Vespa Elettrica

The famous Vespa scooter is going electric

Vespa ElettricaVespa has been making scooters since 1946 and is arguably the world’s most famous manufacturer of iconic urban motorcycles. 

Now, it’s taking the retro machine into the 21st century with the launch of a zero-emissions, all-electric scooter called the Vespa Elettrica. 

Boasting a range of 62 miles and better performance than the 50cc petrol-powered alternative, Piaggio, makers of the Vespa scooter, says it’s tailor-made for urban riding. 

Vespa Elettrica

What’s more, with a remarkable torque figure of 147lb ft, it has pulling power the equal of a 125hp Ford Fiesta 1.0-litre Ecoboost, giving “brilliant” response and acceleration away from the line.

When riders slow down, it recharges the battery – Vespa’s calling it an F1-style KERS system, but really it’s just a regular battery-electric regen function.

Because the scooter is so lightweight, it can get away with using a tiny 4.2 kW lithium ion battery. Even using a regular domestic socket, the charge time is four hours: it will be faster still with higher-capacity public chargers. 

Vespa says the battery should remain in peak condition for 1,000 full charging cycles, which equates to around 43,000 miles or 10 years of use. Even then, it will still have 80 percent of its capacity remaining. 

The battery is located beneath the helmet compartment, so the Vespa Elettrica can still swallow a helmet safely when parked up.

Vespa Elettrica X

Vespa Elettrica

That’s not all. If you do need more range, the firm’s revealed a range-extender scooter, called the Vespa Elettrica X.

This combines a tiny petrol-powered generator, a three-litre fuel tank and a smaller battery pack: it will do 31 miles under full electric drive, then another 93 miles with the generator, giving a total range of almost 125 miles.

It’s “ideal for out of town riding,” says Vespa.

Both scooters come with a 4.3-inch TFT colour display, including a multimedia system that connects to smartphones. Vespa’s also developed a smartphone app that riders can use to see incoming calls and messages within the display.

The new Vespa Elettrica scooter range will go in sale in October, initially in Italy, before expanding to Europe. Sales will then expand to North America and Asia from early 2019.

Prices? Still to be confirmed. But don’t expect a retro price tag for this all-electric Vespa scooter…

Sonic 7

Sonic Seven is a pint-sized Lotus for keen young drivers

Sonic 7

Ever feel bad that the kids miss out on all your motoring fun? Well, worry no more: Sonic Seven cars has you covered. And if you think this diminutive cart bears an uncanny resemblance to the Lotus Seven – and more recent Caterham Seven – you’re not far wrong.

The Sonic Seven, in the words of the company itself, “is the opportunity for your child to own a scaled-down version of the iconic Lotus Seven”.

Sonic 7

What about power? Will your little ones be out of puff from peddling? Absolutely not, with 100cc of 5.5hp single-cylinder Honda petrol engine, the Sonic 7 can reach up to 30mph. You can also limit it to less, if you so desire.

It’s a serious bit of kit, too, with four-point harnesses to keep the driver safely strapped in. And it’s adaptable, thanks to an adjustable pedal box that accounts for growing legs. It should fit children from 5-12 years old.

We don’t have a road test booked in yet, or indeed anyone on staff that could fit…

Read more: 

Jaguar I-Pace

Most Brits will wait almost 10 YEARS before buying an electric car

Jaguar I-PaceThe emphasis on the transition to alternative fuel vehicles is intense. With diesel all but circling the drain, and talk of the 2040 combustion engine ban in the air, we all have to ask ourselves when we’ll take the leap into an electric car.

For many of us, that moment isn’t going to arrive any time soon.

That’s according to research conducted by Auto Trader. It found that drivers say they plan to wait an average of nine years before buying an electric car.

The research also discovered that motorists fall on both sides of the fence as to whether that 2040 ban is a good thing. While 20 percent were undecided, the remainder of the sample was evenly split in favour and against.

However, shockingly, nearly three quarters were not aware of the government assistance packages for buyers of electric cars and hybrids, such as the money-saving Plug-in Car Grant.

As for the recently-released Road to Zero report, over a third think it’s unrealistic to expect 50 percent of new cars sold to be electric by 2030.

The perceived price premiums, and what is seen as the inadequacy of the charging infrastructure, are why only one in four drivers would consider an EV or a hybrid for their next car.

i3

So what’s needed to convert buyers? In short, awareness, education, incentive and reassurance. We need to know what’s available, know that it’s viable and have good reasons to buy over what we’re used to.

The UK’s charging infrastrucutre needs to be improved, and confusing electric car terminology eliminated. 

“There’s no doubt that electric vehicles are the future,” said Auto Trader editorial director Erin Baker.

“However, our research indicates that there are still significant barriers to adoption, with greater investment in infrastructure and technology needed.

