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IIT MADRAS READIES FIRST INDIGENOUS MOTORS FOR E-RICKSHAWS

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India’s thrust for electric vehicles got a leg up with an unit inside IIT Madras developing motors and sub assemblies indigenously and signing agreements with manufacturers for commercial usage. The first of the motors with design details will be delivered on August 15.

Centre for Battery Engineering and Electric Vehicles Research (C BEEV) has developed a range of motors and sub assemblies for commercial deployment. “All e-vehicle makers now import motors and assemble them. We now have motors and sub assemblies fully designed and developed here,” said Prof Ashok Jhunjhunwala of C BEEV.

Contracts have been signed with two manufacturers Amber and Alpha Sine for supply of motor designs and sub assemblies, which will be used in e-rickshaws, e-autos and e-2wheelers.

The EV eco system needs five broad ranges of products that are made indigenously. Motors and sub assemblies, batteries, chargers, converters and monitoring and tracking devices. “As a nation we are getting ready on all the parameters with motors fully ready. The missing part is cell manufacturing. Even that should gain further momentum as the government has included cell manufacturing as part of the PLI Scheme (Production linked incentive scheme is an incentive package where a manufacturer gets fiscal incentives upon achieving targets),” Jhunjhunwala said.

In India for a product to be successful, it has to be cheaper and also better in performance over imported ones. “The first set of motors are for e-rickshaw. They are superior to imported motors in terms of efficiency and smoothness in drive,” he said. “We hope they get commercialised and scale.”

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APPLE LAUNCHES IPHONE 13 PRO, PRO MAX, AND A LOT MORE

Richa Kapoor

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Apple’s much awaited September announcement has been made. They have introduced iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, redesigned inside and out, both models introduce an all-new Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion featuring an adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz. The pro camera system gets all new Ultra-Wide, Wide, and Telephoto cameras, powered by the performance of A15 Bionic. Video now gets Cinematic mode for beautiful depth-of-field transitions, macro video. Both models also offer end-to-end pro workflows in Dolby Vision, and for the first time. iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max also include 5G with more bands for better coverage, big improvements to battery life for the best battery life ever on iPhone with iPhone 13 Pro Max, new storage capacity of 1TB, and the Ceramic Shield front cover, tougher than any smartphone glass.

iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will be available in four finishes, including graphite, gold, silver, and the all-new sierra blue. Pre-orders begin Friday, September 17, with availability beginning Friday, September 24.

• Customers can get iPhone 13 Pro for INR 119900 and iPhone 13 Pro Max for INR 129900 from apple.com/in/store.

• iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are also available through Apple Authorised Resellers and select carriers.

Apple introduces iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, featuring a sleek and durable design, an advanced new dual-camera system for improved photos and videos in low light, and introducing Cinematic mode. The device would be available in five gorgeous new colours.

Both models get advanced dual-camera system with a new Wide camera with bigger pixels and sensor-shift optical image stabilisation (OIS) offering improvements in low-light photos and videos. iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini also boast super-fast performance and power efficiency with A15 Bionic, longer battery life, a brighter Super Retina XDR display, double the entry-level storage at 128GB, and IP68 rating for water resistance, and an advanced 5G experience.

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini will be available in pink, blue, midnight, starlight, and (PRODUCT) RED,1 with pre-orders beginning Friday, September 17, and availability beginning Friday, September 24.

Apple announced Apple Watch Series 7, featuring a reengineered Always-On Retina display with significantly more screen area and thinner borders. The narrower borders allow the display to maximize screen area, while minimally changing the dimensions of the watch itself. The design of Apple Watch Series 7 is refined with softer, more rounded corners, and the display has a unique refractive edge that makes full-screen watch faces and apps appear to seamlessly connect with the curvature of the case. Apple Watch Series 7 also features a user interface optimized for the larger display, offering greater readability and ease of use, plus two unique watch faces Contour and Modular Duo designed specifically for the new device. With the improvements to the display, users benefit from the same all-day 18-hour battery life, now complemented by 33 percent faster charging.

It is the first Apple Watch to have an IP6X certification for resistance to dust and maintains a WR50 water resistance rating.

Apple Watch Series 7 introduces five beautiful new aluminum case finishes, along with a range of new band colors and styles.

• All Apple Watch Series 7 models will be available later this year.

• Apple Watch SE with USB-C charging cable, new Apple Watch bands, and Apple Watch Nike bands will be available to order from apple.com/store, with availability in stores coming soon.

