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Posted by: RSSBOT
2 hours ago
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Rodin FZero: V10 weapon aims to be world's fastest car

Rodin FZero 2022 viewed top-down

The FZero will be a “no limits” track-day car

New Zealand firm's £1.8m creation weighs less than an F1 car and is due a road version

An all-new, “no limits” track-day car, intended literally to be “the fastest car on earth”, has been revealed by start-up Rodin Cars – and a road version is planned to follow.

Powered by a bespoke mid-mounted, 4.0-litre hybrid V10 turbo petrol engine, the enclosed single-seater FZero weighs around 50kg less than a current Formula 1 car and has been developed “without the limitations of road or racing regulations” for customers who will each pay £1.8 million for the privilege. 

Company boss David Dicker, an Australian computer billionaire, says first deliveries could arrive as early as next summer, with the first batch limited to 27 units.

Speaking from a newly opened UK Rodin base at Donington Park circuit, Dicker adds that he expects the initial prototype to be running by Christmas.

Dicker, who came to prominence in the UK when he took over the defunct Lotus T125 single seater project and modified it extensively to create the Rodin FZed, told Autocar that he had been working on the FZero “for a couple of years” but was encouraged to reveal details when Red Bull recently announced its Adrian Newey-designed RB17 track hypercar.

“That car gave us confidence,” says Dicker. “We figured that if they reckoned they could sell 50 cars costing around £5m each, there has to be a market for cars like ours. Now all we have to do is make a car people will like.”

Dicker, an inveterate car collector and keen Ferrari racer, has closely controlled every detail of the new car, which will be made at a purpose-built factory in New Zealand’s South Island, where the firm is based. 

Almost everything will be made in house, Dicker said, apart from the bespoke V10 engine, which will be created and developed by Lincolnshire-based race engine expert Neil Brown Engineering.

It has maximum power of 986bhp at 9000rpm and 670lb ft of torque at 7250rpm, combined with a 174bhp electric motor that acts as starter, alternator and power regenerator and “helps fill in the torque gaps”.  

The total power of 1160bhp drives the rear wheels through an all-new Ricardo-built eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Dicker said the FZero’s chassis uses an F1-like carbonfibre tub chassis and a race-style all-independent suspension that includes special hydraulic height-adjusters that maintain ride height as aero loads build with speed.  

The enveloping body, developed using CFD, will provide much better aerodynamic efficiency and stability than an open-wheeler, Dicker explained. The closed cockpit canopy will protect the driver from the high-speed buffeting that affects open-wheelers and detracts from the driving  experience. 

The FZero is a large car for its remarkably low weight, with an overall length of 5.5 metres, a width of 2.2 metres, a 3.0-metre wheelbase but a height of just 1.13 metres. It’s all about developing aerodynamic downforce and minimising drag, said Dicker.

The car also bristles with new materials and new technology: the exhaust manifolds are 3D-printed in titanium, while the charge pipes and plenums are carbonfibre composite.

The wheels are 18in forged magnesium, especially made for the project by OZ Racing. 

Straight-talking Dicker is unashamed about taking the name of a famous sculptor, whose best-known work is a statue called The Thinker, for his car company. “A car is entirely a product of human thought,” he said, “and all those animal names people use are ridiculous.”

Q&A: David Dicker, Founder of Rodin Cars

When did you decide to make the ultimate car?

“I decided in about 2016 that I had the money to do it, no matter what. I had to know I had a decent buffer, because I wasn’t going to give up my lifestyle to do it. A lot of guys get into projects like this and spend every dollar they have. If it fails, they’re screwed.”

Why launch now?

“Red Bull’s RB17 was probably the catalyst. We’ve been working on this car for years but figured that if they think there’s a market for 50 cars at £5 million, then there’s got to be room for us. They gave us confidence.”

How can you afford the capital outlay it takes to build a £1.8 million car?

“You’ve got to make money to do it. I started Dicker Data, a computer distribution business, in 1978, and it went public in 2011. Our original target was to deliver 10 computers a month. I always thought it would work, but it has done a fair bit better than I expected. Today we do $8-9 million worth of business every single day.”

In a way, your £1.8 million per car seems almost cheap. How can you do it for that? 

“One big reason is that we’re going to make everything ourselves — all but the springs, seals and bearings. We even make our own bolts. We will do the engine castings and make the crankshaft. The crankshaft is currently made by a Formula 1 supplier and costs £23,000. But the billet to make that piece costs £795. We can save a lot just there.”

Are aerodynamics the reason for having an enclosed cockpit?

“It’s a no-brainer, but there are other reasons too. Open-cockpit cars can be tricky to drive, because your head moves about so much at speed; with a canopy, you can stay serene. And because the cabin is air-conditioned, you can run the car in any market. That’s a big problem in the Middle East, say, or even Australia.” 

The FZed, the car you make now, is an open-wheeler. Why change to an enveloping body with the FZero?

“Mainly because a full body means you don’t have to deal with those whirling monstrosities on each corner, the wheels. F1 would have gone to full bodies years ago if regulations had allowed.”

A car that looks this good raises the question of a road version. Will you build one?

“We’ve talked a lot about road cars, and we’re breaking our necks to do one. But let’s get this first batch of FZeros built and delivered first, and then we will see.”

