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					                                motive
    Coventry University’s MA Automotive Journalism Magazine




40 pages of ! NEWS ! VIEWS
! FEATURES ! MOTOR SPORT
                             ! March 2006   ! FREE distribution
                  James@automotive-magazine.com                          Sean@automotive-magazine.com

                  Having spent a distressing amount of time              Sean grew up in the heart of the Irish rally scene.
                  working in the insurance industry, James decided       He became hooked at a young age and blames
                  it was time to do something he actually liked          the Ulster Automobile Club for his affliction: they
                  before life lost all meaning. He decided on            brought the Circuit of Ireland to his native Kerry
                  motoring journalism on the grounds that it beat        each Easter. A well-known rally co-driver at home
                  working for a living (and he heard that they           and abroad, Sean started as press officer for
                  served canapés at car launches). When not              Kerry Motor Club, progressing into a weekly
                  writing he spends his time defending his               motorsport column in The Kerryman. He
                  predilection for ageing Citroëns. He is seeking        regularly contributes to Irish magazines and
                  professional help.                                     radio programmes.

                  Andy@automotive-magazine.com                           Matt@automotive-magazine.com


                  Andrew has always loved writing and graduated          Matt has always had an unhealthy interest in
                  with an English degree. Fascinated by cars from        cars and all things automotive. According to his
                  a young age and living in a rural village, he learnt   father, he could name all the cars on a street by
                  to drive as soon as possible. Lucky to have the        make and model whilst still in his pushchair.
                  infamous Pennine B-roads on his doorstep he            Having graduated with an English and French
                  has been hooked on driving ever since. He drives       degree, there was no chance of actually earning
                  a Skoda Fabia Vrs with plenty of torque to pull        enough money to fuel his obsession, so
                  him up the steep hills and a diesel engine, which      (hopefully) a career in motoring journalism is a
                  suits his farming background.                          neat way around the problem.


                  Oliver@automotive-magazine.com                         Eric@automotive-magazine.com

                  Having failed to get his dream job product testing     Eric has been a car buff since birth, playing with
                  for Lego, Oliver has played bit parts in automotive    matchbox cars on a New York City living room
                  circles across the world. From Porsche                 carpet and passing his licence test at the ripe
                  mechanic in Hong Kong, test driver and                 age of 16 in the borough of Brooklyn. After
                  racetrack instructor in Australia to working on        completing university, he spent 6 years across
                  the old BBC Top Gear show until it broke, he has       the country in southern California, a land of
                  constantly enjoyed the company of cars. He             spartan public transportation, and loved every
                  prefers the company of women, but doesn’t know         minute. Now living in the birthplace of so many
                  how they work or how to steer one.                     defunct British nameplates, he finds solace in
                                                                         costly weekend drives.


                  Tim@automotive-magazine.com                            Graeme@automotive-magazine.com

                  Cars, driving and motor racing have always             A Scotsman with a sense of style. After spending
                  fascinated Tim. Armed with a History degree, he        four years learning to be a car designer,
                  thought a career in ‘management consultancy’           Graeme’s crayons finally wore down to their nub
                  beckoned but then realized he didn’t know what         and his markers dried out. Leaving him with little
                  that meant. He enjoys researching subjects and         more than an HB pencil and a cheap biro, he
                  then writing about them so thought he’d try it as      decided it was time to get a ‘real job’ but enrolled
                  a living. Tim is an ardent F1 fan and won’t hear a     on an automotive journalism course instead.
                  word against it even though he admits it could be      Now all he has to do is master English. Och aye,
                  a bit more exciting.                                   see you Jimmy…



                  Zalely@automotive-magaine.com                          cj@automotive-magazine.com

                  A motoring journalist and editor for over 20           Loves writing, loves cars - and combines this with
                  years. In Israel Ya’acov did almost any task a         an alarming obsession with attention to detail, a
                  journalist could: reporter, photographer and           memory that retains all the useless information
                  editor. He was motoring and transport                  you’d expect from the holder of a first class
                  correspondent for Ha’aretz daily, motorsport and       degree, and a sense of humour that borders on
                  F1 commentator for the sports channel (Channel         ‘warped.’ A techhead, gearhead and petrolhead -
                  5) and editor of various magazines and the             innovation spiked with adrenalin gets him going
                  website AutoNews.co.il. Last year he decided to        the most. More of his thoughts are online at his
                  refresh himself and found the MA Automotive            regularly updated automotive themed blog:
                  Journalism program at Coventry University.             www.infinityreversed.blogspot.com

                  Wei@automotive-magaine.com                             Miles@automotive-magazine.com

                  Being a motoring writer is not enough for Wei.         Rejecting the family inheritance in the wine gum
                  As the only guy from Asia in the team, he is used      factory, Miles has plumped for the poverty and
                  to participating in car advertising as well as the     obscurity of automotive journalism. A hit with the
                  automotive publishing business. He enjoys the          ladies, legend has it he hasn’t slept in 2 years. It’s
                  challenge of playing two roles by writing about        a wonder he finds the time and energy to write
                  cars from totally different perspectives. As a         anything except his phone number on a beer mat.
                  copywriter, he showed his talent in words, but as      Joking apart, Miles has been writing motoring
                  a motoring writer, distinctive opinion is the key.     news and reviews with New Car Net for several
                  He has a passion for both jobs.                        years.


