How long do we have until the electric revolution is complete?

Tesla Model SElectric cars have become more and more common over the past decade, with most major manufacturers either having completely electric cars in their line up or hybrid options added to existing cars but how long does the conventional engine have left. Volvo announced their amazing move to a fully electrified line up by 2025 and Tesla are about to release the Model 3, the first truly affordable Tesla. Conventional internal combustion engines are going to become a rarer and rarer site on the roads.

Stratford MF 2017 50The internal combustion engine took over from the horse as the easiest way to travel by road, that was over 100 years ago and lead to the rise in fossil fuels and growing carbon emissions that are slowly killing our planet. The move to the ICE triggered a ticking time bomb that unless we change will kill not only our entire planet but all life on it.

Elon MuskThere are only a few names that will go down in motoring history as game changers, Carl Benz, Henry Ford, Carroll Shelby and now Elon Musk, Musk is one of the first to show the world that the electric car is a viable option. Slowly but surely the world is becoming more confident and the motor industry is providing more and more options, and whilst range is still and issue with time comes change and improvement. It’s highly likely that Tesla will become the next biggest manufacturer or at least the most important.

Jaguar E-Type Barn FindWhen will we never see a ICE car again is the bigger question and an awful long way off because even though there are massive improvements happening every day in the electric car world but there are a large number of car enthusiasts that will cling to their ICE cars till their dying breath, as is their right. Until the rust cancer claims all of the classic cars we will see ICE cars for a long time.

Volvo conceptBut how long will ICE cars be manufactured for? Well Volvo are the first manufacturer to announce a fully electrified future, many manufacturers are likely to wait to see how successful Volvos attempt is before they announce their own electrified futures. I would be surprised if most manufacturers aren’t fully electric by 2050, especially with driverless cars on their way it is highly unlikely a company will succeed with out electrification. It will become ‘old fashioned’ to use a ICE engine in the future, like having a current car using drum brakes or coming without power steering

Legislation is probably one of the only ways to speed electrification along as manufacturers are unlikely to want to invest in electric in a big way until the technology is either cheaper, more efficient or becomes massively successful.

What do you think of the electric future, sound off in the comments

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The Rolls Royce Sweptail graces us with its presence

Rolls-Royce Torpedo Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.comRolls Royce unveiled a new one off car commissioned by one of their ‘special customers’. The Sweptail was unveiled at this years Concorso D’Eleganza Ville D’Este. The Sweptail was commissioned by an anonymous customer looking for a one off coach built car designed to look reminiscent of Rolls Royces from the 1920’s. The new cars main feature is the long stretching rear tail from which it gets its name. The two seater coupe uses a selection of materials to maintain its luxurious feel, the hat shelf in the back of the car is constructed of only the finest wood which is continued into the boot itself which holds a bespoke set of Rolls Royce designed luggage.

Rolls-Royce Torpedo Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.comThe centre console has a special mechanism meaning that at the touch of a button the car will deploy a bottle of the clients favourite champagne from the year of his birth. “Generous quantities of polished Macassar Ebony and open-pore Paldao adorn the interior, creating visual and tactile contrasts for the owner, both classical and contemporary.” The classic front grill is the largest of any modern Rolls Royce and has been milled from solid aluminium and polished to a mirror finish. The grill is teamed with a pair of round headlights, which look rather similar to those on the Bentley Mulsanne, (But don’t tell Rolls that).

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The Sweptail is a one off car built for a one off client. Rolls have said they are willing to build more Coach built cars for their high profile ‘special customers’, but don’t expect the Sweptail to make full production. The Sweptail is a gorgeously exquisite piece of machinery, its sweeping lines are like nothing else being built today, and the response at the Concorse D’Elegance was fantastic, expect to see the waiting list for a new Rolls Royce double in size after the Sweptail. Rolls Royce have always been good at luxury but I think they just outdid themselves.

What do you think of the new Rolls Royce Sweptail, sound off in the comments.

