Autocar May 26, 2021

Autocar is the car nut’s weekly fix, delivering you a unique mix of the latest news, opinion, features, first drives of new cars and in-depth road tests – all complemented by the best photography in the business. No other magazine covers the subject you love with such enthusiasm, insight and quality every week of the year. Autocar stands for the highest quality in car journalism – and is rewarded with access to the best new cars and the biggest news stories before any of the opposition which we share with you, our readers, every week.

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9 min
“it’s a ballsy decision, but that’s red bull”

Christian Horner is a tricky customer. He says so himself. “We’re very demanding,” admits the Red Bull Formula 1 team principal with a steely smile. “We pay our bills on time, we demand the best and that sits uncomfortably sometimes.” All things considered, it’s just as well that the second-fastest team on the F1 grid won’t be paying through the nose for off-the-peg hybrid power units from bitter rival Mercedes-AMG next year, never mind from Renault, with which it had such a brittle partnership that ended in 2018. But in the wake of Honda pulling the plug on its factory supply at the end of this season (its third F1 withdrawal in the past 30 years), Horner needed something to drop into the back of his cars. Ferrari was out of…

14 min
going the extra mile

When Ferdinand Piëch drove from Wolfsburg to Hamburg one April morning back in 2002, he did only what so many business types in the region still do every day. The normality of his 140-mile journey was reinforced by the weather (cold, rainy) and his old-school attire (flat cap, checked scarf). He didn’t listen to the radio, because there wasn’t one. With just 8.5bhp at his disposal, neither did he do much overtaking. Bobbing along in the autobahn flow, Piëch simply drove his car for three hours in order to get from company headquarters to an important shareholder event. All quite typical, for a certain sort. Except, of course, there was nothing typical about this particular journey. Sixty-five years old and soon obliged to retire, as per corporate policy, Piëch was the…

4 min
fiat 500 electric

In an era when you can get illuminated belt buckles on a car (take a bow, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class), the new Fiat 500 electric does without a radio. Let that sink in for a moment. In Action trim, the base level admittedly, you have to plug your phone in to listen to any music. Fiat isn’t the first to tap into this, but for a car so focused on style and youthful appeal, it says something of where we might be heading in the future. This is the entry-level new 500 Electric, with a 94bhp single electric motor powering the front wheels. There is a floor-mounted 23.8kWh battery, giving a total range of 118 miles, 0-62mph in 9.5sec and a top speed of 84mph. Charge times are from as little as 30 minutes,…

4 min
volvo ramps up recycling drive

Volvo Cars is planning a 2.5 million-tonne reduction in its annual carbon emissions by reusing and remanufacturing components on a large scale. The process, which it calls a “circular business principle”, will include recycling key materials such as steel and aluminium, remanufacturing complex components like gearboxes and reconditioning individual parts. Volvo remanufactured some 40,000 parts last year, saving 3000 tonnes of CO2, and recycled 95% of its production waste (including 176,000 tonnes of steel) to save 640,000 tonnes of CO2. Volvo is also collaborating with battery reuse specialist Battery Loop to investigate the potential for a second life for high-voltage EV and hybrid batteries, all with the intention of becoming a ‘fully circular business’ – using entirely recycled parts – by 2040. Mechanical components included in the company’s reconditioning programme include brake calipers, electric…

5 min
your views

Light right foot You highlighted that the stop-start feature never worked in your Mazda CX-30 (Our Cars, 14 April). I was delighted to find that this feature on my Mazda 2 can be controlled simply by the amount of pressure applied to the brake when you’re stopped. If held lightly on the brake, this system won’t cut in. In my opinion, until these stop-start systems can react instantly and not delay a getaway, they’re simply dangerous. Being able to control this feature simply by your foot is genius on the part of Mazda. Mark Gold Via email Farther, not faster Every time you report on a new electric car, they seem to get faster. Do I really need 0-62mph in less than 7.0sec in my SUV when I’m off to the supermarket or picking up…

3 min
the ingenious ev gear changer that could be a game changer

RARELY DO WE come across something in the car world that hasn’t been thought of before, but the Ingear multi-speed transmission design from Canadian firm Inmotive is nothing short of genius. Chief technical officer and keen cyclist Anthony Wong began pondering the derailleur gears on his bike and wondered how it would be if, rather than shifting the chain across the gears in that noisy and clunky way, he could think of a way to move the gears beneath the chain. The result is a prototype transmission for EVs that is expected to match the efficiency of a single-speed helical gearset when it reaches production. Inmotive claims a 7-15% improvement in an EV’s range using Ingear and an improvement of 15% in acceleration. Ingear isn’t a CVT and it doesn’t need…