2|   AUTOmotive
CONTENTS
           News:

           Geneva Show preview: what’s new and what’s hot.                  4
           Autobahn Stormer: details of Porsche’s new 911 Turbo.            4
           Euro Fighters: Renault and VW reveal new business plans.         5
           Freestream T1: an F1 car for the road.                           6
           Engineering Excellence: Prodrive’s concept showcase.             7


           Views:

           Techhead: this issue: hybrids, turbines and ‘the future’.        8
           Tim Ferguson: beauty is not in the eye of the designer.          11
           Shutline: is retro design a retrograde step?                     13
           Yuppy Destroyers: some alternatives to 80s junior execs.         38


           Sport:

           F1 Preview 2006: our form guide to runners and riders.           32
           Focus WRC: Ford’s latest rally contender                         34
           Toyota NASCAR: the Camry goes from beige to beast                35
           Plus: Sir Jackie Stewart, A1 GP, historic motorsport in
           Coventry, and more.                                              36

           Features:

           ‘Ring Riders: taking part in the Nürburgring 24 hours.
           Via Playstation 2.                                               14

           On Test: new V6 for Mercedes’ C-Sport Coupe.                     18

           Face Off: America and China square up to each
           other from across the Pacific.                                   20

           Scrabbling for Acronyms: is our reliance on
           safety systems lulling us into a false sense of security?        22

           Experience is Everything: we test the Range Rover
           Sport’s off-road mettle at the Land Rover Experience.            24

           It’s a Mini Adventure: AUTOmotive journalists spread their
           wings and try to make a Mini fly                                 26

           Toyota’s Power: how Japanese spiritualism keeps the
           Eastern Sun rising.                                              29

           Vive La France: re-enacting the Battle of Hastings.
           Sort of.                                                         30


           Who Did What:
           News Editors: James Disdale, Tim Ferguson, Eric Gallina,
           CJ Hubbard, Graeme Lambert, Matt Rigby, Andy Goodwin,
           Miles Maynard, Wei Yuan.
           Motorsport Editors: Tim ‘F1’ Ferguson, Andy Goodwin,
           Sean Moriarty, Ya’acov Zalel.
           Features: Everyone.
           Sub Editors: Oliver Thomas, James Disdale, Tim Ferguson,
           Sean Moriarty, Matt Rigby.
           Photography: Eric Gallina, CJ Hubbard, Oliver Thomas.
           Sean Moriarty, Graeme Lambert, Andy Goodwin, Ya’acov Zalel.
           Advertising: Sean Moriarty, Eric Gallina, Matt Rigby,
           Graeme Lambert, Oliver Thomas, John Lister.
           Design: Andy Goodwin, CJ Hubbard, Eric ‘Maverick’ Gallina,
           Graeme Lambert, Miles Maynard.
           Cover photo: Eric Gallina, in University Square.
           A special thankyou to all our advertisers, and to our Coventry
           University lecturers, John Lister and Fred Mudhai
           Final copy date: February 14 2006
           Printed by: Scottish County Press, Bonnyrigg, Midlothian

