Audi to phase out combustion engines in 10-15 years – WirtschaftsWoche





FILE PHOTO: New Audi automobiles are shown for sale after California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state will ban the sale of new gasoline powered passenger cars and trucks starting in 2035 in a dramatic move to shift to electric vehicles to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, in Carlsbad, California, U.S., September 23, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake

January 8, 2021

BERLIN (Reuters) – Volkswagen’s premium carmaker Audi aims to phase out combustion engines and offer only electric cars in 10 to 15 years, at the latest, German weekly WirtschaftsWoche reported, citing no sources.

The company is currently working on a concrete time plan and expects to have target dates in the coming months for the phase-out at individual plants, it said.

It cited Audi Chief Executive Markus Duesmann as saying in an interview that “protection of the environment and economic success go together well”.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Riham Alkousaa)




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MotoGP 2020: European Grand Prix, Yamaha penalties, Valentino Rossi, news, engines,


Joan Mir admits the pressure is beginning to tell as he closes in on the possibility of becoming MotoGP world champion without winning a race.

With three rounds left, there are still 75 points available. Only 32 points separate the top six after a rollercoaster season truncated by the coronavirus and thrown wide open by the absence of six-time world champion Marc Marquez. The Spaniard hasn’t raced since breaking his arm in the season-opener in Jerez.

Meanwhile, Yamaha has been handed huge point penalties in the constructor and teams championships over an illegal engine valve dating back to that opening Spanish GP.

But they’ve been handed a late boost with star rider Valentino Rossi set to return after testing negative for COVID-19, with the veteran Italian still chasing a milestone 200th podium.

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This Aircraft Carrier’s Engines Are So Loud, People Can’t Sleep at Night


Here’s What You Need to Know: Many ships, including the Royal Navy’s two brand new aircraft carriers, must rely on their diesel engines while in port for power.

The UK’s “Royals” haven’t always been known for their composure. For every more reserved member of the family, there have been those known for wild exploits. This time however it isn’t technically a party boy prince that is upsetting folks, but rather the Royal Navy’s latest warship, HMS Prince of Wales (R09) that has found itself in the spotlight for being a bit too loud and brash! 

When the 65,000 ton Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier returned to her homeport at Portsmouth Naval Base, Hants, months back she ran her massive diesel generators instead of being hooked up to a land-based power supply.

The aircraft carrier is powered by four Wärtsilä diesel generators, which each produces a total of 11 Megawatts of power, or enough to sustain a town with a population of 25,000 people. However, the warship’s engines are so loud that locals have complained of “incessant noise pollution” that has even kept nearby residents up at night.

One local resident, Neil Sutton, told the Mirror newspaper that he and his family had to keep “our heads under our pillows at night.” He added, “In this lockdown, why can we not open our windows and enjoy peace and tranquility?”

It is Royal Navy policy to provide short power to all vessels alongside whenever possible.

The UK’s Ministry of Defense spent £200 million on a new shore-based electric power plant designed to support naval vessels at their home base, but it is still undergoing trials. As a result of many ships, including the Royal Navy’s two brand new aircraft carriers, must rely on their diesel engines while in port for power.

Gosport councilor Dawn Kelly has called on the Royal Navy to look into the noise problem.

“For those living in Clarence Yard the sound must be even louder as it gets reverberated around the square there,” Kelly told The Daily Mail. “So I do think the residents have a valid complaint and I have urged them to approach environmental health.”

The problem has been ongoing since late March when the £3.1billion HMS Prince Of Wales returned home after its sea trials. The warship also had an eight-day stay in Liverpool where more than 20,000 members of the public had a chance to go aboard and meet some of the 700 sailors who are severing on the new carrier. During its month-long trip, the ship also carried out training exercises including a crash on deck scenario as well as fuel replenishment at sea.

The Prince of Wales was launched in 2017, and the 919-foot carrier has an air wing that includes 36 fighter planes and four helicopters. The actual Prince of Wales, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla attended an official commissioning ceremony to formally welcome the aircraft carrier into the Royal Navy last December. Charles, 71, was also given a new title, Honorary Commodore-in-Chief, Aircraft Carriers.

Prince of Wales and her sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, are the largest and most advanced ships ever to see service in the Royal Navy. HMS Prince of Wales (R09) is the eighth and most recent ship to have borne the name. The previous HMS Prince of Wales (53) was a King George V-class battleship launched in 1939 and sunk off the coast of Malaysia during World War II.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.

