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.

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Top 5 Fun cars

Cars don’t always have to be practical, they don’t always have to be usable everyday, sometimes a car just has to be fun to win your heart and once a car reaches their its never leaving. Now a fun car doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good car, its character driven, and every persons list will be completely different based on our tastes and experiences. So here is my top 5 list of fun cars.

Aston Vulcan

  1. Track day cars

A track day car does exactly what it says on the tin, a fun car based for the track, be it a base level Caterham 7 or a top of the line Aston Martin Vulcan both are essentially built for the same purpose to but a smile on your face whilst on the track. Most track day cars however are just plain horrible to live with, some don’t even have windscreens or are even illegal to drive on the roads. But that doesn’t stop you wanting one.

Fiat Barchetta

  1. Fiat Barchetta

The Fiat Barchetta is an unusual car as it looks like the classic Italian sports car, and driving it can brighten even the darkest day, you could be driving home from your parents funeral and couldn’t help but smile in a Barchetta, its just a happy little car. But the Barchetta is under powered and front wheel drive making it fall far behind its completion in the Mazda MX5 and Toyota MR2. But neither of those cars have the character of the little Fiat, the Fiats flaws are exactly what makes you love it, it makes it oddly human.

E-type

  1. Classic Cars

Classic cars are generally fantastic, they make you yearn fro a time when fuel was cheap and the roads were empty. They maybe weren’t as fast as their modern competitors and were in no way safe but they were fun and some would say prettier than most of the cars on the roads today. But with age comes unreliability, it will happen to us all as you get older you’ll find yourself pulling over much more often because of a leak or an odd smell, I think I’m still talking about the car but I may be wrong.

VW Beetle BAJA

  1. VW Beetle Baja

What could be more fun than Herbie, and off road Herbie. The Beetle is an undeniable legendary car but its less common off road brother is where my heart lies, its capability off road is still limited compared to your much more hardcore off road rivals but those are so much less fun. The Beetle Baja wasn’t built for speed, safety or comfort but wins you over with its amazing characterful go anywhere ability and of course because it’s a Beetle.

VW Golf MK4

  1. Your Car

There could only be on pick for the most fun car to drive, it has to be your own car, because driving is inherently fun and being in your own machine that you’ve spent your own hard earned money on with your music and the road to yourself is truly magical. It doesn’t matter what you drive be it a 1.1 Daihatsu Charade or a Ferrari 488 GTS if you own it, its your magical place of worship to the driving gods, yours place to fulfil your driving passions and desires. It is truly the most fun car ever.

Whats Do you think is the most fun car? Sound off in the comments.

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Richard Hammond is fine everyone.

Richard HammondSo as a lot of you have probably already heard Richard Hammond of The Grand Tour and Top Gear fame crashed another car quite badly in Switzerland during filming for the next series of The Grand Tour. Thankfully Richard is fine and only came out with a broken knee in what could have been a much more serious accident. Richard was driving the new Rimac Concept One electric super car at the time one of only eight (now seven) ever made.

Richard has since sat down with Rimac owner Mate Rimac and journalist Alistair Weaver to go over the incident and in some ways reassure his fans that he is in fact fine. In the video the trio discuss the crash itself obviously but also go into the Concept One itself along with what they were actually doing there in Switzerland in the first place, it’s a very interesting watch and I encourage you all to watch it here.

Rimac Concept one.pngRichard did say that despite the crash the next series of The Grand Tour is still on schedule for its October release. The show itself will likely still feature the crash due to the massive publicity from it, but also after Hammonds previous crash in a jet car the trio went over the crash in detail on Top Gear after Hammonds return.

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Jaguar tease the E-Pace

epaceteasermediasitecarouselJaguar have announced the existence of a smaller more compact version of the F-Pace. The E-Pace is a compact SUV similar to its Land Rover brother the Evoque on which it shares a base platform. The E-Pace is expected sometime in early 2018 where it will join the F-Pace and new electric SUV the I-Pace. Ian Callum, Director of Design at Jaguar, said: “The combination of sports car looks with Jaguar performance will ensure that the E-PACE stands out. Every Jaguar is designed to excite the senses, and we think E-PACE will do just that, albeit with its own individual character.”

