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Wunder Mobility launches line of light electric vehicles

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Mobility technology platform Wunder Mobility announced the launch of the Wunder Vehicles product in an exclusive business-to-business (B2B) agreement with Yadea, a Chinese light electric vehicle (LEV) manufacturer. In this partnership, Yadea will guarantee the supply of LEVs for Wunder Mobility, as it attempts to introduce its line of vehicles for clients that struggle to source vehicles for their fleets.

Wunder Mobility has long remained a mobility partner to companies and governments, providing a platform that enables them to launch, scale, and monitor new mobility services, while managing and optimizing daily operations. 

The launch of Wunder Vehicles lets Wunder Mobility take a step towards being a mobility service provider rather than continuing to remain a mobility facilitator. The Wunder Vehicles product provides companies end-to-end support to start a fleet-sharing service, without needing to interface with multiple industry stakeholders to launch their business. 

Partnering with Yadea helps Wunder Mobility to bring state-of-the-art LEVs to fleet-sharing companies. Wunder Mobility will also gain a grip over its supply, especially while operating in a supply chain environment that is extremely volatile due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The hardware component is what makes this product possible, and we wanted a reputable and reliable partner – one that aligned with our vision and goals – to move forward with for the long term,” said Sam Baker, president and co-founder of Wunder Mobility, to FreightWaves. “Yadea is the world’s largest manufacturer of LEVs, and we knew instantly that they’d help bring additional visibility and credibility to this product.” 

Baker explained that the company was specifically searching for a partner whose expertise in LEV manufacturing was up-to-par with Wunder Mobility’s experience in mobility software. At the time when Wunder Mobility contacted Yadea, the Chinese manufacturer was also looking to get into shared mobility and expand offerings to include a B2B e-moped – making it a perfectly timed partnership.

“By partnering with Yadea, we’re able to provide customers with the best mobility software to function on the back-end, and the best vehicles to leverage on a daily basis,” said Baker. “The launch of Wunder Vehicles transforms Wunder Mobility from a mobility software provider into an all-in-one mobility solutions platform. We are now a ‘one-stop-shop’ for our customers looking to launch fleet-sharing companies.”

Over the years, Wunder Mobility realized that entrepreneurs looking to establish fleet-sharing companies often deal with the issues of shipping vehicles into their markets and in financing their operations. The pandemic has also shocked the markets, with potential founders lacking direction and support to mobilize a fleet within their chosen cities. 

“Wunder Mobility is an outstanding leader in the mobility space, and we’re excited to partner with them to provide customers new travel solutions for the industry in Europe and Wunder Mobility’s other markets,” said Heidi Zang, senior overseas director at Yadea. “Our goal through this partnership is to promote environmentally friendly and safe vehicles to best serve our customers worldwide and further establish both Yadea and Wunder Mobility as industry leaders.”

Existing Wunder Mobility customers will now be able to use Wunder Vehicles to launch new fleets or revamp existing fleets with Yadea vehicles. At the same time, new users will get to start new fleets with Yadea and procure hardware from other partners. Baker mentioned that ride-sharing clients like Human Forrest, lelyx and Arnab Mobility have already deployed fleets of Wunder Vehicles. 

Source: https://www.freightwaves.com/news/wunder-mobility-launches-line-of-light-electric-vehicles

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2021 BMW 5 Series Will Let You Add Options Via Over-The-Air Updates

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BMW announced that it would start offering over-the-air activation of optional features as part of its new Operating System 7, with some features available on a free-trial basis or with a subscription. Operating System 7, which debuted alongside the 2021 5 Series, will be available on most late-model BMWs as part of a software update. It also includes a wide range of data and connectivity updates, but it’s not without controversy.

BMW freely admits that many of its new vehicles are equipped with the hardware needed for optional extras like adaptive cruise control, adaptive M suspension, and high-beam assistance. Ticking the box on the order sheet for those features merely adds the coding needed to run them, rather than altering the vehicle’s hardware. In its official Operating System 7 announcement, BMW representatives implied that additional features might be added to that over-the-air activation setup – seat heating and cooling, automatic climate control, power seat memory, and remote start might be on that list.

The company drew up a potential use case for over-the-air feature activation. The owner of a brand-new 4 Series coupe might decide against ordering adaptive cruise control or ventilated seats upon purchase, but after living with the car in a traffic-clogged urban environment in the heat of summer, she decides she’d like to try those features out.

She can order a one-month free trial, and if she likes the optional extras, she can purchase either a one- or a three-year subscription. When her time with the car is over and she sells it to its next owner, he might have different priorities. He can then subscribe to a particular set of features that suit his needs better. We like the idea that one could pay a bit less at the dealer, then decide later on that some features might be worth optioning.

Of course, the part that makes us raise our eyebrows is that if the hardware is already there, demanding that customers pay a monthly, yearly, or periodic fee to keep it activated feels like money-grubbing. BMW learned the lesson already that customers don’t want to pay for features when they sign the dotted line, then continue to pay for the privilege of using them.

