Tag Archives: v8

V8, 22 and Bunty… yup…

After Chicken 11 passed away I mention to a friend who was still undecided as to wether getting hens was a good idea, that if he really thought he had made the wrong choice, that we’d take on his three girls.

Much though he liked them, he decided that it wasn’t going to work for him, so today we added these ex-battery hens to our flock.

V8, Bunty and Chicken 22 (named in respect of Chicken 11) have settled right in and seem happy enough. They have met Mel, Ginger, Terri 2, Turbo & Crispy (albeit through mesh fence) and there seem to be no squabbles at all. A few raised voices, but no chest puffing and sizing up.

The drive home

The release….

 

Chris and Bunty

 

All together now...


Eco Less-Unfriendly Cars

Jumping on the electric bandwagon….

I love cars. I am a petrol head and love big gas guzzling motors and the sounds they give off…. but I also like the idea of greener vehicles. We are seeing some high performance green vehicles now, so I’m not worried about all new eco-cars being slow city-cars. I’ll miss the sound and look of a V8 engine – but at least the performance will still be available in “eco” cars, where as a while a go that was not an option.

Being a throbbing engine with great sounds isn’t all important in a car really – The performance that comes from it is the important thing – the rest is just window dressing.

For performance the electric motor is like an on switch – Internal combustion won’t stand up to what electricity offers. No matter how fast you are going, you can pretty much put your foot down and accelerate as quickly from 30mph to 60mph or 70mph to 100mph  as you did 0mph to 30mph.

Electrical power is evenly distributed – there is no power band compared to a petrol or diesel engine. Sure… a chromed up V8 looks and sounds great and raw, but there are better performance options.

What gets me is the question of “Why are we trying to develop so many different alternate fuels for cars now?

Too many choices – we’ll end up with so many different cars and a poor infrastructure to support them all. We should settle on one energy and then we can concentrate on.

With one common charge type the the only issue would be where the electricity is produced from. I don’t mean one common electric engine – I mean a common fuel and filling procedure – like we have so many petrol engines, but they all fill up the same way on the same fuel. Some motors may be faster, more economical, higher torque etc… but they are all fuelled and filled the same way. It would be easier to make  supporting infrastructure of “petrol” stations that way.

Before anyone moans about the fact that the power stations to give us the electricity aren’t very green, then I’d point you at the fact that a petrol engine is only about 30% efficient – and diesel is only about 45%. Yeah, big deal if it can do 75mpg… it’s still only 30% efficient, and as such it is still wasting energy. Add to that the wastage and energy used to drill, transport and refine that oil and that is a real waste of resources.

Real “eco-friendliness” should be measured from cradle to grave. From the moment the oil is found to the moment it goes in the car – the production process of the car, the energy used to make the car and refine the components… etc…THAT’S how to measure it.

Due to the very nature of the electric motor they have less moving parts and have higher efficiency – and the more horsepower they put out, the more efficient they are! over 125bhp and a NEME electric motor is over 90% efficient! The electric motor can get more out of the energy provided – at least twice as much more.

The motors are available NOW – so we could switch over… and yes, the ways we produce the electricity still need to be improved, but that’s no big deal because however we produce the electricity, the cars will be able to take it and operate.

As power stations improve – natural energy, solar, wind, wave – whatever – then the already efficient electric cars will get even more efficient (cradle to grave). However the electricity is supplied or produced, the cars would already be on the road to take that electricity.

Changing the way the electricity is produced won’t effect the car – but having different “eco-fuels” in development is pretty much a waste of effort and future resources that would be better spent on figuring out better ways to produce the electricity at the root – at the power stations.

As the motors develop we can even replace the petrol engines in cars that are already on the road. That’s a pretty green option as it wouldn’t need a new car to be built! Brabus has added their touch to the Tesla by adding a sound track! Check it out here! If the Brabus sound track is any good you could have your ’67 Mustang with an electric motor that gives a higher performance than the petrol V8, but still sounds as good!

World travel might be an issue with the different voltage levels – but the cars could be built with adapters and changers to accept whatever is plugged into them. It’s no problem.

Batteries and power storage is the problem at the moment – but people like Tesla are getting around it, so even that isn’t such a problem anymore.