Jaguar E-PaceThe E-Pace has a projected price of £28,500 and Jaguar is hoping this new compact SUV leads to the same success of the F-Pace’s impressive 83% sales boost, and on a base level it should, a cheaper version of the already popular F-Pace, Jaguar could be onto an even bigger success than the F-Pace. Jaguar also say the AWD system was developed from is sports car divison meaning that a E-Pace R may also be on the cards in the future, but that is pure speculation and maybe a bit of hope on my part. The full reveal of the E-Pace will take place on the 13th of July.

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Porsche reveal the new GT2 RS at E3

Porsche took an unusual step to reveal the new 911 GT2 RS, rather than unveil the car at one of the larger shows such as Detroit or Geneva, Porsche decided to reveal the GT2 RS at the Electronic Entertainment Expo or E3 for short. E3 is a video game event where the great and the good of the industry reveal their new projects. During an onstage press conference the Porsche 911 GT2 RS was revealed as the new cover car for racing game Forza Motorsport 7 as part of a new deal between Porsche and Microsoft.

911 gt2 rs 2Dan Greenawalt, Creative director for Forza 7 unveiled the car, calling it the most powerful 911 Porsche have ever built. The GT2 RS uses a turbocharged flat 6 engine producing close to 700BHP. The GT2 RS, which is due a full reveal by Porsche themselves later in the year has a 0-62 time of just over 2.5 seconds and on to a top speed in excess of 205MPH. The 911 GT2 RS is a big step for the partnership between Porsche and Microsoft, as the deal was only announced earlier this year. (See more on the deal here)

911 GT2 RSPrevious cover cars for the Forza Series include a Subaru Impreza, Nissan 350Z, Ferrari 458 Italia, Audi R8, Mclaren P1 and the new Ford GT, so the 911 GT2 RS is certainly in welcome company. The game is to be released on October 3rd and we are expected to see more of the GT2 RS later in the year, with it going on sale in 2018.

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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.

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The VW Up GTI: a return of the true GTIs?

Volkswagen Studie up! GTIVolkswagen recently announced the new Up GTi will be going on sale in 2018 for £15,000. The Up has remained on of the great city cars since its launch in 2011 with its tight nippy handling and refined understated interior. The Up was followed by its VW group colleagues the Seat Mii and the Skoda Citigo. Rumours surrounding the Up GTI have been circling for years and VW have finally confirmed it. The Up GTI will be unveiled at the Volkswagen fan festival at Lake Woerthersee, Austria.

Volkswagen Studie up! GTIThe Up GTIs stats do give an interesting look at what the car could be though, the Up GTI is powered be a 1 litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 113BHP and 147lb-ft of torque. The low weight of the new Up GTI, a tiny 997kg gives the little car a power to weight ratio of 113.3BHP per tonne, which is funny because the original MK1 Golf GTI had a power to weight ratio of 113.3BHP per tonne. Could Volkswagen be looking for a return of their heyday?

Volkswagen Studie up! GTIThe Up GTI comes with a close ratio 6 speed gearbox, giving the car a 0-62 time of 8.8 seconds and the little Up will go on to a top speed of 122MPH. Both those stats are quicker than the MK1 Golf GTI. The suspension of the Up has been fettled with over the standard version with a 15mm lower height and unique spring and damper rates. The Up GTI is looking to take on the likes of the Vauxhall Adam S and the Abarth 500 and while its down on power VW are looking to dominate in the handling department.

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The new Up GTI is looking to rekindle the VW glory days with a light weight and great handling. The Up GTI certainly looks the part with its more aggressive styling and a machine gunning of GTI badges and VW have always been great at the small light weight hot hatch but only time will tell if the VW Up GTI can bring back the old GTI magic so many of us have been craving over the years.

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The London Motor Show

London Motor Show 2017 78

I attended the London Motor Show this week end and whilst its not exactly first on the list of priority motor shows (it may not have even made the list) that doesn’t mean it wasn’t great. Whilst it doesn’t have unveiling of new concepts or stunning live show its small size makes it a lot less tiring to get around. As time has gone on the London Motor Show has shrunk a lot in size and admittedly in quality. This years event took place at Battersea park and the small venue certainly hurt the event, a few years ago I attended the show at the Excel centre, a much larger arena and it also had a live show going on at the same time. This years show was less than half the size of that event and I feel the London Motor Shows days may be numbered.

