Saturday, 25 October 2014

snap, crackle and popping around London


A quick spin through the Chelsea tractors over to Balham during the day through unexpectedly heavy traffic marking school half-term holidays.

Little chains of red cars all over the sat-nav and some ultra-mad drivers around.

One of the worst was a black Bentley that decided to accelerate as fast as possible to catch the lights at Pont Street when I was turning right onto Sloane Street.

Earlier I'd seen the usual screechy BMW M something-or-others around by Hyde Park and I was increasingly intrigued at seeing five separate black Maseratis in different points around the same area. Maybe one or two, but five? Has no-one read the memo?

Then I passed one of those £100k BMW i8 cars which tokenistically run partly on electricity. Only for 22 miles, though, according to the manufacturers. Add petrol and it'll do 375 miles - and despite BMW's claimed 135mpg, its three cylinder engine real world result is more in the 50-30mpg range. Hardly economic, but I suppose they'll be joining the Hyde Park gang as soon as there are enough of them around.

I also spent a long time in a jam in the lane next to another electric BMW.

One of those strangely shaped i3 cars, which is a sort of novelty BMW also running on electric power. This one has all the hallmarks of a committee design and somehow has managed to avoid BMW styling cues altogether, except for a slightly bolted on looking front grill. Plug it in at home to a new circuit rated at the same wattage as a domestic ring main and it'll be 80% charged in under 3 hours to give a full 100 mile range. Or add the £2.8k optional extra called 'range extender' which is actually a petrol engine which doesn't directly power the car. No, it makes electricity to charge the battery.

They still haven't quite got the electric car thing right. Further on I saw a small electric car parked with a yellow power cable snaking to a big Audi SUV in front. The smaller car was obviously being recharged by the side of the road - no doubt using power from the bigger car's diesel engine.

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