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Top 5 stupidest names in motoring

A name can make or break a car. The name is the first impression most people get of a car, so calling your car a weird, funny or just plain not thought out name can ruin that car entirely, even if the actual car is great. A good name should represent the characteristics of the car itself, be it a flamboyant Italian Maranello or an aggressive brutish Charger. The name is everything. Some companies don’t really think this through very well so here are the top 5 stupidest names in motoring.

Nissan Sylvia

  1. Nissan Sylvia

Giving a car a human name is a gamble, you’ll never see the Ford Dave or the Aston Martin Martin. Sometimes it can work such as the Ferrari Dino, then there’s the Sylvia. Sylvia is a grandmothers name, it’s your older relative who gives you sweets when your parents aren’t watching. What it isn’t is a rear wheel drive coupe loved by drifters around the world for its easy modibility and tail happy action.

Mitsubishi Starion

  1. Mitsubishi Starion

The Mitsubishi Starion was a surprisingly good car, designed to go up against the Mustang in America an urban myth would tell you it was meant to be called the Stallion but due to a language barrier between the European and Japanese wings of Mitsubishi it ended up being called the Starion. Now its one thing to think up a bad name for a car it’s another to call it completely the wrong thing entirely. Another of Mitsubishi’s naming disasters came from the Pajero which in Spanish means masturbator/ wanker not a great showing from Mitsubishi.

Toyota Urban Cruiser

  1. Toyota Urban Cruiser

There are bad names out there and then there’s Urban Cruiser. An Urban Cruiser sounds like someone who’s not allowed within 500 metres of a school, its an especially bad name for family run about used to take the kids to school and go shopping in. The Urban Cruiser is not a car you’d boast about in the pub to your mates.

VW Sedric

  1. Nissan Cedric/ VW Sedric

Nissan really had a problem with naming cars in the past. The Nissan Cedric was an incredibly dull 4 door saloon designed with a ruler. Cedric is not in anyway an exciting name for a car. Which is why its all the more surprising that VW have brought the name back for one of their new self driving cars, and they’ve spelt it wrong. The VW Sedric is a very odd looking thing. It appears to be a box with enclosed wheels, and a face for some reason.

Renault Wind

  1. Renault Wind

I’d liked to have been a fly on the wall in the Renault offices when someone put forward the name Wind for their new two seater roadster. You may as well call your car the Renault Fart. How many people did that have to go through till it received the ok? You’re telling me nobody thought it was a bad idea. You couldn’t hold your head up high in the pub and say I drive a Renault Wind, you’d be laughed out the door, and off a cliff. The Wind was a cute little two door roadster that I actually quite like except for the name, obviously.

What are some more horrible names for cars you can think of sound off in the comments.

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Enough with the retro styling

MINI grows

Cars get old. It’s just a fact of life and when cars get old you replace them with something new and better. The trouble comes in when something is so iconic that the public just can’t seem to let it go. So the company decides to just make the old car again just with new technology. We first saw it with the New Beetle, which was just a Golf in a dress with a flower pot stuck to the dash. Then we saw the new Mini from BMW, which was a bit more successful but has in no way reached the iconic status of the original Mini. Finally we had the Fiat 500 a car that in the past pretty much ran Italy, but again the new 500 is just a Fiat Panda with a new body.

BeetleThis obsession with the past has to stop. Cars become iconic over time and trying to recreate them in the modern age just doesn’t work simply because those legendary cars of the time in fact weren’t that good to begin with when you compare them to todays standards. The VW Beetle was a car born out of war just to get Germany back on its feet and I don’t think it would be as revered today if it hadn’t had a red and blue stripe down it and the number 53 on the door. Both the Mini and the Fiat 500 are death traps you would be safer on the road in a paper bag than one of those.

Citroen Type HWhy am I ranting about this now, well because Citroen have decided to get in on the action with a new body kit for their Citroen Relay van, the kit is meant to look like the Citroen type H van, which was first made in 1947. Now this is a van that is quite literally a shed with wheels and while it maybe old, maybe even a classic, it in no way deserves to be modernized in this way. The new H is to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the original and thankfully only 70 will be made.

