Archive for the 'pollution' Category

Porsche driver fixes his own car… after he breaks it!

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Sorry for the lack of posts readers. I’ve been busy consulting and starting two companies, and just haven’t found the time – at all.

Anyway, I had to share this video. This is the craziest thing I have seen in motorsports.

A note to Nissan, your Leaf may be green, but the ads need some sprucing up…

Monday, May 24th, 2010
Vroom, vroom, or bust?

Vroom, vroom, or bust?

I am an automotive writer, and I have yet to review the new Nissan Leaf or even drive it. I did sit in it when it came to Tempe, AZ earlier in this year, but as it was a special event, I did not have the opportunity to test it.

Normally, we don’t cover Nissan’s on this web site because we specialize in European cars, but I heard earlier today that the car emits a particular noise to pedestrians that it was approaching. Clever, I thought, and was interested to read on that this noise was similar to one of the flying cars in the movie Blade Runner. This I HAD to check out.

So after 15 minutes spent searching online and this on Nissan’s Facebook page, I began to notice one thing – this marketing campaign is about the people, not the car. And to me that’s a weird approach. When Apple releases a new product, they interview executives of the company, potential users, and even celebrities. That launch then becomes more about the people and the product, and about what the two can do when you put them in a room together.

But when someone like Ferrari or Porsche releases a new car, the advertising tends to be more about the product. How fast is it? What does the vroom of the engine sound like? How fast can it lap around the Nürburgring? Yet, all of the marketing seems to be of the Apple sort. And that’s fine if you are selling a consumer electronic, but for a car, it just doesn’t make sense to me.

I want to see this reviewed on Top Gear, I want to see You Tube videos of it lapping the saltiest tracks in the world. I want to see a professional review. I want to see it compared to a Tesla and then to a Versa, or whatever comparison you may draw between this car and another. At the very least, I want to see it in motion.

But sadly, there is very little footage of this car doing what it is supposed to do: getting me from point A to point B. Com’mon Nissan, let’s see a little more vroom, vroom!

Early Fall auto news round-up

Saturday, November 7th, 2009



VW in an effort to promote the tons of eco-friendlier cars launched at IAA in Frankfurt in September has decided to pursue eco-sales with a new eco-friendly racing series. The company is starting a single-make racing series where all of the cars run on bio-produced compressed natural gas. The model used in the series is the new Scirocco and should reduce racetrack CO2 output by 80 per cent over today’s racing fuels. The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder cars will have 220 horsepower on tap. Not bad for an alt fuel car!


On other green fronts, VW Group is working with Stanford University in California in a US$5.75 million project to make VW the largest carmaker with R&D in Silicon Valley. Already the two companies have produced autonomous (read self-driving) versions of the VW Passat and now the Audi TT-S. The Audi TT-S will attempt to drive itself up the 14,110-foot Pike’s Peak next year, according Wired.



Audi’s Johan de Nysschen, critical of the Chevy Volt, took an interview with Time recently to express his views on the state of the luxury auto industry. He stated that Audi’s goal is to be the “top” German luxury manufacturer, but not necessarily in terms of sales. He also reiterated the push for more fuel-efficient vehicles leading to Zero emissions cars in the not so distant future.



Bugatti has unleashed a new concept car the 4-seat, 4-door (can you believe it???) Galibier 16C. Autocar magazine claims the production will start in 2013 at £900,000. We will believe it when we see it! Interestingly, the car’s engine will be the same as in the Veyron but will only sport 800BHP. Apparently, 200 get lost when adding 2 doors.


Rarely does Caterham make the news, except when they unleash new, wildly fun lightweight roadster, but unfortunately, Caterham’s found Graham Nearn died in late October. Nearn has been selling the then-titled Lotus 7 since its introduction in 1959, and then when the car was discontinued in 1973, Nearn bought the rights and has been producing the car ever since and in more exciting, evolving versions. You can even buy a kit and put a Caterham 7 together yourself. If you are not familiar with this brand, you should be!