                                                        AUTOmotive     |3
     Geneva Preview
 T
        he 76th annual Geneva International               unveiled in Frankfurt last year.                       from Detroit will also make an appearance. Ford
        Motor Show held at the beginning of                  The Z4 coupe from BMW will make its first           will unveil a crossover vehicle (they call it a sports
        March promises to be the ‘must see’               appearance and there is talk of a revamped X5.         activity vehicle or SAV) under the name S-Max,
 European show of 2006. Manufacturers from                We may also see a facelifted MINI. Mercedes is         and also launch the new Galaxy MPV.
 across the globe have chosen the venue to show           scheduled to launch the reskinned and refined
 off their latest models on offer in the upcoming         G55 SUV as well as the updated SL65 and SL55           Japan and Korea
 year, and innovative concepts will be in full swing.     roadsters.                                               Hyundai is jumping on the European SUV
                                                             Peugeot will be unveiling its new 207, Skoda        bandwagon with the launch of the new Santa Fe,
 From Europe                                              will display the Roomster MPV and Volvo will           and Fiat and Suzuki have partnered to bring the
    We at Automotive are looking forward to               show the S80, with the clean burning petrol V8         Sedici and SX-4 to fruition. They are two
 seeing the stunning Spider and the 159                   from the XC90.                                         diminutive 4X4s built on the same platform. The
 Sportwagon from Alfa Romeo, a Saab concept                  Of the high end sports car builders, Aston          Lexus LS460 will make its world debut and the
 car intended to evoke the Sonett, and Audi’s             Martin will display the V8 Volante alongside the       company will continue its hybrid onslaught with
 latest TT based on the shooting brake prototype          Rapide concept and Ferrari will unveil its latest      the GS450h.
                                                          coupe, the 599 GTB. Porsche will debut the latest
                                                                                iteration of the 911 Turbo       Concepts
                                                                                and Maserati will display its       From Japanese manufacturer Nissan will
                                                                                all new GT coupe, with a         come two new concepts: the zero emissions Pivo
                                                                                wheelbase slightly shorter       city car and what Nissan calls a “mobile
                                                                                than the flagship                laboratory for explorers”, the Terranaut, designed
                                                                                Quattroporte. The GT is also     in Nissan’s London studios. The compact SUV
                                                                                expected to spawn a future       actually looks like a cross between a 1970s Ford
                                                                                Spyder variant.                  Bronco and a Honda Element.
                                                                                    British company Lotus will      Renault will be showcasing its Altica, a
                                                                                unveil the new Lotus Europa      futuristic concept car that uses Formula 1
                                                                                sports car, as well as an APX    technology to direct wind through the body,
                                                                                concept showcasing Lotus         reducing resistance and improving the car’s
                                                                                Engineering’s Versatile          coefficient of drag. Also in prototype guise, Honda
                                                                                Vehicle Architecture.            will unveil a new Civic Type-R.
                                                                                                                    Making their world debut will be two concepts
                                                                               The Americans                     from Toyota, the Fine-T fuel-cell hybrid and the
                                                                                  Chevrolet will make its        Yaris in sporting form, called the T-sport. It will
                                                                               debut at the show exhibiting      feature a more aggressive design and a larger
                                                                               its own SUV variation, the        1.8 litre engine to propel its diminutive
                                                          Captiva, designed specifically for Europe. The         dimensions.
                                                          carmaker will also show a midsize four door               Mitsubishi will be showing two concepts, the
                                                          sedan called the Epica. Also under the General         most interesting being the new EZ-MIEV, created
                                                          Motors umbrella, Cadillac will unveil the European     by Mitsubishi Design Europe. The vehicle is
                                                          flavoured BLS, and the Corvette Z06 is travelling      powered by electric motors housed within the
                                                          across the Atlantic. The Saturn Sky will be making     wheel hubs, drastically increasing interior space.
                                                          its first appearance as the Opel GT.                   The Colt CZC and Concept-X will also make a
                                                             DaimlerChrysler’s Jeep will ship the Compass        public appearance.
                                                          and Wrangler over from Detroit and the Dodge
                                                          Caliber will be on show. The Imperial concept                                                    Eric Gallina


       Cheap fuel for the                                     New 911 Turbo. New technology
       masses


     P
             ipeline.org, the fair fuel price campaign
             website, announced last week that it
             had now exceeded 100,000 member
     registrations. This landmark figure represents
     the first real steps toward their goal of
     negotiating a discount on fuel prices with a
     major petrol retailer.
        The level of discount that will be available to
     members signing up to the card based


                                                          I
     scheme is not yet known. However, when                   f you see one in the street you will not be able   has been applied in a turbo system in a petrol
     speaking to the Times newspaper, Pipeline’s              to miss it: air intakes in front of the rear       engine. However, more significant is the
     founder, Ben Scammell, was confident the                 wheels, a single air intake in the front, above    improvement in torque from 435 to 479 lb ft
     amount would be worthwhile.                          each indicator and a most elegant rear aerofoil in     and the broader power band, from 1,950 to
        “The level of the discount may fluctuate          the back. This is the new Porsche 911 Turbo, the       5,000 rpm, instead of 2,700 and 4,600 rpm.
     depending on the normal price of petrol but I        most powerful road going Porsche ever                     Its four-wheel drive system allows the car to
     am certain it will be at least five pence a litre    produced.                                              accelerate to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds with the
     and hopefully, if we get enough people to sign           The numbers that Porsche unveiled before the       manual gearbox - the tiptronic S version is even
     up, it will be more.”                                Geneva Salon launch are awesome: 480 bhp               faster to 60mph, by 0.2 sec. The new 911 Turbo
        Should negotiations go well, the organization     plus, 60 bhp (14.2%) over its predecessor and          is also equipped with unique gadgetry Porsche is
     hopes to have the scheme fully up and running        133 bhp per litre from the 3.6 litre engine. The       proud of. It will be available in Europe from the
     by April or May of this year.                        engine will be equipped for the first time with the    end of June for a base price of £97,840.
                                          James Disdale   new TGV system that Porsche showed last year.
                                                          It is the first time that variable blade technology                                           Ya’acov Zalel