BMW M2 2002Please car companies stop with the retro cars, how can any new cars grow to be as iconic when you keep reminding us of the past with these new retro cars that merely act to damage the reputation of the original. Let the icons live on in classic car form and create new classics, cars like the VW Corrado or the BMW M2 (which while it copies the 2002 Turbo ideas is its own car entirely), cars that are as brilliant today as they will be 20 to 30 years from now.

What do you think of this retro revolution sound off in the comments.

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The Geneva Motorshow 2017

So the Geneva Motor show is in full swing and the great and the good of the motor industry are out in force at the Swiss event. If I were to go through everything at the show I would be here for three days straight so I thought I would just bring you the highlights of the greatest show on the motoring calendar.

McLaren 720S

McLaren 720S

McLaren are releasing cars thick and fast right now and they have been working hard on the new replacement for the 650S. So here we have the long rumoured 720S. Boasting a new 4.0 litre twin turbocharged V8 engine (upped from the 3.8 in the 650S) the 720S has 710BHP and 770Nm of torque. McLaren tasked themselves with doubling the aerodynamic efficiency of the 650S for the new 720S. Which has led to the distinctive look of the new car with its hidden headlights and aerodynamic streaks down the side, certainly an impressive machine to behold. Prices start from £208,000 and its on sale now.

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

Finally they did it, the Panamera estate has been in development for what seems like years now. There were spy shots and camo cars but finally Porsche revealed the Sport Turismo. The extra boot accessory gives the Sport Turismo 20 litres more boot space over the original and also means the Panamera has room for an extra seat in the back, now making it a five seater, prices start at £84,000 and go all the way up to £138,000 through all models from the S to the big bad Turbo model.

Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R

Its seems like just last week the new Type R was rolling into showrooms but Honda already have a new version ready for the new shape Civic, and while I’m not a Civic fan I can still safely say that the new Type R Civic is hideous. Looks aside though the new Type R has 316BHP, ten more than the previous model but still 30 less than the out going Ford Focus RS. Honda still plan on going back to the Nurburgring to try and break records again.

Bentley EXP12 Speed 6

Bentley EXP12 Speed 6

One of the more beautiful cars on the show floor is the new Bentley EXP12 Speed 6. Whilst only being a concept of things to come from the company, the EXP12 is still paving the way forward in being a fully electric Roadster, an area even Tesla seem to have left well alone. The EXP12 isn’t expected to make production any time soon but after a good response from press and the public Bentley may be forced to change their mind on the subject.

Aston Martin Valkyrie

Aston Martin Valkyrie

We at long last have a new name for the AM RB001 hyper car from Aston Martin and Red Bull, the new car called the Valkyrie will have over 900BHP from a naturally aspirated 6.5 litre V12. The Valkyrie uses an F1 style ERS system to harvest Kinetic Energy from braking. Only 150 road models will ever be made, along with 25 track only versions costing in the region of £2-3 million with deliveries expected to take place in early 2019.

What are your favourites from Geneva 2017, Sound off in the comments.

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Alpine show off the new A110

 

alpine-a110-1

Alpine have released new images of the new A110 set to be revealed fully at the Geneva motor show next month. The small lightweight sports car is looking to take on the likes of the Porsche Cayman. The A110 takes its name from the classic Alpine of the 60’s, and the styling is clearly taking cues from the original with the large bulbous headlights and sweeping curved body.

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The A110 is set to take on the Cayman, armed with a full aluminium body and experts are expecting a weight of just over 1000KG. The small lightweight sports car is making a comeback recently and Renault (who own the Alpine brand) are looking to get in on the action with the A110. Taking inspiration from the Alfa Romeo 4C and the Toyota GT86, the Alpine has smaller wheel and tyres to try to add to the drivability of the car rather than out right power and speed. The focus is fun rather the breaking records. The A110 is also expected to go on sale in mid 2018 with a price tag of just under £50,000.

