VIVA M o t o r i n g E co W hee l s , or H ow T o Look D amn Good I n A Go l f C art
The BMW Homage concept: far too cool to look at the photographer
simon moore REPORTS
nternal combustion’s had a good run. First perfected by a certain Karl Benz in 1885, it’s had more than 120 years dominating the way we travel on a day-to-day basis. A decade into the 21st century though, and we’re still rattling along our roads in clouds of exhaust fumes, incurring the vocal wrath of cyclists and making polar bears cry.
Audi’s e-tron: now 50 times more efficient than you
Enough is enough is enough. We need zero-emission electric transport, and we need it to be able to stand next to Steve McQueen in his 1968 Ford Mustang and say we’ve progressed since then. With a straight face. We don’t want crummy Smart cars, and Boris Johnson’s endorsement of the bicycle is not helping, so where do we turn? Actually, there are a few ideas knocking about. Big names like BMW and Audi have proudly pushed forward their conceptual scribbles, looking trim, classy, even sexy (if that’s your idea of a good time). Running on the ‘We’re German, and Germans are efficient, so there” ticket, BMW’s Homage concept boasts lightweight, completely recyclable building materials. This means no more scrapheap for old cars, which means less waste, which means we’re listening. Audi makes a fair bid for our attention with their delectable e-tron model. Their techs say it’ll go round corners like a go-kart outta hell. Powered by two Lithium-ion batteries (rather than an engine full of hundreds of tiny little bits that are bound to pop loose or wear out), the e-tron is slick, uncomplicated beauty on four wheels. Sadly, like the Homage, you can’t have it. It’s still a concept, locked away somewhere in the deep dark dungeons they call the Audi test labs.
The Tesla Roadster: making some windmills look cool by association
Possibly the strongest contender for changing public conceptions of electric cars is the British-made Tesla Roadster. That picture is not a computer-generated concept; the Roadster actually exists. It actually looks that good. It also actually nips round a track faster than a skittle-fed whippet. In-built battery heaters mean no more calls to the AA on frosty mornings, so there’s plenty of time spare for a few laps round the car park. We can’t all be single millionaires with a penchant for power-sliding, though. Not to worry. Vauxhall have come up with the Ampera, an affordable, extended range saloon. This tusky heart-throb might
Eliza Doolittle cover and interview