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2887

20170829

Ariel Hipercar Image
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TUE • 29 AUG 2017

Ariel demonstrates the genius of UK engineering

Last week I was super excited to learn that Ariel Motors, designers of the exoskeleton car known as the Atom, are designing and building a new hyper car – the Hipercar! Built using four electric motors set into each wheel the car will produce over 1000 bhp and accelerate to 150 mph in under 7 seconds. Suffice to say that is quicker than anything else currently available, but more than that it is a cutting edge piece of design coming out of a British company.

It has been possible using a government grant and a few companies getting together to bring this technology to life. One addition for the car is a turbine engine which will provide power once the batteries are depleted providing unlimited range – especially important as I understand 15 minutes of track usage could deplete the 50KW battery pack!

I have been keen to get my next fun car and while the wait will be a long one, the car isn’t planned on being ready for customers until 2020, I have duly handed over a deposit and await further news on the development of this very exciting piece of British engineering.

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2879

20170802

Audi SQ7
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WED • 02 AUG 2017

Government needs to understand the facts on pollution

I have been reading with interest the developments this year in relation to car emissions, specifically, but also the continuing development of Dieselgate (VW’s emission scam). What I find so interesting is it appears many other car manufacturers are up to the same tactics and have been quietly fixing cars. We now seem to be having a complete U-turn on policy and now instead of promoting lower CO2 the politicians have realised there a lots of other nasties coming out of the tailpipe such as NOx.

Personally I struggle to put the whole blame on the car manufacturers in that if they are asked to meet certain standards, which are poorly thought through, and more importantly measured or acted upon. Certainly the rush to hybrids is not going to solve the problem, I recently owned a Golf GTE (1.4 litre petrol and electric motor) which managed 200 mpg if I plugged it in all the time and only drove it a few miles or 25 mpg if I didn’t – certainly a Golf GTI or GTD provides better economy and lower emissions overall. I know of a few drivers who have received huge tax breaks for buying a hybrid only to not plug it in ever and just pay more for fuel, thus undermining any environmental benefit.

The problem is that we now have a backlash to diesel which still provides better economy and certainly with the larger cars offer as good as NOx emission results due to the addition of urea into the exhaust gas. We have had an Audi SQ7 on order for the best part of 9 months (blame the custom blue colour!) and I was seriously considering cancelling the order due to all the news on diesel. This is a car with a V8 triple turbo 4 litre engine capable of towing a mountain. If I had cancelled it my only choice would have been a select few SUVs with petrol engines that barely manage to get over 12 mpg. As it is we have taken delivery of the ‘beast’ and just returned from a weekend on the coast where it managed 600 miles to a tank and thanks to the urea technology emit no more NOx than a small petrol engine. It doesn’t mean I won’t be lambasted for having a diesel car, but the fact is, even to a petrol head, the technology and progress the industry has made is outstanding.

I am sure government however will push through stupid plans that are epitomised by the move in recent years to convert our coal power stations to biofuel. Take Drax, our biggest power station, which is being converted from coal to biomass wooden pellets. Not only does this new fuel require specialised storage (hangers to keep the pellets dry and filled with nitrogen to stop it combusting), whereas coal could be left outside in the rain, but it takes the fuel from Canada rather than the mines around the UK. The pellets are less energy dense so a larger proportion of them are required ton for ton to produce the same energy as coal and let us not forget the huge government subsidy we are paying to the owners.

Getting back to the issue around transporting all these pellets comes in the form of shipping which apparently is to blame more than 30% of inorganic particles in Europe’s air. Apparently 160 transport ships produce the same pollution (particulates and smog) as ALL the cars in the world. But there are not 160 ships transporting goods around the world, there are 6,000. So we are providing huge subsidies to companies to convert coal power plants to ship (at huge environmental impact) wood pellets from around the world so we save our environment?