What do you think of the rebirth of the Alpine brand, sound off in the comments.

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The Range Rover Velar: Filling the gap in the market

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Range Rovers are awesome, it’s just a fact. They are as brilliant on road as they are off road, they are the car to buy for the rich and famous. So it would make sense for Range Rover to flood the market with as many versions as they can think of, and they have. Whilst the Evoque isn’t to everyones taste it can certainly handle a lot more than any other small SUV on the market, and its lineage gives its buyers the confidence that it’s all the car they will ever need. Now its time to supersize it and we get the Range Rover Sport a much larger and faster off roader that took the market by storm in 2006, every footballer and their wife had to have one. And finally we get to the big daddy, the Range Rover, second to none in the off road market the Range Rover is the king of luxury and class everyone from Tom Cruise to the Queen has to have one.

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So comes the newest addition to the Range Rover collection, the Velar, named after the very first concept for the original Range Rover from 1969 the Velar sits between the Range Rover Sport and the Evoque, acting as a stepping stone between the two, not as large or powerful as the Sport but bigger and more luxurious than the Evoque. Gerry McGovern Land Rover Chief design officer says: “We call the Velar the avant garde Range Rover. It brings a new dimension of glamour, modernity and elegance to the brand. The Range Rover Velar changes everything.” Whilst he may be overstating it a bit the Velar certainly is a new beginning for the Range Rover brand, which has been lost in a sea of Q7s, Cayennes and X5s for a while now. The Velar sees a change in the game for Range Rover and the larger Land Rover brand itself, they appear to be focusing on building great cars again rather than mimicking other companies ideas. Whilst the Velar may not be the top of the totem pole, its certainly a sign of things to come.

What do you think of the new Range Rover Velar, sound off in the comments.

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The Molsheim Dream Factory: The Bugatti Chiron is Born

Benjamin A. Monn Photography 2017

Bugatti have released images of where the new king of the hyper cars, the Chiron is being made. The Bugatti facility in Molsheim is in the Alsace region of France, home to Bugatti since it was founded in 1909. The Bugatti factory expects to build 70 Chirons a year with each cars taking as much as nine months from the start of configuring the car specs through production to delivery of the car. Bugatti boasts that each car is built to the customer’s personal specification making each Chiron unique.

Benjamin A. Monn Photography 2017

Each Chiron takes 20 employees to build from over 1800 parts. “Only when the customer has signed off the configuration does production planning start. The many small wheels of a complex process that runs to a strict time schedule are then set in motion.” The factory is the same one the Veyron was built in for more than ten years. The factory know features a specially made Dyno room capable of taking the Chirons 1500BHP. Bugatti struggled to test the original Veyron due to most dynos not capable of reaching the magic 1000BHP. The dyno at the factory is so powerful in fact that it can produce electricity, which it sends to the local grid in Molsheim.

Benjamin A. Monn Photography 2017

Each Chiron is hand built and Bugatti are proud to say there are no robots in sight at Molsheim, the factory doesn’t even use conveyor belts to move parts, each part of production is done by an especially skilled hand. Each Chiron is tested up to 155 miles per hour on a runway near to the factory. The Bugatti Chiron is in the best of hands throughout its journey from configuration to delivery, and Bugatti take great pride in their factory and their employees who they think are the best in the world, they see them not as engineers but as artists.

What do you think of the Bugatti Chiron, Sound off in the comments.

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The Big names join together for Electric cars

electric-chargine

The car industry has reached a major milestone this week, by coming together to share knowledge and capabilities to further the evolution of electric cars. the BMW group, Daimler, Ford and the VW group including Audi and Porsche have come together to provide an ultra fast high power charging network across Europe. The plan is to evolve the charging process to the point that it is as quick and convenient as filling up a conventional car.

