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New Camry Hybrid provides luxury in a larger model with electric advantages

Thaiger

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by Kingsley Wijayasinha – The Nation Weekend

The interest in electric cars is hotting up in Thailand but Thai manufacturers, so far, have been reluctant to take the FULL electric plunge.

In the meantime Toyota is hoping their new Camry Hybrid will draw a good number of customers thanks to its packaging overhaul. The hybrid is battery operated with a back-up petrol engine to boost performance and help recharge the batteries.

The 2.5 HV Premium hybrid, priced at 1.799 million baht, is the top Camry model in Thailand and brings to mind Lexus, Toyota’s luxury brand. And then there is also choice between the traditional petrol-engined 2.5-litre (1.539 million baht) and 2.0-litre (1.445 million baht) powerhouses.

The 2018 Camry boasts large body dimensions – 4,885 millimetres in length and 1,844mm in width. The wheelbase is 2,825mm (50mm longer than the previous model) and the car runs on 215/55 tires on 17-inch alloy wheels.

While the exterior design may appear provoking, with its unnaturally huge and aggressive front grill and muscular dimensions, the interior is furnished with high-quality genuine leather upholstery along with artificial leather, powered front seats with memory for the driver’s seat and steering positions.

The larger dimensions result in a larger cabin both front and rear, while the seats are comfortable too. The cabin is the total opposite of the previous model, which wasn’t so flashy. And that’s something you would expect from Toyota. But with the new Camry, the thinking has changed much – it just reminds me of the Lexus ES300 (which actually shares the same TNGA platform).

While the Lexus gets a Mark Levinson sound system, the Camry gets a JBL DVD with navigation system, eight-inch touch screen and nine speakers (including subwoofer), as well as T-Connect Telematics that connect easily. There is one USB port in front and two at the rear.

The driver gets a head-up display on the windshield and there’s a full package of smart safety systems including blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert, auto high beam and lane departure alert. There’s also a dynamic radar cruise control that slows down or speeds up depending on the vehicle in front.

New Camry Hybrid provides luxury in a larger model with electric advantages | News by Thaiger New Camry Hybrid provides luxury in a larger model with electric advantages | News by Thaiger New Camry Hybrid provides luxury in a larger model with electric advantages | News by Thaiger New Camry Hybrid provides luxury in a larger model with electric advantages | News by Thaiger

It’s a pity that Toyota hasn’t decided to offer a plug-in version of its hybrid products. The Camry gets into pure EV mode occasionally, for example after pressing the start button, but the nickel metal hydride battery’s capacity isn’t large enough to cover long distances.

Nevertheless, the fuel economy is pretty good since it’s a hybrid – Toyota claims it can achieve an average of 25km/litre in combined city and highway driving mode.

The efficient 2.5 gasoline engine in the Camry Hybrid pumps out 178 horsepower and 221Nm, while the electric motor is capable of producing another 88 horsepower and 202Nm (though the combined engine and motor output is limited to 211 horsepower). When that happens, the Camry was able to raise eyebrows with its powerful straight-line acceleration, and it gets even better when the sport button is pushed. The stepless E-CVT (Electronic Continuously Variable Transmission) is silky smooth and gives the Camry Hybrid a cultured performance.

Despite the powerful acceleration, the hybrid is 100 kilograms heavier than the 2.5-litre version, and the driver will easily feel the added weight during cornering. Make a normal U-turn and you can feel it’s a pretty heavy car.

On the other hand, the Camry 2.5G (which I also drove after the hybrid) has a better weight balance and cuts through corners easily. But even in sport mode, the power and response is incomparable to the hybrid when both the engine and motor is going full rev.

The steering isn’t too sharp, but offers decent precision and weight. The brakes, meanwhile, have and improved feel although it still takes some getting used to due to the energy regenerative system that turns deceleration forces into electric energy.

After a few days of driving both the Toyota Camry 2.5HV Hybrid and the 2.5G, it was the hybrid that offered a better and more complete package even with the higher pricing.

