At the start of this year, Toyota launched Kinto, a new brand for various mobility services. In April 2021, Kinto will evolve from a project to a business with the launch of a new mobility company, Kinto Europe, a joint venture between Toyota Motor Europe and Toyota Financial Services.
The new company will be based in Cologne, Germany, managing a growing range of Kinto mobility services and products across the continent.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the company said they believe the opportunities for innovative mobility services today are greater than ever, as many people have reconsidered their lifestyle priorities after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the services Kinto will be offering:
KINTO One: a full-service lease offer, providing ease of ownership combining vehicle, service and insurance in one monthly payment.
KINTO Share: a carsharing service based on a large hybrid vehicle line-up available via a self-service concept, without the running costs.
KINTO Join: Carpooling, connecting employees who wish to share their daily commute to work, benefitting both employees and companies who can reduce their CO2 footprint.
KINTO Flex: Subscription-based car leasing, offering increased flexibility and providing premium experience.
Controlling the costs of recharging and managing kW per kilometre will remain vital in a world of zero-emission vehicles.
The need for fleet managers to closely manage ‘fuel’ costs will not disappear with the transition to electric vehicles. While recharging batteries is considerably cheaper across Europe than filling a fuel tank with diesel, the chargepoints that drivers select and the individual driving styles of employees both have a significant impact on electricity bills.
This means that the same disciplines that fleet managers have used to control their fuel expenditure will need to be applied to battery-powered vehicles. Data on business miles driven, driver fuel consumption and the chargepoint price of power will be critically important for cost-conscious businesses.
As a result, charging network cards that simply give drivers access to recharging networks, but without the additional management information and ease of invoicing to which fleet managers are accustomed will not be sufficient to manage recharging expenditure.
Mixed charging profile
The issue is further complicated by the blended mix of charging that most EV drivers are expected to use, plugging in their vehices overnight at home, topping up batteries at the workplace and relying on high-speed public chargers on longer journeys.
These public chargers often belong to different chargepoint operators, creating a headache for fleet managers whose vehicles cover a wide geographical range. Energy company Total estimates that there are almost 1,000 chargepoint operators (CPO) in Europe and 600 e-Mobility Service Providers (eMSP) offering an electric mobility card.
“Information systems of each mobility card provider and chargepoint operator do not automatically communicate, adding complexity to accessibility,” warned Total in August 2020 as it highlighted the need for industry-wide interoperability and eRoaming.
Multiple subscriptions required
Until this happens, fleet managers will have to negotiate multiple subscription fees with CPOs and eMSPs and process multiple invoices to keep their EVs mobile. The universal ‘tap-and-go’ payment solutions that allows drivers to use Visa or Mastercard cards to pay at public chargepoints may solve range anxiety and keep EVs moving but do not deliver the management information required to monitor, analyse and control spend.
This information is particularly important for fleets operating plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) as a stepping stone to full electrification. If PHEVs are not recharged and driven wherever possible in electric mode their fuel consumption and cost, as well as their CO2 footprint are worse than an equivalent diesel model.
Fossil fuel-card companies offer EV solution
The good news is that established fuel-card companies are rapidly developing products and services that deliver this data and that can work in a mixed fleet environment of both EVs and vehicles with internal combustion engines.
Paul Holland, managing director for UK Fuel at Fleetcor, said: “Those managing fleets that combine petrol, diesel and electric vehicles are faced with many challenges, needing to manage multiple accounts and payment methods to ensure their fleet has access to a convenient network for all its refuelling needs. On top of this, they are met by varying account structures, different pricing, separate invoicing and reporting, leading to a lot of administration that leaves fleet managers and owners without the necessary controls to run their business.”
Fleetcor’s Allstar One Electric card provides a charging payment solution for electric and hybrid company vehicles across a multi-branded electric charging network as well as access to the UK’s largest fossil fuel network, alongside management reports that deliver full visibility of spend and tax-compliant invoicing.
eRoaming services develop
Moreover, recharging networks are gradually linking up to offer e-roaming services similar to banks, letting the customers of their rivals use their ATMs to withdraw cash. In France, for example, Hubject has forged at least 18 partnerships with charging companies and public bodies, such as Chargemap, Freshmile, Electric 55 Charging and Ionity to link 15% of the country’s charging stations into a single network, although as Hubject’s Yan Garnier said: “Only 15% of the charging stations in France are open to roaming with our local and international partners. This is not enough for EV drivers to easily charge their vehicles in France and across Europe.”
