

GTO Engineering Project ModernaThe ethos of the new project by GTO Engineering is to push the boundaries of modern craftsmanship, with new materials and using the learnings the team has had building and maintaining a range of road- and race-oriented Ferraris since 1991.

Designed to be highly innovative but with feel and character, GTO Engineering’s team has chosen to maintain a tubular steel chassis while adding lightweight but high strength aluminium subframes, and will, for the first time, incorporate carbon fibre for the car’s shell. Utilising F1-type spec carbon fibre for the main body, GTO Engineering will use aluminium for the car’s doors and bonnet to save weight but also maintain a Sixties sports car feel.

With over 200 years of Ferrari road and racing experience, the GTO Engineering team also intends to give its new car a racing twist by adding motorsport-derived components to increase driver engagement, enjoyment and usability. Not only will the new car be bodied in carbon fibre but it will also have independent all-round suspension as well as large diameter wheels to incorporate lightweight yet powerful brakes, which will also assist with unsprung mass.

Skoda patents world's first illuminated smart seat belt buckle

ŠKODA is aiming to eliminate the hassle and faff of trying to belt up at night with the innovation of illuminated smart seat belt buckles. The Czech firm has been granted a worldwide patent for the ingenious new system that has been under development at the brand’s Simply Clever labs.

seat belt buckleThe new ŠKODA smart buckles feature a clear transparent button in place of the traditional red eject button. The new button features a pair of multicolour RGB LEDs that operate in two modes. In standard mode with nobody in the seat, the LEDs glow white to show the passenger where the buckle is located at night. A ŠKODA-style crystalline pattern on the clear plastic button spreads the light to make the whole button glow. The buckles can also be programmed to have an animated welcome sequence to make them even more noticeable in dark environments.

When a passenger sits in the seat, a weight sensor in the seat base recognises the presence of a person and the LED changes to red - indicating that the occupant should put their seat belt on. This is a particularly useful feature for parents who can see immediately if their children have either forgotten to fasten their belt or have not engaged the buckle correctly. Once the buckle is engaged, the LED changes to green to signal a successful engagement and then back to white.

SEAT begins construction on a battery laboratory in Spain

SEAT has started construction on a pioneering battery laboratory as part of its commitment to invest in electrification.

Located at the SEAT plant in Martorell, Barcelona, the 1,500 m2 Test Centre Energy (TCE) facility will cost over £6.3 million and be used to test and develop energy systems for electric and hybrid vehicles.

SEAT begins construction on a battery laboratory in SpainThe pioneering laboratory will become a one-of-a-kind in Spain and will feature test spaces to evaluate lithium-ion technology, medium and high voltage batteries and a range of different chargers. Plans also include several climatic chambers to enable batteries and modules to be tested under extreme thermal conditions to simulate environments a car may endure during its life cycle.

The facility, which will be among the most advanced of its kind, is part of SEAT’s £4.5 billion investment into R&D, as the brand continues to electrify its range and develop brand-new electric vehicles and technologies. The construction is due to be completed in April 2021 with a maximum testing capacity of 1.3 megawatts.

A workshop will also be setup to carry out simultaneous testing on up to six electrified cars to assess the performance of the energy system, functional safety and integration of functions. Artificial vision systems will also be incorporated into the instrumentation.

Kia holds critical design review for next-generation military vehicles

Kia Motors Corporation has revealed its plans for the development of a new standard platform for next-generation military vehicles, strengthening the company’s capabilities in future military projects.

Kia Motors develops Military Standard PlatformKia Motors plans to start manufacturing prototypes of mid-sized standard vehicles within this year and take the test evaluations by the Korean Government in 2021. The company’s goal is military deployment from 2024, following standardisation and initial production tests.

This mid-sized standard vehicle development project is the result of joint investment by the Korean military and Kia Motors. The large-scale program will see the replacement of 2.5-tonne and 5-tonne military standard vehicles currently in operation, and the development of new 5-tonne bulletproof vehicles.

