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The Hidden Dangers of Driving in Dust Storms

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With increased concentrations of quartz, soot and germs within cars, commuters should be aware of the dangers of unclean air within their cars explains TR Ganesh, General Manager, Blueair Middle East.

Whether it’s commuting to work and back, dropping kids off on the school run, or simply doing the grocery chores, people in the UAE are spending more time on the road than ever before. Globally, we spend 10 hours a week travelling inside vehicles, and in Dubai, nearly two of those hours is spent in traffic jams each week.

Beyond the frustrations of tailgaters, lane breakers and badly-behaved drivers, however, is a hidden but more dangerous problem: air pollution. Not only does vehicular air affect commuters’ health, but the dust storms blowing in from the UAE’s deserts bring an additional host of particulate impurities.

TR Ganesh, General Manager, Blueair Middle East.

While the largest particles are filtered out, those under 10 microns in width easily get lodged in the lungs, from where they can enter the bloodstream and reach the heart. The WHO describes air pollution as the most dangerous health threat, estimating that it caused nearly 4.2 million premature deaths in 2016, from stroke, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, lower respiratory infections, and diabetes. The transport sector is a major source of this health burden through its contribution to elevated fine particulate matter (PM2.5), ozone, and nitrogen dioxide concentrations.

Compounding the dangers are the fact that the air inside your car may be up to 15 times more polluted than the atmosphere outside, according to researchers from King’s College London – contrary to common belief that the air within their cars is safer than that on the street. Meanwhile, scientists at the University of Surrey have found that vehicles stuck in traffic jams contain airborne impurities up to 40 times higher than moving cars. Taken together, that’s a potent health risk for anyone – adult or child – spending hours on the road.

Commuters would do well to consider the breadth and impact of these aerial dangers – and how their risk might be mitigated. What exactly are these invisible particles? Typically, air within a vehicle is composed of a variety of pollutants. Particulate matter in cars here in the UAE could take the form of ultrafine aromatic hydrocarbons, carbonyls, semi-volatile organic compounds, microplastics and microbes, in other words, soot and germs, according to research from the American University of Sharjah.

On dusty days, meanwhile, primary pollutants in the air include quartz and other silica compounds, calcite and gypsum and sea salts. In new cars in particular, there is also the risk of volatile organic compounds such as benzene, toluene and formaldehyde, which come from off-gassing of the materials and finishes of the vehicle interior, including plastic, polyester and leather.

Inhaling these impurities unleashes them onto our respiratory system, where they can cause havoc in different ways. Coarse particulate matter – with specks of over 10 microns in diameter are associated with nasal and upper respiratory tract issues, while finer flecks reach deep within our bodies to trigger longer-term ailments including cancer, and alarmingly, impaired brain development in children.

Before you shrug away those threats, consider this research from Emission Analytics. As the leading global testing and data specialist for the scientific measurement of real-world emissions, the organisation examined 11 different car models currently being drive on UK roads – with many of the models being sold in the UAE – and found that air-conditioning system in most cars are unable to filter out particulate matter and other impurities.

Some makes block out just 1 per cent of all pollutants, while others manage between 35 and 40 per cent. People inside such cars are likely to inhale as many as 13 million particles with each breath. The risks only multiply in a sandstorm-induced traffic jam. WHO data shows that the air in Abu Dhabi has nearly treble the number of ultra-fine particles of less than 2.5 microns than London’s atmosphere. In London, or biking to work could help, in Abu Dhabi that’s not as easily done.

An easy solution would be to supplement your vehicle’s cabin air filtration system with a cabin air purifier. The best products offer high-efficiency cabin air (HECA) – preferably with activated charcoal to filter odours and gaseous pollutants ­– and offer 95 per cent filtration of particle pollutants down to 0.1 micron in size. Supplementing your vehicle’s cabin air filtration system with a cabin air purifier may help reduce your exposure to harmful air pollutants.

Civic-minded citizens could go one step further and press the need for regulation of in-vehicle air filtration and global enforcement to improve their own lives and those of their children. Our health is too important to be taken lightly.