BMW: “This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move towards electric mobility”, says Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.“The BMW Group has initiated numerous public charging infrastructure projects over the last years. The joint project is another major milestone clearly demonstrating that competitors are combining forces to ramp-up e-mobility.”

Daimler: “The breakthrough of e-mobility requires two things: convincing vehicles and a comprehensive charging infrastructure. With our new brand EQ, we are launching our electric product offensive: by 2025, our portfolio will include more than ten fully electric passenger cars. Together with our partners, we are now installing the highest-powered charging infrastructure in Europe”, says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “The availability of high-power stations allows long-distance e-mobility for the first time and will convince more and more customers to opt for an electric vehicle.”

Ford: A reliable, ultra-fast charging infrastructure is important for mass consumer adoption and has the potential to transform the possibilities for electric driving”, says Mark Fields, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. “Ford is committed to developing vehicles and technologies that make people’s lives better, and this charging network will make it easier and more practical for customers across Europe to own electrified vehicles.”

Audi:
“We intend to create a network that allows our customers on long-distance trips to use a coffee break for recharging”, says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. “Reliable fast charging services are a key factor for drivers to choose an electric vehicle. With this cooperation we want to boost a broader market adoption of e-mobility and speed up the shift towards emission-free driving.”

Porsche: “There are two decisive aspects for us: ultra-fast charging and placing the charging stations at the right positions”, says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG. “Together, these two factors enable us to travel in an all-electrically powered car as in a conventional combustion engine vehicle. As automobile manufacturer, we actively shape our future, not only by developing all-electrically powered vehicles but by building up the necessary infrastructure as well.”

This is certainly a huge step for the electric car, a unified motor industry is almost unstoppable in terms of innovation, creativity and design and if the companies can maintain this partnership, the forward thinking nature of the group will finally bring the electric car into being a viable option for everyone on the road, not just little old ladies who only go out once a week and have an annual mileage of less than 1000 miles.

The Jaguar I-Pace: A step into the Future for Jaguar

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Jaguar have just revealed its next step into the future, the I-Pace. A five seater car that Jaguar claim can do everything, “It will be the smartest five-seater sports car; a performance car, a family car and an SUV all in one.” This ambitious project is expected to reach production by 2018. The I-Pace is looking to take on Electric car giant Tesla and their Model X, and whilst the Model X is faster the I-Pace has a higher range, a much more important factor in the real world.

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The I-Pace has a power output of roughly 400 BHP and a torque figure of 700Nm matching that of it’s F-Type SVR little brother, and with a range of 310 miles is certainly getting closer to that of a normal car. Its slow progress but progress nonetheless. Although exact figures are yet to be released the 0-62 time for the I-Pace is around 4 seconds. Slower than its Model X competition but still quick for a car in its class. The I-Pace shares its suspension system with that of the XE XF and the F-Pace, all have great handling and feel so the I-Pace definitely has the right underpinning to make it a real drivers car.

jaguar-i-pace-12

Finally the looks, overall I think it looks good, current yet also futuristic, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some problems, the rear for one, it just looks tacked on like the designer finished for the day and they had the intern do the rear for them. Whilst the rest of the car is smooth swooping lines the back is all angles and doesn’t share the rest of the cars good looks. Also that bonnet vent, it looks like the car has a huge dent right across the front, it may actually be functional but if its just for aesthetics I’d rather it had just a flat bonnet. And finally thank you Jaguar for giving the I-Pace a grill, cars just look better with them, the Model X makes a big point of having no grill because it doesn’t need one, but it also has no face, think of Ryan Reynolds in the terrible X-Men Origins film, Tesla give your car a mouth please.

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Overall the Model X should be worried, Jaguar are a much better known brand and are on tremendous form at the moment, with the XE and F-Pace performing greatly. The I-Pace is looking to steal the Tesla’s crown as king electric and I think it has the potential to do so, thanks to creative design great looks and not over complicating things, like Telsa have been known to do in the past, Falcon doors anyone?

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