Thursday, 29 November 2012

Deer, Oh Dear!

This is a couple of stories from America.

I'll get the "Oh Dear!" bit over with first because that is the saddest bit.
This is a corruption of a Smart Car on display at the The L.A.Auto Show.

It is called the Smart forjeremy. The story is in Car+Driver here.

Unfortunately, the Jeremy it is for is not Jeremy Clarkson - I would truly love to see his take on a Smart. No, this Jeremy is Jeremy Scott - a fashion designer I have never heard of who has designed fashion for people I have heard of - like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. Apparently, those things at the back that make it look like an Indian Chief's head-dress are supposed to be wings.

They light up.

Oh yes, and the car is electric-powered.

Anyhoo. The better story from The States today is from Fox and is about this device - no, it's not a see-through i-Phone, it's a deer deterrent called "The Deer Deter". So why would you want to deter a deer - they're quite cute aren't they?

Indeed they are, but if you were a highway with fast moving traffic going along you, you wouldn't want these cute creatures getting splattered and generally causing accidents by wandering onto your tarmac when there's a car coming now would you?

Of course you wouldn't. So you put these up along the roadside and when they are activated by a passing vehicle's headlights, they emit a noise and strobe effect that stops the deer in its tracks until the vehicle has passed.

Oh yes, and the Deer Deter is electric-powered. Solar in fact. The noise is harmless and also means it will alert blind deer.

What do you call a deer with no eyes?


Monday, 26 November 2012

It's a Steal!

What would you rather steal, a Prius or a Land-Rover?

Would you?

I wouldn't steal either - I'm not a car-thief!

According to The Mirror this week, the Land-Rover Defender is the most-stolen car (in Britain at least) in terms of numbers stolen per number on the road.
They quote a survey by Swiftcover Insurance which shows Land Rovers, Audis and BMWs are more likely to be targeted by thieves than ordinary family saloons, despite having state-of-the-art security. The Swiftcover bloke says, "Given that luxury vehicles are usually alarmed, well protected and parked in affluent neighbourhoods, it’s surprising that they’re still so likely to be targeted."

No it isn't.

Just about all cars produced this Millennium have alarms and immobilisers so if you're going to go to the trouble of nicking a car you'd best go for one you can sell for big money or razz around in at high speed trying to escape the cops. Which brings us, quite neatly, to the subject of the least-stolen cars. Swiftcover don't tell us what they are...

...but Fox do.

They have this story this week quoting The National Insurance Crime Bureau or NICB for short. The NICB throw the following dodgy numbers at us: Of the 1.2 million Prius cars (that's a very big number) sold since the Year 2000 (in America at least), only 2439 have been reported stolen. They say this is one in 608 vehicles (I calculate it as 1 in 492)
They go on to say, "Even more incredible, 96.7 of the stolen cars were recovered, leaving only about 80 unsolved cases over the past 12 years." - that is incredible - especially the .7 - it would actually mean that 2342.3 of the cars were not recovered. I think a per-cent sign is missing from their story.

The NICB spokesman agrees with the Swiftcover person - "the above average income level of Prius owners could play a role, as the cars are often kept in safer neighborhoods and under better security" - they don't agree on the spelling of "Neighbourhoods" though.

I'd have thought that it was more to do with the fact the Prius is only really going to appeal to the environmentally friendly joy-rider.

Thursday, 22 November 2012


Q8 should follow on from Q7.

Q8 was a funny, surreal, comedy sketch show from the 1970s starring Spike Milligan.

So was Q7.

Q8 followed on from Q7.

Audi have a huge car called the Q7.
It's too huge really - especially for the Chelsea Mums who like to drive it - but that's their business. Audi have now signed off the Q8 which will be hitting our streets in four or five years time. Car magazine have the story together with this mock-up:
Car&Driver also have the story together with this mock-up:
To be fair, both magazines credit the same artist, Christian Schulte, with the rendering so I guess Chris has done OK out of the deal - especially as all he has done is morph a BMW X6 (stupid) rear onto a standard (boring) Audi front - a sort of luxury German cut-and-shut. He's also changed the number plate slightly for the two different customers!