Toyota Camry 2.5 HV Premium specs

Engine: 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve

Displacement: 2,487cc

Bore and stroke: 87x103mm

Compression ratio: 14.0:1

Max power: 178ps/5,700rpm

Max torque: 221Nm/3,600-5,200rpm

Motor Generator: Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor

Hybrid Main Battery: Nickel Metal Hydride

Capacity: 6.5 A/hr

Max power: 88ps

Max torque: 202Nm

Combined engine and motor max power: 211ps

Transmission: E-CVT (Electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission)

Final drive ratio: 3.193

Average fuel economy: 25km/litre

Average CO2: 92g/km

Suspension (f/r): McPherson strut/double wishbone

Steering: powered rack-and-pinion

Turning circle: n/a

Brakes (f/r): vented disc/disc

Dimensions (mm)

Length: 4,885

Width: 1,840

Height: 1,445

Wheelbase: 2,825

Track (f/r): n/a

Weight: 1,650kg

Wheels: 17-inch alloys

Tyres: 215/55 R17

Fuel tank capacity: 50 litres

Price: Bt1.799 million

Distributor: Toyota Motor Thailand Co Ltd

New Camry Hybrid provides luxury in a larger model with electric advantages | News by Thaiger New Camry Hybrid provides luxury in a larger model with electric advantages | News by Thaiger

 

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Thailand

Saturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals

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Stock photo by Mufid Majnun for Unsplash

The tally for Covid-related infections and deaths reported over the past 24 hours reports 19 new deaths and 2,419 cases. There have been 52,411 confirmed Covid-19 infections in the recent outbreak with more than 16,000 cases in Bangkok, the epicentre of infections. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has reported a total of 81,274 Covid-19 infections and 382 coronavirus-related deaths.

Thailand now has 29,473 active Covid-19 cases. Most patients with Covid-19 are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. More than 1,000 Covid-19 patients are in critical condition including 380 people on ventilators.

Out of the 2,419 new cases, more than 1,000 cases were detected in Bangkok. Most cases were local transmissions or detected through active case finding.

Of the 19 new coronavirus-related deaths, most were in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. The majority of deaths were the elderly and many of them contracted the virus from infected family members or friends.

Over the past week, new clusters of Covid-19 infections have been detected in crowded Bangkok neighbourhoods, including the Klong Toey slum, Ban Khing and Bang Kae districts. Poor communities in Bangkok have been seen as vulnerable to coronavirus outbreaks as people live in close proximity to each other and many cannot afford to stop working to abide by stay-at-home orders. CCSA spokesperson Natapanu Nopakun says active case finding in Bangkok clusters have been “beefed up.”

With cases in Bangkok still on the rise, the current disease control measures imposed in the capital will be extended until May 17. Schools and entertainment venues must remain closed.

Provincial totals, thanks to the NBT…

Saturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerSaturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerSaturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerSaturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerSaturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerSaturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerDistricts in Bangkok with the highest number of confirmed cases…

District New cases
Khlong Toey 37
Ratchathewi 26
Pathumwan 24
Bang Kapi 13
Chatuchak 11
Don Mueang 9
Lat Phrao 9
Dusit 8
Yan Nawa 7
Wang Thonglang 7

Saturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

Saturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Thailand as of 7 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19: Thailand struggles with South and Southeast Asia

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Thailand struggles with its devastating third wave of Covid-19

In 2020, Thailand was hailed worldwide for its iron-fisted lockdown that curbed Covid-19 spread almost completely. Thailand was the second country in the world after China to identify a Covid-19 infection in January of last year but managed to keep its numbers impressively low, at least until December’s second wave of outbreaks. That wave drove the numbers up to nearly 29,000 Covid-19 infections in a nation of more than 69 million people, from the onset of Covid-19 in 2020 to the end of March 2021. But its devastating third wave struck in April and in just 5 weeks that number has more than doubled to above 76,000 Covid-19 infections.

Daily infection rates are now hovering around 2,000 per day with 1,911 reported yesterday. When a new Covid-19 cluster was identified in the elite nightclub scene of Bangkok’s Thonglor district, 196 entertainment venues were closed for 2 weeks. But as the virus spread throughout the nation the closures followed too and soon all nightlife venues were closed indefinitely. As infections grew, the Thai New Year came and while most Songkran activities and events were cancelled, many people still went on holiday to cities or beaches or travelled to be with their families in their hometowns. Despite warnings and attempts at contact tracing and testing, Covid-19 infections surged in Thailand after the holiday.