4|    AUTOmotive
                                                                                                               Saabs fly into Cov
                                                                                                               from all over
                                                              Two Giants,                                      Europe
                                                                Two Ways
                                                                                                               T
                                                                                                                     he 12th February saw a gathering of
                                                                                                                     over 60 Saabs from across Europe in
                                                                                                                     one of the city’s car parks on a social
                                                                                                               meet where they visited the Coventry
                                                                                                               Transport museum. Nearly all models were
                                                                                                               represented including a rare 1960’s Sonett
                                                                                                               sports car originally sold in the U.S.A as well
                                                                                                               as more modern machinery. The meet was
 Renault and VW reveal very different                                                                          organised using Saab internet forums and
 business strategies                                                                                           participants travelled from as far away as
                                                                                                               Belgium and the South of France. The next


O
        n February 9 2006, Renault announced its        sustainable high performance in the global             social event is scheduled to take place in
        four-year growth plan. The so-called,           automotive industry,” said Carlos Ghosn,               France this Summer.
        “Renault Commitment 2009,” aims to              President and CEO of Renault.                                                       Graeme Lambert
make Renault the most profitable European                  Only a day after Renault’s announcement,
volume carmaker.                                        German rival VW confirmed its restructuring
   The core content of this ambitious                   programme. Unlike the French company, VW
commitment is to hugely expand Renault’s line-up.       chose to cut employment instead of expanding
26 new models will be launched over the next            the product line-up.
four years. Half of them are new blood to the              In order to cope with the fierce competition in
family including SUVs, 4x4s, crossovers and niche       Europe and global car market, a thorough
vehicles. The ultimate goal for Renault is to sell an   restructuring programme is essential for VW.
additional 800,000 units in 2009 compared to            This particular set of proposals focuses precisely
2005.                                                   on the key problems VW has identified. The main
   Renault is also committed to achieving an            measures include the elimination of productivity
operating profit margin of 6% by 2009. But              deficits, full capacity deployment at the plants and
employment reduction and plant closure is not           more competitive personnel expenses. Under the
                                                                                                                                         Classic Saab Sonett
the plan. “With a clear vision, and prioritized,        job cut axe, up to 20,000 employees could be
precise and measurable objectives, I am                 affected over the next three years.
convinced that Renault will become, in the
framework of the Alliance, a great company with                                                  Wei Yuan
                                                                                                             Fast forward for
                                                                                                             budding motoring
                                                                                                             journalists at
                                                                                                             Coventry University

                                                                                                             C
                                                                                                                     oventry University’s enviable links
                                                                                                                     with the motoring industry got a
                                                                                                                     boost recently with accreditation of
                                                                                                             its MA Automotive Journalism course by
                                                                                                             the Guild of Motoring Writers (GOMW). “I
                                                                                                             am very enthusiastic about what you are
                                                                                                             offering,” said immediate former GOMW
                                                                                                             chairman Peter Burgess following a recent
                                                                                                             visit to the department.
                                                                                                                The GOMW endorsement comes with
                                                                                                             offers of free student membership (card,
                                                                                                             handbook and monthly newsletter) plus
                                                                                                             associate membership for one year after
                                                                                                             graduation.
                                                                                                                Mr Burgess was accompanied by
                                                                                                             Autocar magazine Editor-in-Chief Steve
                                                                                                             Cropley, another supporter of the course.
                                                                                                             Mr Cropley’s endorsement comes on the
                                                                                                             basis that “too many applicants for work at
                                                                                                             motoring publications lack basic journalism

     Formula
                                                                                                             skills and knowledge of the inner workings
                                                                                                             of the car design and retail industry. The

          Road
                                                        Freestream T1: 1000bhp-per-tonne,                    programme at Coventry offers students the
                                                        3g cornering, and road legal?                        chance to redress this balance.”
                                                                                                                Coventry University, situated in the heart