Leasing company answers
And in a bid to deliver a complete EV solution, major leasing companies such as Arval, Athlon and LeasePlan are working with EV chargecard providers like Xximo to deliver fleet-specific cards that provide open access to an ever-growing public charging network.
Why fuel cards remain essential
Consolidate fuel and electricity purchases into a single invoice and management report during the transition to electric vehicles.
Monitor where drivers recharge their electric vehicles – high-speed public chargers are much more expensive than slower domestic or workplace chargers.
Use EV recharging and fuel data to ensure drivers of plug-in hybrid vehicles are actually plugging in their cars and making maximum use of battery power.
Compare real-life electricity costs against real life diesel expenditure to calculate the actual TCO of both power trains.
Analyse kilometres driven per kWh of charge. Drivers achieving the lowest average range may be driving aggressively, increasing fleet risk.
Increase access to charging nationwide and international charging networks. The major card operators are working to establish eRoaming.
Use card apps to record journeys as either ‘business’ or ‘private’ for tax and expenses.
In tomorrow’s vehicles, optional extras don’t need to be ordered together with the car. Neither will they be invoiced entirely, but only insofar as you use them. The repercussions for vehicle pricing, but also remarketing are tantalising.
Standardisation makes things cheaper. The more varieties you want to offer, the more different specifications and sometimes suppliers are involved. There is a reason why premium brands are more expensive – the number of possible equipment combinations is endless because customisation is what the discerning customer wants.
The front seats alone come in different shapes (standard, comfort, sport) and offer a plethora of features depending on which boxes the customer ticks on the option list: heating, ventilation, massage, lumbar support, adjustable side bolsters, manual or electric operation, with or without memory, and so on. Sometimes there are thousands of euros between a standard seat and the top-of-the-range model with all imaginable gadgets.
Only a small percentage of customers will pay the premium for the better seat. In their search for profit maximisation (which often includes cost-cutting) OEMs are now figuring out ways to monetise optional extras differently. It may be economically more interesting for a car manufacturer to order just one seat type from their supplier, which has all the gizmos integrated. Rather than just ‘giving away’ these seats without a premium, OEMs are considering a business model in which the customer can try out all the features for free during three to six months after delivery, after which they can decide to keep one or more and pay for their use on a monthly basis, whereas the others are deactivated through an OTA software update.
Safety, convenience, navigation, telematics
The possibilities seem endless. In fact, it is not always a matter of standardising. In some cases, the hardware has to be provided in any case – it just offers additional monetisation possibilities. Europe mandates the standard installation of AEB with pedestrian recognition, for instance. So OEMs need to install a camera and a radar in every car they sell. OEMs can use these systems to turn a standard cruise control into an adaptive one. Or they can use the camera for features like traffic sign recognition, lane-keep assist, wrong-way warning, et cetera.
Other safety and convenience features that are easy to activate over the air are active lane keeping, high-beam assist (which is already available ‘OaaS style’ in the BMW Store), dynamic LED lighting, hill hold, adaptive dampers, adaptive steering, enhanced audio, active noise cancelling, engine sound enhancement, and so on. OEMs may even go one step further and expand their OaaS offer to electrically foldable mirrors, manual shift mode on an automatic gearbox, a sunroof that actually opens,… the sky(light) is the limit.
Digital services are of course the easiest to activate or deactivate. Think of Spotify, concierge services, parking information, weather forecast, fuel price information, charging station availability, and so on. Manufacturers can just as easily equip every car with a sat nav and only activate it upon demand, thereby offering cloud-based maps, door-to-door navigation, dynamic or habit-based routing, and so on.
The question is whether integrated navigation systems are the dodos of the third decade, as apps like Google Maps and Waze seem to do the job more accurately, dynamically and conveniently. All you need is Apple Carplay or Android Auto to mirror them onto your car’s display.