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The Elite Cars Launches Zenvo Aurora in the Region

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The Elite Cars, the authorized distributor of Danish-brand Zenvo Automotive across the MENA region, launched the Zenvo Aurora on February 21, 2024. Inspired by the majestic Aurora Borealis, the newest model comes in two distinct and purposeful derivatives, the Agil and Tur, and will be limited to just 50 pieces of each model. Notably, nearly 50% of the highly-anticipated models have already been booked for pre-production.

Mahmoud Imran, Sales and Operations Manager at The Elite Cars and Chairman of the Board and Chief Commercial Officer of Zenvo, Jens Sverdrup, introduced the eagerly awaited hypercar. The grand reveal was orchestrated by a synchronised light performance that emulated the graceful and impactful movements of the Aurora Borealis. Renowned for crafting artisan hypercars, Zenvo stands out with the Aurora as its lightest and most innovative model to date, starting at Euros 2.590 million (approximately AED 11-12 million). It features the most powerful V12 engine ever fitted to a road car. At the heart, a 6.6-litre quad-turbocharged V12 engine paired with lightweight electric motors produces 1850 hp for the Tur and 1450 hp for the Agil.

Designed by in-house chief designer, Christian Brandt, both derivatives bring Danish artistry and ingenuity to the hypercar market for the first time, inspired by the famous ‘form follows function’ design language. Utilising Formula 1 technologies and processes, the Aurora is designed with driving pleasure in mind, achieving the 0-100km/h sprint in as little as 2.3 seconds, and to a top speed of 450 km/h. With both two- and four-wheel-drive drivetrains, it can travel up to 35 km on pure electric power.

Both models feature a lightweight chassis design, cleanly channelling the airflow through the structure to aid downforce and stability. The aerodynamically aggressive Aurora Agil features a stripped-out cabin and rear-wheel drive system as standard, tipping the scales at 1,300kg, with a clear focus on track driving. The more classically styled Aurora Tur offers elevated luxury and is a permanent four-wheel-drive, with two additional electric motors on the front wheels providing 200 bph each, enhancing speed and stability for road driving.

“We are filled with immense pride as we officially unveil the limited-edition Zenvo Aurora in the UAE as the authorised distributor for the brand across the region. This partnership between The Elite Cars and Zenvo is a natural synergy, as we both share a deep passion for automotive excellence, a commitment to exceeding expectations and a dedication to providing clientele with the greatest in luxury and performance,” said Tamer Abu Khalaf,  Co-Founder at The Elite Cars. “With the UAE as a global hub of luxury, the Zenvo Aurora represents the pinnacle of artisanal craftsmanship for automotive enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike, offering an unparalleled ownership experience.”

“We are thrilled to be unveiling the Zenvo Aurora for the first time in the UAE market with our partners The Elite Cars,” explains the Chairman of the Board and Chief Commercial Officer of Zenvo, Jens Sverdrup. “The new model is best described as an equilibrium of extremes. We just wanted to build an uncompromised driver’s car, which delivered on every level, but without any one aspect negatively impacting another. The outcome has given us two models, which complement each other, deliver true driving pleasure and, almost as a byproduct, offer incredible performance.”

Zenvo Aurora will be hand-built at the Zenvo headquarters in Præstø, Denmark, with first deliveries expected in 2026.

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HONOR Says its Eye-Tracking Features Can Move a Car

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HONOR has introduced an AI-powered eye-tracking feature that can move a car without a driver inside. This experiment, demonstrated by an automotive engineer, uses the eye-tracking feature of the HONOR Magic6 Pro to control a car based on the user’s eye movement.

A video by Autocar, available on YouTube, showcases this innovative technology. The HONOR Magic6 Pro is equipped with four commands that can be activated by eye gaze, allowing the car to start the engine, turn it off, and move forward or backwards. After focusing on a specific button for 2-3 seconds, the corresponding command is activated, and the car responds accordingly.

HONOR says that this demonstration is a testament to the company’s belief that AI can transform the way humans interact with devices in the future. HONOR has announced that its MWC Launch Event will be on February 25th. HONOR will also host an AI Panel with industry partners such as Qualcomm to unveil more discoveries about the future of AI. This event will take place on February 26th at 17:00 (CET) at MWC 2024. Find out more at this link: https://www.hihonor.com/ae-en/events/honor-mwc/

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Polestar 3 Launches in the UAE

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Al-Futtaim Electric Mobility Company, the official distributor of Polestar in the UAE, have announced the official launch of Polestar 3. Polestar 3 is also the brand’s first vehicle planned to be produced on two continents – marking a milestone in green mobility in the UAE and adding a luxury high-performance electric alternative to the most popular car segment in the country – SUVs.