 T
        his is the Freestream T1, expected to           rapid acceleration as well as 3g cornering and       of the UK’s historic and contemporary car
        launch later in the year. Packing a bespoke     braking performance.” For extremely rapid, read      manufacturing region, is one of the first
        480bhp 2.4 litre V8, it’s no coincidence        0-100 in a predicted time of around “5 seconds.”     institutions in the country to offer an
 that this tallies nicely with contemporary Formula        Packing a full compliment of ex-McLaren           automotive journalism course. The
 1 regulations - the T1 is intended to be the           engineers and team members, previously involved      university’s long established Transport
 closest yet to the performance of a road going F1      with that company’s seminal F1 supercar, the T1      Design programmes offer journalism
 car. Target weight is a skinny 465kg, skewering        promises spine-shattering agility and the latest     students access to practitioners in the
 the 1000bhp per tonne figure very nicely; but          tech, all for the actually quite reasonable          design, engineering and business aspects
 even more impressive are claims surrounding the        sounding sum of £150,000. Freestream claim           of the car industry.
 handling parameters, and to a certain extent the       the interest of half-a-dozen potential customers        The course features a period of work
 price.                                                 already, and plan to build only 25 cars a year -     experience in a relevant area. This year’s
     The concept sports a carbon chassis and “a         with hardcore trackday goers the most likely         students have offers including Haymarket
 full aerodynamic performance package which at          clientele.                                           Publishing (Autocar and Motorsport News),
 present can only be found in a high formula               The first prototype is nearly built and they’ve   Dennis Publishing (Auto Express and Evo),
 racecar,” according to Ben Scott-Geddes, one half      just moved into new premises. For more info          Emap (CAR), the BBC (Top Gear), and
 of the pairing behind the project; fellow co-founder   contact them via their website:                      Octane Media (Octane). Lecturers are
 Graham Halstead suggests that as a result                                                                   practising journalists, complemented by
 “driver and passenger will experience extremely        www.freestreamcars.co.uk             CJ Hubbard      visiting industry specialists, and skills
                                                                                                             instruction in web design (basic HTML and
                                                                                                             Dreamweaver), page layout (QuarkXpress)
                                                                                 Photo:Graeme Lambert        and multimedia production (Avid and
                                                                                                             broadcast journalism).
                                                                                                                The MA Automotive Journalism at
                                                                                                             Coventry University runs from September
                                                                                                             to September, and is open for applications
                                                                                                             right now. For more information, contact
                                                                                                             the university at
                                                                                                             gradadmissions.uni@coventry.ac.uk or via its
                                                                                                             website (www.coventry.ac.uk).




 To celebrate St Valentine’s day - and Coventry’s position as ‘third most romantic city in
 Britain’ - Nissan paraded these loved up Micras through the city


6|   AUTOmotive
                                                                                                                    New cars are bad
                                                                                                                    for your health,
                                                                                                                    report says

                                                                                                                    A
                                                                                                                             s if depreciation wasn’t already
                                                                                                                             enough to steer you away from
                                                                                                                             buying a new car, now it seems that
                                                                                                                    there are also toxic chemicals found in new
                                                                                                                    vehicle interiors. A report published by The




      P2 ambition
                                                                                                 P2 concept has     Ecology Center, a Michigan-based
                                                                                              all angles covered    environmental group, has found that the
                                                                                                                    “new car smell” so many people flock to
                                                                                                                    dealerships in search of is actually a
                                                                                                                    combination of dangerous PBDEs and
                                                                                                                    phthalates.
                                                                                                                        The chemicals, used as fire retardants
                                                                                                                    and to make PVC plastic malleable


       driving                                                                                                      respectively, are known to cause neuro-
                                                                                                                    developmental damage, birth defects, liver
                                                                                                                    toxicity, premature birth and other serious
                                                                                                                    health problems. Toxicity levels rise when
                                                                                                                    exposed to prolonged heat and UV rays, the


        L
               ast month’s Autosport International show at    car. The new system can control turbo speed to        report states.
               the NEC in Birmingham saw the launch of        within one percent at any given engine speed,             Steps are being taken by various
               Prodrive’s P2 sportscar concept. Intended      resulting in a far smoother driving experience.       manufacturers to reduce the levels of
        as a technological and design showcase for the            As well as the potential performance gains,       these chemicals and phase out their use in
        Banbury firm’s engineering prowess, the P2 is         there are potentially gains in economy and            vehicle manufacturing, a point made in the
        Prodrive’s vision of an affordable performance        emissions, says Prodrive’s powertrain engineer,       report. Volvo is at the forefront of this
        car.                                                  David Hemming, “With an anti-lag system, you          initiative and has tough policies in
           Shorter and narrower than a Mazda MX-5, the        could in theory replace a normally aspirated two      implementing less harmful chemicals in
        two-seat P2 is truly a supermini-sized supercar.      litre engine with a turbo-charged one litre engine.   their car interiors. Parent company Ford
        But with four wheel drive and an uprated version      This would typically reduce fuel consumption by       has low levels of PBDEs in vehicles and
        of the Subaru Impreza STI’s turbocharged flat         about 25 per cent without any loss in                 BMW has lower than average levels of both
        four giving close to 350 bhp, the P2’s                performance.”                                         toxins.
        performance is anything but mini. Prodrive claims         The second acronym, ATD stands for Active             The vehicles with the highest levels were
        0-60 mph in less than four seconds and a top          Torque Dynamics and is a stability programme          those made by Mercedes, Chrysler, Toyota
        speed of close to 175 mph.                            based on managing the engine’s torque as              and Subaru. Perhaps another aspect to
           What sets the P2 apart from other concepts,        opposed to brakes, unlike the ESP system fitted to    consider when choosing your next new car.
        however, are two simple acronyms: ALS and ATD.        most cars with a stability programme. This is
        ALS stands for Anti-Lag System and represents         great news for the enthusiastic driver who is fed                                     Eric Gallina.
        the first serious attempt to bring this technology,   up with nannying stability programmes, as
        used for some years on the international rally        Prodrive’s Chief Dynamic Engineer Damian Harty
        stage, to the average motorist.                       explains, “Because it applies positive torque,
           An ALS on a rally car ignites the unburned fuel    working with the movement of the car, it also         BMW kicked off Google
        in the exhaust manifold, increasing manifold          feels more natural, particularly to performance-
        pressure. This spins the turbo back onto boost,       orientated drivers.”
        and creates the characteristic pops and bangs.
        This would obviously be unacceptable on a road                                            Matt Rigby