Finally, OEMs can offer fleet operators the possibility to harvest data directly from their vehicles – no extra hardware is needed, as every car leaves the assembly line connected. In fact, this is already possible today, but privacy-sensitive Europe basically limits the type of data shared with third parties (such as employers) to those that cannot be tied down to a person.
Lump sum versus subscription
There can be yet another interesting approach to this Options-as-a-Service model. Rather than renewing a subscription on a monthly or a yearly basis, the OEM can propose the vehicle owner to pay for the use up front for the entire use cycle of the car in return for a discount. Or it can offer the user a hire-purchase, meaning that after a certain number of months, the option becomes the property of the user.
The consequence of this could be that OEMs will try to sell these options a second time once the vehicle transfers between owners. After all, it’s just a matter of deactivating and reactivating stuff over the air. How will this impact the value of a car when it is remarketed? Will price differences between naked cars and Christmas trees level out?
So long as hardware makes a difference, the probability is quite low. You cannot rent leather, a sports package, a deep black body paint, 19-inch rims, or six cylinders instead of four. But with EVs, you can imagine paying a fee to temporarily unlock the full potential of a motor – or even a battery.
And with autonomous vehicles, it stands to reason that OEMs could offer the option of temporarily activating the auto pilot against a fee, so you can sit back and relax as your car drives you wherever you need to be, while you do whatever you want to do with the time you bought yourself.
The last ‘I’ in OCTO IoT4I stands for ‘Insurance’. The app – now available via Salesforce Appexchange – might as well add an ‘R’. For it will revolutionise the insurance industry, benefiting both insurers and policy holders, while also improving traffic safety. How? We asked Massimo Gilardi and Francesco Ricci to explain.
“Insurers sit on top of mountains of information, much of it separated into silos – home insurance, auto insurance, property insurance, etcetera. Each silo is subject to different IT systems and business strategies. That makes it difficult for the insurers to cross-sell and up-sell products to their policy holders,” says Mr Gilardi, New Business Model Director at OCTO. “And that’s where OCTO IoT4I comes in.”
As the world’s largest telematics and data analytics provider to the auto insurance industry, OCTO knows a thing or two about the power of data. As the saying goes, ‘information wants to be free’. Translated into business terms, that becomes: “Data is cross-unit by definition,” Mr Gilardi says.
So, how does this help insurers? Put succinctly, OCTO IoT4I gives them access to the Driver Behaviour Score of their policy holders, based on which they can tailor various products to sell to them.
That may still sound a bit abstract, so let’s start from the beginning: AppExchange, Salesforce’s online marketplace. In other words: an app store – but for corporates. “Salesforce is the world’s largest CRM platform, and it has grown rapidly thanks in large part to the trust and data privacy offered by Salesforce,” explains Mr Gilardi.
AppExchange offers third-party content including, since the beginning of November, OCTO’s IoT4I app. Insurance companies can download and run the app within their own data ecosystem.
They can use it to target policy holders with a campaign that offers them to download “OCTO DriverMate In” mobile app. This app turns their smartphone into a telematics device, helping them to analyse the details of their trips, plus score – and ultimately help to improve – their driver behaviour.
OCTO grades the driver behaviour of each subject, and the insurers can use this information to tailor offers to them: a cheaper policy corresponding to their prudent driving behaviour, or incentives for improvement – to name just two examples.
“This way, OCTO IoT4I offers insurers extra ways to engage with their policy holders,” Mr Gilardi explains. “If you buy a home insurance policy, for instance, you have a low claim count, and the insurer typically only re-engages with the policy holder when it’s time to renew. With OCTO IoT4I, insurers keep their policy holders engaged with their clients on the basis of actual, useful content.”
And that’s the crucial part. Not only is telematics data used to break the insurance industry’s information siloes, that data can be used to modify quotes and/or tailor different offers. Insurers win, customers win. “It’s like insurers can use OCTO IoT4I to wake up their policy holders, especially no-motor line as if they were Sleeping Beauties,” laughs Mr Gilardi.
But the change goes much deeper, points out Francesco Ricci, Marketplace & New Business Models Analyst for OCTO. “The traditional attributes of a policy are quite static: the policy holder’s age, place of residence, job, etcetera. Now, via telematics, we add a whole range of additional information that is dynamic: when, how and how far vehicles are driven. IoT4I app allows to have clear the driver’s profile before the offer (policy or rent) and allows insurance (or rent) companies to personalize their offers.