The speculation is that the Q8 will be a Cross-over SUV based on the A6 or A8 rather than an even-bigger Q7. I wouldn't want to see either, especially if it turns out as daft-looking as the X6. Hopefully it will only attract people who already own Audis - I don't want even more individuals driving 10cm from my rear bumper on the motorways.

Now, apart from being confused with a '70s TV show, this new car will also need to avoid being mixed up with Kuwait, a Middle-Eastern state famed for starting the first Gulf War by getting invaded by Iraq.

This oil-rich state should do well supplying fuel to power the big Audis.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Sacré Bleu! - le Maire de Paris est un Bouffon

If that title doesn't make any sense, blame Google Translate, it's meant to follow on from my Post from 12 months ago entitled "The Mayor of London is a Buffoon". His Parisian counterpart, according to, wants to ban cars built before 1997 from the city centre of Paris.
This is the chap - Bertrand Delanoe. I'm surprised Fox News haven't picked up on this one yet - it's a good excuse for some Socialist-bashing.

Now, I'm not a fan of old French cars - I'm not particularly a fan of new French cars either - but this is flippin' ridiculous.

and why 1997? This will exclude some servicible Clios, 405s and BXs - and that's just picking on the French manufacturers. The proposal would also outlaw pre-1996 trucks and delivery vehicles from travelling inside the A86 motorway that surrounds Paris, as well as all motorcycles that are more than 10 years old. Motorcycles! They last longer than cars and pollute considerably less.

Bert says “This is for our citizens. It’s a public health battle and we’ve been fighting since 2001 to try and make the air here more breathable.” Except this will affect 3% of cars in Paris and we would assume that those affected will just have to buy younger cars so the overall gain will be small. Whereas the financial effect on, presumably the poorer, car owners will be proportionally great - especially if they can't sell their old cars on to other Parisians. The only upside I can see is that you will get less of these
clogging up this:

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Electric Car Racing

Caught this story in Autoguide today about McLaren supplying "electric engines" to a new racing series called Formula E.

They aren't electric engines, they're "motors".

Formula E had completely passed me by. Autoguide had covered it briefly in August but I'd missed that somehow. It will be an FIA fully sanctioned race series but it doesn't start properly until 2014 so I suppose they have a bit of time to get the word out.

They do have a Website but there isn't much on it - just some twitterings and a couple of annoying videos. And the reason they are annoying is a reason why this sport may not catch on with spectators - the racing just sounds wrong.

Hopefully batteries will have improved by 2014 because the current (ha current - electric - geddit?) plan is that "there will be 10 teams and 20 drivers for the 42 cars, as two cars will be needed to complete a one-hour race because of battery life." Either that or have some very long extension cables - or use the Top Gear Dodgem Car solution.

Until then, we can make do with these electric McLarens which don't sound too different to what we'll have in 2014.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


No, not Fox News for once. Although they do cover this story, unusually for them they go with a headline that immediately reassures. Maybe they are still reeling from Obama's success so haven't got back to their vitriolic best yet.

The headline that grabbed my attention was in and reads "Toyota Prius joins Fisker Karma in Hurricane Sandy fire troubles"

Their story seems to add fuel to the fire (intentional pun usage) of the worries that electric cars can spontaneously combust.

Fisker have had a few issues with car-fires in the past which pleases the right-wing, Fox News watching, Oil-Industry tycoons but these have been identified and resolved.

Not sure if these non-electric ones have been yet although I have heard glue may be at fault.

Anyway, the caradvice site refers back to The New York Times home of this brilliant quote: “We can’t be certain exactly what happened at the port,” Russell Datz, a Fisker spokesman, said in a telephone interview. “But we think being submerged in 13 feet of saltwater had something to do with it.”

These latest fires do not seem to be connected to the fact that Fiskers and Prius's (what is the correct plural there?) are electric or hybrid so restraint is needed. Otherwise, this brilliantly eloquent man needs to get on the case:
I found him on the Car&Driver site when I read this excellent article which coincidentally mentions electric car fires and Toyota. I'm not sure why he has a European number plate in his picture but his rant is perfect - I could easily imagine Lewis Black coming up with it - and if you don't know who Lewis Black is, look him up on YouTube and prepare to hear some swearing.

So, in summary, don't park your electric car in the sea and, most of all, as the great Clive Dunn who passed away yesterday would say, "Don't Panic!! Don't Panic!!"