The standard vehicles will be equipped with a range of the latest commercial technologies, including high-torque 7.0-litre diesel engines and automatic transmission systems, ABS and Anti-Spin Regulator (ASR), Rear Parking Assist, Around View Monitor, satellite navigation and hot wire seats.

Kia’s modular approach to developing new vehicles on the platform will enable the development of other derivatives in future, such as vehicles equipped with a range of weapons systems, and those designed with more specialised specifications and technologies.

The company has developed a conceptual brief for its new military All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV) and plans to introduce a prototype early next year. The developed ATVs will not only be deployed for military purposes, but will also be used in various fields, such as industrial and leisure sectors, drawing on bare chassis from the robust Kia Mohave SUV. Kia will continue to grow its reputation as an SUV brand by applying technology and know-how from military vehicle development to improve the durability of its road-going SUVs.

To contribute to the development of the military's future combat systems, Kia is also actively carrying out advanced R&D, combining the latest automotive technology with military vehicles. The company is developing autonomous driving technology for military vehicles which could assist with delivering supplies.

Furthermore, Kia is exploring the potential for hydrogen fuel cell technology across diverse military applications, including fuel cell vehicles and emergency power generators. Fuel cell technology is considered suitable for future military vehicles as it can supply large amounts of electricity in combat environments.

Rare Gemstones brong a gleam of colour to Bentley's Luxury jewellery collection

The introduction of coloured gemstones into the Bentley Jewellery collection brings a new dimension to the exquisite luxury accessories treasured by discerning women around the world. The array of colours within the fine jewellery collection mirrors the rainbow of exterior paint colours available to Bentley customers.

Coloured GemstonesThe stunning precious coloured gems are selected, cut and polished at the Heinz Mayer factory, Bentley’s Jewellery partner, in the town of Idar-Oberstein, globally renowned as the centre of the high-end gemstone world. Highly skilled craftspeople create the fine jewellery to a standard that satisfies the most critical and demanding clients, their imagination can be translated into the beautiful shapes and hues of the decorative pieces.

The new use of colour in the collection parallels Bentley’s focus on the range of paint and finishes through which customers can personalise their car, or work with a team of specialists to imbue their new model with bespoke colours and materials of their preference. Like a rare coloured stone, paintwork can play a significant role in making a car a true reflection of personal taste and expression of personality.

Bentley’s famous Sequin Blue colour – inspired by a sequin from a blue dress – was devised in 1996 with a combination of pigments using blue mica. It is still a popular choice and an interpretation of what nature supplies in the form of a tanzanite gemstone. This is a highly sought-after stone of violet-purple-blue colours whose only source at present is near Mount Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania.

Even rarer among gemstones is the Padparadscha sapphire which varies from yellowish to orange pink and together with Ruby is part of the corundum group. The rarity and purity of the stone’s colour resembles the multi-faceted tones of Bentley’s Bacalar limited edition model of 12 cars, which was revealed earlier this year in Crewe. The paintwork also inspires comparison with a bright Mandarin garnet, a vivid orange also known as ‘fanta orange’. The gemstone is very rare and valuable and has been found in only a few deposits in Africa, notably in Nigeria and Namibia.

Maria Mulder, Bentley’s Head of Colour & Trim, says research indicates that there is a deep connection between colour and personal emotions. ‘Colour influences mood,’ says Mulder. ‘There are subtle differences that change every year within the palettes we use. The environment and the social circumstance in which we live also have an effect, so now we are seeing warmer tones, not the recent neutral tones or simply the black and white of the cars of the mid-1990s.

Just as with a coloured gemstone, it takes an expert to bring out the perfect hue. ‘Our ability to use paint to define the lines and shape of a car is the similar skill to that used by a cutter to transform a rough gemstone,’ says Mulder. ‘In its raw state a gemstone won’t show all of its potential beauty, but with an expert cutter, the fire and light in the stone comes out. Paint colour needs to retain its longevity just as the stones retain their colour. Our exterior paint colour will always have that purity and naturalness because the final coat will protect it.’

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