Archive for Motoring

Wider Roads – well, sort of

Posted in Transport with tags , , on October 25, 2007 by Apollo

I see the Shit for Brains Friends of the Earth (SfBFoE) have their jumbo-size We Know Better hat on again, and are dispensing their usual self-righteous and self-appointed expertise that flies in the face of actual evidence.

While I’d only place my own comfort level at around 80% or so for the idea, it seems that there is to be a wider roll-out of a pilot scheme that evaluated the use of the motorway hard shoulder to ease congestion. Clearly there is a trade between safety and the potential for causing an accident, and the two probably tend to balance one another out, jammed up and stationary, or near stationary, traffic being an ideal trigger for accidents or conflicts, while keeping things moving means a potentially more hazardous accident, if one occurs, but less likelihood of it happening.

The scheme does not simply give drivers free use of the hard shoulder at any time, but is triggered by traffic conditions, activating signs that alert them to the fact that the hard shoulder is available, and reducing the speed limit to 50 mph. As well as the sensors and signs, the shoulder is modified with the addition of emergency refuges every 500 m, where those who have problems can pull into, out of the way of traffic. There are also (surprise!) cameras monitoring the route, and operators should not open the hard shoulder to traffic if there is a vehicle or incident present.

While SfBSoE would much prefer the system not to to work – the pilot scheme trialled on the M43 showed that journey times were improved and pollution was reduced – they know better:

But Tony Bosworth, from Friends of the Earth (FoE), disagreed there were environmental benefits: “It’s effectively motorway widening on the cheap.

“We believe it’s simply going to encourage more drivers and cause an increase in carbon dioxide.”

It’s a shame that FoE has lost its objectivity, and has now shamelessly and mindlessly promotes anything with a green or environmental badge on its chest, and rubbishes anything else, regardless of its merit. Clearly they’ve spent too much time with their heads in their favourite Composting Toilet, and the shit has started seeping into their brains through their ears.

While the system has yet to be tested by the occurrence of a major incident – having only been tested on one motorway where this test thankfully did not occur (god forbid someone suggest that the improved traffic flow helped prevent such an occurrence) – both RoSPA and the AA have given cautious support to system now that the trial has been completed. How unreasonable they must appear to SfBFoE, who simply displayed their usual contempt for anything that refuses to fall into line with their own agenda.

Don’t you love SfB logic too? Picture the scene as ‘encouraged’ drivers around the country scour the news to see where there are motorways with potentially open hard shoulders, and jump in their cars to go and drive on them.

I think not!

Engineering Excellence

Posted in Transport with tags , , , , , on October 20, 2007 by Apollo

Now that we seem to have a satisfactory theme established, it may be possible to get on with business, and upset some mindless, green, global warming worshipping, tree-hugging, environmental, CO2 alarmist, brainwashed, fuel-tax-loving, car-hating tosspots. My apologies to anyone in the same sort of groups that I may have omitted, consider yourself included if you think you should be.

While some may point to a terminal speed of 171 mph for the Porsche 928 S4 as not being particularly quick in in a world where 250 mph is possible in a production car, it’s also worth bearing in mind that this speed was achieved in a production road car in 1986.

It’s even more worth bearing in mind that at the time, the car could be bought for around £30,000. Although it may have crept up to £80,000 in its later, faster, and more powerful GTS variant, this is still nowhere near the figure of anything up to £500,000 to achieve that extra speed, and not even comparable to the £800,000 upward for a Bugatti Veyron, or any of the recent 1,001 BHP+ and 250 mph+ cars that have appeared. None of these cars will ever be built in numbers that approach the curtailed 928 production run (just under 60,000), will never be seen in the hands of anyone that has anything approaching an average wage, and will probably never even be seen on the road in most cases. Unless changed at some time, the Veyron’s run is set at 300 over five years, although the schedule has been sped up since that was announced.

You also have to question either the truth of the story, or the sense of the management at Volkswagen Group (where the senior management must have cast-iron contracts), as the £1 million price tag is said to result in a £4 million loss for the company on each sale, especially in light of the American-built SSC Ultimate Aero TT, a supercar built by Shelby Super Cars. It’s cheaper, faster, and couldn’t have cost as much to develop or produce as the Bugatti. Price is around $700,000 (that’s dollars, not pounds) (less on eBay) for that variant, with production only projected at around 40 cars. Standard Aeros may only be around $250,000. Small change for anyone in that sort of market.

Having said that, I suspect the Bugatti would last longer at speed than its successors, so there are differences.