After doing some research I was quite happy with our SQ7 purchase – certainly until there are some rules or regulations around shipping anything we do with cars is insignificant. I am not saying we shouldn’t be striving for the best when it comes to pollution and supporting our environment but on the basis of government policy over the last few decades we don’t seem to be making very many smart choices.

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2873

20170420

Audi TT RS
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THU • 20 APR 2017

Pocket Rocket

To break my six month sabbatical from the blog I wanted to talk about my new toy which arrived the day before my birthday in December. I have spoken about it before back in June last year and finally after a long wait the car finally arrived. Initially it was a bit touch and go as Audi UK notified me that due to unprecedented demand (and issues I believe in manufacturing the quantity of the new 2.5 aluminium engines they need for the RS3 saloon and sportback) they were only going to introduce 200 into the UK this year and customer orders would be delayed until October 2017.

The majority were earmarked for Audi’s driving experience team who tour the country putting on great events, one went to each dealer and the handful left went to a few lucky customers. I was one of those and although I didn’t get to choose my specification I was able to nab the obligatory blue one.

While I am not a fan of dark car interiors, the car is super comfortable and even though it runs on 20 inch wheels the ride is respectable. And while it may not get the kind of respect the R8 received it does get the occasional ‘in the know’ nod from a passer-by which suits me and means I can be less precious about where I drive and park it.

I have even managed to fit my wife, daughter and dog in the car – and while we were not all superbly comfortable it was possible, something I couldn’t achieve in the R8! They all were able to enjoy with me the superb acceleration and that amazing engine noise courtesy of some rather fat sport exhausts.

On reflection I think it was a great buy but it has left me hankering for something more exotic and surprisingly my mind has turned back to Ariel and the fabulous Nomad…

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  1. marcus bennett

    179 days ago

    Piers, I think we will soon become neighbours (Marcus and Agata, The Byre). I presume the above is a TT RS, but what spec? We have the lastgen car, which as you say is SOO much more practical and I would also say nicely understated as compared to the R8. Look forward to meeting you soon. Regards MB (majzel.blogspot.com)

    Reply
    1. Piers

      179 days ago

      Yes Marcus – it is the new TT-RS, great fun!

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2855

20160721

Audi RS7
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THU • 21 JUL 2016

No such thing as too much power

I had a very enjoyable weekend recently with my wife and daughter down on the south coast in Salcombe and even managed to see the sun for part of it. A three hour journey first thing on a Friday morning might not be the best way to start a short break and so Audi was generous enough to lend me a new RS7. While the car might not be in my obligatory blue it looked very smart and with less than a thousand miles on the clock it was barely run in ready for the four hundred plus round trip.

I recently got the opportunity to visit Bentley’s factory up in Crewe and I hadn’t realised how similar the Continental GT’s V8 engine is to the RS7 with similar power outputs and even the clever cylinder deactivation technology so that we achieved an average 27 mpg. Not that economy in cars like this really matters but it certainly would help me get over using it every day as I wouldn’t need to fill up every few days. While the RS7 isn’t as plush or special feeling as the Continental, it is a substantially cheaper car with more space and Audi’s superb build quality. Unusually for a lot of Audi’s this one seemed to have quite a character and I warmed to it like an old friend (as I had a number of A7s while waiting for the R8) with a noisy bottom. The exhausts are just incredible with cracks and pops on the overrun it certainly was characterful and my wife was subjected to lots of short burst of acceleration so I could really enjoy the sound.

With the Audi brand moving to digital dashboards and with technology in general around cars taking a substantial leap I was worried that the RS7 would feel dated, but actually I think it is a great blend between old and new. The engine is more than half of this car and is a fantastic piece of engineering, with the rest of the package delivering up a comfortable and spacious cockpit I started to doubt my decision to go for a TT-RS when actually the RS7 does so much, so well.

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2849

20160613

Audi TT RS
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MON • 13 JUN 2016

Is less more?

