Holden Delivers Its Smartest Commodore Yet
NEWS ON RADIO
Holden Calais V - VE series
8th August, 2006
The 2006 Holden VE Commodore range will offer smart new technology which people want and will find easy to use.
More than 260,000 development and testing hours were spent ensuring the features came together in a seamless technological package to support rather than frustrate or confuse drivers.
New features are as broad as zoned front and rear park assist displays, integrated satellite navigation, help buttons on text screens and the ability to plug popular MP3 devices into every audio system.
The visual centrepieces of VE technology are central instrument clusters with significant communication capabilities.
They are part of Holden’s campaign to deliver best practice in minimising driver distraction, deciding which information should be controlled from the screens and the new steering wheel controls.
Holden’s all-important heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) highlights extensive experience in the Middle East, Holden’s largest export destination and one of the most demanding HVAC markets on earth.
At the other extreme, cold weather testing down to minus 20 degrees Celsius ensured Commodore could handle a broad range of climatic conditions.
Electrical Engineering Group Manager, Paul Gibson, said VE electrical systems had been melded into an entirely new interface which allowed the introduction of a range of user-friendly features.
“The instrument cluster, audio and rear seat entertainment units are among many examples where Holden has made driving safer, easier and more enjoyable,” Mr Gibson said.
“Holden is the first Australian manufacturer to introduce zoned park assist for the front and rear of the car, alerting drivers to the proximity and location of any obstacles. We will make this available on our topline Calais V model.
“Bluetooth phone interface is standard on all vehicles except Omega, where it is available as an accessory. A roof-mounted DVD system is available across the range as a standard factory installation for the first time.
“All vehicles are able to accommodate factory satellite navigation and new telematics features, both of which will come online later this year.
“There will be three levels of telematics systems including one to help fleet managers track operations and costs.”
Holden has expanded standard offerings on its user-friendly trip computer, including visual and audible warnings for underspeed in addition to overspeed.
A new ‘night panel’ function reduces lighting to all but the most necessary cluster functions.
Gibson said designers and engineers worked together to ensure basic ergonomics for the human-machine interface worked as well as possible.
He said VE drivers had two clear environments – the primary interface on the steering wheel controls and instrument cluster and the secondary interface on the centre console.
“Our controls had to be intuitive, minimise driver distraction, be easy to use and retain the Holden feel so the basic layout remained familiar,” he said.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)
Holden’s new HVAC systems have been designed to accommodate a broader range of operating conditions than ever before, reflecting Commodore’s international aspirations.
Engineering Group Manager - HVAC and Powertrain Cooling, Jacqui Sutherland, said Holden’s development work for the important Middle East market had helped ensure outstanding results for the VE climatic systems.
Sutherland said VE systems were designed to operate from minus 20 degrees Celsius to 50 degrees Celsius ambient temperatures and would operate at even higher temperatures.
“VE had to be a car for all seasons and all climatic extremes. It had to be suitable for every market in the world. We had to hit targets which were more stringent than ever before,” she said.
Sutherland said major improvements included more air flow, 20 separate fan speeds on all models (up from four or five) and improved heating performance.
Mr Gibson said VE Commodore used a General Motors global electrical system called GM Local Area Network (GMLAN) which managed vastly greater processing power to accommodate new technology.
Gibson said the system allowed for greater flexibility in technology applications and improved diagnostic capability for servicing.
The number of modules in a base vehicle has risen from nine to 18, and is as high as 21 on some VE models. At the same time, communication speed has risen to 33 kilobits per second from eight kilobits per second.
“Hardware such as telematics, navigation and rear seat entertainment units can be added simply at a dealership as a ‘plug and play’ function because its software is pre-loaded,” Gibson said.
VE COMMODORE ELECTRICAL – HIGHLIGHTS
Clusters and instruments
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)
Wiper and washer system
Rear seat entertainment
Navigation and telematics
Lane change indicator