“It’s also crucial that car manufacturers and the government alike ensure that language to describe electric cars is clear and accessible, rather than laden with technological jargon that consumers may find alienating.”

Read more: 

Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer

Aston Martin confirms stock market IPO

Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy PalmerAston Martin has confirmed its intention to launch an initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange.

News of its intention to float comes as the British sports car firm announces an 8 percent rise in revenues and a 14 percent increase in profit.

Aston Martin to reveal £5 billion IPO stock market float

“Today’s announcement represents a key milestone in the history of the company,” said Dr. Andy Palmer, president and CEO of Aston Martin Lagonda (pictured above).

Aston Martin DB4 GT Continuation

Aston Martin, he said, has “the resources and balance sheet strength to continue delivering on our growth strategy. Today’s results show we have continued to deliver sustainable growth, margins and value for our shareholders”.

It’s the perfect time to announce plans for an IPO, believes the firm.

Dr. Palmer’s business strategy is called the Second Century plan. Since launching it in 2015, the firm “has been transformed into a luxury business focused on creating the world’s most beautiful high-performance cars.

“Our strategy is being implemented by an experienced management team that launched breakthrough new models, increased our brand value and built important partnerships in the luxury sector.”

Medium-term plans include boosting the company’s profit margin to more than 20 percent.

Aston Martin DBS Superleggera

The potential Aston Martin IPO will offer eligible employees and customers the opportunity to buy shares at the offer price. Daimler AG, which currently holds a stake of 4.9 percent in the firm, will remain as a shareholder.

Around 25 percent of the company is expected to float – and it’s predicted the company could be valued at up to £5 billion.

A full prospectus will be published on 20 September.

 

Renault Arkana show car

Renault Arkana SUV coupe revealed – but it’s NOT for us

Renault Arkana show carLike the idea of a value-priced four-door crossover coupe derived from the well-received new Dacia Duster? Well, you’re in luck, with the reveal of the new Renault Arkana show car at the Russia Motor Show… but only if you’re Russian.

Yes, Renault’s debuting a stylish new crossover coupe, but then denying it to Europe. Rather, this is a treat to Russians, who buy enough Groupe Renault vehicles to make it the firm’s second-largest global market. 

In pictures: Renault’s incredible classic car collection

Revealing the Arkana is part of Renault’s plans to make Russia number 1. 

Renault Arkana show car

So what is the Renault Arkana? A saloon crossed with an SUV; it’s a car “for sedan lovers who have SUV aspirations,” says Renault. The ride height is raised, the lower body is tough and chunky 19-inch alloys are standard. 

Higher up, says Renault SVP of design Lauren Van Den Ackers, “we have dialled in specific Renault cues, with a strong design, strength and sensuality with a French twist”. 

The greatest hot Renaults ever

Befitting of its status as Renault’s new range-topper in Russia, the Arkana has liberal use of chrome, full LED headlights and a panoramic glass roof. 

Renault Arkana show car

It’s also getting a brand new engine for the Russian market, although the firm isn’t yet ready to tell us what that is. It is, however, happy to confirm the Arkana comes with all-wheel drive, for Russia’s “harsh driving and weather conditions”. 

Apparently, the idea for the Arkana came from Renault Russia, and the team there played a close role in designing it at the firm’s French HQ. But then, as Groupe Renault claims almost a 30 percent market share in Russia, they do pack a bit of clout…

A UK spokesman has already ruled out Arkana for the UK and added “there are no plans to sell it in Europe”. There are, however, plans to take it global, first with Asia, where Renault will adapt this show car and also locally assemble it.

Renault Arkana show car

Which, crossover coupe fans, suggests there could still be hope. If you’re really set on saving a fortune on a BMW X6 and buying an Arkana instead, get lobbying your local Renault dealer

 

Custom Rolls-Royce for Google Exec Ben Treynor Sloss

OK Google, build me a bespoke Rolls-Royce Dawn

Custom Rolls-Royce for Google Exec Ben Treynor Sloss

Asking the Google Assistant on your Android smartphone to deliver you a one-off Rolls-Royce sadly only works if you happen to be Vice President of Engineering at the Silicon Valley firm.

After 15 years at the tech giant, being responsible for Site Reliability Engineering amongst other tasks, Benjamin Treynor Sloss is no stranger to expensive cars.

Dino at 50: the original baby Berlinettas gather in Maranello

In 2012 he purchased a $1.78million Ferrari 599XX at a charity auction, and has even shared photos of his cars adorned with bread to prove they were actually his.

However, there should be no doubts about who owns the special Rolls-Royce Dawn presented to Mr. Sloss at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance event.

Personally commissioned by Sloss, the Dawn Black Badge was built in collaboration with the Bespoke Collective at the Rolls-Royce factory in Goodwood, England.