          Dave Richards and the
          P2 at the Autosport
          International show



                                                                                                                    B
                                                                                                                           MW’s German website has been
                                                                                                                           ‘blacklisted’ by Google after it was
                                                                                                                           discovered that the site had
                                                                                                                    contravened the search engine’s guidelines.
                                                                                                                    Using doorway pages, the German site
                                                                                                                    boosted its search rankings when users
                                                                                                                    entered the search term ‘used cars.’ After
                                                                                                                    the ploy was exposed in a blog by a Google
                                                                                                                    software engineer, the California based web
                                                                                                                    giant downgraded the BMW site’s page
                                                                                                                    ranking to zero to ensure it would not
                                                                                                                    appear near the top of any search. Google
                                                                                                                    guidelines require that websites are
                                                                                                                    designed for users rather than search
                                                                                                                    engines.

Photos: CJ Hubbard                                                                                                                                Tim Ferguson

                                                                                                                                                    AUTOmotive      |7
      TechHead
 Techhead likes nightvision, head-up displays, and GPS units that sound like 80s TV characters. And the new
 Honda Civic. Because it looks like a spaceship.

 Today, Techhead names an album:
 Hybrid Theory and The Future That Never Was

     T    here’s no getting away from it - hybrid
          vehicles are the next step in
     automotive evolution. This is undoubtedly
                                                         flighty (groan) solution was espoused. During
                                                         the decades following World War II, engineers
                                                         at Rover and Chrysler - particularly, though
                                                                                                             do not have a very much of a power band.
                                                                                                             However, many modern turbines are
                                                                                                             multistage, partially negating this difficulty.
     A Good Thing. But hybrids are only a step           there were others - investigated the possibility    More significantly the advent of infinitely
     along the way, for they bring inherent              of using gas turbines to power automobiles.         variable transmission (IVT) could allow a
     disadvantages and still rely on fossil fuels.       Initial results were extremely pleasing, the        turbine to run at optimal speed all of the time,
         The holy grail of automotive engineering        bespoke turbines proving extremely reliable,        eliminating the lag by having the gearbox do
     and design is lightweight - and this is where       with great power-to-weight ratios, and              all the work. This is proven technology that
     hybrids lose some of their appeal. A hybrid         delivering a very smooth driving experience.        has even been tested on Formula One cars.
     takes an internal combustion (IC) engine,           Rover’s JET1 project took a modified, road          Fuel economy should also be taken care of
     albeit usually a smallish one, and adds a           legal P4 chassis to 152mph…in 1952;                 by the use of modern electronic fuel
     bunch of heavyweight addenda to it, in the          Chrysler were so serious they even ran a            management systems that can much better
     form of batteries, generators and re-               public trial of 50 Turbine Cars in the late 60s,    control the delivery of fuel into the turbine,
     generators, and electric motors. The                and were still considering a full production        especially in combination with an IVT, as
     efficiency comes from using these                   vehicle in the 80s. There was also fleeting         there would no longer be wasted energy
     components to boost the economy of the IC;          success for turbine powered racing cars -           speeding the thing up and slowing it down.
     the inefficiency is in carting around all the       including a near win first time out at the              Fuelling is actually something of a trump
     extra heft.                                                                 Indianapolis 500.           card for a turbine, as the really neat thing
         Manufacturers can     Fuelling is something of a                            There were,             about them is they can run on virtually
     potentially do a bunch                                                      however, three major        anything. This includes the gin in the
     of really cool stuff with trump card for a turbine,                         obstacles that led to the   sideboard and the perfume on the dresser,
     this technology. The
     electric motors could
                               as they can run on                                concepts’ collapse: poor
                                                                                 throttle response, with
                                                                                                             but also all current derivatives of fossil fuel,
                                                                                                             and renewables such as corn and Soya oil -
     be mounted inside the     virtually anything -                              lag of up to seven          without even flushing the tank. The
     driven wheels - though                                                      seconds on the early        manufacturing issue is also debatable. While
     we’d hate to consider     including gin and perfume                         engines; fuel economy,      they are expensive to make, this is mostly
     the cost if you curbed                                                      think Wankel rotary         because they are not mass-manufactured in
     them - and could even be used for                   engine bad; cost, in the sense that they were       the same way the IC engine has been. They
     performance gain instead of economy, but            pricey to manufacture, and although highly          do require heat resistant materials, but a gas
     that rather defeats the point. The real             reliable the nature of the design was such          turbine, in very basic terms, consists of a
     purpose, however, is the future - where             that should something go wrong, it would            shaft, a compressor, and the turbine proper -
     experience with electric drivetrains will make      inevitably be expensively wrong. There was          a rather small number of parts; with modern
     the transition to fully electric cars powered by    also a slight issue with the heat of the            bearings they don’t even need any significant
     hydrogen fuel cells much easier. From this,         exhaust.                                            cooling systems.
     we can surmise Toyota is once again playing             Of these problems, the first two can be             This makes for a very smooth power
     a long game - but that doesn’t help the planet      dispatched in light of other recent                 delivery (even more so if you factor in the IVT
     right now.                                          technological developments. The throttle            again), and extremely compact dimensions
         Alright, so if hybrids are flawed, what’s the   response issue relates to turbines having a         for the performance. If you compare the
     alternative? Well, once upon a time, a rather       preferred rotational velocity, and as such they     Bugatti Veyron’s engine to a similarly powerful