This can help fine-tune pay-as-you-drive policies, which no longer have to rely on declarations and estimations, but can use actual data. Policies can now also factor in such elements as driving times – do policy holders drive more during the day or night, weekdays or weekends? And of course, elemental driving behaviour can be brought into account: braking, accelerating, cornering…
“This is a much better way to identify risk than merely using traditional insurance data. This product solves the problem of every companies that need to qualify drivers before they sell the product itself (ex: renting and mobility); we’re entering an era of dynamic insurance policies, which can become an instrument for actively improving driving behaviour,” says Mr Ricci. “Via telematics, the degree of engagement between insurers and policy holders increases exponentially – up to several interactions per trip. Ultimately, engaging drivers will help improve road safety and will offer them the benefit of better-priced policies.”
But helping insurers cross-sell and improve the quality of their policy portfolios is not all that OCTO IoT4I can do. Despite the final ‘I’, it can also be used by other customer groups – lease companies, for example, who want to present lease drivers with offers to acquire their vehicles after contract, based on driver behaviour monitored via IoT4I.
This is the right moment for a product like OCTO IoT4I to transform the market, Mr Gilardi thinks. “The pandemic has really pushed both the mobility sector and the insurance industry towards digitalisation as a way to optimise their processes. OCTO IoT4I offers a way to build a road to success in the ‘New Normal’ journey of today and tomorrow.”
The success of 5G could launch smart metering and act as a driving force for the rebirth of industrial and social Europe as early as 2021, such as the implications for self-driving cars.
The advent of 5G as the foundation for wireless data transmission will happen soon, also involving metering purposes from factories to connected cars. Some commercial proposals will be available as early as 2021, with full development starting in 2022.
5G and edge computing are also essential to achieve autonomous driving, as Greenstart recently reported. The first transmits at very high speed and without delays, while the second enables this speed by processing the data with specific servers located near the vehicles, distributed where they are needed, as it already happens for telephone and electrical cabinets. A change of perspective is therefore inexorable.
5G frequencies chosen by machine learning
In 5G, the complexity of allocating free frequencies in the spectrum is really high. Many frequencies are used only for a short time, leading to a huge waste of resources: just think of a possible succession of smart metering measurements. Furthermore, it is often advisable to change the frequencies used when connecting. The situation is so complex that it is impossible for a human mind, but ideal for a trained AI algorithm.
Precisely for this reason, US’ Darpa opened a three-year challenge for a solution in machine learning in 2018. The final challenge awarded the prize of 2 million US$ (plus another 0.75) to the GatorWings team, University of Florida.
This type of assignment went even faster than the complex mechanism for allocating funds for which the University pocketed the 0.75 million dollars and demanded the 2 million, over which the team fought, getting the assignment.
It is not known where exactly these algorithms will be used. It is reasonable to imagine that in addition to the US, other geographical blocks are also interested in this solution.
The fulcrum of the changes taking place is metering, or the possibility of measuring important parameters of factories, vehicles, infrastructures and people and using them to improve the immediate and long-term management of economic and social phenomena.
The analysis of quality data over the long term allows you to place the exceptional risk in a context of scheduled maintenance, as those who deal with insurance contracts know well.
On closer inspection, smart metering today involves everything, from autonomous driving on mandatory routes (subways, ferries, trains) or on free roads (cars) to smart cities, from metering of electricity-gas-water networks to air quality, from agri-food to humans.
The mass of connected users, devices or men, will see all these services between 2022 and 2025.
Below, above and space
Soon, major changes will be needed in two technological networks, dedicated to telecommunications and energy. In telecommunications, we act on three different levels: wireless, wired and satellite.
The latencies of these systems obviously make them less relevant for autonomous driving per se, but they are part of the innovation puzzle. The model is so intriguing that somebody is working to fly it to the Moon, to help autonomous driving rovers be helped by a lunar positioning system.
As far as wireless is concerned, the central technology today is 5G again. In its name, trade wars have been waged in opposing blocs, especially between the United States and China. The election of Biden in place of Trump will change the scenario, but we do not know by how long so we must therefore wait.
