x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Russia plans Bering Strait tunnel to US

Plus, Peugeot unveils a six-seater car, the number of cars on the world's roads tops one billion, a smartphone system could cut fuel consumption and more Motoring news.

In China, car ownership jumped by 27.5 per cent as 14m new cars were sold in 2010, pushing the country's car ownership count up to 73.9m - ahead of Japan for the first time.
In China, car ownership jumped by 27.5 per cent as 14m new cars were sold in 2010, pushing the country's car ownership count up to 73.9m - ahead of Japan for the first time.

Russia has given the go-ahead for an underwater tunnel to be built linking the country with the US.

Russian politician Aleksandr Levinthal has backed a 105km tunnel linking the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska, although the idea was first mooted by Tsar Nicholas II more than 100 years ago.

The ambitious project could reportedly cost US$65 billion (Dh240b) and be completed by 2045, based on the current schedule of improvements to the Russian rail system.

If implemented, the rail link could mean passengers being able to embark on a train in London, journey via Moscow, Siberia, Alaska and Canada and arrive in New York.

And it could also mean passengers saving time if going from Russia to Alaska as the tunnel would pass through the international dateline. This means travellers would have to turn their clocks back by nearly a full day for arrival in Alaska.

However, a considerable amount of work lies ahead for the project to become a reality, as neither Alaska nor Siberia have constructed rail links that reach to the extremes of their respective icy, far-flung territories.


Peugeot to unveil six-seater car as the shape of things to come

Peugeot is to reveal a concept car that sheds light on its vision of a new brand identity.

Unconventionally styled and designed to seat up to six people, the HX1 has a robust look while being sporty, with adaptable aerodynamics.

The car can alter its aerodynamic profile to suit its environment, driving conditions and the requirements of its passengers.

Its four doors are reverse-opening, leading into a high-tech cabin that represents Peugeot's vision of a high-end passenger compartment.

With a combined power output of 299hp from the 2.2L HDi engine driving the front wheels and an electric motor integrated into the rear axle, its diesel-electric hybrid powertrain provides for a four-wheel drive mode and a zero emissions mode.

The car can travel 30km in zero-emission mode, meaning the HX1 is able to attain a low combined fuel consumption figure of 3.2L/100km with CO2 emissions of just 83g/km.

The HX1 will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this month.


One billion cars on world roads

The number of cars on the world's roads has surpassed the one billion mark for the first time after 35 million new vehicles took to the roads last year.

In China, car ownership jumped by 27.5 per cent as 14m new cars were sold in 2010, pushing the country's car ownership count up to 73.9m - ahead of Japan for the first time.

Despite the huge rise in China, the US remains the car capital of the world, with 239.8m vehicles - or one for every 1.3 people.

The figures, from trade journal Ward's Auto, showed the total number of cars jumped from 980m in 2009 to 1.15 billion in 2010, meaning car ownerships has doubled in just 24 years.

In 1986 there were 500m vehicles on the roads and it's estimated there could be as many as 2.5bn by 2050.

The 35m growth in registrations globally was the second biggest increase ever, fuelled by economic growth in countries such as India, China and Brazil.

In India, where the population is 1.15bn, just one in 56 people own a car.

Car ownership grew there by 8.9 per cent but there is still only 20.8m vehicles on India's roads.

In Britain there are 35m cars - equal to one for every 1.77 people, as there is an estimated population of 62m.


Smartphone network could cut fuel consumption by 20 per cent

A system that collects traffic signal information and tells drivers when to slow down can help cut fuel consumption by as much as 20 per cent.

Researchers at Princeton University and MIT have developed a system that uses a network of smartphones attached to dashboards that collate information by taking photos and then predicting when traffic signals are due to change. The system, called SignalGuru, can then relay this information to the driver to avoid them waiting at lights. By reducing the need to idle and accelerate from a standstill, the system saves petrol.

One researcher said it could be developed to capture information about prices at petrol stations or even the availability of parking spaces.

It's envisaged that SignalGuru could be used in conjunction with existing smartphone GPS software but more testing must be completed before the project can go any further.


Bentley to sell 18 carat solid gold sunglasses for Dh53,000

Bentley is selling a range of limited edition solid gold sunglasses.

The glasses, with the Bentley "B" settled in a hand-polished enamel coating, are made to order in either 18ct gold, silver palladium or platinum and are limited to 100 pieces each per material in Hong Kong, China and Russia.

But, according to Christoph Rosenauer, son of Albrecht F Rosenauer, who founded eyewear company Estede, which is creating the product for Bentley, there's good news for wearers of expensive sunglasses in the Middle East.

"The eyewear has been received very well with more orders than we could expect. Currently our main markets are Hong Kong, China and Russia, but we will start by the end of this year to distribute the products also in Great Britain, the US and the Middle East," he says.

Hold on to your hats though as a gold pair will set you back about Dh53,000, while a platinum pair will be a cool Dh168,000.