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Posted by: RSSBOT
2 hours ago
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Bentley Batur: new Mulliner car to arrive on 21 August

Autocar render bentley hero front

Autocar's impression of how the Bentley Mulliner Batur may look

Limited-edition Bentley Mulliner Batur will preview a new design language for the brand’s electrified models

Bentley will reveal the latest limited-production creation from in-house coachbuilding arm Mulliner at Monterey Car Week on 21 August.

The Bentley Mulliner Batur will provide a first look at the brand’s new design language, which will set its first electric models apart from its current V6, V8 and W12-engined cars.

Autocar previously reported that the Batur will use an enhanced version of Bentley's turbocharged W12 engine with outputs of around 650bhp and 664lb ft of torque. That should allow it to accelerate from 0-60mph in less than four seconds, with a top speed beyond 200mph.

Nonetheless, it will influence the first Bentley EV – due in 2025 – which is expected to be a high-riding saloon using the Volkswagen Group’s upcoming SSP platform and offering more than 300 miles of range.

A video published on Twitter offers a sneak preview of the Batur, featuring a large, flat grille area with a red-accented, cross-hatched design.

The new language also influences the badgework. Whereas the Bentley Bentayga SUV features cursive badging, the Batur gets a low-profile block font.

The Batur, named after a lake in Indonesia, will be fully revealed at 4am BST on 21 August.

It's expected to be similarly limited as the Bentley Mulliner Bacalar, of which just 12 units were sold, four of which remain to be delivered to customers. 

Mulliner has evolved into a key component of Bentley as a business. The brand attributed its record-setting profit for the first half of 2022 to the Created by Mulliner personalisation programme.

Mulliner’s role in informing Bentley’s future – especially concerning the marque’s Beyond100 sustainability plans – is likely to grow as a result.

As for the Beyond100 plan, the Crewe-based firm has committed to only offering EV or PHEV models from 2026 and total electrification by 2030.

Aside from the EV saloon, the firm is likely to launch EV replacements for its existing models – the Bentayga, Bentley Continental GT and Bentley Flying Spur saloon – with one model per year from 2025.

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Posted by: RSSBOT
3 hours ago
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New Kia EV9 primed as premium electric range-topper

Kia EV9 front side driving 1

The Kia EV9 will be the firm's largest ever production car

The car will be Kia’s largest ever production model; is expected to hit UK showrooms in 2023

Kia will look to take on Range Rover with its new EV9 electric SUV, which is set to arrive in the UK next year.

Spotted testing on European roads for the first time, the Kia EV9 will be the Korean brand's largest European model so far, sitting at the top of its range.

It was previewed as a concept earlier this year, when Kia confirmed it would be targeting buyers of premium SUVs. However, it doesn’t expect to sell the EV9 in great numbers, due to its size.

The prototype seen testing was camouflaged, but Kia's European design chief, Gregory Guillaume, described the concept as “a close preview” – although some aspects aren't expected to make it to production, including the rear-hinged rear doors and the lack of a B-pillar.

The new pictures of the SUV show off its large size, wide front end and hinted-at horizontal headlights.

Its long wheelbase (3100mm) is also evident, with the EV9’s size the largest that can be achieved on the Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), the same as used by the Kia EV6.

The E-GMP also has an 800V electrical architecture, enabling rapid-charging at rates of up to 350kW.

It's expected to be launched with a dual-motor, four-wheel-drive range-topper, as well as an entry-level variant fitted with a single motor powering the rear axle.

Significantly, the EV9 will be the first Kia to be offered with the firm’s Automode autonomous driving technology. It has also been designed to utilise both over-the-air software updates and feature-on-demand (FOD).

Kia is aiming for FOD to become a key part of its business model in the future. This could allow for cars to be sold in fewer variants, with owners then buying the specific functions they want. Other car makers are also looking at this.

Further details of the EV9, such as range and price, will emerge closer to the car's on-sale date.

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Posted by: RSSBOT
8 hours ago
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Paul Stephens 993R

993r 2022 001 action
British Porsche 911 specialist aims to deliver the optimum 993 experience

