AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Driving in downtown London may be getting a little more difficult. There’s talk of banning older cars from parts of the UK capital if they don’t meet certain emissions requirements.
London’s world famous department store will have a MINI Goodwood on display from April 8 to April 22, celebrating the delivery of the first customer cars. Co-developed by the infamous Rolls-Royce design team, the car features luxurious amenities that would normally be seen in a Rolls-Royce.
Pump up your tires and pump up your tank, there’s a new kind of fuel in town thanks to the Dearman Engine Company.
Well, that’s not totally true. The fuel is actually air in liquid form, so it isn’t actually new, but the London-based company that formed just under a year ago has managed to develop an engine that runs on it.
The system works by storing air at -256 degrees Fahrenheit in a tank before pumping it into a cylinder with what Dearman calls a heat exchange fluid. Once inside the chamber, the liquid air rapidly expands to propel the piston in the same fashion as a traditional internal combustion engine. The coolest part is that the system’s exhaust only emits air.
Tech stories about revolutionary new systems aren’t all that rare and they usually end by essentially saying “it’s really cool, but don’t expect it to ever be mainstream” and while that’s probably still the case here, Dearman is quick to point out that their motor relies solely on existing materials.
Truth be told, the air is actually just an energy catalyst. That means automotive applications would require a secondary power source to keep the tank chilled. It also seems that liquid air used as fuel would slowly disappear from cars that sat for a long time.
The system is currently being tested for real-world feasibility, but if it proves to be a workable system we speculate that it could play into a new gasoline or electric hybrid drivetrain somewhere in the future. If it ever happens, you could be “gassing up” with an air compressor while you check tire pressure. Watch the video after the jump to learn more.
The controversial London (UK) Emissions Zone strikes again, this time with more stringent smog rules due to come into effect on January 3rd, 2012.
These new regs will require that all heavy goods vehicles (essentially large trucks, buses and other specialist vehicles like mobile cranes) entering London be Euro 4 emissions compliant, otherwise their operators will face fines of £1,000 (around $1,600) or a daily charge of £200 (roughly $300).
For drivers of smaller commercial vehicles, such as light delivery vans like Ford Transits and Mercedes Sprinters, their vehicles will have to meet Euro 3 emissions requirements or risk fines of £500 (approximately $800) or a daily charge of £100 ($160).
However, for small businesses and independent tradespeople operating within the city limits of London, the new regs are yet another fly in the ointment, as they eliminate the ability to operate older vans (those more than 10 years old), without facing hefty fines. To make matters worse, officials are taking a hardline stance on the issue.
“The penalties are such that non-compliance is simply not an option,” said Natalie Chapman, head of the UK Freight Transport Association’s Policy for London.
Given that so far, London’s Low Emissions Zone has had a marginal effect on reducing pollution in the city, putting added strain on the shoulders of small businesses, especially at a time of economic austerity in Britain, is hardly sound thinking when it comes to government policy.
Toyota’s Prius plug-in hybrid has been testing in London, all the better to usurp the Continent’s diesels in favor of its “27% better” electric cord.
What does this “27% better” get you? Well, Toyota says, the Prius plug-in takes 27% less fuel than a diesel after a full charge, which takes around 72 minutes. As a city car, the Prius excels in small, slow journeys: the tests in London show that the average journey has been 7.3 miles at around 17 miles per hour. In electric-only mode, the Prius plug-in can drive 12.5 miles, but that hasn’t dissuaded owners from pushing the official limit—22% of drivers went beyond this figure, all the way up to 62mph.
The Prius plug-in will officially launch in Europe early next year. The tests are expected to take three years, and so far they’ve only started last summer. With regular recharging points, Toyota hopes, the Prius plug-in could be a viable alternative to diesels. We’ll see about that, as long as there aren’t any road trips to John O’Groats.
You’re going to need a boat to chase down this ice cream man. Float on up to the HMS Flake 99, the world’s first amphibious ice cream truck.
Making its way down the Thames in London, the Flake 99 was named after an ice cream treat and commissioned by Cadbury to celebrate Britain’s National Ice Cream Week (otherwise known as the best week ever!). If you’re a London boater, make plans to be on the water and pick yourself up a double scoop. There are even plans to possibly bring the Flake 99 several vacation beaches and even to Venice.
Making it a bona fide ice cream truck is its traditional-style megaphone that serenades boaters with a jingly tune. You’ll see it coming a kilometre away thanks to its “Give us a wave!” suggestion painted on the side. There’s no word on how it handles the waves or how easily its engine gets flooded.
Watch the Flake 99 in action after the jump.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, wants the U.S. embassy to cover the costs the president’s motorcade has racked up driving through the city’s downtown core. The U.K. capital has special traffic congestion fines for vehicles caught on the roads without the proper permission, and Obama’s limo (aka “The Beast”) falls in the group, as do the rest of the vehicles in his motorcade.
In addition to these fines, Johnson wants the U.S. embassy to pay up on past fines of this sort, which now total the astronomical sum of $8.7 million.
The U.S embassy claims it is immune to paying the charge because it is technically a tax, which should be reserved for UK residents alone. The mayor spoke to the President during a state banquet at Buckingham Palace explaining that the Presidential fleet would not be receiving special treatment.
“The presidential motorcade is subject to the congestion charge,” said a London transport official in a statement. “Any vehicle, regardless of where it is registered, which is identified within the congestion charging zone during the hours of operation without a valid charge, discount or exemption may be subject to a penalty.”
The U.S. Embassy remains insistent it will not pay the fines, including the fee for ‘The Beast’ and the rest of the President’s motorcade.
