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2021 Lexus LS showcases improved suspension, new autonomous driving features

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Lexus says it has taken its LS luxury saloon flagship into 2021 with new technology, updated styling and even smoother driving performance.

According to Lexus, the new car is available for order in a choice of three trim levels, Autocar reports.

The standard LS comes with an optional Premium upgrade package with heated rear seats, an upgraded stereo and four-zone climate control.

The automaker says mid-range F Sport trim brings a performance-inspired bodykit alongside extra equipment including the brand’s new BladeScan adaptive headlights, while top-rung Takumi trim includes a digital rear-view mirror, bespoke 20in alloy wheels and 22-way electrically adjustable front seats.

Chief among the revisions to the LS range is a revamped hybrid drive system that seeks to improve the driving experience in Normal mode, which, Lexus says, is where the average LS spends 90 per cent of its time, and in which the driver uses only moderate accelerator input.

By upping the level of assistance provided by the hybrid system’s lithium ion battery, Lexus has reduced the amount of throttle needed to accelerate, resulting in a “smoother and more linear” acceleration curve.

The brand claims the LS offers more comfortable city driving as a result, as well as benefits on winding routes and hill starts.

Engine performance

A by-product of the battery’s increased output is that the 3.5-litre V6 petrol motor can operate at lower revs, reducing noise and vibration, while sharper acceleration and improved shift timing result in less frequent downshifts.

The facelifted LS also gains a new Adaptive Variable Suspension system with reduced damping forces, as Lexus seeks to improve upon the LS’s trademark ride quality and refinement.

The engine mounts have been changed, thicker seats added to further reduce vibrations in the cabin, and the stiffness of the tyres’ sidewalls has been reduced.

Interior

On the inside, the main changes are improved technology, headlined by the addition of a new advanced driver assistance and safety package called Lexus Teammate. This gives the LS more autonomous driving features, allowing it to change lanes and overtake other cars automatically.

The system also receives automatic over-the-air software updates and a new 12.3in touchscreen infotainment system, repositioned slightly to improve access for the driver.

New technological additions include the BladeScan adaptive high-beam headlight system, as first seen on the updated RX SUV, which uses a fast-rotating mirror to project light from LEDs to provide enhanced illumination compared with conventional systems, and the digital rear-view mirror that improves rearward visibility.

Elsewhere, the 360deg camera gains a new pedestrian detection function and there are new motors that tighten the seat belts when the pre-collision warning system is activated.

Exterior

The LS’s exterior has been lightly updated, with a new front bumper, darkened front grille and new black trim around the rear lights.

The black detailing theme extends to the inside, where controls on the steering wheel and centre console mirror the darker look.

Lexus president Koji Sato says, “The LS, as a flagship, has constantly pursued innovation and has provided new technologies and value for its customers.

“In developing the new LS announced today, we furthered the evolution of the exceptional quietness and comfort that has been a steadfast constant since the model’s first generation.”

Auto Connection, in its review of the vehicle, says, “The 2021 Lexus LS comes with the tech and features we expect from a luxury sedan, but its lineup tops out where German competitors are only getting started.

“We score it at 9 out of 10 with points above average for standard fare and luxurious, if not excessively opulent, options.”

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Gas-powered mass transit buses set for operation in Nigeria

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A revolutionary mass transit operation using ECO-Green buses is soon to be introduced in some Nigerian city centres.
The buses already being used in major cities of the world are powered by flare gas recovered compressed natural gas (CNG), which is usually flared in the Niger Delta, Nigeria and causing environmental pollution and crisis in the region.
Chief Executive Officer of Austrian Technologies Nigeria Limited, Johann Rieger, said the ECO-green buses had been built on European standards for critical climate and infrastructure as in Nigeria.
According to him, the buses are the safest and most economic public mass transit vehicles that can reduce carbon footprints by 95 per cent and operating cost by 30 per cent.
Specifically, he said the buses, coming with a lifespan of at least 15 years, had been equipped with engines of higher emission standards (Euro 5) with no toxic, smog or smoke, guaranteeing reduced noise and lower fuel costs. In Malaysia, those buses run 15 years with over 90% average uptime.
Rieger also said the project would guarantee local capacity building of the buses through extensive transfer of the technology and know-how within a short time of the entire value chain.
Indeed, he said, “Up to 70 per cent of all components of the eco-green buses should be manufactured or assembled locally within five years of operation including the first green engine.”

He said the project would come with uniquely designed and efficient drivers’ safety training that would allow safe increase of passengers’ capacity by 30 per cent in accordance with international standards of public transport.

He said the vehicle had been built with the highest operational standards and expected to save the operator a minimum of $25,000 in comparison to any other large capacity bus.