While Californian Porsche tuners get bags of attention, British specialist Paul Stephens has long been quietly going about buying, selling, maintaining and, under the Autoart banner, tweaking old Porsche 911s at his site near the Essex-Suffolk border.Recently a customer asked him to take a 993-generation 911 and turn it all up a bit – about 25% all round, please, Paul – and this is the result. They’ve called it the 993R, and while we have here a development car, it will become generally available.It’s based on the basic Carrera 2, so unlike the hotter 993s, which had wider bodies, this car is as narrow as it can be. I quite like that idea. Then a lot of weight has come out of it, much from the interior but also plenty outside with the adoption of an aluminium bonnet, lighter side and rear glass, composite (meaning really good glass-reinforced plastic) front and rear bumpers and sunroof deletion. The seams are then welded (and a roof gutter removed) and a discreet roll cage is installed.Inside, all the panels and the dashboard are removed and the wiring loom replaced. The central locking, glovebox, stereo and electric windows are removed and the air-con is replaced with an electric system mounted at the front. There are no airbags. The seats are carbonfibre Recaro items. All told, weight has been reduced from 1370kg to 1220kg.Meanwhile, power has taken a hike, the 3.6-litre flat six enlarged to 3.8 litres, getting lightened conrods; barrels and pistons from a 993 RSR; a 997 GT3 oil pump, crankshaft and bearings; new camshafts; and individual throttle bodies. It now puts out 330bhp at 7400rpm and 265lb ft of torque at 5675rpm, which sounds like a rounded, nice amount; although if you want more, you can have 360bhp as an option.The brakes, because this is a road car and lighter than the original, are the iron rotors from a 993 Carrera RS, rather than carbon-ceramics. There’s still an anti-lock system.The wheels are 18in items from a 996 GT3 RS, shod with 215/40 front and 275/35 rear Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres.The suspension linkages are Porsche Motorsport parts, rather than the originals, because they offer greater adjustability. They get adjustable dampers from Tractive and a set-up by a specialist called Centre Gravity. There’s a small knob located by the door jamb to walk through the five stages. I start in one, the softest, and nestle in for the ride.The driving position is good, if slightly offset, with a snug seat, relatively upright, and very firm set of drilled pedals. A fantastic Momo steering wheel, too, while the usual plastic column stalks have been replaced by aluminium ones and the six-speed manual transmission – a standard unit – has a new gearknob.This is a good, uncomplicated place to work – albeit if you want sat-nav, you will have to sucker your smartphone to the window.It’s well finished, too. A member of the Walklett family (the founders of Ginetta, if you remember) is a composite specialist and supplies the panels to which the finishing materials are stuck; and the fit and finish in here, especially given that it’s light and bespoke, feels first-rate. Not showy, not overly complex, just simple. I’m on board with that.Ditto the driving experience. In stiffening the shell, the steering has become much more precise than I remember in a 993 (although I will admit that it has been a while). It has tremendous accuracy, medium weighting that loads up well in corners and very little unwanted kickback.There’s a great pleasure in driving a car only 1735mm wide, too, so even though this one is left-hand drive (it’s expected to spend time continental touring), it’s easily placed in the UK.On British roads, you don’t need any more than the first stage on the damper settings, which gives fine body control but softens the edges from harsh surface imperfections.I can imagine that, overseas or on a circuit, the stiffer settings might come into their own; but in its kindest setting, it retains a thoroughly pleasing and, above all, 911-ish balance, with a lightly loaded front end that wants help getting planted on the way into corners, by keeping some braking force on during turn-in. Then ease onto the throttle and as the balance changes so the steering lightens and the engine sings and sings – to more than 8000rpm without complaint.The gearshift is crisp and the throttle response fantastic, so blipping downshifts is a riot, but given that the car weighs so little and the engine is relatively flexible, you can just stroke it along in, say, third gear (or even second, if you must), and it still delivers a neatly distilled, near-classic 911 experience – as was intended.At its limits? Those are very high, and I would rather not be finding out on the road in a one-of-one customer’s development car.Its status also affects the price. Autoart reckons it has spent £500k on the project, but series cars should end up cheaper. Until we know what that is, it can’t have a star rating, but I imagine it will be near the top end.

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Yesterday, 12:01 PM
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Meyers Manx beach buggy returns with electric power for 2023

Meyers Manx electric 2.0 front

Original design is largely unchanged – but petrol flat-four motor is no more

Bruce Meyers' legendary 1960s cruiser reinvented for the electric era with 202bhp and 300-mile range

The cult-classic Meyers Manx – a Volkswagen Beetle-based beach buggy that dates back to the 1960s – has been reinvented as a retro-styled EV for 2023.

It has been revealed quietly in Malibu ahead of a debut at Monterey Car Week in California later this month. Until then, details are thin on the ground, but clearly the company is committed to the spirit of the original Manx and has sought to preserve it even while swapping its air-cooled flat four for batteries and electric motors.

The design of the Manx 2.0 – as it is called – holds true to the general design conceived in 1964 by the legendary Bruce Meyers, who sold the marque in late 2020 after 56 years at the helm, before passing away in March 2021 at the age of 94.

It is built around a familiar one-piece bodyshell – though now aluminium, rather than fibreglass – and apart from a lightly modernised rear end, deeper-dish steel wheels and an overhauled cabin, it is difficult to tell apart from its namesake. Though electrically assisted steering, an electronic handbrake and disc brakes all round (regenerative at the rear) help to bring the formula up to date. 

The creation is the work of Freeman Thomas, who became CEO of Meyers Manx LLC following its founder’s departure in 2020, working under new owner firm Trousdale Ventures. Thomas has worked as a designer for a raft of high-profile car marques, including Porsche, DaimlerChrysler, Ford and Volkswagen - where, notably, he found fame in 1994 with his design for the radical Concept 1, which evolved into the New Beetle later that decade.

He will give more details of the reinvented Manx next week, but previously spoke of his enthusiasm for the classic buggy’s design: “As a California native, I grew up on the beaches of southern California, surrounded by its unique and creative lifestyle culture.  

"As I became an automotive designer, the philosophy of Bruce Meyers became a huge inspiration, and I'm sure I'm not alone in thanking him for injecting a huge dose of disruptive creativity into the automotive scene."

