Road rage increasing
caption Road rage
With the well publicized road rage that took place near the
Suvarnabhumi airport, in which a pilot was shot, does this mean that
we will see the same and more from now on? Unfortunately, I believe
so, having encountered aggressive driving in Thailand on more than
one occasion, with tailgating and flashing headlights.
Mind you, we are yet to get to the rage stage shown in the UK. In a
* Nearly 1 in 3 have been the victim of a road rage incident
* 50 percent are scared about driving on Britain’s roads because of
* Three quarters feel angry or stressed because of the way others
* Three quarters believe that the penalties for dangerous driving
should be harsher
The survey, for leading car hire comparator Carrentals.co.uk,
questioned people across the UK about their experiences on the
roads, with three quarters saying they get angry or stressed because
of the hazardous way other people drive.
No wonder, when the survey found that 92 percent have seen drivers
speeding in a 50 km an hour zone; 80 percent have seen cars weaving
around motorway traffic to get ahead; and 77 percent have seen
drivers tailgating another vehicle at speed (over 110 km/hr).
Add to this the fact that 50 percent have seen someone drive up a
one-way street the wrong way; and 17 percent have seen a driver
reverse on a motorway, and the potential for tragic accidents is
Road rage incidents reported in the survey ranged from attacks on
vehicles and verbal intimidation, to being pursued by another
vehicle, being forced off the road, and physical violence, with some
respondents punched, kicked and bullied.
Beyond aggression, the survey found that many drivers are still
easily distracted. 93 percent of those questioned said they had seen
drivers talking on a mobile phone, despite the known risks, while
other distractions included drinking coffee; eating food; watching
attractive women or men walking past; applying make up; messing with
a sat nav or radio; and dealing with children arguing.
Three quarters of respondents believe that the penalties for
dangerous driving should be much harsher to encourage more
responsibility behind the wheel.
“It seems that despite all of the campaigns for safe driving, some
people continue to put their own, and other people's, lives in
danger through their actions on the roads,” adds Gareth Robinson,
managing director of Carrentals.co.uk. “It’s unbelievable to think
that drivers would even contemplate reversing up the motorway or
attacking someone, but they don’t seem to consider the potentially
tragic consequences of their actions.
The sad part is all those examples of dangerous driving also happen
Post script - I have just visited a chap in hospital here, having
been run off the road on his step-through in a road rage episode. He
received a broken leg. It could have been worse. All very sad for
Thailand, I am afraid.
Zero to 100 km/h under one second
No, it’s not an F1 car. No, it’s not supercharged, it’s not
even a car - it is the KillaCycle, billed as being the world’s fastest electric
motorcycle (not to mention the fastest EV of any type). Among other things, the
owners advise other aspiring E-crotch-rocket-makers to use heated lithium-ion
phosphate batteries in a well-designed pack, implement a good battery management
system, and to use parallel power flows instead of gathering the current. I also
suggest roping yourself to the seat to stop flying off the back of the bike.
The hype around the KillaCycle is only part of the interest in electric
motorcycles, with experts now predicting that the magic 100 mph lap of the TT
Circuit at the Isle of Man (IOM) will be broken this year. The top performer is
the MotoCzysz (pronounced ‘MotoSiss’) which has been clocked at 260 kph and has
already won the IOM TT Zero class last year and an e-race at Laguna Seca in the
USA. The electric bike also produces 340 Nm of torque, which should definitely
be enough to break the magic ton. My motorcycle correspondent Alan Coates will
be at the IOM TT (as usual) again, and will report directly on the races. Watch
PHOTO: (((pic 3))) Ferrari FF
The international press is going wild over the Ferrari FF, a four seater and 4WD
and space for luggage in the rear section. In some ways a Porsche Panamera,
styled by Pininfarina. It can comfortably accommodate four people and their
luggage, thanks to the best cabin space and boot capacity (450 liters extendable
to 800) figures in its category, including four door cars. A people carrier with
performance which will make its official debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor
The technology is all Ferrari, including the lightweight 4WD system, with the
latest magnetorheological damping system, and a transaxle dual-clutch F1 style
According to the news from overseas, Ferrari’s exclusive, patented 4RM
(four-wheel drive) weighs 50 percent less than a conventional 4WD system,
producing a weight distribution of 53 percent over the rear axle. Completely
integrated with the car’s electronic dynamic control systems, the four-wheel
drive technology delivers record levels of performance on all terrains and in
all conditions via continuous and intelligent predictive torque distribution to
all four wheels.