He noted that six eco-green buses would do the job of at least 10 biggest BRT buses currently being operated in Nigeria and by switching over to locally available natural gas, he said at least $20,000 of foreign exchange is also saved.

He noted that driving with natural gas is the most environmentally friendly solution wherever this green fuel is available. They partnered already with local CNG suppliers who are ready to invest and guarantee 24/7 availability of the gas directly inside the bus depot of operators anywhere in the country.

About 90 per cent uptime, and maximum efficiency and transparency would be guaranteed through permanent real-time monitoring of each bus by eco- telematics and extended after-sale service with 24/7 spare parts availability and directly including service and wear parts for the first two years, said Rieger.

Some of the unique features of an ECO-green bus are given as roof mounted CNG cylinder with up to 500km range and gas leakage detection system and tyre pressure monitoring system.
The air and surfaces in their buses is permanently and chemical free sanitized by their ECO Viroxx air conditioning system with bipolar ionization.
Others are speed limiter, alcohol test and driver’s fatigue detection with driver’s biometric identification, CCTV camera system that can be directly integrated into the city surveillance system reverse camera; handicapped ramp and wheelchair area.

Rieger listed some of the technical features of the bus as electronic dashboard with extended eco-telematics system, real time driver’s feedback on safety and economic driving; on board video education in cooperation with UNICEF.
The bus is said to come on the same bus platform as 8.7m for 60 passengers; 10.5m for 80 passengers, 12m for 100 people and 18m accommodating 160 passengers.

 

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Autochek, Appzone collaborate on flexible vehicle finance solution

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Autochek automotive technology company has entered into a partnership with Appzone Group, a leading FinTech firm, to provide Nigerians with quick and flexible access to car financing, including those in the rural areas.
The partnership, according to the two firms, will see the Autochek platform integrating with Appzone’s proprietary digital core banking service, BankOne, in facilitating access to credit from over 400 microfinance institutions for people across the country.
Speaking at the official signing event, Chief Technology Officer at Autochek, Chetan Seth, said, “Obtaining access to financing in Nigeria is a tedious process. At Autochek, we are committed to providing consumers with seamless access to credit in order for them to own their vehicles. With technology, we are able to provide vehicle financing at sca d this will be accelerated even further by integrating with le, an Appzone’s network.
“We are very much customer-focused and we operate in an on-demand economy, we therefore recognise the need to efficiently provide a plethora of options for customers to access loans. Our partnership with Appzone will enable us to further increase their options through access to the microfinance banks currently available on their platform.”

Mr Mudiaga Umukoro, the CEO of Appzone Core, a subsidiary company of Appzone Group said, “BankOne is our flagship product and Africa’s foremost banking-as-a platform (BaaP) solution. Over the last 10 years, we have focused on digitizing the microfinance sector. We have enabled over 400 microfinance institutions spread across the entire country, with the capability for fully-digital banking operations. And now through our partnership with Autochek, these institutions available can now provide quick digital loans to prospective car owners anywhere in Nigeria.
“What this ensures is a win-win approach as MFBs can target more customers as well as increase revenue through loan offerings, whilst customers across the country, either in urban or remote areas, are more easily empowered with business and/or personal vehicles with little hassle.”
Some details about the new auto loan arrangement provided in a statement indicate that the credit sourcing process starts with the listing of prequalified vehicles from the dealers on Autochek’s platform.
Potential customers have the opportunity to select their choice from a pool of cars that have gone through a 150 point inspection process carried out by Autochek’s accredited technical experts.
The customers are then able to submit their loan applications digitally through the autochek website to over 400 financial partners currently available on Appzone’s BankOne network. Within 24 hours, customers receive multiple offers and have the option to select their most preferred financial partner.
Appzone transitions all accepted loan applications into the BankOne’s proprietary credit administration module which automatically enables the account opening, underwriting and eventual disbursement.
The customer is now able to get a transparent step-by-step update throughout the whole process.

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Fake lubricant factory uncovered, shut in Kano

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The Kano State Consumer Protection Council says it has raided a house where fake engine oil is produced.
The house is located at Rijiyar Lemo Quarters in the Fagge Local Government Area.
The Managing Director of the council, Dr Baffa Babba Dan’agundi, who disclosed this in Kano, said that another place had also been identified by the council at Kwanar Ungogo where about 300 gallons of pirated engine oil labelled with logos and stickers of different engine oil companies were confiscated.
Dan’agundi, who was represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on KAROTA, Nasiru Usman Na’ibawa, also said the products which were confirmed to be fake and adulterated could cause damage to vehicles’ engines and generators.
He said all the products had been taken to the council’s warehouse for further investigation and necessary action against the unscrupulous persons engaging in such business.

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