The Manx 2.0 will be sold with a choice of 20kWh and 40kWh lithium ion battery options, for a range of either 150 or 300 miles, which will send their reserves to a pair of motors at the rear, producing a combined 202bhp and 240lb ft, and capable of sending the open-sided EV from 0-60mph in a claimed 4.5sec. Depending on battery, the new Manx is claimed to weigh between 680kg and 750kg - which makes it one of the lightest road-legal EVs yet.

Fast charging at speeds of up to 60kW will be available as an optional extra. 

The underpinnings are supplied by an unnamed US-based partner firm, and final assembly will take place in the brand's historical home state of California. 

Meyers will build 50 examples throughout 2023 to essentially be used as development cars, before ramping up to higher volumes and delivering to general customers in 2024. It has not revealed pricing yet, but the Manx 2.0 is expected to command a sizeable premium over its humble combustion-engined forebear. 

Revealing the new EV, Sarofim said: "The Meyers Manx has always been a symbol of joy, simplicity and purity.  It’s the solution to the complexity of life. Continuing the legacy of the Meyers Manx connects us with the optimism of the 1960s California culture, an optimism we all can share.”

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Yesterday, 11:12 AM
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GMC Hummer EV Pickup

The brash military-inspired SUV reinvented as a 1000bhp electric monster with incredible off-road ability

The GMC Hummer EV Pickup is the sort of machine you look at and don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It’s a big, brash, electric off-roader that’s exuberantly over-engineered, with performance figures as monstrous as its styling.In its highest spec, such as this Edition 1 model, it features a tri-motor powertrain that offers 1000bhp, along with enough torque (11,500lb ft) to tear a hole in the space-time continuum. Which is just as well, because thanks to its beefy body and double-stacked 212kWh battery pack, it weighs 4111kg. Which, for just comparison, is about eight-and-a-half Citroën Ami.It’s incredible to behold, truly pushing the capabilities of EV technology. But still, in an age when the car industry is focusing on efficiency and reduction, it’s fair to ask: is the Hummer EV is really necessary? Or even sensible?Maybe not, but then again consider the likely target audience for this machine. People won’t be choosing between a Hummer EV and a Citroën Ami, or even a Volkswagen ID 3. It’s designed to win over buyers who want a big machine with true off-road capability. The sort of person who might buy a Mercedes-AMG G63 or a 6.2-litre V8-powered GMC Sierra pick-up, or even placed a deposit for a Tesla Cybertruck with serious intent.Besides, the over-engineering in the Hummer has allowed parent firm General Motors to really push development of the new Ultium EV platform it’s built on, allowing it to quickly roll out far more practical vehicles. Much of the Hummer’s underpinnings, for example, have been used for the new Brightdrop Zevo 600 electric delivery van. The Cadillac Lyriq prevmium SUV is also based on the architecture.We should caveat that our first running in a Hummer EV was very limited, and entirely off-road on a special closed course at GM’s Milford Proving Ground in Michigan. So we can’t offer any judgement on the Hummer EV’s on-road manners or performance. But our running did give us a flavour of the capabilities of the machine.Certainly, you get an idea of what to expect from the styling. The design inspiration from the original Hummer brand – a range of Humvee-based military vehicles that achieved cult popularity in the late 1990s – is clear. The angular styling speaks to no-nonsense practicality and the military vehicle lineage, although the lit-up Hummer light bar on the front brings a hint of electric modernism.At launch the Hummer is launching with a pick-up – key for the US market, that – with a boxier, bulkier SUV variant to follow soon after.The styling makes the machine look even bigger than it is – and at 5507mm long, 2201mm high and 2009mm high it’s pretty big. Much of the height is due to that mammoth battery pack, which features 24 modules. While it adds to the heft – enough that you couldn’t actually drive one with a regular UK licence – the 212kWh unit means that the Hummer has an estimated range of the US test cycle of 329 miles. It can also be charged at 350kW.Make the long clamber up into the interior and you’ll quickly spot the inspiration from the original Hummer. Much like the modern Mercedes-Benz G-Class it’s a fusion of militaristic boxy styling with a dash of premium charm. The controls and switchgear are tactile, sturdy and practical, and the dashboard and large, fixed centre console are a little imposing in their scale.It’s not entirely retro, of course: there’s a big central touchscreen which controls many of the car’s key features. The infotainment system features a number of fun graphics, for example showing a Hummer driving on the moon, which add to the feel of a car that knows it’s not entirely sensible.Predictably, the Hummer offers ridiculous levels of performance. The Edition 1 model we tried featured the top-spec tri-motor powertrain, with one motor on the front axle and independent motors for each rear wheel. Even on loose gravel, the Hummer is propelled forward with scant regard for the laws on physics, and it’s not until you go to brake and turn into a corner that you’re reminding you’re driving a four-tonne pick-up. Even then, the excess of power available is enough to overcome any hint of mass-induced understeer you might feel.The Hummer’s power isn’t purely about making it fast, though: GMC has used it to give the machine incredible capability. The armour-lined underside and adaptive air suspension offer tremendous off-road ability – we clambered rock-strewn hills and traversed huge bumps with ease.The electric drivetrain plays a key part in its undoubted off-road ability, too: there are multiple drive modes, headed by Watts to Freedom mode (or WTF for short…), and the tri-motor set-up gives the ability to distribute torque to each wheel as needed.That freedom, combined with all-wheel-steering, also enables the Hummer EV’s party trick: it can crab walk. In practice, it matches the angle of the front and rear wheels, enabling the Hummer to move diagonally. It’s surreal in practice, and also useful, allowing the Hummer to duck around obstacles it would otherwise be unable to steer around.Frankly, though, you can probably drive over most obstacles. And given the high riding position, when traversing big bumps you’ll be glad that the Hummer offers a front-facing camera that can give you a view between the front wheels.Of course, if you live in the UK and tempted by a desire to thread the Hummer down our narrow roads that it really isn't designed for, the obvious caveat is that the Hummer EV isn't offered for sale here. General Motors is gearing up for a return to the European market, and there are suggestions that the Hummer could be part of its line-up – although its size and weight could well preclude that. Even if it somehow does reach the UK, you’d want to think very carefully about paying a likely premium for an electric car that would offer limitations in usage due to its dimensions, and which you’re unlikely to ever really use to its full capability.Essentially, in top-spec mode (lower powered front-drive versions are coming) the GMC Hummer EV is over-engineered to an almost absurd level. Is it sensible? No. Is it capable? Oh hell yes. If you need an EV for a daily driver, this is not it. But if you’re looking for an EV to survive the nuclear apocalypse, you’re in luck (although good luck finding somewhere to charge it after one).