                                                         Techhead fears lighting systems that switch themselves on, rain sensing
 TechDread                                               wipers, and the Mk2 Ford Focus because it looks like blancmange. We
                                                         never said he was rational.

     The car that drives itself

     H   onda has begun the process of
         eliminating the weakest link from the
     driving experience - that is, you. Acronym-
                                                         from the vehicle in front, speeding up and
                                                         slowing down as appropriate, thus
                                                         “reducing the burden of motorway driving
                                                                                                             with what Techhead is certain must be a
                                                                                                             perfectly annoyance-free beep to remind
                                                                                                             them - or the automatic controls
     alanche, ahoy!                                      and enhancing driver comfort and safety,”           disengage themselves.
        Introducing ADAS, the Advanced Driver            sings the press release. The trick bit is              On the positive side, this could help
     Assist System, which combines Adaptive              pairing the ACC with LKAS. Using a                  reduce fatigue on long trips, and Honda
     Cruise Control (ACC) with something                 camera near the rear view mirror, LKAS              even claims it improves the driver’s state
     called Lane Keeping Assist System                   locks-on to the lane you’re travelling in           of alert. But we can’t help getting all Philip
     (predictably, LKAS). In case you haven’t            and steers the car to keep you centrally            K. Dick, and imagining the possibilities
     figured it out, this uses ‘millimetre wave’         positioned, once again “enhancing driver            should the technology go wrong. Our
     radar in combination with a camera to               comfort and safety.” Switch both of these           greatest concern is, what happens if the
     allow Honda’s upcoming top-spec Accord              on and you’ve got a car with autopilot.             driver actually falls asleep? We’re
     to drive itself on the motorway.                        Honda does stress that at no point is           perfectly capable of hitting the snooze
        The ACC is a familiar proposition,               the car completely out of the driver’s              button on our alarm clock and barely even
     common on high-end BMs, Mercs and                   control. The systems can be overridden at           registering it. What exactly is the
     Lexi; you set a preferred speed, as with            any time. More significantly, even under            operational parameter for the computer
     conventional cruise, and the radar in the           full ADAS implementation, the driver must           when the electronic equivalent of “OH
     nose of the car maintains a safe distance           tap the steering wheel every ten seconds -          $#@%! THEY’VE LOST CONSCIOUSNESS”

8|    AUTOmotive
                      ne...?
              e turbi
Bring back th

                                                           All speed, no limit?
                        turbine,
       you’ll find the turbine is not only much lighter
       (around 136kg, in comparison to
       approximately 390kg) but smaller as well.
       The only remaining problem is to deal with
       the exhaust heat - but if you make like