This isn’t a blog about the EU referendum although I am sure the title could work… No this piece is about my favourite subject, automobiles. Recently I joined a new pilot with Audi, a personal concierge service, which has so far been outstanding. I have had concierge services in the past through my bank account but Audi seem to have nailed the personal contact in one go and as well as being able to organise holidays and insurance they also have some great Audi based experiences, which are complimentary. I am thoroughly looking forward to the upcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed day they have organised for me – chauffeured A8 et al. Recently one event they did invite me to was the unveiling of the new Audi R8 Spider in their swish London City showroom. But to our surprise not only was the R8 displayed they also used it for the worldwide launch of the new Audi TT RS Roadster.

Granted the Audi TT RS coupe had already just been revealed at the Beijing motor show but for me this was a welcome treat and ended up with me placing a deposit for one. So it was an expensive trip, and granted this is probably why Audi Concierge will be a great success, but actually I am very excited about this purchase. Hopefully delivery will be before the end of the year.

So why when I have an Audi R8 am I all excited about its baby brother? Well firstly I have owned the previous generation Audi TTS a great car, and one of the few that I actually kept for over three years. I had four-wheel drive, great performance, a usable boot and even back seats for small people (or people without heads). And while it was a special car, it wasn’t so special that I couldn’t drive or park it anywhere and so with its ability to carry my wife and daughter I am hoping this new one will be just as perfect.

I think I have persuaded my wife that this car should be in addition to the R8 but with the new car sporting a new aluminium five cylinder 2.5 litre engine kicking out nearly 400 bhp the car is capable of 0-60 MPH in 3.7 seconds, 0.5 seconds quicker than my R8. So it looks like it is going to be hard to justify the premium especially when the TT has the new virtual cockpit (a screen instead of a speedo) and hopefully will arrive in an even more garish blue. Is less more? I think it might be.

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  1. Mark Jackson (ISPreview.co.uk)

    496 days ago

    Ok colour me jealous :) . I saved up enough to finally buy a semi-recent mk2 TT last year (I prefer its design to the first run mk3 design) and am loving it, even if nobody except children and my somewhat short wife can actually make use of its back seating.

    On the other hand it’s surprisingly fuel efficient for a sports car, beautiful inside and the boot space is way more practical than the other choices, if lacking in depth (not surprising.. the car is very low down).

    But I have seen the latest TT RS Roadster that you’ve grabbed and will now start saving up for that one, which I might be able to afford in a few years’ time.. Emphasis on the might.

    At one point I did consider the Peugeot PCZ too, but it’s interior lacked the polish and styling of Audi’s offering and in the end the car was too wide for my driveway. I know some trucks that can get into our drive, but apparently not an PCZ :)

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2831

20151203

Palmer Sport Jaguar
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THU • 03 DEC 2015

Driving addiction

With the march towards autonomous driving and the electrification of the car the ability for a petrol head to really enjoy a day behind the wheel can be fraught with frustration. Most would say that track days are really where the fun can be had and if you look at the different exotica coming out of car factories at the moment it does seem that there is a growing market. But do you really want to take your own car around a racing track? I did with my Atom once and the results were not pretty. So ideally you want to use someone else’s car but which event to choose?

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Palmer Sport at the Bedford Autodrome for what must be one of the most existing and complete driving experiences available. Granted it is not cheap but considering you get the opportunity to drive in not only a Formula 3000 but also a Jaguar JP-LM, Defender, BMW M4, Caterham, Ariel Atom and GT50 gokart it does seem like you get value for money.

The day starts with a quick briefing before being whisked off in a dedicated bus which takes you and your group around the site. Each set of cars has it’s own track and hospitality suite so they are able to run the day with many different groups being able to use all the cars at the same time. The focus on the day is about lap time and everyone records times in every discipline while being taught by their local experts who sit in the cars with you.

After a few 100 mph 360s I started to get the hang of the Jaguar’s before moving swiftly on to the technical off road course and so the day continues until you are honestly exhausted and you start to dread the need to drive home. It certainly ensures you come away from the day thoroughly enthused with the petrol itch properly scratched. I certainly would recommend it to anyone keen to do more with a car who hasn’t yet made the jump to track days.

