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Ted LaturnusSounding like something out of Blade Runner or Star Wars, Nissan recently announced that it has helped develop technology that “inactivates viruses using catalyst active species for aerobic oxidation.”

In a nutshell, Nissan has discovered technology that stifles viruses of various types – including, apparently, coronavirus – by hitting them with catalysts the company discovered during research involving paint technology and the fabrication of interior material.

When exposed to these “radical catalysts” and oxygen, the viruses are rendered inactive or dramatically reduced in potency. And that’s not all; these catalysts can also zap fungi and other types of bacteria. Coming to a neighbourhood near you.


Still with Nissan, the grand finale for the Canadian Nissan Sentra cup just wound up the 2022 season in Mont Tremblant, Quebec. Similar to the Honda Cup that took place back in the 1980s and the Renault R5 series before that, this series pits drivers against each other in virtually identical cars. All that’s needed is a properly prepared Sentra. The cars have the same powertrains, suspension, brakes and everything else, and the determining factor for winning is the driver’s skill. Amateur racing at its purest.


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Yokohama Tires just announced that it would be increasing the prices of its products by some seven percent. The price increase affects all passenger car and light truck tires and results from supply issues, market conditions, and the lingering effects of the Covid crisis. Yokohama adds that it cannot see this situation changing for the better any time soon.


Subaru is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its all-wheel-drive system. First introduced in 1972 on the Leone Estate van in Japan, Subaru’s patented “Symmetrical” AWD system has been fitted to at least 20 million vehicles worldwide. It accounts for some 98 percent of the company’s overall sales. Says Subaru: “the most distinctive feature of (this) AWD is a symmetrically laid-out drivetrain paired with a longitudinally-mounted Boxer engine positioned in line with it. The combination of the low centre of gravity provided by the Boxer engine and the superior weight balance of the drivetrain maximizes stability and traction intrinsic to all-wheel drive, offering superb driving performance in a variety of weather and road conditions.”


Moving over to Ford, the latest iteration of the Lincoln Corsair is arriving at dealer’s lots right about now. Among other things, it will feature Lincoln’s “ActiveGlide 1.2” hands-free advanced driver assistance system for highway driving, including lane-changing, in-lane positioning and predictive speed assist; a larger 13.2-inch screen monitor; “Intersection Assist 2.0”, which helps avoid potential collisions with pedestrians while turning; and Blind Spot Assist, which will alert the driver with a light on the side view mirror, applying a nudge in the steering system to help caution against an unsafe action in a case where the driver has missed warnings from the Blind Spot Information System. This feature will detect other vehicles and motorcyclists in the driver’s blind spots. The Corsair is Lincoln’s best-selling vehicle.


Mitsubishi, meanwhile, is celebrating its 20th year of doing business in Canada. Starting from 48 dealers in 2002, the company now has 96 dealers nationwide and has sold some 379,7444 vehicles in Canada since then, with the “game-changing” Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid at the company’s core.



The Vinfast VF-8 SUV is expected to arrive by December

Last but not least, there is a new kid on the block: the all-electric Vinfast VF-8 SUV. Manufactured in Vietnam, The VinFast VF-8 seats five adults and is equipped with advanced automated driving features including Highway Assist, Automated Lane Changing Assist, Smart Parking Assist, Smart Summon Mode, and Remote Parking Assist.

In addition, the VF-8 is equipped with the “Smart Services” package, along with features for controlling and interacting with the vehicle through remote control, which can be accessed via an app. Other user experiences include online shopping and video games that synchronize with your phone.

There are two versions – Eco and Plus. The VF-8 Eco version is equipped with a 260 kW-maximum-power electric motor reaching a maximum torque of approximately 369 ft-lbs, with a purported range of up to 260 miles (420 km) after each full charge. The VF-8 Plus version, meanwhile, is equipped with a 300 kW-maximum-power electric motor reaching a maximum torque of approximately 457 ft-lbs, with a range of up to 248 miles (400 km) per each full charge.

North American buyers can expect the VF-8 to arrive by December. No pricing structure has been announced yet, but the company says that vouchers/rebates will be available to “early” customers.

Ted Laturnus has been an automotive journalist since 1976. He was named Canadian Automobile Journalist of the Year twice and is past president of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). 

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