Chinese and global manufacturers unveil latest designs and technologies
New energy vehicles are hogging the limelight at the ongoing Auto Guangzhou exhibition — testimony to how rapidly Chinese and international automakers are embracing electrification.
As China’s last major car show of the year, Auto Guangzhou has attracted a stellar list of global manufacturers, ranging from BMW and Mercedes-Benz to Bentley and Lamborghini, along with local Chinese giants and startups.
Of the 1,132 vehicles on display at the 10-day show that runs to Sunday, 469 — 41.4 percent — are new energy models. A total of 59 are making their debut on the global stage in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, along with 20 concept vehicles.
Local Chinese brands were underdogs in the age of gasoline vehicles, but homegrown NEVs and more ambitious strategies are now leveling the playing field for domestic manufacturers. According to Auto Guangzhou’s organizing committee, of the 469 NEVs on display, only 119 are foreign-built.
China’s NEV manufacturers don’t excel only in numbers. At least three domestic marques — GAC Aion, SAIC MG and Dongfeng eπ, or ePi — are showcasing scissor-door or gull-wing-door designs that previously were only seen on models bearing super luxury brands like McLaren or Lamborghini.
Zeekr, the premium electric marque of Geely, unveiled its first sedan, the 007, on Friday. Its all-wheel-drive version goes from 0-100 kilometers per hour in 2.84 seconds, the fastest in its class. With Tesla’s Model 3 and Xpeng G7 as its main rivals, the 007 received 5,000 orders in the first 30 minutes of presales.
Huawei has made plain its ambition to become deeply involved in the smart car market, with models including the AITO M9 and Luxeed S7 shown at the booth of HIMA, which stands for Harmony Intelligent Mobility Alliance. The Luxeed S7, a collaboration between Huawei and Chery, has an exterior designed by Huawei and sports the technology company’s Harmony operating system and 800-volt battery platform.
Meanwhile, Chery is showcasing 16 NEV models at its booth, where Zhang Guozhong, executive-vice president of the Anhui province-based company, said its goal is to join the ranks of China’s top NEV makers. Some of the models on display are the new Fengyun hybrids. Thanks to C-DM (Chery Dual Mode) technology, the Fengyun models have fuel consumption standing at around 4.2 liters per 100 km.
They have an electric range of up to 200 km, which extends their overall mileage to more than 1,400 km. Over the next two years, Chery will launch 11 hybrids bearing the Fengyun logo.
Another Chinese automaker, Dongfeng, has for the first time brought together its three NEV marques — Aeolus, eπ and Nammi — to the public since the State-owned company released its NEV plan in August.
According to Dongfeng, Aeolus offers both gasoline and NEV models, Nammi focuses on pure electric vehicles and eπ produces and sells both electric and range-extender models. Targeting the mainstream market, eπ will launch more than 10 models in the next three years.
International brands at Auto Guangzhou are offering a balanced mix of gasoline cars and NEVs.
BMW’s booth features a number of heavyweight models, including its long-wheelbase 5 Series, the X2 and the electric i5.
BMW sold 78,568 electric vehicles in China from January to October, up 211 percent year-on-year.
Volkswagen, which is the most popular international brand in China, is presenting 25 models at the show, including its electric ID. series and gasoline-powered Touareg and Teramont SUVs. Volkswagen is by far the most successful foreign car marque in China’s NEV market, with sales of its ID. series exceeding 20,000 units in October, thanks primarily to its ID. 3 hatchback.
Volkswagen’s lineup will soon include the ID. 7 VIZZION, a mid-size sedan to be produced at FAW-Volkswagen, and the ID. NEXT, which is a near-production concept car and will be produced at SAIC Volkswagen.
Stefan Mecha, CEO of Volkswagen China Passenger Cars Brand, said: “To better respond to the rapid dynamics and evolving demands in China, we are accelerating at ‘China Speed’.” He predicted NEVs will account for half of new car sales in China in 2025 and the figure will rise to 70 percent in 2030.
Meanwhile, General Motors is showcasing 48 models bearing the Cadillac, Buick and Chevrolet marques. The Cadillac Optiq and Buick’s Electra E5 are among NEVs built on GM’s Ultium platform.
Cadillac said it will launch three new electric models in 2024, while SAIC GM, GM’s Chinese joint venture, said its NEV sales from January to October totaled nearly 70,000 units.
Source(s): China Daily
China puts in water world’s 1st commercial undersea data storage
China has taken a step toward the world’s first commercial data center under the sea. The data storage unit was submerged into the sea near Hainan Island on Friday.
The data center, once completed, will be 40 to 60 percent more power efficient than centers hosted ashore, according to Pu Ding, general manager of the project.
It took the engineers almost 3 hours to put the 1,300-tonne storage unit 35 meters underwater. The entire project is composed of 100 such units.
Putting data centers into the sea can be beneficial in many ways. The center can utilize sea water to cool the electronic parts, reducing the electricity cost of air conditioning.
“The entire data center can cool itself naturally,” said Xie Qian, senior engineer of CTTL Terminals, China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT). “The water-cooling technology will also help increase the density of servers, boosting the computing power.”