Motor racing is helping out now as well. In Formula 1 there is a kinetic braking system (KERS) that uses braking energy and turns it back into propulsive energy. We need motor sports and recreation to keep pushing and developing these things. Cutting down on motor activities will just take the pressure off of the industries to give us the greener ways!

Remember though, and this was pointed out to me by the great Robert Llewellyn – no car can be called “Eco Friendly“, simply because the act of building one and the infrastructure to support it will effect the environment – BUT we can build “Eco Less-Unfriendly” cars.

For a petrol head, I’m actually looking forward to an electric future.


Why Alex (and Top Gear) need Supercars

I know it's a squashed Beetle...but still...

There was never any doubt to Alex’s love of cars. He’s just past 2 3/4 years old now and already has marques and models that he prefers. He’s just as happy to sit down and watch Spongebob as he is Top Gear (Fifth Gear is bearable, but he thinks Tiff is a “Stupid man”).

Give him a Mini or a Porsche and he seems pretty happy – even if it is just a picture in a magazine. Trucks and buses keep him occupied for a while, but racing cars are the number one attraction for him. He makes all the noises and learning all the names!

I used to like cars when I was a kid…ah, who am I kidding, I still love cars! (Jag XJ13 – droooool!!!), but between the 70’s and today there wasn’t anything that major happening. Yes – improvements on engines, performance, aerodynamics, safety – all wonderful and exciting…. but they were improvements or variations on the theme that had been there for decades. When Alex is my age though, I imagine things will be a lot different.

Even now there are hybrid cars on our streets – and some that even Jeremy Clarkson would have to admit are really getting there. Not the slow green machines we all thought they would be, but blistering performance hybrids and alternate fuels – things we would never have put money on in the 70’s. Back then economy was all to do with plastic bodies and smaller engines that just farted along.

Now more than ever we need Top Gear to race around and keep the general publics interest in road going  performance cars on the boil. If the interest is there, then the manufacturers will see fit to invest in new greener sports cars – but the moment Top Gear vanishes, then what is there to keep us informed of these cars?  Lets face it – love them or hate them, these performance cars today will make our cars safer (and greener) tomorrow.

150mph plus and they walk away

150mph plus and they walk away

I know that I’d rather have a sports tourer on the road than a family car – purely because it is designed for better driving performance all round. Sports cars have better brakes, better handling and more power – all things that I like to have for the safety of me and the family. There are countless times people wish they could have a bit more power to get out of a dangerous situation – but I can’t recall one time when I thought “I could do with a few horse power less here…” – after all, the “loud” pedal doesn’t have to go all the way down – but it is reassuring to know there is still power left for when you need it. Sports cars are just safer in my opinion (if used correctly) – You just have to look at the 150mph Ferrari road crash that left the passenger/driver compartment intact and resulted in no injuries. In fact the police couldn’t find the driver or passenger because they’d walked back home…..

Hear that straight 3 roar...

For a while I thought Alex would miss the sound of the V8,10,12’s  or straight 6’s (I loved my old Supra 3l Turbo!) due to the economic and ecologic forces at play, but I have faith that ways around these issues will be found. Even if the death bell tolls for huge gas guzzlers, looking at the new and future car projects makes me think that something will fill the void. It might not rumble through your body and shake your fillings, but it will still leave a perma-grin on your face.

I can grab a test drive in a Ford Focus – I can read up about the pro’s and con’s on the Internet – but I have to get my performance car fix in third person.

So Mr Clarkson, Mr May and Mr Hammond, please keep racing those power houses around the track and letting us drive with you – I may never own a supercar, so the excitement and feeling you put into your tests is as close as a lot of us will get.

Jeremy "POWER!" Clarkson

James Captain Slow May

James "Captain Slow" May

Richard New Age Hammond

Richard "erm...." Hammond

Back in the real world though we get our track-side entertainment from a Hotwheels set in the house. Alex races cars around it on and off all day… mind you, some of them get a fair lick of speed going and “Off” is a near danger experience as small metal cars hurtle off of the track at bruise invoking speeds – which just makes Alex enjoy it even more. Even at such a young age he knows that the crashes are one of the key things that make motor racing exciting to watch!

Houston... we have a negetive on that trajectory...


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