Image: Wikimedia Commons



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Bombardier suspends delivery of aircraft engines used on military drones


Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) says it has suspended the delivery of aircraft engines to “countries with unclear usage” in the wake of reports that some of those engines are being used on Turkish combat drones deployed by Azerbaijan in fighting against Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Quebec-based company — better known for its Ski-Doo and Lynx snowmobiles — said it became aware late last week that some of the recreational aircraft engines produced by its Austrian subsidiary, Rotax, are being used on Turkish Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

“We have recently been made aware that some Rotax engines are currently used in military UAVs, and have started a thorough investigation immediately,” Martin Langelier, BPR’s senior vice president and the company’s spokesperson, told Radio Canada International in an email statement.

“In the meantime, we are suspending delivery of aircraft engines in countries with unclear usage.”

Export controls and ‘civilian’ tech

Langelier said that all Rotax aircraft engines are designed and produced in Austria exclusively for civilian purposes and are certified for civilian use only.

Canada suspended most exports of defence technology to Turkey in October of 2019 following the Turkish invasion of northwestern Syria.

Michel Cimpaye, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, said exports of items on the country’s Export Control List require a permit only when exported from Canada.

Controlled goods and technology exported from another country, however, are subject to the export controls of that country, Cimpaye added.

Gabriele Juen, a spokesperson for the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the Rotax engines are used in various motorsports and drones could be used “for a multitude of solely civilian purposes.”

“The European Union Control List of Dual Use Items does not list the drone engine in question as a dual use good item,” Juen said. “As a consequence, no approval permit is required under Austrian legislation that regulates the export of defence-related goods.”

A loophole in arms control regimes

Kelsey Gallagher is a researcher with the disarmament group Project Ploughshares who has studied Canadian exports of drone technology to Turkey.

Gallagher said the matter of BRP recreational aircraft engines ending up on Turkish combat drones exposes a serious flaw in international arms control regimes.

“I think this speaks to the fact that components such as engines should more frequently fall under regulations that we see for what we deem to be more conventional weapons,” he said. “Frequently, engines are not controlled as weapons systems even though they are integral, like other components, to the operation of a vehicle.”

The Bayraktar TB2 drones also feature optical sensors and target designation systems produced by L3 Harris WESCAM in Burlington, Ont.

On Monday, defence officials in Armenia displayed what they claimed are parts of a Bayraktar TB2 drone and its Canadian-made optical and target acquisition systems, as well as its Rotax engine.

A spokesperson for the Armenian Ministry of Defence said another Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drone was shot down by Armenian air defence units during fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh on Thursday.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has called on countries that supply components for the Turkish drone program to follow Canada’s example and suspend all exports of such components to Turkey.

Fighting in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, which is populated by ethnic Armenians, began on Sept. 27. It’s the most significant outburst of violence since a Russian-brokered ceasefire paused hostilities in 1994.

Armenia has repeatedly accused Turkey of supplying Azerbaijan with arms — including drones and F-16 fighter jets — as well as military advisers and jihadist Syrian mercenaries taking part in the fighting.

Armenian officials also have accused Azerbaijan of using the Turkish drones to not only target military forces but also to conduct strikes against civilian infrastructure across Nagorno-Karabakh and in Armenia proper.

Turkey and Azerbaijan have denied these reports. The Turkish embassy did not respond to a request for comment

Officials at Global Affairs Canada said they are investigating allegations regarding the possible use of Canadian technology in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and “will continue to assess the situation.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne addresses a press conference at the High Commission of Canada in London on January 16, 2020. (Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images)

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne suspended the export permits for WESCAM optical sensors and target acquisition systems on Oct. 6.

However, senior Global Affairs officials speaking at Thursday’s briefing for MPs on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh could not explain why an exemption was made for these exports in the first place, given the embargo announced in 2019 and renewed in April of this year.

Appearing before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, Shalini Anand, acting director general for export controls at Global Affairs Canada, said she could not discuss the issue of the permits because of “commercial confidentiality.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau specifically discussed the issue of WESCAM exports to Turkey with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a phone conversation in April, according to sources who spoke with Radio Canada International on condition of anonymity.

The issue was discussed again during their phone conversation on Oct. 16, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.