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Yesterday, 08:37 AM
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GSR2: The new rules making cars safer but more expensive

Toyota GR86 2022 front tracking cornering

Limited-time availability of Toyota GR86 is down to new safety regulations

Twenty technologies now standard on new cars; existing models must comply by 2024

New safety regulations introduced last month have made at least 20 technologies standard on all new cars sold in the EU and the UK – and will legislate some out of existence.

The new arsenal of standard safety equipment, brought in under the anonymously titled General Safety Regulations 2 (GSR2), will also add more costs to cheaper cars, likely increasing their prices.

The changes had been in discussion at the UN and the EU for a decade before the EU finalised its proposals in 2019.

They’re being introduced in two main phases. The first went live on 6 July and the second will come in 2024, although some technologies are on a slightly different timetable.

That means all new cars launched after 6 July 2022, regardless of price or engineering suitability, have to comply; and in 2024, existing cars already on the market will have to be modified or retrofitted to stay on sale.

This retrofitting is what will kill off the Toyota GR86. The camera needed for intelligent speed assistance (ISA) and emergency lane-keeping system (ELKS) can’t easily be built into the car’s architecture, which was carried over from the Toyota GT86, designed more than a decade ago.

“We would have to raise the roof and move the windscreen to accommodate the camera,” said Toyota, which announced the GR86’s short European-market lifespan of just two years at its launch.

The insurance and safety industry, of course, is much more sanguine about the introduction of GSR2.

“This is essentially tidying up existing laws and an update of GSR1, which has been around since 1998, especially since many of these new safety features are already incorporated into existing Euro NCAP [safety] ratings,” said Matthew Avery, boss of UK insurance-and-safety organisation Thatcham Research and a senior Euro NCAP team member.

The motive behind GSR2 is an EU push to halve the number of road deaths by 2020 and “move close to” zero road deaths by 2050.

The car industry says that it makes safety a priority, but there remains concern within it about the rigidity of the regulations as applied to certain car classes and the EU’s unwillingness to adjust its timetable to fit with model-cycle changes and the global cycle of safety laws.

Ford’s head of homologation, Douwe Cunningham, agreed that there were “no surprises” with some of the technology, like advanced emergency braking (AEB) and the ISA warning system, because they were already part of NCAP.

But there’s a belief that the EU is pushing some of the hardware beyond its reliable use in day-to-day service.

Cunningham raised the question of ISA’s reliability, given that it relies on cameras reading road signs that in many countries are badly maintained, absent and difficult to detect.

The EU regulation also allows for GPS-based speed limit warnings, which rely on perfect mapping accuracy.

Therefore manufacturers that want to make the best offerings for their customers, like Ford, feel obliged to offer both systems; but on more affordable cars, that means more parts costs added on.

There are also big-brother elements in the regulations. For example, the driver drowsiness warning will from 2024 be handled by an in-car infrared camera, always focused on the driver’s face, to detect eye movements.

GSR2 is now on the statute books and therefore a legal requirement, but whether it will actually be effective in reducing road deaths, only time will tell.

Q&A: Expert engineers from Horiba MIRA

We spoke to three experts from Horiba MIRA: Ashley Patton (ADAS and CAV chief engineer), David Inch (certification and homologation) and Aaron Mandalia (CAV solution leader).

How extensive is GSR2?

“It’s a massive list of 100 or so regulations, depending on vehicle category. Some are amendments, but we’ve identified about 20 to 25 items that are new, where we need to improve our capability out to 2024.”

What’s the aim?

“It’s not inventing a lot from scratch, because many of the features have been around in some form. The EU is trying to create some consistency so that everyone is taking the same approach. That’s welcome.”