Italy is credited with a good and timely plan on 5G. By “good” we mean “at the level of the other major countries of the Union”, therefore France and Germany. For us, being adequate would mean recovering the infrastructural distance, which would be an excellent safe conduct for the immediate future development.
Without being defeatist, I will wait for the service to come alive to make my judgment. Experience teaches that in Italy the inauguration and full operation (and over time) are two extremely different things. The worldwide diffusion of 5G, mapped by nPerf, can be consulted at this address [https://www.nperf.com/it/map/5g] and at the moment it speaks for itself.
Gigabit internet and Recovery Fund
Wireless will certainly rely on the fixed network, at least in many situations, although not always. Also in this case, the hesitations of Italian politics, torn by interests that destroy rather than amplify, are procrastinating wise decisions to the improbable, taking time away from planning.
The goal in this case seems to be the Gigabit internet, or 1 Gbit connections everywhere. To reach this goal, it is necessary to push hard on the fiber, making the network a common good of the operators, and rejecting any other solution even if this would involve discontinuities in medium and large companies.
The Recovery Fund should allow us to finance the completion of the network even where entrepreneurs, navigating between subsidies and disputes, have so far not managed to operate. The RF, or rather the broader NGEU (Next Generation EUrope), is however a multi-year plan that for the disbursement of loans (disguised as funds) requires compliance with the programming both in the technical and governmental phases of all involved nations.
Furthermore, NGEU is in fact a new public debt that today brings liquidity but will gradually become a burden. If choices and implementations do not bring turnover to Europe and Italy, this new burden will block us forever. Any mistake will forever relegate us to the basic positions of the world economy.
Edge computing for smart metering
The wireless network will stay on the landline. Or maybe not. Crossing the entire network to exchange data and processing with a remote server is an approach today impossible to achieve in a very wide range of circumstances. Sports or music event services delivered to tens of thousands of people must offer 10-1ms latency and therefore cannot go through the cloud as it is mostly intended today.
The necessary processing capabilities must therefore be requested from local servers, according to the edge computing paradigm. The data do not go to the cloud (at least not immediately) and the server’s answer is locally elaborated.
The governance of edge computing does not seem at the heart of European and Italian projects. Cloud computing is, where the Gaia-X federative approach seems to be able to put us in competition with the US and Chinese giants, perhaps with some delay and in exchange for the adoption of the security offered by the GDPR.
Data brokerage for the citizen
In conclusion, the metering paradigm rejoins digital platforms in generating a growing flow of new relevant data. Traditionally this data is given to the GAAF, as the big platforms (Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook) are collectively called. These data are of enormous value, but we don’t fully realize it today.
This trend could be reversed correctly adopting data brokerage platforms. This approach could guarantee the correctness of use, at the same time monetizing the granting of our data in goods, services and money both by companies and by the Public Administration: the cashback system to push the use of electronic payments is also a recent Italian example of this type. We therefore need serious reflection on the use of data. Who’s going to start first?
The UK has announced that the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans will end in 2030, 10 years earlier than planned. The sale of plug-in hybrid vehicles will stop in 2035.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the much-anticipated commitment in a column for the Financial Times. He promised that the Government will invest more than £2.8bn (€3bn) in electric vehicles, creating a nationwide recharging network and manufacturing batteries in UK gigafactories.
“This will allow us to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in 2030,” said Johnson. “However, we will allow the sale of hybrid cars and vans that can drive a significant distance with no carbon coming out of the tailpipe until 2035.”
On the global stage, the UK is now second only to Norway in its ambitions to phase out vehicles with internal combustion engines.
Green Industrial Revolution
Unveiling his 10-point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, Johnson also promised cleaner public transport, including thousands of green buses and hundreds of miles of new cycle lanes.
Sales of battery electric cars have been rising rapidly in the UK, registering a 195% year-on-year increase in October, compared to a 38% decline in diesel sales.
The BVRLA, which represents leasing and rental companies, welcomed the announcement, but said the Government had to focus on maintaining attractive grants and tax incentives for battery-electric cars. The association also emphasised the need for a comprehensive national charging infrastructure. And it urged the UK Government to ensure OEMs supply sufficient EVs to the UK to meet demand, an issue that has risen to the fore because of Brexit and concerns that UK car sales may not be included in EU emissions targets.