Top Gear featured it in a segment awhile back:



Beyond the KM has previously marveled at the sales resiliency of the Ferrari nameplate. But even THIS economy has the prancing stallion kow-towing to the bear market of Wall Street.

Its third quarter results for 2009 showed revenues of 396 million euros (£359m) – down from 450m euros (£408m) in the same period last year. It sold 1454 cars, down 4.3 per cent year on year.

However, Ferrari announced that it has grown its market share in every market it monitors, against a drop in supercar sales of around 40 per cent.


LOTW: Driving in Germany? Check this link out!

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Mercedes Policewagen

Volvo issues safety tips for drivers, and America yawns – who’s listening?

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

How safe is YOUR driving?

From the folks at Volvo – the same people who have promised to eliminate car injuries and deaths in the next 12 years, come some safe driving tips for the summer. Though some analysts have predicted record low numbers of summer travelers, the following tips might even be useful in taking the kids to daycare in the morning. Some are just a little humorous.

On the other hand, all drivers could start with a refresher course of the rules of the road. A pamphlet you can pick up at your local DMV when they tell you to get your car smog checked this summer! Start with this one: unless you are passing someone stay to the right lane of the road – a great tip for all Buick drivers! 

  • Limit the noisemakers. Parents are more and more turning to “road trip babysitters” such as GameBoy’s, portable DVD players and iPods to keep their kids happy and busy on long trips and when traffic gets bad. Practice moderation with this in your car. Set rules around wearing head phones or only having one thing playing at a time. The beeps and tones that these machines make can be block out the sounds of a beeping horn or even an oncoming emergency vehicle’s siren.
  • Pack low. See more. When the trunk or hatch gets full with bags and coolers, kids tend to squeeze stuff on to the back shelf of the car or pile their hatch area right up to the ceiling of the car. This can take away some key sight lines. At every stop, take an inventory of what has crept into these sight lines and take 30 seconds to repack your stuff before you get back on the road.
  • Stick together. Sometimes on road trips, it can be as dangerous out of the car as it is in the car. Rest stops, restaurants and gas stations that your family has never been to before pose risks such as not knowing when and where to look for oncoming cars. Unfortunately, public places on the open road can also be hangouts for people preying on young kids. Never send a child under 18 to a rest room by him or herself. Form teams of at least two to head inside. As alert as you are on the road, be equally as alert when you make stops.  
  • Avoid rival sibling arguments. Let’s face it, kids that have to sit in cars for a longer time than they are used to alongside their brother or sister may pick a fight with their sibling. These family moments can be dangerous to parents behind the wheel because their instincts tell them to break up the fight just as they would if they were in their living room. Stern warnings to riders about fighting in the car need to be made crystal clear before you put the car in drive. If things get really out of hand, pull over and deal with the situation on the side of the road or at a gas station.  
  • Keep the car seat safe for your youngest passengers. The best car seat is the one that fits your child properly, is easy to use and fits in your vehicle correctly. Install the car seat in the vehicle’s backseat. Infants under 20 pounds or younger than one year old, should ride in a rear facing car seat. Check to see that the safety belt holds the seat tightly in place and make sure the harness is buckled snugly around your child. Some new cars, including Volvo’s, now offer integrated car seats. Visit to learn more about child safety in cars. At you can find ease of use ratings for child seats on the market today.  
  • Never leave your child alone in car. Young children can overheat quickly in a warm car. Older children can loosen their seat belt, climb into the driver’s seat, figure out how to undo the parking brake and potentially cause an accident.  
  • Keep small toys in check. Children may get upset and throw their small toys at you, potentially causing you to lose control of the car and cause an accident.  
  • Engage kids in ride safe ideas. Kids have great ideas and they are more likely to own them if they come up with them. Ask each kid rider to come up with their idea to keep their family safe on their road trip.