How will it affect planning?

“Manufacturers will be debating whether to continue a product by improving it or let it die in July 2024. Those decisions will mostly have been made in strategy, because the timescales aren’t massive.”

How about small cars?

“They’re definitely impacted as high-volume, low-margin vehicles. Adding extra features adds costs, so the manufacturer either has to increase price or consider whether that vehicle is worth selling any more.”

Surely it will be difficult to retrofit features to existing cars by 2024?

“As GSR2 moves to existing products, yes, you probably will see lots disappearing off the market.”

What about integration into the vehicle?

“Manufacturers will have to consider whether it’s worth updating vehicles with older electric architectures, where this technology isn’t fitted because it wasn’t needed for an NCAP safety rating, to comply with GSR2."

How many vehicle categories are affected?

“It’s not just cars: the ethic of GSR2 is to apply it as widely as possible to as many vehicle categories as they can, so that’s buses, trucks, vans, fire engines – all vehicles, really.”

The safety tech now standard for all new cars:

Advanced emergency braking: Now includes new calibration.

Alcohol interlock: Provision for this until a reliable sensor can be developed.

Driver drowsiness distraction: Will move to advanced infrared camera tech in 2024.

Electronic data recorder: Better-known as a black box. Harmonised with US regulations.

Emergency lane-keeping system: Steers car away from crossing the road’s central white line.

Intelligent speed adaptation: Warns driver of speed limit. Could overrule the driver in the future.

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Yesterday, 04:28 AM
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EV charging: all of your big questions answered

AC   Lead

Here are some simple answers to some of the big questions and myths around everyday EV charging.

Here’s how Hive EV Home Charging and British Gas are making it simple and more cost-effective to keep your electric car fully charged at home

Of the big reasons to upgrade to an electric car, the significant cost savings of EV charging certainly come near the top of the list. But while every wave of new all-electric models boasts ever-improved range, and while the wealth of public charging options grows every day, there are still concerns about range and charging anxiety. 

At Autocar, we want to give more people the confidence to go electric. That’s why we’ve partnered with Hive and British Gas as our Official Home Charging Partner – because there’s no substitute for home charging as the easiest and most cost-effective answer to many of the worries about range and recharging.

So, to get you started, here are some simple answers to some of the big questions and myths around everyday EV charging.

Learn more about how Hive EV Home Charging can make charging easy and help you reduce your electric car running costs

Where’s the best place to charge? On-the-go or at home?

Think of a public charger as a solid solution for a fast, convenient, on-the-go top-up while you give your range a big boost over coffee or lunch on a long road trip, or add a few miles to your range while you’re doing an afternoon’s shopping or a trip to the gym. With over 30,000 charging devices across the UK, there are certainly plenty of opportunities to add a little extra range on your way from A to B.

But why not re-think charging? With more electric cars on the road than ever before, the public charging network can get congested, it’s not always reliable, and long wait times for a charger to become free are quite common. Plus, while public charging costs are, on average, cheaper than petrol or diesel, they’re still relatively expensive. And the wealth of different charging operators can make paying for charging hard.That’s where the sort of smart home charging solutions provided by the likes of Hive EV Home Charging reign supreme. As you simply plug in your car at home, when it’s not being used anyway, it’s instantly more convenient. It’s also more cost-effective, too. According to the Energy Saving Trust, over 10,000 miles you can expect to pay around 40% less by opting for home charging over public charging.By charging at the most cost-effective home energy rates overnight, or using an electric car-friendly tariff, you can cut your driving costs significantly. And, as your car is likely to be fully charged for your next trip, you can wake up knowing that you’ve got the potential to start every trip with the maximum range, ready to take you wherever you need to go. Petrol can’t come close to beating that.

What type of cables do I need?

Think charging cables can be confusing? Let’s make it simple. Cross-compatible Type 2 and CCS (Combined Charging System) cables are used by most major car brands. The Type 2 has a 7.4kW capacity – perfect for home chargers, such as the Alfen smart charger used by Hive and British Gas. The CCS is essentially an amped-up version for rapid on-the-go recharging.

Some Japanese and Korean cars come with CHAdeMO charging cables, but many public chargers and home charging solutions – including Hive EV Charging – offer a choice of both types of connection. When on-the-go it’s always worth checking in advance using your car’s sat-nav or a reputable third-party crowd-sourced smartphone app for moment-to-moment live updates.

How long does an electric car take to charge?

Just like a fuel tank, the size of an electric car’s battery determines not only how much energy it can hold, but also how long it will take to see the famed ‘full charge’ icon. SUVs and performance cars with large-capacity long-distance batteries will naturally take longer than city-friendly electric cars with more compact batteries.

Equally, the speed at which you put electricity into the battery determines charging time. Motorway-style public rapid and ultra-rapid chargers deliver big boosts of range that get you moving again in as little as 10 minutes to 40 minutes, while fast destination chargers in supermarkets, urban car parks and out-of-town leisure centres provide a long-fill top-up while you’re doing longer activities like shopping, having a meal, catching a movie or having a session at the gym.On-the-go public charging can often be expensive, though. That’s why waiting to get home and plug in for some simple cost-effective home charging is often the best solution. Using Hive EV Charging’s powerful 7.4kW Alfen charger, it will take roughly 10 hours to fully charge an electric car with a large-capacity 80 kWh battery, and just under eight hours to do the same with a small to mid-size electric car (47kW–62kW).