London Motor Show 2017 61

The cars though didn’t disappoint, a strong showing from Aston Martin led the show with the Vantage, Rapide, Vanquish, DB11 and the new concept the Valkyrie all in attendance. Aston was one of the few major manufacturers to make the trip but Porsche also attended, with a Cayenne, Panamera, 718 Boxter and 911 Turbo S. the star of the show however and the car that drew the most eyes was from the little company called David Brown Automotive, with their newly unveiled Mini Remastered. The little car was swarmed with people through out the event with a neighbouring Rolls Royce Ghost and Lamborghini Aventador being left in the corner to sit and sulk.

London Motor Show 2017 121

The show also saw the new Alpine A110 on show, another popular choice among the attendees the stunning white example drew eyes all over. The Abarth 124 Spyder looked great in an impressive shade of blue. Outside the building the Chelsea Cars showroom put out a selection of gorgeous classic to look at including a Mercedes 190SL convertible, and Aston Martin DB6 and a Jaguar XK140.

London Motor Show 2017 142

Whilst I doubt this event will be the last, I do suspect it may be one of the last, the show struggles to gain the attention of the major manufacturers and is barely scraping the number of attendees it needs to succeed. The show is basically forgotten internationally, being overtaken by the likes of Detroit and Tokyo auto shows even the Paris Motor show.

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The Stratford Motor Festival 2017

The Stratford Motor festival happened over this bank holiday weekend and I was lucky enough to attend the event. The free annual event is widely supported around the Warwickshire county, despite competing with the National Kit Car festival happening the same weekend. The event held in the centre of Statford saw numerous road closures to allow the cars full reign of the town. Unlike a lot of shows there is no barrier for entry, with any cars welcomed with open arms, from vintage fire trucks to classic pink Cadillacs, muscle cars to super cars all are welcome.

There aren’t many shows which you’ll find an antique Rolls Royce sitting next to a vintage tractor, there were many surprises like this on the day. Like the arrival of the Muscle cars with their V8 rumble shaking the ground as they went past. The slow parade around the city centre was the highlight of the festival with everything from Maseratis to Corvette Stingrays joining the party. Jaguar Land Rover had a very strong presence at the show, being based in the midlands and with the Gaydon factory a short drive away they were warmly welcomed by the public, with a Jaguar F-Type and F-pace on show and even the recently unveiled Range Rover Velar in attendance. Even in the publics cars you could see a strong love for the Jaguar mark, with multiple E-type Jags on display a number of MK2s and even a C-type and two D-Types.

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The New New Top Gear, how was it?

Top GearSo we saw the end of the returning Top Gear series with another new presenter line up this week. But how has this series been and is there still a future for the show. In short yes the show is back on winning form, maybe not as it was in its prime but certainly better than the disasterous Chris Evans series.

Top Gear Bugatti ChironThe trio of Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris and Rory Reid has been fantastic for the show and all three have shown improvement as time has gone on. The chemistry between them that was severely lacking in the previous series is starting to work its way in as well which is great. Highlights of this series include Chris Harris’ road test of the Bugatti Chiron and the eventual race against Matt was brilliant, also Harris’ review of the Ferrari FXX K was really fun and a great way to start the newly revamped series. A surprisingly enjoyable piece for me was turning a SSangyong Rodius into a yatch in the final episode of the series this weekend.Top Gear

So the big question will Top Gear be alright? And the answer, probably whilst the new series stand far in a way behind the Clarkson Hammond and May years it also stands head and shoulders above the Chris Evans series. The great thing about this series is it showed that the BBC can change its mind and mould the show around what the viewers want. What Top Gear now needs to do is settle, we’ve seen two big revamps of the show in as many years and the team has now found a solution that works for both the viewers and the team itself. They finally have a solid foundation that they can build on and grow the show to be as big as the old series was, maybe even bigger.Rory reid

What I’d like to see is more use of Rory Reid, at the moment he is being used as the normal guy driving the normal cars whereas Matt and Chris get the super cars. Rory is a talented guy and deserves the chance to show what he can do in a real car. I’d also like to see less jokes that Matts American as it seems to be his whole schtick at the moment and its getting old fast. He’s been improving slowly and has become a great host for the show but I feel he may get found out soon enough that he is just an actor.

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