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2824

20151028

VW Business
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WED • 28 OCT 2015

Emission scandal – the death of VW?

As an avid fan of the VW group and the cars they develop I have been interested in the emission scandal, which is again in the press today as VW reports a €2.52bn loss for the third quarter. I have been amazed at the lack of knowledge or care in regards to this story and VW’s own admission and handling of the issue. I assume they thought that by quickly holding their hands up it would blow over, but their admission of guilt has almost fuelled the flames and subsequently the lawsuits. Similar maybe to TalkTalk’s recent cyber-attack issues which appear to have been initially overstated, causing panic and confusion, before the detail and potential risks to customers was fully understood. Not that anyone will now listen to reason.

Personally when I first heard the story I wasn’t surprised at all and almost didn’t understand the issue the press had, as I thought all car companies did what they could to limit emissions in the same way they do for fuel economy. I have written before about the dangers of diesel fuel and the thought that a slightly different profile in the software management of the engine could make such a real-world difference to the environment is laughable. Yes the software helped to get the emissions, within a lab, to an arbitrary figure (that politicians and scientist deem fair and safe) but to think that the reduction it makes has any impact whatsoever as someone pulls away in second gear or does a ton on the motorway is ill-informed. Diesel is dirty full stop, but having a few million VWs running around with slightly different emission outputs from the lab will make no difference to the millions of busses, cabs and lorries running around the world or the ships moving our cargo.

I am not condoning VW’s actions, but the fact that if they had put a little switch on the dashboard to engage their secret ‘eco’ mode and defaulted the car to it when the engine was turned on then there would have been no issue. Even if everyone was well aware that customers would immediately disengage it as it would dent performance or economy. Why do you think cars have sport modes? So all the performance can be kept but for regulatory purposes the car can be sold as standard with a great economy or emission figure. My VW Golf GTE for example always defaults to electric only mode when I turn it on knowing full well that it will be depleted within 30 miles. Technically the Hybrid mode is better for day to day driving, but that would get a lower score on the economy tests run in the labs and as such my car is sold with a 188 MPG average. The reality is I drove 120 miles the other day and averaged 39.8 MPG – and that was with a fully charged battery. Now that to me is criminal, not VW, but the laws and measurements we put in place that have no relevance to the consumer. I am not saying my GTE is bad because it did such a poor average, which was because I was driving fast down a motorway, instead of bustling around the streets of London (where I regularly see 100 MPG). Ultimately though the focus should be put on our politicians and rule setters as to why we allow these ridiculous tests to continue.

Who for example has asked why the US is so anti-diesel? Is it because the US car industry is so underdeveloped in the manufacture of diesel engines and they do not produce enough fuel to sustain widespread adoption. Or is it because they are so worried about NOX? Let’s just say America will not be losing any sleep over VW’s recent loss announcements. Personally it gives me more ammunition to persuade my wife that any future purchase for the Daniell household will need to be petrol or electric based. Hopefully such future purchases will still be able to be made from VW even with the announcement that they are going to be cutting their R&D spend by billions, another travesty as money that could be spent on developing cleaner technology will be used to line the pockets of the rule setters.

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2806

20150713

VW GTE Dash
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MON • 13 JUL 2015

The future is electric

Previously I have written about the advancements in electric cars, notably the Golf GTE which combines electric power and a petrol engine in a classic hybrid format. I felt it ticked many boxes; being sporty and car like at the same time, no congestion charge, high levels of mpg and the ability to run on the motorway all day without any range anxiety. Last month I took delivery of my new GTE and I have to say after driving it for a few weeks I am completely sold. Nothing to do with all the blue lighting and accents the GTE model comes with... the GTI comes with red accents.