Apple introduced the powerful new iPad mini with a larger 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display in four finishes. Featuring the brand new A15 Bionic chip, the new iPad mini delivers up to 80 percent faster performance than the previous generation. A new USB-C port allows faster connectivity, and cellular models with 5G bring more flexible mobile workflows. New advanced cameras, Center Stage, and support for Apple Pencil (2nd generation). The new iPad mini is available to order, and will be in stores beginning Friday, September 24.

Apple introduced the new iPad (9th generation), featuring the powerful A13 Bionic chip that packs even more performance and capability into the most popular iPad, all while retaining its all-day battery life.

Starting at just INR 30900, the new iPad features a 10.2-inch Retina display with True Tone, a 12MP Ultra-Wide front camera with Centre Stage, support for Apple Pencil (1st generation) and Smart Keyboard, the intuitive iPadOS 15, and twice the storage of the previous generation. The new iPad is available to order on apple.com, and in stores beginning Friday, September 24.

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FORD RESTRUCTURES INDIA OPERATIONS, CEASES LOCAL MANUFACTURING

The carmaker has given the assurance that it will continue to provide customers in India with ongoing parts, service, and warranty support

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Iconic American car maker Ford has announced a major restructure in its India operations. The company has said it plans bring to market some of its iconic global vehicles and electrified SUVs while ceasing vehicle manufacturing in India. The decision has been taken following accumulated operating losses of more than $2 billion over the past 10 years and a $0.8 billion non-operating write-down of assets in 2019. Ford says the restructuring is expected to create a sustainably profitable business in India. Addressing the need of its existing buyers, the carmaker has assured that it will continue to provide customers in India with ongoing parts, service, and warranty support.

As part of the plan, Ford India will wind down vehicle assembly at its plant in Sanand, Gujarat by the fourth quarter of 2021 and vehicle and engine manufacturing in Chennai by the second quarter of 2022.More than 500 employees at the Sanand engine plant, which produces engines for export for the best-selling Ranger pickup truck, and about 100 employees supporting parts distribution and customer service, also will continue to support the company’s business in India. However, approximately 4,000 employees are expected to be affected by the restructuring. Ford says it will work closely with employees, unions, suppliers, dealers, government, and other stakeholders to develop a fair and balanced plan to mitigate the effects of the decision.

The carmaker will begin importing and selling vehicles in India, including the Mustang coupe. It says customers in India also will benefit longer term from its plan to invest more than $30 billion globally to deliver all-new hybrid and fully electric vehicles, such as Mustang Mach-E. However, sales of current products such as Figo, Aspire, Freestyle, EcoSport and Endeavour will cease once existing dealer inventories are sold out. Ford India said it took these restructuring actions after investigating several options, including partnerships, platform sharing, contract manufacturing with other Auto manufacturers, and the possibility of selling its manufacturing plants, which is still under consideration.

The company has said it will focus on growing its Ford Business Solutions capabilities and team in the country, as well as engineering and engine manufacturing for exports. With more than 11,000 team members currently in India, Ford Business Solutions plans to expand to provide more opportunities for software developers, data scientists, R&D engineers, and finance and accounting professionals, in support of the Ford+ plan to transform and modernize Ford globally.

“As part of our Ford+ plan, we are taking difficult but necessary actions to deliver a sustainably profitable business longer-term and allocate our capital to grow and create value in the right areas,” said Jim Farley, Ford Motor Company’s president and CEO. “Despite investing significantly in India, Ford has accumulated more than $2 billion of operating losses over the past 10 years and demand for new vehicles has been much weaker than forecast.”

“I want to be clear that Ford will continue taking care of our valued customers in India, working closely with Ford India’s dealers, all of whom have supported the company for a long time. India remains strategically important for us and, thanks to our growing Ford Business Solutions team, will continue to be a large and important employee base for Ford globally.”

Anurag Mehrotra, President and Managing Director of Ford India, added: “Ford has a long and proud history in India. We are committed to taking care of our customers and working closely with employees, unions, dealers, and suppliers to care for those affected by the restructuring. Despite these efforts, we have not been able to find a sustainable path forward to long-term profitability that includes in-country vehicle manufacturing,” Mehrotra said. “The decision was reinforced by years of accumulated losses, persistent industry overcapacity and lack of expected growth in India’s car market.”