“2030 is an extremely aggressive phase-out target, but one that will be embraced by many drivers and fleet operators,” said a BVRLA spokesman.
“The 2035 extension for plug-in and full hybrids provides an essential lifeline for those facing a greater zero-emission challenge. Vehicle rental companies and van fleet operators will be very relieved to have this additional breathing space but will need clarity on exactly what types of hybrid are in scope.
“Setting these phase-out dates is just the start of the journey, now the Government needs to create the supportive environment that will enable fleets and motorists to step up to the challenge of decarbonising road transport. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be cheap.”
New company car policies needed
Alan Bastey, customer relationship director and EV specialist at Zenith, a top 10 leasing company in the UK, said the green announcement: “means the change is only two or three fleet cycles away for the average company. Moving to an electric vehicle can be daunting for drivers, so companies need to design a policy that helps to inform employee choice and remove the perceived barriers. We see that engagement and education are pivotal to successful uptake.”
With nearly 96,000 units sold year-to-date to end November 2020, Renault is leading the European EV market sales. Compared to last year, this figure represents an 80% increase in registrations. It is Volvo Cars, however that boasts the highest EV ratio in its new car sales: more than one in four Volvos sold in Europe today have a plug.
By way of comparison: the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance (RNM) is flirting with the 10% mark as far as the EV ratio is concerned, according to data published by JATO. The lion’s share of the Renaults, Nissans and Mitsubishis that come with a plug is represented by the Renault Zoe (84,000 units of the aforementioned 96,000).
Renault and especially Nissan are not too fond of plug-in hybrids. The same cannot be said of Volvo Cars. Today, more than 25% of the cars it sells in Europe is a member of the Recharge family (XC40, XC60, XC90, S60, V60, S90, V90), Together with sister brand Polestar, the company says it will overachieve on the 2020 EU CO2 emissions target.
As a result, Volvo Car Corporation entered into a pooling arrangement with Ford offering their surplus CO2 emissions to Ford and potentially to other carmakers. By 2025 Volvo Cars aims for its global sales volume to consist of 50% fully electric cars, with the rest hybrids.
Daimler, Hyundai/Kia, BMW and JLR
Looking at the JATO numbers for the EU22 region from January to October 2020, the top five highest EV sales ratio OEMs are Volvo Car Corporation (27%), Daimler (<16%), Hyundai/Kia (15%), BMW (<15%) and JLR (>10%). Next to Volvo Cars, it is Mercedes-Benz that has seen its PHEV sales skyrocket this year.
Competitor BMW Group already had a strong market position with its “e” models (225 Active Tourer, 330e, 530e, X5) and can count on an armada of new models to maintain its growth rate (X1, X2, X3, 330e Touring, 545e, 530e Touring, plus the Mini Countryman). The BMW i3 is a steady seller in the urban BEV segment and is assisted in its effort by the Mini Electric.
Hyundai-Kia have long been building up their EV momentum with the Hyundai Ioniq, Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro, which now get the support of a plug-in hybrid Hyundai Tucson and Santa Fe as well as a pluggable Kia Sorento.
JLR mainly depends on the Jaguar I-Pace but has a lot of new PHEV models in its range to further increase its EV ratio: the Jaguar E-Pace and F-Pace will soon be available as plug-in hybrids, and so will the Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover Defender and Range Rover Velar.
VW Group has been pushing hard with the VW eGolf and its Up-based electric city cars. Audi is struggling to sell enough e-trons, but can count on new PHEV models (A3, A6, Q3, Q5) to reduce its emissions. The Skoda Superb is a popular PHEV choice, too. Finally, the Porsche Taycan is remarkably successful as a niche sports saloon.
Interestingly, PSA is only in eighth position with barely over 6% of its sales being EV, and yet it achieves its CO2 targets with ease. So does Toyota, which hardly sells any PHEVs and has no BEVs in its range – the Japanese OEM relies almost entirely on its HEVs to be compliant.
FCA has been very late to the EV party and only now starts delivering its first PHEVs in the shape of the Jeep Renegade and Compass. The new Fiat 500 and to a lesser extent the new Panda will make amends next year, but for 2020 FCA has decided to pool its cars with Tesla to avoid paying a monster fine.
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