Friday, July 19, 2013 - North Shore News - A41
YOUR NORTH SHORE GUIDE to THE ROAD
Electric backers hope to give folks a jolt Brendan McAleer Contributing Writer
THE pride and joy of the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association is its 1912 Detroit Electric — yep, you read that right, a 100-year-old electric car. Take that, Nissan Leaf.
only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!” Design The ordinary Countryman is a bit like what a regular Cooper must look like from a child’s perspective. It’s not that much bigger, just taller, longer, wider and heavier by a factor of about 20 per cent. And frankly, where “go-kart handling” is concerned, that’s about 20 per cent worse. Not to worry though, because the bofﬁns at JCW have made efforts to engineer in 20 per cent more good again. We’ve got sized-up alloys (18-inch standard, 19-inch optional) with a slightly lowered suspension,
The machine in question had a range of about 160 kilometres originally, and was once stored in the basement of the Empress Hotel in Victoria, ready to leap into action at any moment to ferry its wealthy original owner about town without any of that tricky Model T pedal work. Today the car lives in the Stave Lake hydroelectic dam, and the original nickel-iron batteries have been replaced with lead-acid ones, reducing the range to a still-respectable 60-80 km. If you’d like to clap eyes on the thing, why don’t you mosey on down to this year’s ElectraFest, held at the Concord Paciﬁc lot, just east of BC Place. It’s free, in case you were wondering, and all sorts of other electriﬁed transportation will be there, from the lightning-quick Tesla Model S to the aforementioned Nissan Leaf, to electric bicycles, to battery-powered skateboards and plug-in hybrid work trucks — I think someone’s even bringing an electric unicycle. The atmosphere will be . . . exciting. Ha! Thought I was going to say “electric,” didn’t you? Not to worry — I displayed considerable . . . resistance. Sorry.
See Lots page 42
See Consumers page 47
THE Countryman is Mini’s answer to the family hauler, and with the John Cooper Works edition they’ve ﬁgured out how to transfer the thrills of their traditional tiny racers into the bigger body of a four-door crossover.
2013 Mini Countryman JCW
Mini ﬁnds a way to grow
Scan this page with the Layar app to see video of the Mini Countryman JCW in action.
ORIGINALLY conceived as a way to mobilize the post-war British population, the Mini of the 1960s was a chirrupy little thing: 10 feet long, 600 kilograms, 850 cubic centimetres of fury pumping out a whopping 34 horsepower.
Today we have this, a machine that says Mini on the tin, but is quite clearly Costco-sized. It’s three times as heavy. It’s six times as powerful. It’s got ﬂares and scoops and satellite navigation and huge tracts of land.
BMW builds Minis these days — happily the Bavarians’ ﬁrst efforts at creating a Britischer worked out really quite well, with some of that scrappy, go-karty feel perfectly duplicated, except in a machine now with more
crash protection than a Tesco shopping bag. That’s all great, but Mini can’t merely sell one single car out of their dealerships, and the inaugural Cooper two-door lacks practicality for urban families or others who might need more carrying space. Thus was born the Countryman, a small fourdoor crossover that’s about as suited for actual country living as Posh Spice. Now, the in-house hooligans of the John Cooper Works (JCW) have had a go at charging up the Countryman with big horsepower, big wheels, big brakes and aggressive aerodynamics. The result? Well, to quote Michael Caine in The Italian Job, “You were
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Published on Aug 12, 2013