Source: Volvo

Britons’ Struggle with Speed Cameras

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

As Americans struggle with the introduction of more and more speeding and red-light enforcement cameras, Britons, who have dealt with the cameras for many years now, are also struggling to come to grips with enforcement. In a recent survey of 500 Britons conducted by the IAM Motoring Trust Survey, 78% of Britons approved of speed cameras, up 9% from the year before. Before you start thinking these numbers are fantastics, it’s key to note that they are on the overall decline. In 1999, cameras received a 90% approval. 

So what’s going on here? Why are the numbers dropping? Well, only 36% believe that cameras were positioned only at serious crash sites. Further, only 39% believed that revenue generation was not the motive for speed camera use. Since fines often generate more revenue for additional cameras, IAM acknowledges that breaking the link between enforcement and revenue is the key to gaining public confidence.


A Call for an End to Police Pursuits

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

Lambo Police Car

It happened right in our backyard. An unfortunate event transpired last week, when a 24-year-old Phoenix man was killed in a head-on collision. But what makes this story so unique was that he was killed by a man suspected of robbing a local Bank of America. The suspect himself was being actively pursued by local police. Speeds reached up to 100 miles per hour (160 KM/hour) before the suspect crashed into a civilian. The chase ran through several Phoenix metro neighborhoods and due to its high speeds and busy streets put dozens of civilians lives at risk.


Ferrari Announces Standard Ceramic Disc Brakes – is your Mini next?

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Picture of a Yellow Ferrari F430

Ferrari recently announced that all of their models will come with Ceramic disc brakes as standard equipment from 2008. This is great news for Ferrari buyers as a once $10,000 optional extra is now standard. These disc brakes have, for a few years now, been a very expensive add-on, but a very good one as they nearly eliminate brake fade, and very lightweight, and work to reduce stopping distances – critical in preventing auto accidents.

The British Nanny State and the Government’s Confusion About the Speed Freak

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

Speeding is now the most common offence on the UK’s roads, according to government figures. In recent years it has made up more than one third of all driving offences dealt with by police in England and Wales.
Part of the reason for this could be that the UK is the speed-camera capital of Europe, according to recent figures given to MPs. Numbers have risen from 1,935 in 2000 to just over 5,500 this year (DfT (UK)).

In last week’s edition of, we covered the sordid story of a Mini/BMW executive who was recently given a stiff sentence by the British courts for driving 100+MPH (162.5 KM/hour) in a 50 zone. We cover the topic of speeding in Britain a little more in depth here at BTKM!
30 MPH Speed Limit Sign

Nanny State Alert: BMW Official Speeds, Lies, Taxpayers Pay

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

British Justice? BMW Official Speeds, Lies, Taxpayers Pay.

BMW boss jailed over speeding charge lie

Thomas Moser, the finance director of the BMW-owned Mini factory in Oxford, has been jailed for six weeks for lying to police after being clocked speeding at 101 mph.
BMW/MINI Logos - Speed Blurred
Moser (48) was given three opportunities to change his story, but declined. He was consequently jailed for perjury after claiming falsely that his 19-year-old son had been driving the Mini at twice the 50 mph speed limit.
He is the latest in a growing number of motorists who try to illegally ‘swap points’ to keep their licences clean or escape a ban.

Tough Sentence for Porsche Speedster

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

The AP reported today that Briton Tim Brady will be jailed for 10 weeks as a result of his conviction for speeding in a 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo – at 276 KM/hour (172 MPH). The record set by Brady for highest recorded speed on a British motorway beats the old record of 251 KM/hour set by car dealer Jason McAllister in 2003.

911 Turbo with Picture of British Speeder on the inset

Judge David Morton called the act “criminally self-indulgent.”


White lines ‘cut more accidents than cameras’

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

White lines are more effective at reducing road crashes than speed cameras saving up to eight times as many lives, according to new research from the European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP).