                                                          S
       Formula One, where the cars direct the                     o, the government has finally decided         carriageway inside of them. I’m pretty sure I
       exhaust over the rear wing, you should                     that boxes on a stick aren’t the be all       could accurately guess which of them was
       actually be able to harness this to the benefit            and end all of road safety; they’re           paying greater attention, nine times out of ten.
       of roadholding, without even increasing            throttling back from the proposed camera                  Ok, so it’s only my personal estimation
       aerodynamic drag.                                  onslaught. Hoo-bloody-rah! The question is:           between me and an unwelcome interaction
           Admittedly, there are one or two crinkles      what’s next? A change to the national                 with a crash barrier - but I believe we have an
       to be sorted out - but the research that’s         motorway speed limit, perhaps…                        acceptable status quo.
       currently going on in Japan should fix those           No, hold on - this isn’t what you’re thinking.        The problem for the government is that this
       straight. Still not getting it? Imagine hooking    Seriously, it isn’t. I may well have been on an       is a status quo where a law is being broken.
       a small turbine up to an electric motor, and       extremely lightly trafficked M1 the other night,      That’s a difficult situation for any government
       creating a turbine-electric hybrid. Such a         physically restraining my right foot - but I am       to be in, even if we do have one of the safest
       format would allow the turbine to rotate at its    so far from advocating upping the 70mph               motorway networks in Europe. They’ve tried to
       optimal speed because all it would be doing        restriction I may as well face the accusations        increase the enforcement, but when the
       is providing power to the electrics - the best     of Greenpeace membership right now.                   modus operandi is as aggravating as the
       of both worlds, as the turbine would be light,         I so wanted to do it - straight-six the road at   Gatso it’s hardly surprising that this nearly
       able to run on anything, and given flexibility     maximum velocity - but I couldn’t. They’ve won.       ended in tears. Put too much pressure on the
       by the sparky motor. As it happens, we’re          Via a process of intimidation and propaganda          public as they go about their daily lives and you
       cheating: GM tried it already with a variation     ‘the message’ has undoubtedly gotten                  risk your re-election no matter how nasty the
       of the EV1 in the late-1990s. Their                through, in the form of four distinct thought         habit. Imagine trying to outlaw tobacco - self-
       conclusion? Too expensive. But Techhead            processes to stop me: social responsibility;          inflicted death in a tube, but built into the
       thinks it might just be the right time to try      fear for my license; the cost of petrol/the end       routine of millions of people. Impossible.
       again.                                             of the planet; and the great big unpredictable            Make like the cigarettes then, and anti-
                                                          unknown of my fellow road users - I’ve got far        illegalise speeding by raising the limit. But
                                                          too much imagination to ignore the possibility        there is a big, big problem with this. You can’t
                                                          of someone pulling out in front of me without         just raise the limit - because if the limit was,
                                                          having first looked in their mirror.                  say, 80mph, more people would make the
                                                              The intriguing thing about the contemporary       decision to do 95 or 100 as that no longer
                                                          status of our high-speed road network is that         represents as big a leap from the upper
                                                          somehow it works. That’s possibly a little bit of     boundary as before. Given that some people
                                                          a controversial argument, so I should explain         will go faster - in order to overtake, to simply
                                                          what I mean. Ignoring the congestion, the poor        be in front - the speeds get greater, and the
                                                          lane discipline and the unnecessary journeys,         risks run higher. No matter how good my
                                                          consider the speed limit itself. It’s 70mph,          guesswork might be, the driver remains the
                                                          right - yet everyone knows that it is practical       weakest link, and this amplifies the odds of
                                                          and safe to travel faster than that, and those        anything ending with an ouch.
                                                          who feel comfortable with this paradox quite              Leaving the limit alone and lessening the
                                                          happily do. Assuming the circumstances                lens action? Sounds like more of the same,
                                                          aren’t absurd or unsafe you’d realistically be        doesn’t it - except I’d like to make a
                                                          unlucky to get pulled over by a traffic police        suggestion. Take all the money currently being
                                                          officer at any speed less than about 85 or            spent on Polaroid film or whatever and invest
                                                          even 90mph. You can’t be sure about this, but         in policing instead.
                                                          it’s a pretty solid bet.                                  Proper policing by well trained officers in
                                topilot
    Push button for au                                        And that’s why the current system is so           clearly marked cars, making rational
                                                          successful - we have a legal limit, and an            judgments, based on actual circumstances
                                                          accepted ‘limit’. There is no doubt that the          represents an opportunity for safe progress
                                                          vast majority of vehicles on our roads today          and real life to exist in an ambiguous harmony.
                                                          are more than capable of safely travelling at         And ambiguity in this instance is great
       gets processed by its brain? Can the car
                                                          speeds well in excess of 70mph. Driving               because it makes the average motorist err on
       safely negotiate a path to the hard
                                                          quickly demands more of your concentration -          the side of caution, rather than aggressively
       shoulder? The thing has only got radar
                                                          the more you concentrate, the safer you               making time between the camera sites they
       pointing out the front, after all.
                                                          should be. I usually feel much better about the       know as their definite antagonists. Give us a
          In theory a great, great idea. But,
                                                          guy or girl who passes me at 80 plus on the           police presence, but not a police state - is that
       hmmm. Techhead is not yet convinced.
                                                          outside than I do about the individual dozing at      kind of balance really so hard to achieve?
                                                          less than 60 in the centre lane with empty
       The “Honda Accord ADAS” is set for
       release in March, based on the 2.4 EX                                                                                                     CJ Hubbard
       Automatic. Price is expected to be
       around £27,000 [Ouch - Eds].

                                                                                                                                                    AUTOmotive      |9

				
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