Ford says it will maintain parts depots in Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Sanand and Kolkata and will work closely with its dealer network to restructure and help facilitate their transition from sales and service to parts and service support. Ford India will maintain a smaller network of suppliers to support engine manufacturing for exports and will work closely with other suppliers to ensure a smooth wind-down of vehicle manufacturing. Ford also will continue to rely on India-based suppliers for parts for its global products, and suppliers and vendors supporting Ford Business Solutions will continue to support the business as normal.

The writer is Senior Editor at carandbike.com

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SAMSUNG GALAXY Z FOLD 3 HAS REVOLUTIONIZED THE WAY ONE LOOKS AT FOLDABLE DEVICES

Richa Kapoor

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the 3rd generation of foldable device from Samsung and in the market still in the forefront of foldable smartphones. The device has revolutionized the way one looks at foldable devices. The way Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 has been worked on and updated it has for sure cut a niche for itself in the market. Using the device for the last couple of days has made me change my opinion about foldable devices completely.

DESIGN & DISPLAY:

Design for the device remains the same. The dual screen with the smaller screen in the front and the book style design opens to the larger screen. The hinge on the screen which was the biggest hitch with its predecessor seems to have been worked on well. The phone feels easy to open and use. The design is what gives it the oomph factor. You have a device in hand and fold it open you experience a 7.6-inch tablet like display. The Ultra-Thin glass makes the device certainly sturdier and gives the durability confidence which was not there with its previous model.

Samsung has added IPX8 water resistance on the device which is a technological achievement.

The device is designed in a beautiful aluminium & glass body which gives it the premium feel but at the same time makes the device a lot heavier.

Display is what largely defines this device. The entire dual screen aspect which folds makes the device path breaking.

On the inside, the Fold 3 has a 7.6-inch tablet display with a wide 5:4 aspect. Which is meant for all your work, social media, viewing content & even reading. The crease in the middle no longer bothers one’s eye. It is something one would expect for now in a foldable device.

The screen gives a great viewing experience & would be a delight for gamers. It was very easy & comfortable for taking Zoom meetings & webinars as well.

The AMOLED gives it perfect blacks and vivid colours, while Eco2 helps it get brighter without increasing the power consumption. You get Gorilla Glass Victus & UTG on top avoids scratches.

The screen outside you get a 6.2-inch AMOLED panel, which also runs at 120Hz . Its 25:9 aspect ratio. The front feels nice & tall and is great to use with a single hand. The screen is good enough for all your basic work.

PERFORMANCE & SOFTWARE:

The device is powered by Snapdragon 888 SoC. The chipset is phonemical and works wonders. You will have no battery or heating issue with the device. Multi-tasking is breeze and there is no hitch or lag in the device. The device runs on Android 11, One UI 3.1.1. With the number of functionalities, the software handles the device very well. The software meets the hardware just as you would expect from a high-end device like this.

CAMERA:

Just like its predecessor, the rear camera setup comprises a 12MP f/1.8 main sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide lens and a 12MP telephoto shooter with 2x magnification. The only upgrade is the inclusion of OIS on the zoom camera.

Camera might not be the biggest highlight for this device but non the less the images are good might not be at par with the flagship devices. The images that you get from this device are as good as any. The color and vibrant effect are on point. Just for those who look at the nitty-gritty in a photo might find a bit of a disappointment.

Space Zoom gets a 2x lens here. The 4MP under- screen camera might not give the best output but is good for video calls and webinars. The 10MP front camera is the one you would prefer to use.

BATTERY:

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 battery is 4,400mAh which takes close to 2 hours for a full charge heavy full day usage would get you 16 hours of work time. Normal usage you can use the device for the entire day.

VERDICT:

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 in India is priced at 256GB: Rs 1,49,999 | 512GB: Rs 1,57,999 the device is a great pick for someone who has the money for it most importantly it is a great aspirational device as well. If you want the coolest looking device which is real conversation starter with great tech inbuilt then this is for sure your pick. But if you are looking for a device with a battery camera than Samsung has a lot more to offer from its array of products. This device is a tech revolution which is totally worth a shot.

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TATA’S TIGOR ELECTRIC IS BACK WITH LONGER RANGE AND MORE FEATURES

Nexon EV from Tata Motors is doing well and the new Tigor EV will hope to emulate the SUV.