Featuring a unique design language inspired by Polestar Precept and Scandinavian minimalism, Polestar 3 is a fully electric 5-seat luxury SUV with a power range of up to 380 kW and 910 Nm of torque. Marking Polestar’s entry into the thriving electric SUV market, Polestar 3 introduces a new aerodynamic profile with a focus on retaining SUV characteristics and features subtle yet effective aerodynamic optimisations – such as a front aero wing integrated into the bonnet, an aero wing integrated into the rear spoiler, and rear aero blades.

In the UAE, Polestar 3 prototypes were tested last year with temperatures reaching up to 50°C, aimed to fine-tune the vehicle’s climate system as a part of extreme weather tests to ensure optimal performance. The launch of Polestar 3 in the UAE is also in line with the official distributor of Polestar in the UAE, Al-Futtaim Electric Mobility Company’s pioneering role in developing a new sustainable mobility ecosystem that contributes to the country’s firm commitment to net-zero by 2050.

Hasan Nergiz, Managing Director, Al-Futtaim Electric Mobility Company, said, “Polestar 3 is one of the most anticipated electric vehicles worldwide, and of course, we are thrilled to bring this car into the region. For us, this is the car that will unlock the UAE market for Polestar, as it redefines what SUVs can do in terms of performance in the electric age while enabling zero carbon emissions. It is also a strong manifestation of our commitment to continue spearheading the sustainable mobility transition of the country, and delivering the best of performance, luxury and sustainability, all at the same time. The introduction of Polestar 3 is perfectly timed, as Al-Futtaim continue to drive investments in shaping an end-to-end electric mobility ecosystem across the UAE, including our charging stations and the region’s first IMI-certified e-mobility training centre launched by us last year.”

Polestar 3 is available at launch with a dual-motor configuration with a power bias towards the rear and an optional Performance Pack for increased power and torque. It boasts a 111 kWh battery pack with a driving range of up to 610km WLTP*. Polestar 3 is also equipped for bidirectional charging, enabling future potential for vehicle-to-grid and plug-and-charge capabilities in the future.

Polestar 3 is equipped with central computing using the NVIDIA DRIVE core computer and carries next-generation advanced active and passive safety technology from Volvo Cars as part of its DNA. This includes the latest innovation – interior radar sensors that can detect sub-millimetre movements in the interior of the car, to help protect against accidentally leaving children or pets inside. This is also linked to the climate control system to avoid heat stroke or hypothermia. Further collaborations with industry-leading safety technology partners like Zenseact, Luminar and Smart Eye, provide Polestar 3 with cutting-edge ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) technology that integrates seamlessly thanks to the centralised computing power.

The infotainment system is powered by a next-generation Snapdragon Cockpit Platform from Qualcomm Technologies, providing an immersive in-vehicle experience. The infotainment interface is powered by Android Automotive OS and features Google built-in, an evolution of the ground-breaking system first introduced in Polestar 2. Materials used inside Polestar 3 have been selected for their sustainability credentials while raising premium aesthetics and luxury tactility. These include bio-attributed MicroTech, animal welfare-certified leather from Bridge of Weir, and fully traceable wool upholsteries.

Standard equipment includes air suspension, a panoramic glass roof, all-LED lighting, retractable door handles, and 21-inch alloy wheels. Optional packs, such as the Pilot Pack with LiDAR from Luminar and the Performance Pack, offer additional capabilities and performance enhancements. A significant aspect of the Polestar brand in the UAE is the powerful aftersales support network dedicated to electric and hybrid vehicles developed by Al-Futtaim Electric Mobility Company. Recognising that the maintenance of green mobility vehicles needs a new kind of expertise, the company offers dedicated training on e-mobility technologies at their IMI-certified training academy.

The Polestar 3 Long-range Dual motor is now available for order, with a starting price of AED 360,000. 

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