That means that, when plugged in at home overnight, most models will be fully charged by the time you leave for work in the morning. And, as you’ll be charging on the most cost-effective overnight home energy rates, it’ll be significantly cheaper in the long run, too.

How much does home charging cost?

With petrol and diesel prices currently at an all-time high, swapping to an electric car and opting for home charging over the more expensive public charging is likely to save you exponentially more per year than you might imagine – especially with an intelligent charging solution from Hive and British Gas that has more than a few clever tricks up its sleeve.

Hive EV Charging offers a simple and convenient way to make the most of cheaper, greener energy rates overnight when the grid is at its quietest. Hive’s ultra-intuitive smartphone app will also display your total spend allowing you to see whether you’re charging at peak rates, helping you decide when to top-up to avoid extra costs.

Charging a small to mid-sized electric car, such as the Vauxhall Mokka-e could cost as little as £14* – that’s taking into account an average electricity rate of 28 pence per kilowatt hour. Even a larger electric SUV with a longer-distance battery could cost you £24** to charge up from 10-80% – that’s 250+ miles of range for less than the price of a starter, main and drink at one of your favourite high street spots.Will home charging raise my electricity bill?

Charging your electric car at home will naturally raise your electricity bills, but that increase can be minimised by using a more EV friendly electric tariff. According to the Energy Saving Trust, you could save up to £300 a year by switching to an affordable fixed-rate energy tariff.

When is the best time to charge an electric car at home?

Put simply, home charging tends to work best when you top-up overnight. Why? Well, think of it in terms of peak and off-peak train times. You spend more to travel when more people are using the service, and less when they’re not.

With demand on the grid – and the price of electric rates – highest during the day, a more leisurely charge during night-time hours allows you to effectively buy the electricity when it’s less in demand, and therefore cheaper. There are added environmental benefits, too. Charging your car overnight often allows you to make the most of energy pulled from green sources.

If you do need to top up during the day, the intelligent Hive EV Charging smartphone app syncs with the smart home charger to let you keep track of your charge and your spend, letting you top-up just the right amount to keep moving, without racking up a big bill.

Will I be charged more if my car is always plugged in?

Think of charging an electric car like using a kettle. For convenience, you’ll probably keep your kettle plugged in 24/7, but it only uses electricity when it’s switched on and boiling water. The smart Alfen home charger used by Hive EV Charging will stop feeding the batteries once your car is fully charged, meaning you don’t have to worry about forgetting to unplug, or run the risk of incurring additional charges.

How often should I charge my electric car?

Given the impressive range of modern electric cars and the types – and lengths – of trips that we actually do in them, you might not need to plug in and charge quite as often as you may think.

For example, the average daily commute of a typical UK driver can be as little as 10 miles to 20 miles. Which means that a mid-size to large electric car with a range of 250 miles could be used for a week or more between charges. Equally, 250 miles of range could easily get you from London to Devon, from Birmingham to Newcastle, or from Glasgow to Inverness on one charge.

So, it’s clear that you don’t always need to plug in or do a full charge after every trip. But, by plugging into a smart home charger when you arrive home every night, it’s the easiest way to ensure you start every trip with the maximum range, while also keeping your running costs low.

Will constant charging damage my battery?

With tens of thousands of charging locations around the UK you’ll never struggle for a place to plug in. Plus, with a convenient smart charger at home, it’s all the more tempting to top-up more often.But, while the batteries in electric cars – just like those in a laptop or smartphone – are designed to be recharged multiple times during their life, the type of charging you do can have a big impact on protecting their long-term performance.

The speed at which you charge a battery is one of the biggest factors. While it’s faster to recharge using a motorway-style rapid public charger, it creates a lot of heat which has the potential to shorten the life of your car’s battery over an extended period of time. So, you should only use rapid chargers for a quick top-up when you really need to.A more relaxed, slower, steady charge – the sort done with home charging – means less heat and a healthier, longer-lasting battery. The Alfen smart charger used by Hive EV Charging explicitly opts for a 7.4kW output, as it’s the kindest charging rate for your car’s battery – preventing overheating, strain on your home electrics and any form of unwanted strain on your car’s battery.

As the biggest reason for topping-up an electric car is range anxiety, having the security of a home charger will help ease that fear and help enjoy the impressive range a modern electric car affords for longer.

Can I overcharge an electric car?

Technically, no. As with most gadgets, the battery in your electric car is designed with a battery management system that includes a built-in buffer – preventing you from overcharging and potentially damaging your battery.

Is there ever a danger I’ll run out of charge?

Let’s put it another way. How often do you worry about running out of petrol? With over 30,000 public charging devices across the UK at 19,000 locations, but only 8,378 petrol stations, it’s easy to see how charging anxiety should be a thing of the past.Plus, given that most daily journeys are around 10 miles to 20 miles in length and are done from home – where a smart home charger and cost-effective overnight charging means your car can start every journey, every morning with a full battery and maximum range – you’ll never fear the “needle on empty”.