Britain has about 6,000 speed cameras, which typically lead to a 10% fall in the most common types of crash – head-on incidents, side impacts at junctions, collisions with trees and lampposts and accidents involving cyclists or pedestrians hit by cars.

But Dr Joanne Hill, the head of research at EuroRAP, said dedicated lanes for turning right or left cut side impacts by up to 80%. Anti-skid surfaces can lead to a 65% improvement, while new signs can reduce crashes by up to 40% and renewing road markings cuts them by up to 35%.

Dr Hill said: “Speed cameras are the least effective measure because drivers can still wilfully drive at speed through an area. A pot of paint doesn’t cost a lot of money but the rate of return is phenomenal.

“A highways authority could typically save 20 fatal or serious injury accidents over three years just by relining a junctions. A speed camera shouldn’t be the only measure installed.”

EuroRAP examined the crash statistics of 900 major routes to calculate death and serious injury rates. A seven-and-a-half-mile stretch of the A452 in the West Midlands was found to have seen the greatest reduction in serious accidents, down by 72% in six years. The improvements were achieved by cutting the speed limit by 10 mph. (Daily Telegraph: July 2).

BTKM Note: No kidding! It’s unfortunate that governments lack enough sophistication to realize that the primary cause of accidents is not speed.

A World Conference to End Road Deaths? How Novel.

Saturday, May 5th, 2007

The BBC recently reported that British Prime Minister Tony Blair and F1 racing legend Michael Schumacher have been talking. The two want to but an end to crashes that result in highway deaths. Traffic deaths kill more young men than any other cause, except HIV/AIDS.

To put the problem in perspective, the BBC notes that 1,200,000 people are killed each year in traffic accidents. Of those, 400,000 are under 25 years of age. 66,000 people are seriously injured in traffic accidents every day as well. In Africa, BBC claims that 70% of the children injured are providing the main source of income for the family. Such injury can be devastating to the injured and those dependent upon the income.

Red Mini Cooper Crash

Photo courtesy BMW.

Schumacher proposes the “Make the Roads Safe” campaign. Aside from the obvious goal, the aim of the summit/conference/meeting/rendezvous would to bring nations together to enact legislation and program that would decrease the accident rate.

At BTKM, we think that specific objectives should be laid out. This could include:

1) Mandatory training for all drivers. Even experienced drivers could benefit from additional training. Take the U.S. for example, where virtually no Americans are trained to drive at speeds in excess of 75 miles per hour. In such instance, the real danger is not the speed it is the inability of the driver to cope with the speed and anticipate and react to problems in the road ahead.

2) Mandatory testing. Drivers of all ages, whether they are 16, 66, or 106 years of age should go through specific and credible testing every other year. This assures that the drivers continue forth in good health and well being towards other drivers.

3) Improved awareness and engineering at car markers. All automakers must be aware of the need to improve safety to the public on both sides of the windscreen. Government must work to encourage companies to build safer cars. In addition, government must provide encouragement and incentive to buy newer cars, which are safer and which must be equipped with passive and active safety devices.

4) All cars currently on the road must go through tedious and complete checks to determine car safety. This would include visual and mechanical inspection by approved departments of motor vehicles safety in the respective localities. Cars failing to meet these strict requirements shall required to be fixed, updated, or removed from road use.

5) Governments must provide assurance that all roads are properly maintained and made safe. Roads being build or refurbished for future use shall be capable of holding cars traveling at distances in excess for 155 miles per hour.

6) All governments and automakers should meet annually to discuss improvements to the regulations. Audits should be conducted in all localities annually to assure compliance with regulations set forth at the summits.

This may not be the end all, be all of road safety but there is no doubt that with the enactment of these rules alone, fatalities and serious injury on roads can be significantly reduced. We will never be able to eliminate all road deaths but prudent and reasonable resolutions like the ones outlined below can lead to better prevention.