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The Tigor EV has been on sale in the country for a few years now but has largely failed to strike a chord with the electric car buyer. Along with the now discontinued Mahindra E-Verito it has failed to inspire consumers to go green and clean. Now Tata Motors has launched a 2021 model of the car that promises much more than before. This includes a longer ranger, more features and a long warranty on battery and motor. The Nexon EV from Tata motors has been doing well and new Tigor EV will be hoping to emulate the SUV.

LOOKS

When it comes to styling, the Tigor facelift that was launched earlier this year is the inspiration for this car. Of course, the EV badge on the more futuristic looking grille with a blue slat will give it away that this car doesn’t run on Petrol. It also gets projector headlights, horizontal fog lamps with DRLs, new 14-inch wheels alloy wheels with blue accents and new LED tail lamps. You can choose from 3 variants but only the top XZ+ comes in a dual tone option.

TECH & INTERIORS

The cabin also gets blue accents on the AC vents and the seats come with the now familiar Tata tri-arrow pattern. The digital instrument cluster is quite nice to look at and gives information like range, regeneration and Eco mode. The 7-inch touch screen is available only on the top trim and is compatible with both Android auto and Apple Carplay. This along with cooled glovebox, push button start and foldable rear armrest is also available only on the XZ+. The car now gets more than 30 connected features including remote cooling, intrusion alert and charging status.

While automatic climate control finds a place on all the variants, a 4 speaker Harman infotainment system, interior lighting with theatre dimming and all 4 power windows are offered on the mid XM trim. The second row is good but misses out on AC vents. The spare wheel has been placed smartly (vertically) in the boot to give you a decent space of 316 litres.

DYNAMICS

The EV has adopted the brand’s Zip Tron powertrain also seen on the Nexon EV. The electric sedan gets a 26-kWh lithium-ion battery with a magnet synchronous motor which makes 73 bhp and 170 Nm. Since all that torque is available right from the word go, the car reaches 0-60 kmph in just 5.7 seconds. But for that fast pickup you’ll need to switch to the sport mode. This will also mean a slightly lesser range on the car. The battery gets IP67 certification which means better protection from water and dust. Tata is giving a warranty of 8 years and 1.6 lakh kms on the battery and motor, thereby increasing the buyer confidence.

The Tigor EV gets an ARAI certified range of 306 kms. That number will come down in everyday traffic. When I started on full charge the car was showing a range of 204 kms. And after around 50 kms, including moving in stop and go traffic, the range was down to 130 kms. Still, it’s a significant improvement from the earlier car. It also highly depends on how hard you press the accelerator or how often you apply the brakes.

RIDE & HANDLING

Changing lanes at high speeds doesn’t not really unsettle the occupants in the Tigor EV. The Sportback shape has always given the car an edge when it comes to dynamics. The ride is also as plush and there’s nothing to complain here. Hill ascent and descent features help in a trouble-free and safe drive. Talking about safety, the car has been given a 4-star crash rating by global NCAP and this is for both adult as well as child occupant protection. This makes it one of the safest cars made in India. It also gets dual airbags and ABS with EBD as standard.

CHARGING

Tata’s EZ power app helps you in finding the nearest available charging station. And it is quite accurate as I experienced. The car can be charged to 80 per cent in less than 1 hour using fast charge while on a home charger it takes around 8.5 hours. Tata says the car can be fast-charged or slow-charged from any 15 A plug point.

VERDICT

The ex-showroom prices for the Tigor EV start at Rs. 11.99 lakh and go up to Rs. 13.14 lakh. This is almost double of the Petrol variants which only come with a manual version. The on-road price depends on state subsidies being provided on purchase of electric vehicles. When Petrol prices are crossing Rs. 100/litre, an affordable EV like the Tigor could be a smart buy. It’s got a low running cost and yes it also keeps the planet cleaner.

The Writer is the Senior Editor at carandbike.com

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GOOGLE PIXEL 6, PIXEL 6 PRO MAY BE LAUNCHED ON 13 SEPTEMBER

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Seems like September is going to be filled with major smartphone launches from some big tech giants.

Apple and Samsung have already hinted at unveiling the iPhone 13 series and the Galaxy S21 FE in September. And now looks like Google is here to steal the thunder. Google’s big new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are coming, and according to a tipster, they could arrive sooner than we thought.

September 13 is the rumour, a day before Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 13, reported Mashable.

The tipster claimed that Google will hold its international Pixel 6 press conference on September 13. If true, September is going to be a really, really busy month for smartphones. Google’s phones have historically offered amazing cameras and it seems like the company is stepping up its camera game further this year.