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Red Bull divorce with Honda reveals real issue, Renault, engines


At last year’s Australian Grand Prix in March, Honda staff were crying tears of joy.

After agreeing to supply Red Bull’s engines at the beginning of 2019, the Japanese manufacturer was celebrating its first F1 podium finish since 2008 when Max Verstappen crossed the line third in Melbourne.

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But 18 months on and the partnership that promised so much — after Red Bull became fed up with the unreliability of Renault’s engines — is facing a sad end.

Honda announced it will quit F1 at the end of 2021, citing a desire to dedicate more resources towards developing carbon-free technologies and tackling climate change.

Simply, it can’t do that and be an F1 power unit supplier at the same time, leaving Red Bull and AlphaTauri in search of new providers for 2022 and beyond.

Rather than feel any joy at his rivals’ speed bump, Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul says Honda’s impending departure is proof the rules need to change.

Engine regulations governing the use and scope of power units are in place until the end of 2025, but Abiteboul says the sport can’t wait that long to adapt. He believes Honda’s F1 divorce shows the sport needs to change to make itself more attractive for new players to enter the game.

Right now, Abiteboul is concerned engine manufacturers are too intimidated by the financial and technological pressures associated with being involved in F1.

“We want an F1 with car makers, with OEMs, with engine suppliers, and being down to three engine manufacturers is not a positive development,” Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.

“The engine situation is simply unsustainable. In particular from an economic perspective, but also from a technology perspective.

“The entry ticket is so high in terms of costs, but also in terms of technology.

“We need to think harder about the environmental sustainability of the engine, about the economic sustainability of the engine.

“There has been a bit that has been done, but it’s not enough. We need to be harder on that.”

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Abiteboul said too often when engines are spoken about in F1, it’s to complain about them. He blasted the sport as a whole for failing to promote how impressive its technology actually is, and called on F1 to market that technology better to avoid situations we’re witnessing with Honda.

“It’s just more evidence that we have failed in putting together the right messaging and the right marketing of these engine regulations, which are mind blowing — there is nothing more advanced in the world in terms of automotive powertrain,” Abiteboul said.

“There is nothing that even gets close to this efficiency level for light vehicles, so that’s remarkable.

“But it’s just as remarkable to have failed so badly in explaining to the world and getting the world to understand what this is all about, and the windfalls that could impact more mainstream technology.

“F1 has missed an opportunity of leveraging an asset that we have.”



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Red Bull’s awkward Renault relationship, engines, power unit, Honda withdraw, Daniel Ricciardo


The sudden announcement that Honda will be ending its F1 engine deal after the 2021 season may have left Red Bull an extremely awkward position.

Not only are Red Bull and sister team AlphaTauri without a power unit supplier for the 2021 season, the team is facing the real possibility of having to go back to Renault for their engine needs.

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The Honda news was shocking for many on the F1 grid with Dutch racing driver Tom Coronel likening it to being “left at the altar”.

“This is really shocking news,” he told Motorsport.com.

“From Red Bull’s perspective, they weren’t even married yet. It was some kind of engagement, and they wanted to get married. Actually at the altar Honda now say ‘no, we’re not getting married’. That’s kind of the feeling at Red Bull.

“At the end of the ride they only worked with Red Bull Racing for three years, that was obviously not the idea behind it.

“The rough diamond Max Verstappen is now cut more and more beautifully and they are almost at Mercedes’ level. Actually, Red Bull-Honda is the only combination that’s still in their league. And then you quit … Anyway, of course we only look at this issue with a motorsport heart.”

Honda said in a statement on Friday that the reason it was pulling out was to focus its resources on the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

But when Honda pull out, there will be only three power unit suppliers in Renault, Mercedes and Ferrari, with Appendix 9 of the FIA sporting regulations “obliging the manufacturer with the least partners to supply a competitor with no alternatives”, according to autosport.com.

Currently, Mercedes supply Williams, Racing Point (which will be renamed Aston Martin next season) and McLaren from 2021, who are moving on from Renault, while Ferrari supply Alfa Romeo and Haas.

While mutually beneficial as Renault will only be supplying one team as of 2021, it’s own works team which will be renamed Alpine, it set up an awkward reunion after the groups left on less than amicable terms.

