Holden says that 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. If the VZ Commodore is anything to go by, I just hope the Stereo system is improved.
New features are as broad as
- zoned front and rear park assist displays,
- integrated satellite navigation,
- help buttons on text screens
- 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 minimise driver distraction, deciding which information should be controlled from the screens and new steering wheel controls.
Holden’s work in the middle-east has led to great improvements in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. 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, 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.” Mr Gibson said.
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 & Technology
- High-quality clusters with larger dials, displays and fonts
- Night mode dash illumination reduces lighting to minimal cluster functions
- Sixteen personalisation functions and options
- Improved fuel gauge accuracy through two fuel sensor devices
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)
- Quieter and more refined operation
- 20 fan speeds on all models, up from four/five speeds
- More ducts – nine in Omega compared with five
- Faster warm-up rate due to larger heater core
- Electronically controlled, clutchless air-conditioning compressor
- Optional pollen filter available as dealer fit
Wiper and washer system
- Euro-style flat blade wipers – first for locally manufactured car
- Integrated aerofoil blade element reduces lift and noise
- Washer nozzles mounted on wet arm wipers
- Auto rain sensor wipers on Calais V
- Electronic displays, phone input, auxiliary audio jack, help button built into text screens, integrated HVAC controls, hazard switch, dynamic distortion limiting
- All vehicles and radios are telematics capable
- Roof-mounted antenna replaces power mast
Rear seat entertainment
- Roof mounted DVD system with remote control and wireless headphones available all models
Navigation and telematics
- Integrated navigation and telematics systems available later in 2006
- Three stages of telematics including fleet-customised management
- Bluetooth phone interface available across the range – standard on all models except Omega
- Zoned visual front and rear park assist available on Calais V
- Help function built into text screens to have features explained
- Dual sensors and new software to deliver precise fuel readings
- Two new remote keys - fixed shaft or flip key
- Panic button allows drivers to activate horn and flash indicators
- Embedded transponder acts as immobiliser
Lane change indicator
- One touch to produce three flashes
- Latest generation, long-life bulb technology
- LED centre high-mounted stop lamp on all models – greater warning distance