That’s why the company announced it would suspend its Apple CarPlay and Android Auto yearly fee schedule, instead offering smartphone integration as a “lifetime” subscription with a one-time charge. Here’s hoping BMW follows its own example by allowing customers to opt in once for the feature in question, then get access to it forever (or at least as long as they own the car).

Source: https://www.motor1.com/news/431779/2021-bmw-5-series-ota-options/?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=RSS-category-technology

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2021 Ford F-150 Display Screens Look Amazing In New Video

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Climbing inside the 2021 Ford F-150, you’ll find a handsome, upscale interior. Owners of F-150s from the last few years will find the layout familiar, in much the same way the exterior is familiar. However, it’s a completely new interior packed with tech, including two new digital displays. That’s the subject of this new video from Ford, and we must admit – the screens look pretty cool.

The video focuses on the digital instrument cluster that delivers a plethora of information to the driver. The clip opens with simple gauge behavior, showing how the fully digital instruments look during operation. Sadly, we don’t think the F-150 is capable of reaching 120 mph in four seconds as we see on the video, but you get the idea.

From there we get a preview of the menu screen, showing selection for fuel economy, trip meters, and Eco Behavior which basically tells you how much time you spend speeding up and slowing down. We’re also shown the nifty F-150 avatar, just in case you forget the vehicle you’re driving. It’s a bit gimmicky, but then, so are the various splash screens showing the F-150’s various drive modes. Mud and trail shows an F-150 on a muddy trail, sand and snow shows the truck slicing through a desert, you get the idea. That doesn’t mean we don’t like it; sometimes, gimmicky can be good. And there’s no denying the screens are attractive.

One particularly useful feature is the towing and off-road status screen. It shows steering input as well as vehicle incline and roll angles, clearly marked in degrees. That could be extremely useful for contractors and companies that often send trucks into difficult terrain with trailers in tow, never mind the casual off-roader seeking adventure on an unknown trail.

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All indications point to the new truck being quite versatile and luxurious, which should satisfy Ford’s loyal F-Series buyers. The only question is how much money those buyers will need to spend to get this tech-happy truck. That’s a question that will be answered later this year.

Source: https://www.motor1.com/news/431760/2021-ford-f-150-display-screens/?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=RSS-category-technology

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Stakeholders await new guidance on rail track and brake safety standards

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Federal rules revising how rail industry stakeholders should monitor and ensure healthy track infrastructure could be unveiled sometime soon.

The rules on rail integrity amendments and track standards, FRA-2018-0104, are in the clearance process at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), but there’s no firm date yet for their issuance and publication in the Federal Register, according to sources.

Freight railroads, rail shippers and rail union members have been awaiting the revised rules since the agency first said in December 2019 that it would be revising two existing rules, one on track safety standards and the other on brake system safety requirements. Changes to both rules would “promote safety innovation and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens” while also increasing rail safety and time, FRA said in December.

Stakeholders such as American Fuels and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) welcomed FRA’s attention on the two rules since they focus on preventative measures. 

“We’re happy FRA is taking action and we’re hoping they move forward with a final rule,” said Rob Benedict, senior director of petrochemicals, transportation and infrastructure at AFPM. AFPM, along with a coalition of rail shippers that included American Chemistry Council, American Petroleum Institute, Chlorine Institute, Fertilizer Institute, Renewable Fuels Association and Sulphur Institute, submitted comments to FRA in March during FRA’s public comment period for the rules.

The revisions to the track integrity rule addressed issues such as continuous rail testing, rail inspection data, the inspection of track used by high-density commuter lines, waivers related to track frogs, and other provisions recommended by the track safety standards working group of FRA’s Railway Safety Advisory Committee. 

Revisions related to the brake standards include issues related to Class I air brake testing and end-of-train device waivers. 

“The proposed track integrity rule revisions encourage the use of technology, including the revision of regulations and removal of exceptions, which could result in more frequent testing of tracks,” Benedict said. “The revisions also authorize the use of new track structures that provide safety benefits by more evenly distributing loads across the track with minimal impact to rail surfaces.”

Benedict added, “Pretty much everyone – from railroads to rail shippers – is encouraged by what’s in there because it removes regulatory barriers to different testing technologies. It also opens the window for more continuous testing and frequent testing, so that you can identify those defects that might end up causing a derailment.”

Besides the rail shippers group, other stakeholders who sent public comments to FRA on the rule revisions included the Association of American Railroads and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association; the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division/Teamsters and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; the National Transportation Safety Board; the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation; and rail inspector contractor Herzog Services. Their comments are available in the docket.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Joanna Marsh.

Related articles:

Federal Railroad Administration seeks to revise track, brake inspection requirements: Railway Age

Rail groups split on Democrats’ infrastructure bill

Rail groups gear up for infrastructure bill fight

Source: https://s29755.pcdn.co/news/stakeholders-await-new-guidance-on-rail-track-and-brake-safety-standards

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