Breakneck speeds threaten 24-hour speed distance record
The 24-hour speed distance record for the current edition of the Volvo Ocean Race is under threat as the fleet face four days hurtling south at up to 30 knots.
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand set the bar at 554.16 nm during Leg 1 from Alicante to Cape Town – but as the six teams power south through the Pacific Ocean trade winds the record could tumble.
Volvo Ocean Race chief meteorologist Gonzalo Infante said the latest weather and routing models suggest that several of the teams stand a chance of bettering CAMPER’s record over the next few days -- particularly those able to sail wider angles in the east.
“It’s going to be very close but it’s very possible the record could fall in the next few days,” Infante said. "Breaking through the 500nm barrier is dependent on tactics and medium-term strategy - whether the teams choose to stay east or cash in their position for speed.”
The arrival of the solid north-easterly trade winds benefitted the easterly boats first with leg leaders Franck Cammas’ Groupama sailing team extending their advantage at the front to 55 nautical miles (nm) in the 1300 UTC position report.
To the west of the fleet Chris Nicholson’s second placed CAMPER and Iker Martínez’s third placed Team Telefónica continue to struggle to match the speeds of the trio in the east.
Ken Read’s PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG and Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing who have both clocked up peak speeds over 25 knots.
On Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper Ian Walker could hardly contain his delight at the opportunity to capitalise on the eastern investment they had made, often in light and tricky conditions.
“Finally it feels like the Volvo Ocean Race,” Walker said. “No more drifting around or upwind sailing -- just raw power, soaking decks and high speeds.
“Fortunately all the easting we have strived for over the past week allows us to sail as wide an angle as we are. The wind is 25 knots and building. Boat speeds fluctuate between 18 and 30 knots. The miles to the finish are now tumbling fast which makes the soaking on deck well worth it.”
PUMA navigator Tom Addis said the crew was enjoying the chance to unleash the full potential of their boat in the open ocean.
“It’s been fantastic, fast reaching,” Addis said. “We’re back in open water, no shipping, no fishing nets, no debris to dodge. We’re just letting the boat rip doing 22, 23 knots, reaching with bow up. It’s what these boats are good at so that’s always a nice feeling.”
Addis added that PUMA were aware that they must keep up their breakneck pace for the next few days if their northern ‘further but faster’ strategy was ultimately to work.
“Opportunity is ahead for us starting from now, for sure, especially after all our hard work to get east,” he said.
“After all this torture we’re going to finally have wider and faster angles than most of the guys, so we should be gaining by the hour. We’ve put in the hard work, and now it’s time to reap the rewards.
“When you travel the most miles in a leg like we have, I guess you’ve got to expect to put some good runs on the board. We had 26 knots earlier, we may get close again but it’s likely to just average 20 knots plus.
Team Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson said although his crew were in sixth they had done well to stay in the hunt but were now facing some big losses in a drag race against the more powerful newer boats.
“We’ve worked very hard through the change of positions to be among the pack, we’ve led at times and we’ve been last at times, but now we’re faced with the reality of the speed of these new generation boats,” Sanderson said. “They’re going in excess of a knot faster than us, and they’re just going to sail on by.
“We’re all very competitive sailors and we’re all used to winning, but now we’re just not fast enough through the water after battling for the last week to keep up.
“One knot difference is big – you’re talking a 24-mile difference each day. Over the next three or four days with the trades, it’s a little bit scary. It’s going to be 100 miles in those three or four days.”
The fleet still have more than 3,500 nm to go to the finish in Auckland and are expected to arrive around March 9.
Volvo Car Corporation presents the all-new Volvo V40:
Scandinavian luxury look and feel with class-leading safety and driving dynamics
Volvo Car Corporation will reveal the all-new Volvo V40 at a press conference at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show on March 6.
The all-new V40 is ready to overtake the competition in the Premium Hatchback class with sharpened features and characteristics from larger Volvos wrapped in a sleek, compact package.
"The all-new V40 is the first new model that is fully developed according to our human-centric, Designed Around You strategy. Charged with an outstanding set of high-tech features it definitely will give our toughest competitors a headache," says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation.
The all-new Volvo V40 is a modern, expressive car with a Scandinavian luxury look and feel, a high-quality aura and meticulous attention to detail. The new, fully graphic instrument cluster with personalised layout and information enhances the intuitive and uncomplicated driver experience.
"Thanks to input from customers all over the world our most compact V-range model features an outstanding blend of design, safety and versatility. The car is loaded with features that buyers of modern luxury cars want," explains Stefan Jacoby.