While Red Bull do have other options including trying to buy the Honda engine IP, trying to get Honda to sell it to a third party, convincing a new manufacturer to come on board or convincing Mercedes or Ferrari to sell engines to them, Renault appears to be the easiest option.

Renault’s team principal Cyril Abiteboul said Red Bull had not yet made contact but that the French outfit were ready to supply engines if required.

“Being in the sport we are well aware of the regulation, and we have every intent to comply with the regulation and with our obligations,” he said.

“Obviously it‘s a bit more detailed – we need to be requested, and we have not been requested yet, and secondly there are very specific circumstances, including timing, for this to happen. And we are still quite far from that window, which is not before the spring of next year.

“We know that in F1 lots of things can happen in a very limited amount of time, and spring 2021 is still very far. All sorts of things can happen. As I say we will comply with any obligation which may arise from this circumstance.”

He also admitted that it would be awkward, particularly with out the 11-year partnership ended in 2018.

“I think so, but we need obviously to look at the sport. And I think we are still very far away from having to possibly cross that bridge,” Abiteboul said.

“I can‘t imagine that Red Bull would not have some plan in the background. Clearly they must have been aware of this, and Helmut (Marko) and Christian (Horner) are full of moves and solutions. I don’t expect that we will be their Plan A.”

After winning four championships on the back of Sebastian Vettel’s 2010 to 2013 run, the relationship soured.

Coinciding with the final season of Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull before he moved to Renault, the Aussie was stuck in the middle of an ugly battle between the teams. He had eight retirements in 20 races in 2018 and finished sixth in the driver’s championship.

Red Bull chief adviser Helmut Marko said Ricciardo had two bleak years ahead of him when he left the team for Renault.

“Poor him, he will have to live with these problems for another two years,” Marko said before Ricciardo left, while Horner kept the pressure on after the move.

Red Bull weren’t alone in the criticisms and jabs either with Renault taking their licks as well but the teams may be forced to renew their uneasy alliance.

More than the issues between the teams, the Honda departure could spell trouble for the entire sport with Sky Sports’ Martin Brundle admitting “there is no way you can paint a positive picture on the Honda news”.

And with a change in F1’s engine regulations expected in 2026, Brundle said the current V6 hybrid engines are “too heavy, too expensive and too complex” for a new manufacturer to compete with the current three.

“It‘s now about what F1 does next in terms of creating an exciting power unit for the show and the fans,” he said. “We all miss the V8s and the V10s and Mick Schumacher driving Michael’s 2004 car at Mugello the other week just reminded us how evocative and exciting the engines of that era were. For me, Formula 1 is entertainment first and foremost and we’ve got to have a power unit that entertains and excites.”



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Virgin sale faces first legal obstacle as court fight over jet engines fires up


Administrators estimated Virgin owed 50 aircraft lessors a combined $1.88 billion, making them the third largest group of creditors behind secured lenders and unsecured bondholders.

Virgin leases about half its fleet, or 69 aircraft. Bain is planing to strip Virgin back to a fleet of its domestic workhorse Boeing 737s, of which it currently owns 40 and leases 39. However the group has not said how many aircraft it will be left with in total.

The demand is the first challenge to wide ranging orders granted by the Federal Court to protect the Deloitte administrators during the sale process.

Those orders limited the personal liability of the individual administrators incurred by Virgin continuing to fly leased aircraft, airport fees, for use of the Virgin trade mark owned by Richard Branson, and for essential services such as ground handling, fuel, maintenance and in-flight catering.

The orders were also expected to curb any move by the companies that had provided leasing finance to Virgin from repossessing equipment or planes.

Wells Fargo and Willis are seeking a declaration from the court that a notice given by Deloitte to Willis Leasing regarding the status of the leases was incomplete and did not take into account their rights under an international agreement designed to protect aircraft lessors’ rights to make demands against lessees, known as the Cape Town Aircraft Protocol.

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The two groups are also seeking declarations that rent must be paid by the airline and its administrators for the use of their property during the course of the administration.

A spokesman for Deloitte said it told Willis last month that it did not claim any continuing interest in the four engines last month.

“Discussions around their collection are continuing,” he said.

Willis is not the first financier to raise questions about the wide-ranging orders. As The Age and Sydney Morning Herald revealed, another financier, Pembroke had also raised concerns about the orders not allowing them to collect rent or repossess the planes they had leased to Virgin.



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