With the influx of new infections, hospitals began to fill up quickly and waiting lists formed to obtain a hospital bed. The government required anyone in Thailand who tested positive for Covid-19 to be immediately admitted to hospital for observation and treatment. This may have done more harm than good as there were reports of Bangkok hospitals refusing to administer Covid-19 tests because they didn’t have the capacity to take in any patient that came back positive.

Field hospitals have been set up using conference centres and sports arenas, and the country launched a plea for hotels to convert into “hospitels” – a hospital-hotel hybrid that could treat asymptomatic and low-needs patients and free up space for those in need of more intense medical care.

Vaccination has been slow and the government has come under frequent fire for their inefficient roll out. Confusion is constant with conflicting reports of deals being reached with vaccine manufacturers, delays in shipments and domestic manufacturing, questions about how to get a vaccine, and whether or not foreigners and expats in Thailand are even eligible for Covid-19 vaccination and at what cost.

This week the government push to vaccinate 50,000 people in core and dense areas in Bangkok after an outbreak of 300 new cases in the neighbourhood. But as of now, only 2 out of every 100 people have been vaccinated for Covid-19 in Thailand, a discouraging statistic when even India, in the midst of its catastrophic outbreak, has vaccinated 12 people out of every 100.

Here’s how Thailand compares to ASEAN members and neighbouring countries:

COUNTRY CASES PER 1M (Wikipedia) AT LEAST 1 DOSE
Worldwide 20,072 8.11%
Brunei 515 2.45%
Cambodia 1,153 9.61%
India 15,796 9.5%
Indonesia 6,359 4.76%
Laos 165 1.73%
Malaysia 13,071 2.83%
Maldives 89,035 (pop. < 1m) 55.53%
Myanmar 2,629 1.84%
Nepal 12,287 7.18%
Philippines 9,957 1.63%
Singapore 10,745 23.32%
Sri Lanka 5,477 4.33%
Thailand 1,186 1.72%
Vietnam 32 0.69%

Read about the current Covid-19 situation in countries around South and Southeast Asia: Cambodia, India, Indonesia, The Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

SOURCE: CNN

 

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Thailand

American arrested for alleged murder in Chiang Mai has past record of abuse in Colorado

Thaiger

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Photo via Facebook/ตำรวจภูธรจังหวัดน่าน

The American man who was recently arrested for allegedly murdering his pregnant Thai wife in Chiang Mai had been sentenced to 2 years of probation back in 2019 on assault charges after his gun went off while he was threatening a woman in Colorado. A report from the Associated Press says it appears to be the same woman.

Jason Matthew Balzer, 32, had initially faced attempted murder charges for assaulting a woman in Longmont, Colorado, but those charges were dropped. A Boulder District Attorney’s Office spokesperson told a local reporter in a previous report that “in every case, we need witnesses to testify at a trial. Unfortunately, due to issues with the victim’s availability, the higher charge had to be dismissed.”

The victim had called the police saying Jason had asked to have sex and then assaulted her when she said “no,” according to the arrest report. She told police he hit her face and slammed her head onto the bed’s headboard several times before taking out a revolver and threatening to kill her, the report says. The woman told police she pushed the gun and it went off near her head.

Balzer pled guilty to third-degree assault in December 2019 and was sentenced to 2 years of probation. In December 2020, Jason was arrested in Colorado after police allegedly found 73 guns in his van. Possession of firearms is a violation of probation. It’s unclear when Jason travelled to Thailand.

Since the case in Colorado involved a victim of domestic violence, the name was redacted in public court records, but a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office told AP reporters that the victim has the same name as the woman killed in Thailand. Based on photographs, the spokesperson says they appear to be the same person.

On Thursday, Jason was arrested in Chiang Mai. Reports say he confessed to stabbing and killing his wife, 32 year old Pitchaporn Kidchop, who was 3 months pregnant. Police say Jason sealed his wife’s body in a garbage bin before taking it to the woods about 5 kilometres away. In Thailand, a murder charge carries a maximum penalty of death.

Local police posted photos of the crime reenactment on Facebook. In Thailand, it is common for suspects to admit to crimes and reenactment the crimes to law enforcement officers and the press.

 

SOURCE: Time Call | Associated Press

 

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