With the Pixel 6 Pro Google will offer three shooters with up to 4x optical zoom — a first for the tech giant’s smartphone line. The Pixel 6 Pro will offer a QHD+ 6.7-inch 120Hz refresh rate display, while the smaller model’s screen will be capped at 90Hz.

To add to the intrigue, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will feature Google’s own chip called ‘Tensor.’ While Samsung is reportedly handling the manufacturing side of the new Tensor chip, Google said it will add its own Machine Learning and AI algorithms to improve its performance.

Both of the upcoming devices will include a new version of Google’s Titan M security chip in addition to the TPU.

“With Tensor’s new security core and Titan M2, Pixel 6 will have the most layers of hardware security in any phone,” said Google.

Reports in the past have also suggested a number of key features that are expected to be a part of the upcoming Pixel 6 series.

The list includes the Pixel 6 Pro getting a 5,000mAh battery, 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage space.

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NEW-GEN ROYAL ENFIELD CLASSIC 350: A TRUE MODERN CLASSIC

Classic 350 comes with an all-new platform, reworked chassis, and a brand-new engine.

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The Royal Enfield Classic 350 has been on sale in the market for more than a decade. It has the brand’s highest selling motorcycle for a while and the company too has kept giving it regular updates over the past few years to keep it in sync with the buyer demands. But now the bike has been given its most comprehensive update till now. A brand-new generation of the Classic 350 has arrived and it comes with an all-new platform, reworked chassis, and a brand-new engine. That’s not all, there are new features, new colours, and a lot more. So, this is a fresh product in almost every way.

LOOKS & FEATURES

The Classic 350 has always had a likeable silhouette and that hasn’t changed on the new generation. The design that many have loved for years, stays. However ergonomically important elements like the seat, lights, mudguards, and the instrument console are different from before. Along with a manual dial, the console now come with a digital screen that has features like a fuel gauge, trip meters, eco indicator and service reminder. The tripper navigation pod that became popular with the Meteor 350, too finds a place here but will only be available with select variants of the bike. Another thing that will remind you of the Meteor are the classic handlebar switches, which have always looked nice. The lock/unlock switch too is integrated in the console and that really adds to the practicality. A USB charger is also a worthy addition to the new Classic 350.In all there are 11 colour options to choose from, some of which are dual tone.

ENGINE

The biggest change on the Classic 350 is the all-new J series engine that also powers the Meteor 350. The oil-air cooled motor churns out 20.2 bhp and 27 Nm which is roughly the same as before, but this Classic is a little heavier than the Meteor. The motor has impressed everyone with its pulling power and refinement on the cruiser and despite the additional weight the story stays the same here. The gearshifts are smooth, the vibrations are much lesser, and the clutch is light, all things you wouldn’t associate with a Royal Enfield a few years ago. The ride is indeed like a breadth of fresh over and if you have been a Classic owner all these years this bike will pleasantly surprise you. The trademark bullet thump is still there butlet’s just say the tune has changed a bit. It may or may not sound sweeter to you. You won’t mind cruising all day on this bike for reasons more than one.

RIDE & HANDLING

The new Classic 350 shares it frame and swing arm with the Meteor 350 and from there somewhat it adopts a relaxed nature of riding. The suspension settings have been altered to make the bike take on the uneven roads with more aplomb. At the front you get fatter forks while at the rear you now get more travel. The latter comes with 6-step adjustable pre-load which means you have some say in how firm you want your ride to be. With a seat height of 805 mm, the motorcycle offers an ergonomic ride position, one that doesn’t tire you and allows you to take on the corners at high speeds with confidence. The wheels have the same size as earlier, but the tyres are wider than before, giving more grip and therefore adding to the stable ride. The bike gets a decent ground clearance of 170 mm. The brake discs on both the wheels are larger than before and according to Royal Enfield this helps the bike stop faster than earlier. You also have the options on single channel ABS with rear drum brakes on some variants.

VERDICT

The 2021 Classic 350 is a brand-new bike in literally every sense, barring the maybe the name. And depending on the variant you also have the options of choosing alloy or spoked wheels on the bike. The bike offers an altogether different experience and if like me you’ve been a long time Enfield rider, the contrast is even more start. It is much improved bike no doubt, one that has all the makings of keeping the Enfield flag flying high. The bike also has all the qualities of pulling a first time Enfield buyer to the legendry motorcycle brand.

The writer is Senior Editor at carandbike.com

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