With the business now operating across a wider group, the need to visit company offices and customers meant I needed a practical car, not just a play thing. Now being a petrol head I should have immediately started looking at hot hatches like the Audi S1 or the new RS3, but I also wanted a car I would not worry about and the more exotic the metal the more precious I become. The joy about the GTE is the Golf shape is relatively common and in a dark blue (I would have gone lighter but it wasn't an option!) it doesn't draw attention. I have found myself quite happy to park in multi-storey car parks without feeling the need to inspect the inevitable damage upon my return.

But what really stands out is the deployment of the electric engine and how gloriously addictive it is. I can see why people love their Tesla's as I now try to drive as much as possible without the engine running. Obviously this is limited when the battery charges to only 27 miles and drops away as I start making the most of the torque. But what really works is the mixture of petrol and electric. In the hybrid mode the ability to get the car moving using electric power means the petrol's inevitable inclusion is smooth and unnoticeable. You have to look at the rev counter to see if it has come alive.

A journey, avoiding the motorway, will average around 80 mpg. There is an advance mode in the gearbox to increase engine breaking, which I great as I have a tendency to try and not use the brakes. Shorter trips have seen 300 mpg as plugging the car in to charge back up is possible. Motorway miles are not as impressive as the small 1.4 litre engine has to work hard to keep at my average speed and cart around 300kg of useless battery and electric engine. So on long trips economy drops to 40mpg and down into the 30s when the 'recharge' option is selected.

Having said that I have almost ignored the economy and have been more sold on the benefit of the electric motor and how much it compliments the petrol engine. I can see why companies like Rolls Royce are looking at it for their next Phantom - it provides a level of refinement engines can't match.

Now I spend my days trying to organise meetings I need to drive to so I can make the most of my new car and it's electric thrill.

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  1. Jeremy

    833 days ago

    Surprising choice from a petrol head! I haven’t driven one but my gut would have sent me for the Lexus CT, how does the drive compare?

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    1. Piers

      789 days ago

      I haven’t tried the Lexus Jeremy. Drive wise the GTE feels like any other Golf with few compromises. I am not sure about Lexus… feels a bit old school doesn’t it?

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2796

20150522

Rolls Royce Wraith
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FRI • 22 MAY 2015

The pinnacle of combustion

I recently got a call out of the blue from Rolls Royce asking if I might like to borrow one of their new Wraiths for a weekend. No strings, no catches, just enjoy what is arguably one of the best motor cars being built today from a company who from 1904 have been building only the very best cars they could. This is how every car company should attract new customers to a brand. Under BMW ownership the business has grown from strength to strength, with the Phantom gaining global appeal and more recently the ever so slightly smaller Ghost and now the two door version, Wraith, taking centre stage.

I must say for many years I have held a special place for Rolls Royce in my virtual garage. It is a car that is the best is can be, does luxury properly and doesn’t pretend to be ‘sporty’. Even with 21’ rims and air suspension the car glides over everything, delivering the world famous magic carpet ride. The Wraith is probably the best example of the brand for someone who likes to drive and is a little bit younger than most people you would expect to be riding around in a Rolls. It is an awesome example of motoring and by lending me one for the weekend they have only increased my desire to one day own one.

Sitting so high up, cruising down the motorway with the power reserve meter showing 99% of power still remaining, it is rather powerful. But power isn’t really the main draw, the large V12 6 litre engine is there to create effortless progress, and it is surprising how quickly you end up going especially as you are so isolated from the outside world. Being a two door doesn’t make the car much smaller than its four door brother, but I prefer the lines and the swooping tail. I especially like the starlight headlining which can be surprisingly bright (if you turn it up) and all the technology festooned to the model I have been lent – especially the night vision with pedestrian detection.

Certainly being part of the BMW group has enabled Rolls Royce to take all the expensive technology and craft their own car. It certainly feels like nothing else, let alone a BMW. With the world turning more environmentally friendly and new kids on the block such as Tesla I was worried that cars like the Wraith wouldn’t make sense. But it is even economical (when compared to a SUV), and if I am led to believe that most Rolls Royce owners have seven other cars, then for the little time it actually spends on the road it is more moving art than car.