[Source: Daily Mail]
The Jaguar E-Type is arguably the most beautiful sports car ever made. Ever since it was introduced back in 1961, many car companies have tried to copy its iconic shape, yet none have gotten the same effect.
Even Jaguar have tried to revive the E-type design in recent history with cars like their XK, but have failed to capture the elegance and beauty of the original.
A thing of beauty it might be, but an E-Type is hardly the most reliable car you can own. So what to do if you want to own a E-Type but also want modern technology and reliability thrown into the package? You get yourself an Eagle E-Type.
Eagle has been modernizing the E-Type since 1982 and their attention to detail have brought them much fame. Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson even named the Eagle E-Type as his pick for “The Car of the Century.”
Now Eagle is set to bring a new toy to the annual automotive party called Salon Privé. This annual event in London, U.K. attracts all the exotic car makes, and Eagle hopes to make a positive impression with their new E-Type Speedster.
Judging by the pictures, they should have no problem attracting admiring glances. It should perform as well as it looks also. The 4.7-liter, straight-six cylinder engine produces 310 hp and 340 lb/ft of torque, paired to a five-speed manual gearbox. Combine that with its weight of just 2,222 lbs., and it gives you the power to weight ratio of the new Porsche 911 Turbo.
Eagle believes this Speedster model will accelerate from 0-60 mph in under five-seconds, and can top 160 mph.
No prices have been announced yet, but if you happen to be in London between June 22 to 24, you can see this car in person in the Syon Park section of Salon Privé.
Residents of Britain’s largest City were surprised to see a life-size car made out of Play-Doh parked up on a street this week.
The car was part of a publicity stunt to mark the UK launch of the Chevrolet Orlando and was created by eight model makers over a two week period.
Research conducted by General Motors proved that among more than 1000 UK adults surveyed, Play-Doh ranked at the top of the nostalgic toy list. Second was Kinder Eggs, third was LEGO; while fourth was Action Man.
In response to the life-size Play-Doh mockup of the Orlando, Chevrole UK spokesman Les Hutton said, “the new Orlando deserves another look and we believe this mould-breaking MPV is a real head-turner – especially when it’s made from tonnes of the nation’s most popular aqua-marine putty . Hopefully our launch will appeal to the inner-child in every parent and it will become a firm family favourite.” Fair comment.
[Source: News Press]
Current London Mayor, Boris Johnson, has revealed plans for the city to install 1,300 Electric Vehicle charging stations within its boundaries. This new network of stations, known as Source London, is planned to be put in place by 2013.
In a recent statement, Johnson said, ”already there are more electric drivers in London than anywhere else in the UK, but we are now entering an incredibly exciting period in electric motoring. Major manufacturers are gearing up to launch more affordable, practical electric cars over the next few years, whilst the cost of traditional fuels are making petrol-free driving an increasingly attractive option.”
He then went on to add ”by opting for electric vehicles in greater numbers, Londoners will also help to cut pollution levels and improve the city’s quality of living.” UK motorists currently endure some of the highest levels of taxation, both for road licensing and fuel in the world and with the a proposed annual membership fee of around £100, the new scheme , which will feature a single ‘visual identity’ network currently looks rather attractive.
Johnson’s original plan called for an ambitious 25,000 individual charging stations, but the Greater London Authority was forced to reduce the number largely because of cost considerations. Nevertheless, the 1300 stations green-lighted for the project will likely help forge a reputation for London as the ‘Electric Vehicle Capital of Europe.’
In perhaps the ultimate example of schadenfreude, more details have surfaced surrounding the story of the turquoise Koenigsegg and Lamborghini that were given the boot outside the ultra-ritzy Harrods department store in London.
It turns out that the owners of the supercars were also members of the Qatari royal family, the owners of Harrods. Most people take some joy in seeing the wealthy get taken down a peg, but when you consider that they just bought Harrods for $2.3 billion, it almost makes sense for them to park in an illegal but convenient spot. Not only can they afford to pay the fines, they can probably afford to abandon their cars and buy another one if it proves to be more expedient than waiting for a traffic warden to come remove the device.
New proposals like a London-style “congestion charge” and highway tolls for special lanes that would move faster are being floated both in Canada and the United States, as major cities grapple with traffic problems and infrastructure that wasn’t meant to deal with an increasing number of cars.
An article in the Chicago Tribune details how a government-sponsored panel concluded that new strategies, involving tolls on key expressways, involving fees on certain lanes during peak demand periods, may be necessary to discourage cars from driving into the city, and collect revenue from drivers willing to pay a premium to for the privilege of driving.
Minneapolis and Orange County, California have both implemented similar schemes, while Toronto, Canada’s largest city, with a population of 5.6 million people is also debating the whether to enact road tolls to discourage drivers in the downtown core.
The key element in all of this is public transit. Toronto has a fairly comprehensive system, that is expensive and fault, but the choice of many due to convenience, and the high costs of owning a car. London’s charge is similarly successful, by making those who can afford it pay the charge, while most people who wouldn’t have driven previously continue to take the subway.
[Source: Chicago Tribune]
Thieves in London, England tried make off with the wheels from a $266,000 Aston Martin DBS, but appear to have given up after taking 3 of the 4 wheels.
The dim-witted criminals left the car with bricks under the rocker panels, and a jack wedged under the rear quarter panel, both of which mangled the delicate aluminum bodywork. Total damage is estimated at an eye-watering $43,000, with the wheels costing $6,500 alone. The DBS is famous for its role in James Bond movies, like Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.
[Source: The Daily Mail]