Additionally, undersea data centers make use of the vast space of the seabed to reduce land cost. They are also located far away from human habitats and face less interference.
The underwater environment is also free of dust and oxygen, thus electronic devices can last longer and break less often.
“Some of the undersea data centers will be located near coastal cities. So, they are closer to the core nodes of the network, which will make the network response faster,” Xie explained.
Though companies like Microsoft have already tested underwater data centers and called the plan feasible, China’s version will officially enter commercial operation and serve real customers.
Thailand steps up digital capabilities with smart city developments
BANGKOK, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) — Thailand is accelerating the development of smart cities, aiming to enhance the country’s digital capabilities and the quality of life for urban communities towards a sustainable future.
Designated as a national agenda, the government is strategically leveraging technology for the development of smart cities, with a focus on sustainable economic growth, resilient urban development, and adaptability to change, said Phumtham Wechayachai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce.
Amid global challenges, smart cities are positioned as a solution to efficiently manage large-scale data, known as big data, used to formulate effective policies, address issues promptly, and contribute to economic and social development, Phumtham noted in his opening remarks at the Thailand Smart City Expo 2023 on Wednesday.
According to the organizer, the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), the exhibition provides an opportunity for city administrators and project managers from the public and private sectors to learn more about innovative technologies, as well as for technology businesses and distributors to meet with clients.
The three-day event, scheduled from Wednesday until Friday, attracted over 300 local companies and overseas exhibitors, including China’s Huawei, which showcased its smart city initiatives, enabling digital transformation through a human-oriented, technology-driven, value-sharing society.
Huawei has closely cooperated with local partners on the ecosystem of smart cities, Sheldon Wang, Senior Vice President of the Enterprise Department at Huawei Thailand, told Xinhua.
“We are currently having several smart city projects in the fields of safety, planning and infrastructure in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor, such as in Rayong Province and the seaside resort city of Pattaya.”
As of July, the Southeast Asian nation has approved 36 cities in 25 provinces as smart cities, with plans to target more cities as the government has consistently promoted urban development through tailored policies aligned with regional growth, according to the DEPA.
China aims to build advanced humanoid robots by 2025
China has issued guidelines for the development of humanoid robots with strategic plans set for 2025 and 2027.
The guidance, issued by the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), aims to establish a preliminary innovation system for humanoid robots by 2025, and achieve breakthroughs in key technologies like the “brain, cerebellum and limbs” of robots.
The goal is to ensure the safe and effective supply of core components, with the robots reaching international advanced levels and being used in scenarios such as special operations, manufacturing and livelihood services.
It also plans to cultivate two to three ecological enterprises with global influence, a group of specialized small- and medium-sized enterprises, and two to three industrial clusters, breeding and developing new business models and forms.
By 2027, China aims to significantly improve the technological innovation capability of humanoid robots, establish a safe and reliable industrial supply chain, and build an internationally competitive industrial ecology.
The industry will also accelerate its large-scale development with more diverse application scenarios, and relevant products are expected to deeply integrate into the real economy, becoming an important new engine of economic growth.
Humanoid robot, which integrates advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), high-end manufacturing and new materials, is expected to become the next disruptive product after computer, smartphone, and new energy vehicle. With great development potential and wide application prospects, it is seen as another new track of future industries, according to the MIIT.
Although China has certain foundation for the development of the sector, the country’s humanoid robot industry lags behind in areas like key basic components, operating systems and industrial ecology. The guidance aims to strengthen policy guidance, pool resources, promote innovation in key technologies and foster new productivity, according to the MIIT.
‘A crucial step’
Wang Peng, an associate research fellow at Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, told Global Times that the issuance of this guidance will aid relevant parties in better integrating research and development resources with a market-based approach, hailing it a “crucial step in the right direction.”
Prior to the guidance, local governments have also released action plans to foster the development of the robotics industry, including humanoid robots.
China’s capital city Beijing has issued a 2023-2025 action plan for the innovation and development of the industry, which will set up a fund of 10 billion yuan (roughly $1.4 billion), in addition to the construction of a humanoid robot industry innovation center.
Shenzhen in south China’s Guangdong Province has proposed to carry out the development and application of universal embodied intelligent robots, and will accelerate the establishment of a humanoid robot manufacturing innovation center.
East China’s Shanghai Municipality has planned to build an international algorithm innovation base to bolster the development of humanoid robots.
Humanoid robots are considered a significant measure of scientific and technological innovation and high-end manufacturing, Zhu Qiuguo, an associate professor of the College of Control Science and Engineering at Zhejiang University, told Xinhua.
With the continuous breakthroughs in basic core technologies, humanoid robots, such as production line robots, service robots and even household companion robots, will have broad prospects for application in the future, Zhu added.
The scale of the global humanoid robot market will reach 1.9 trillion yuan (about $263.9 billion) by 2030, with China’s market scale accounting for 376.2 billion yuan (about $51.4 billion) of that figure, according to Xinhua.
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