The FF is also equipped with the latest magnetorheological damping system
(SCM3), as well as the most recent development in carbon-ceramic brakes from
The engine is a new 6,262 cc direct injection engine which develops 660 hp at
8,000 rpm. The zero to 100 km/h is still in the supercar bracket at 3.7 seconds.
According to Ferrari, the FF is a very practical supercar with a wide range of
uses covering everything from city driving, on low grip or snow-covered surfaces
and even on the track.
Almost a bespoke tourer, there are six model-specific exterior colors and
interior trim incorporating specially selected and treated aniline leather.
And yes, just by the way, you will need a very large wallet.
Depreciation - the financial killer
I think everyone knows that when you drive your new car out of the showroom,
you just lost at least 15 percent of the purchase price as you hit the
street. And then by the end of 12 months ownership, you will have lost a
great deal more.
The following figures were derived from UK statistics, but a similar analogy
can be made for Thailand.
The best performers of 2010
Daihatsu Terios 14 percent loss
Kia Picanto 20 percent loss
Kia Rio 22 percent loss
Fiat 500 22 percent loss
Volkswagen Polo 22 percent loss
Mazda 2 23 percent loss
The biggest losers of 2010
Maybach 57 44 percent loss
Maybach 62 43 percent loss
M-Benz SL-Class AMG 40 percent loss
Bentley Brooklands 36 percent loss
Ferrari 612 34 percent loss
Lamborghini Gallardo 31 percent loss
Bentley Arnage 30 percent loss
Ferrari 599 GTB Coupe 28 percent loss
Rolls-Royce Phantom Saloon 27 percent loss
Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead 26 percent loss
The Parker’s depreciation report is an annual investigation based on the
average private resale values for 12 month old cars with 16,000 km on the
clock. For example, in 2010 the Kia Picanto lost just £1,247. Because of the
low purchase price the depreciation for the Kia Picanto was around 20
percent meaning that sellers will get around 80 percent of the original
purchase price after a year of ownership. A general trend shown in the
results is that average depreciation for the year was slightly higher, at 34
percent, compared to 2009’s 33 percent average.
The ‘real’ fuel miser from VW
At the Qatar motor show Volkswagen showed the XL1 Super
Efficient Vehicle concept following on from the L1 concept in 2009.
Side by side two seater, instead of the L1’s passenger behind the driver, the
new car has an 800 cc twin-cylinder engine, as opposed to the L1’s 299 cc
single-cylinder diesel engine. The new car is more efficient, using 0.75 liters
per 100 km where the L1 used 0.99 L/100 km. The XL1's diesel engine produces 35
kW of power and 120 Nm of torque, while the electric motor generates 20 kW and
another 100 Nm of torque. The engine mates to the small plug-in electric motor
that can either power the car alone using battery power, or step in to assist
the diesel engine when needed. The engine and electric motor provide drive to
the rear wheels using a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
To show just how economical this VW concept really is, the fuel consumption
figure for the Toyota’s Prius hybrid is 3.9 L/100 km, round about four times
greater than this new XL1.
Over 15,000km of driving, the XL1 will use a little more than 110 liters of
fuel. By comparison, the Prius will use more than 580 liters of fuel.
The XL1 weighs 795kg, by using a carbon fiber skin and a range of weight-saving
technologies that have the potential to make their way into more conventional
These include the bucket seats, which weigh just 40 kg each, and lightweight
ceramic brakes. Plastic panels are also reinforced with carbon fiber.
Main metal components contribute 184 kg in weight. Other metal components
include magnesium wheels and aluminium components for the shock absorbers, the
steering system and brake calipers and the whole drive-train weighs 227 kg. The
electric motor and its battery system add another 105 kg. Performance has the
0-100 km/h sprint at 11.9 seconds and the top speed is limited to 160 km/h.
According to Volkswagen, the XL1 uses technology that makes it “viable for
series production”, suggesting it could go on sale within the next few years.
“Although the XL1 is still very much a concept, its unveiling marks the next
step towards the birth of a new class of super-efficient vehicles, while the
advent of a process such as reinforcing plastics with carbon fiber is a
significant milestone,” a VW spokesman said.