Class-leading driving dynamics
The all-new V40 boasts class-leading driving dynamics thanks to focused attention to a number of vital areas. The chassis is designed to offer the agile, connected experience that creates true driving pleasure.
The engine range spans everything from Volvo Car Corporation's first diesel with CO2 emissions of just 94 g/km to the turbocharged T5 petrol engine with 254 hp and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds. All engine versions feature start-stop and braking energy regeneration, no matter whether they are fitted with a manual or automatic gearbox.
"The all-new V40 wraps you in a super-comfortable cockpit with outstanding ergonomics and technology that make you feel informed, focused and relaxed. This driver-centric approach is what modern Volvos are all about," says Stefan Jacoby.
Outstanding safety and support package
The all-new Volvo V40 features a class-leading safety and driver support package, including Volvo Car Corporation's groundbreaking Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake and several other new features.
Among the new features are a world-first pedestrian airbag, Lane Keeping Aid with haptic auto steering, and an ingenious Park Assist Pilot that makes parallel parking easy.
The City Safety low-speed collision avoidance system has been further developed and it now operates at speeds up to 50 km/h.
"The all-new V40 is the most intelligent and safe Volvo model so far. All its features are designed around the driver, helping him or her stay alert and well informed to avoid collisions and dangerous situations," says Håkan Abrahamsson, Vehicle Line Director C Cars & V40 Vehicle Programme Manager. He adds:
"With this class-leading safety package, including enhanced focus on pedestrian protection, the all-new V40 aims for a full star rating in the new, sharpened 2012 Euro NCAP safety tests."
Sales target 90,000 units
Volvo Car Corporation expects to sell 90,000 units per year of the all-new Volvo V40. A massive 85 percent of the total volume will go to European customers.
The car will be revealed at a press conference at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2012. Production of the all-new Volvo V40 starts in May 2012. The car will be built in Volvo Car Corporation's plant in Ghent, Belgium.
"The all-new V40 makes an instant impression with a dramatic design that stands out from the crowd. And what you see is what you get. The car boasts sharpened features and characteristics from larger Volvos - wrapped in a sleek, compact package. The car also has so many new features that it has an exceptional "density". It has pretty much everything," says Håkan Abrahamsson.
Volvo Car Corporation partner in development of smart charging concept for electric cars
Volvo Car Corporation's focus on connectivity technology also includes smart features for charging of electric vehicles.
The company is one of the partners in the research project ELVIIS (Electric Vehicle Intelligent Infra Structure) that develops a smart on-board concept for controlling, measuring and paying for electricity when charging via any outlet.
ELVIIS is a consortium involving Volvo Car Corporation, Ericsson, the utility company Göteborg Energi and the Viktoria Institute. The innovative research project across several industries aims to bring mobile connectivity to electric cars - and to identify and remove barriers for using electrical vehicles in daily life. The concept works like this:
The driver can choose to charge the battery pack via any ordinary power outlet.
- The outlet is identified via GPS.
- The driver pre-sets timing and charging amount on the touch screen or remotely via a smart phone or tablet.
- Using the mobile network, the car communicates with the grid and sets the charging scheme in order to support optimal utilisation of the grid and most favourable energy price.
- Any unintended interruption of charging process is directly reported to the driver's mobile phone.
- The system directs the cost for each charge to the car owner's personal utility bill.
Electric drive without compromises
The Volvo C30 Electric has been used as a test car in the project. Equipped with an integrated 7-inch colour touch screen, it makes the smooth charging concept available at the driver's fingertip. Five C30 Electric cars will now be used for testing and evaluating the technology during a year.
"Our basic view is that the owner of an electric vehicle shouldn't have to sacrifice any of the properties he or she expects from a luxury car," says Lennart Stegland, Vice President Electric Propulsion Systems, Volvo Car Corporation. "This smart technology for charging in any outlet, and paying automatically via your own electricity bill, is an excellent example of how we do everything to make the daily use easier for the customer."
The concept is developed on a generic communication platform to make the technology globally applicable.
Totally in control, totally connected
The ELVIIS technology is fully in line with Volvo Car Corporation's development of Sensus technology, which makes the driver feel totally in control and totally connected.
"Sensus is the interface that promotes intuitive communication with the car, connecting it to the driver's digital world. We will continue to extend the offer of intelligent content that provides easy access to support, information and entertainment," says Lennart Stegland.