Last week I asked what did the radiator badge of the Packard look like? A trick
question, I’m afraid. The Packards never had a radiator badge!
So to this week. What and when was the first private car designed and built in
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email
100 mpg with a hybrid
At the largest annual gathering of electric vehicle experts, US
company Bright Automotive unveiled the world’s first purpose-built 100 mpg (2.3
l/100 km) vehicle aimed at commercial and government fleets. Named the IDEA, the
multi-use vehicle falls into the light truck classification. Bright Automotive
(www. brightautomotive.com) plans to produce 50,000 IDEAs annually by 2013,
providing businesses and government agencies with a highly durable,
cost-effective and eco-friendly new vehicle, and creating thousands of jobs. At
the event, Bright Automotive displayed a fully operating concept version of the
“We created the IDEA by starting with a clean sheet of paper, listening to
customer needs, and using breakthrough technologies and materials,” said John E.
Waters, CEO and president of Bright Automotive. “The IDEA not only delivers
revolutionary efficiency, it offers a lower cost of ownership than competing
vehicles. Quite simply, no other automotive product is available that directly
saves customers money and affects their triple bottom line: economics, people,
Indiana-based Bright Automotive said the IDEA will be 5 to 10 times more
efficient than current commercial fleets. The vehicle will save a typical
customer more than 1,500 gallons of gasoline and thousands of dollars in fuel
costs annually. For the 100 largest fleets in the U.S., each having on average
over 1,000 vehicles like the IDEA in their fleet, the savings would average over
$3 million a year.
To achieve groundbreaking fuel efficiency, Bright Automotive is building the
IDEA from the ground-up and maximizing platform efficiency by incorporating
lightweight materials, advanced aerodynamics and low-rolling resistance tires.
On a full charge, the IDEA uses battery power for the first 50 km, using little
or no gasoline and less than $1 of electricity. After this, it functions like
High volume production of the IDEA will begin in the U.S. by the end of 2012 -
with an annual run rate of 50,000 units beginning in 2013. To produce its
vehicle, the company plans to create over 5,000 jobs - directly and through
suppliers - by 2013.
Money’s tight at Ferrari auction
Not even a world record price of $12 million paid for a 250 Testa
Rossa could inspire buyers to forget the global-economic crisis at the
Leggione e Passione auction at the home of Ferrari, Maranello in Italy, with
11 of the high-profile cars failing to reach their reserve prices.
This did result in a few bargains, including an ex-Alain Prost 641/2 Formula
One car which sold for €320,000, an alloy-bodied 1966 275 GTB for €725,000
and a 1985 288 GTO for €350,000.
Record breaking $12 million
Daimler Benz buys into Tesla
Another nail in the petroleum coffin (and one skyscraper less in
Dubai?), as Daimler Benz buys 10 percent of Tesla, the American high
performance electric car manufacturer.
This will show the world that the Tesla is not just high performance hype,
but is a real and viable automotive group. With the sports car already on
sale, and a four door coupe (Tesla S) slated for release in 2012, with a
touted 500 km range and a plug-in recharge, Daimler can see the advantages
in getting in with the advanced technology used by Tesla.
The Tesla sports is capable of exceeding 320 km on one charge
of its lithium-ion batteries (Tesla claims it will do nearly 400 km on a
charge), but also blasts from zero to 60 mph (97 kph) in 3.9 seconds, true
Tesla CEO and Product Architect Elon Musk said, “We are looking forward to a
strategic cooperation in a number of areas including leveraging Daimler’s
engineering, production and supply chain expertise. This will accelerate
bringing our Tesla Model S to production and ensure that it is a superlative
vehicle on all levels.”
What is happening with EffWun?
What indeed! If Ferrari, Renault, Toyota and Red Bull do not sign
up with the FIA by today (29th May), then they are (theoretically) out of
the F1 competition for 2010.
The impasse arose because at the end of April, the FIA (read Max Mosley)
foisted a two tier formula on the teams, with a very much “like it or lump
it” approach. The manufacturers returned with a “we don’t like it, you dump
In a nutshell, the FIA said that if teams limit their budget to $60 million
cap, then those teams can have unlimited engines, freedom to have moveable
wings, unlimited wind tunnel use, more powerful KERS and unlimited testing.
Teams which opt not to be budget capped are banned from in-season testing,
no moveable wings, limit on number of engines and a less powerful KERS
In other words this produces a two tier formula. And if F1 is the pinnacle
of motor sport and engineering brilliance, just how can there be two
different (pinnacles?) categories running under the one classification?
What does this mean? In cricketing terms it means that the high budget team
is only allowed to field eight men, whilst the capped team can field 13 men.
In other words, a farcical situation.
To radically change the regulations in the formula should result after
discussions with FOTA (Formula One Teams Association) over a period and
consensus be reached. This has not happened. Ferrari then tried to question
the FIA’s ability to ride rough-shod over the teams in the French courts.
Unfortunately for Ferrari, the French courts didn’t see it their way and
denied the injunction, giving Max the upper hand.
Max is now saying he doesn’t care if Ferrari doesn’t sign up for 2010, as he
has other teams (Wirth Research, Lola, USF1, Epsilon Euskadi, RML, Formtech,
Campos, iSport) all wanting to come in with the $60 million cap. Most of
these new teams with a swag with $60 million have no history in F1 and to
expect them to be immediately competitive is like living in fairy land. It
costs more than $60 million to build and man a wind tunnel, so their budget
cap is gone already. The freedoms described in the budget cap sound good,
until you work out that they cannot afford to build, test and use those
It smacks of last year’s attempt to make the sport look “green” and saving
the planet’s environment by having green grooves in the tyres! This new
budget cap, in the name of saving the planet’s money, is more than faintly
ridiculous. If the manufacturers want to throw money at their teams, then so
be it. It does not necessarily mean to say they will win. Look at Honda with
its $400 million a year, for example. Toyota and Renault have already said
they are tightening their belts as the parent company slides into the red.
And the biggest spender Ferrari has had the worst start to a season since
Benito Mussolini decided to take a trip to Switzerland in 1945.
The next couple of weeks will be interesting.
For sale: Honda NSX ’92 model; Porsche 964 with 993 cabrio body
’94 model; Lamborghini Diablo booked as ’97. Very sensible prices. Contact
Tony Thorley 089 938 7188.