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2788

20150429

Ford GT40
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WED • 29 APR 2015

Geneva Motor Show

As a petrol head one of the big events of the year has to be the Geneva Motor Show. Every year though I usually realise when it is too late or just make the most of the car magazines reviews of it. Although this year I managed to get myself organised and fly out for a day of car porn. Usefully, the event is held right next to the airport so travel was very easy, and with no delays which meant by 10 am I was wondering the vast halls of the exhibition.

I have been to car shows before but nothing prepares you for the scale of the event, the extravagance of the stands and the choice of metal on display. Make no mistake Geneva is the car show of the year. Odd when the country is so against cars and makes you feel like a bad person for owning one. I would highly recommend a visit next year if you get a chance. It is worthwhile though making some enquiries with some local car dealers, so that you can try to wangle some VIP tickets. With the crowds that greeted me on the Saturday the ability to get onto the stands made it much more enjoyable.

My car of the show was probably the new Ford GT40, one of the few I didn't get an option to sit in. It honestly has nothing to do with the colour...

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2777

20150227

New Auid R8 2015 v2
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FRI • 27 FEB 2015

The new Audi R8

I am not sure why I am quite so excited about the new Audi R8 but I have just got hold of these pictures on what the new model will look like when it is unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show next week. Maybe it is the fact that it is a nice evolutionary step from my own car, which means that I don’t have to rush out and sell it just yet, but it provides me with a new goal to work towards.

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  1. sam bannister

    936 days ago

    I share your enthusiasm for the new Audi R8, but sadly I think I will have to wait a while before I can even start to contemplate buying one. However I imagine Lamborghini Huracan owners are a bit annoyed they spent £60,000 more on the Huracan than the R8.

    Reply
    1. Piers

      935 days ago

      Agreed! Also having sat in the Huracan it is so low you feel quite claustrophobic, not as nice as the R8. However McLaren have put a spanner in the works with their 570S.

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2768

20150216

New Audi R8 2015
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MON • 16 FEB 2015

Time to scratch the petrol itch

One thing I am looking forward to immensely in March is a flying visit to the Geneva motor show with my stepfather. As both keen car owners the prospect of going to what is arguably the largest and most important car show in the world is up there with attending Goodwood Festival of Speed. With a number of key new cars being released it looks like it is going to be an action packed day.

The plan is to fly out bright and early and return home in time for tea. I just hope I have left enough time for us to see everything that is being launched. One highlight has got to be the new Audi R8, which a teaser shot has been released for this morning. Porsche will be releasing the new Cayman GT4 which is starting to be a part of my consciousness along with the facelifted Evoque and others. Rumours are rife that Jaguar will launch a GT3 version of their F-Type. Even mundane cars such as the Volvo XC90 are tickling my fancy as I am keen to see it in the metal due to the advancement in technology and direction it takes their business.

It might just be the start of a yearly pilgrimage.

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2758

20150114

New Ariel Nomad
2
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WED • 14 JAN 2015

Innovation on a simple idea

Just when I thought I didn’t need another car in my life, my old friends at Ariel have recently announced the launch of their new off road ‘Atom’, the Nomad. Staying very much to the same chemistry as the Atom, with the tubular chassis and Honda engine, this machine has been designed to off-road with the best of them while still being road legal. I believe there is even talk of entering one into the Dakar Rally, for which I assume it will be incredible.

What is great to see is that this small firm based out of Somerset is able to continue to innovate and deliver new products, much like their bikes they launched last year, which stay true to the original brand identity. The Nomad in my mind deals with most of the issues I had when I owned an Atom while not diluting the reason for owning one in the first place. Unfortunately I became too precious about my Atom and refused to drive it in anything but perfect weather. This meant I didn’t manage more than 1,000 miles a year in it – something I think wouldn’t be the case with the Nomad.