Is it really possible to cut my home charging and driving costs?

Yes. Hive EV Charing’s smartphone app will tell you how many miles of range have been added to your car’s battery every time you top-up, based on the miles per kilowatt hour it’s achieving in the real world. Understanding the real-world efficiency of your electric car means you can adjust your driving style and potentially go further.

So, as you can see, home charging – especially when you opt for a trusted supplier like What Car?/Autocar Official Home Charging Partner Hive and British Gas – is an incredibly cost-effective and simple solution to electric car ownership, helping you go further for less.

Learn more about how Hive EV Home Charging can make charging easy and help you reduce your electric car running costs

*Based on a Vauxhall Mokka-e SE NAV Premium 50kWh Auto (199-mile range) charging at a rate of 28 pence per kilowatt hour, with electricity costing 9 pence per mile.

**Based on a Jaguar I-Pace EV400 HSE 90kWh Auto (267-mile range) charging at a rate of 28 pence per kilowatt hour, with electricity costing 9 pence per mile.

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Toyota bZ4X deliveries still on hold after wheel detachment concerns

004 toyota bz4x x 2022

The Toyota bZ4X is the firm's first electric car

Japanese manufacturer says the issues is affecting 2700 cars globally, with around 500 of them in the UK

All global deliveries of the Toyota bZ4X SUV, the firm's first BEV, remain on hold after they were recalled over issues that could result in wheels falling off.

A global recall order submitted to Japan's safety regulator in June noted that sudden braking could cause a hub bolt to become loose, increasing the risk of a wheel detaching. The order adds that this risk is raised further by sharp turns. No incidents regarding this have been reported, however.

The order, which covers 2700 cars globally, as well as around 500 in the UK, was made before any cars were delivered to UK owners.

A Toyota spokesman confirmed to Autocar today (8 August) that the firm is now "looking at how we can sort out courtesy cars" for those still waiting for a delivery, which were due to take place from June.

No date has been set for when the roll-out of the firm’s first BEV, which costs from £41,950, will begin, with the spokesman adding that the issue was still being investigated.

Toyota is, however, offering owners in the US – where deliveries began earlier this year – to buy back their bZ4X because of the issue, Bloomberg reports.

This offer hasn't been made to any UK buyers of the Skoda Enyaq iV rival, though, as none has yet had a car delivered.

Speaking about the issue in June, a Toyota spokeman warned: “After low-mileage use, all of the hub bolts on the wheel of the subject vehicles can loosen to the point where the wheel can detach from the vehicle.

“If a wheel detaches from the vehicle while driving, it could result in a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash.

“The cause of the issue and the driving patterns under which this issue could occur are still under investigation.”

"No one should drive these vehicles until the remedy is performed."

Toyota said on its website: "We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this causes you.

"We would have repaired it as soon as possible, but we're investigating the details."

A Toyota spokesman told Reuters that not every bZ4x was subjected to the recall but declined to say how many the company has built so far.

Subaru will recall 2600 examples of the Solterra, a BEV closely related to the bZ4X, which are affected by the same issue. 

None of these cars were due to be delivered immediately to customers, though, being instead bound for dealerships, reports Reuters.

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Greatest road tests ever: Mazda RX-8

Mazda RX8 2003 front quarter tracking handling

'Renesis' rotary ditched the sequential twin-turbo setup from the previous RX-7 and went N/A

Mazda RX-8's rotary engine gave it a superbike soundtrack, but didn't make up for other shortcomings

Some 25 years after the first Mazda RX-7 made the Wankel engine famous, the Japanese firm reinvented the left-field powertrain for this quirky coupé.

The four-seat coupé used conventional front doors and two truncated ‘suicide’ rear doors, while its front-mounted rotary engine produced 228bhp at a heady 8200rpm. It drove the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip differential. Suspension was double wishbones up front and a multi-link set-up at the rear.

Meagre torque made it necessary to stir the gears and trouble the 9500rpm limiter to extract decent performance. Economy was hampered as a result but the superbike soundtrack and mechanical refinement made it worthwhile. The brakes were powerful.

The relaxed, loping chassis set-up didn’t gel with the frenetic drivetrain, though, and understeer and body roll were abundant. The tyres clung on gamely and steering speed was well judged, albeit with little feel from the rim. Rigidity was poor, partly due to the lack of B-pillars.

Kit levels, design and quality impressed, as did the cosy rear chairs. The knees-bent, arms-straight driving position was a major weakness, though. 

For: Refinement, comfort, price, looks, noise

Against: Reluctant performance, economy, body roll

What happened next

A 189bhp model was available for £2000 less yet edged the 228bhp car for economy and torque. Body roll was addressed with 2006’s Prodrive-tweaked PZ special and its Bilstein dampers and Eibach springs, but the facelifted R3, sold from 2008 until the RX-8’s demise in 2010, was the choice pick, with better suspension and lower gearing.


Price £21,995 Engine Twin-chamber rotary, 1308cc, petrol Power 228bhp at 8200rpm Torque 156lb ft at 5500rpm 0-60mph 7.1sec 0-100mph 18.1sec Standing quarter mile 15.3sec at 93mph Top speed 142mph Economy 22.5mpg

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