After speaking to a number of owners of the Atom it is surprising how many come back for more after selling the car and then realising it leaves a hole in their life. Certainly the Nomad is making me think long and hard about the potential of future Ariel ownership…

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2736

20140929

Golf GTE
5
0

MON • 29 SEP 2014

Hybrid technology is sexy

Now that my petrol itch is being seen to by the new Audi, I have started to have another desire which has manifested itself in the form of a hybrid car! Not just any hybrid mind, the new and very cool BMW i8. A supercar and a Prius in one. A car capable of 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds while still offering on paper, at least, 113 mpg. By combining a new 1.5 litre 3 cylinder engine with a serious electric motor and battery pack BMW seem to have created the automotive ideal. I certainly thought to when I took one for a spin a few weeks ago, it is certainly the most ‘Tron’ like car I have ever driven. With a cool design and scissor doors it certainly catches lots of attention.

I loved the immediate acceleration of the electric powertrain and the noise from the electric engine when it pipes up. However, while I was ready to conclude it would have been a better purchase than the R8, when I jumped back into my car I immediately dispelled all regret as the petrol engine roared into life and the car shot me down the road. They certainly are two different types of cars and while I seriously admire the i8, I no longer desire it, so what I hear you cry do I now have my sights set on.

Well actually it is a bit more mundane than an i8, it is actually a VW Golf – the GTE to be exact. Sitting in the same group as the GTI (Injection) and GTD (Diesel) the GTE (Electric) offers VW groups latest hybrid powertrain. With over 200 bhp on offer it can sprint to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds but crucially can travel at up to 80 mph on electric alone and achieve a combined figure of 188 mpg. What is also very impressive is it has the range of around 30 miles when using electric (double that of the expensive i8) and I think it sounds like a perfect compromise and one that would complement the R8 nicely. This is not to say I can afford the GTE or need it, but for an everyday run around or travelling to and from the city and home it seems to cover most bases. The thought of not paying for much fuel when buzzing around home is a good one, especially with the £100 fuel tanks taking their toll with the other car.

I can see hybrid technology making a big impact in the coming years, but I think with the Golf GTE the compromise has been removed to replace it with a better proposition than just taking the petrol or diesel version. Now I just have to save the pennies.

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2720

20140812

car-exhaust
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TUE • 12 AUG 2014

Diesel is bad for air quality. No shit.

It has recently dawned on policy makers that our adoption of diesel engines has meant a higher level of pollution in our cities, notably London. I have spoken before about my hatred of the CO2 measure which never really took hold of the environmental issue combustion engines cause, and as such allowed government to sidestep the issue of really tackling pollution. Now I am not talking about climate change, for which the debate can continue to go on (if this summer is anything to go by…), but to pollute the very air we breathe makes no sense to me. I am a lover of anything with an engine but I am also a great believer in progression and technology and believe that as we advance our air should get better, not worse.

The problem with current policy is that is has focused billions and billions of euros into engine and car research and development centred around a fuel, diesel, which is inherently dirty and poisonous. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate petrol is not water, but with a number of other toxins prevalent in diesel fuels the race for lower CO2 measures has only meant our air has got worse, not better.

In London with the world’s largest bus fleet and thousands of decrepit taxis (and I am talking about the new ones…) the air is noticeably bad. Real investment and work needs to happen over the next few years to make any significant impact, but with new buses even today being purchased which are standard diesels there is a long way to go. I have a good measure on London’s air quality which is the balcony of my flat. If I don’t clean it every week I can be sure of a thick layer of very fine black soot – which is so fine it is difficult to capture. This has been getting progressively worse.

One comparison I can give is that of the air in New York. Now I appreciate the Americans are not one for reduction and that there are high levels of emissions in the city, however if you go there the air feels and smells fresher. A result I am sure of the reduction in diesel engines and all the particulates they generate.

At least it means for me I am going to have to help and do my part by buying more petrol cars.

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