With wife Christine already owning a Rolls-Royce Dawn, Treynor Sloss knew he needed to make a big effort in order to stand out. Enter the brand-new bespoke ‘Superflare’ yellow paintwork, intended to replicate the Californian sun under which the Dawn will be driven.

The bright yellow is tempered with another unique hue – Pikes Peak Blue, named after the legendary hill climb course in Colorado. Mr. Sloss is said to be a big fan of the annual Pikes Peak event, even if an open-top Rolls-Royce might not be the most obvious of vehicles to tackle it in.

Eye-searing Superflare yellow even adorns the 21-inch alloy wheels, and also continues inside. Yellow piping is used on the dark blue leather seats, whilst the steering wheel and blue piano wood dashboard trim feature yellow detailing.

With a love for Italian racing machinery, the use of blue and yellow for the Sloss’ Rolls-Royce was inspired by the livery used on the Ferrari racers owned by the couple. In fact the Rolls-Royce should match perfectly with a garage said to include multiple LaFerrari models, and a track-only Ferrari FXX K, all finished in yellow.

Rolls-Royce has previously used the Pebble Beach event to unveil bespoke creations. Last year, car collector Michael Fux was presented with a Rolls-Royce Dawn, featuring a unique fuschia paint finish named Fuxia.

 

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Aston Martin to reveal £5 billion IPO stock market float

Aston Martin V8 VantageAston Martin will announce plans on Wednesday to launch an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and float on the London Stock Exchange.

The plans, revealed by Sky News, value the company at between £4 billion and £5 billion.

Aston Martin will reveal the flotation plans alongside ‘healthy’ interim results. Sky News reports the IPO will see around £1 billion of shares sold. Public trading of shares will begin later in 2018.

The IPO is expected to offer stock to Aston Martin customers and existing investors. An employee share scheme is also expected to be launched.

Aston Martin announced its desire for an IPO earlier this year. It was considering New York, where Ferrari is listed (and valued at $10 billion) but appears to have chosen London instead.

Sky News describes the deal as “one of the City’s most prominent public offerings for years”.

Under the leadership of chief executive Andy Palmer, Aston Martin is being transformed, with critically acclaimed new cars such as the DB11 and new Vantage. It is also planning new range of Lagonda all-electric luxury cars, and is to build the first ever Aston Martin SUV, called Varekai.

Both will be built in a brand-new factory in St Athan, Wales: when it is fully on stream, it will double Aston Martin’s annual sales to around 15,000 cars.

Last year, Aston Martin reported its highest ever sales of almost £900 million, with pre-tax profits of £87 million.

Read more:

Dropless

New Dropless app is ‘the Deliveroo of the car wash industry’

Dropless

There isn’t much we can’t get on-demand these days. But television, music, movies, food, taxis, shopping, and so much more are shortly to be joined by… car washing.

Fledging on-demand car wash service dropless.co.uk intends on bringing your car back to showroom condition, without a bucket or a trip to the carwash in sight. Or indeed any water. Dropless seems to pride itself (the clue is in the name) on the use of runoff-free waterless solutions.

Its says 300 litres of water is saved on average per wash. Dropless are partnered with Water is Life on this water-saving eco crusade, donating 10 percent of all profits made to the charity, which helps build sustainable drinking wells and provide drinkable filter straws to deprived areas.

The service is exclusive to south west London for the moment. However, an Android and iPhone app is due out soon as the service expands across London before the end of the year.

By the end of 2019, Dropless expects to be a country-wide service.

Is that ambitious? If other recent revolutions in on-demand, on-your-phone services are anything to go by, they might need to double check they have the jaw to chew what they’ve bitten off…

Read more:

2014 McLaren P1

The million-dollar motors of RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2018 sale

2014 McLaren P1It wouldn’t be Monterey Car Week if there wasn’t a jaw-dropping set of auction results to round it off. This year, RM Sotheby’s knocked it out the park, with a near-$158 million record-smattered sale.

We’ve rounded up the coolest mega-bucks sellers for your perusal – including a Ferrari that sets a new auction record by which all others must now be judged…

1989 RUF CTR ‘Yellow Bird’

Sale price: $1,022,500 (£792,780)

1989 RUF CTR Yellow Bird

Just pipping the million-dollar mark by $22,500 comes this gorgeous black example of the legendary RUF CTR Yellow Bird. This subtle incarnation of the infamous Porsche 911-derived German speed machine is one of just 29 originals built.

1956 Bentley S1 Continental Drophead Coupe

Sale price: $1,655,000 (£1,283,179)

1956 Bentley S1 Continental Drophead Coupe

You can’t have a big-bucks sale without a nice stately old Bentley and this 1956 S1 Continental Drophead does the business. It’s the best of the breed, having been recently restored.

1990 Ferrari F40

Sale price: $1,710,000 (£1,325,822)

1990 Ferrari F40

The original hypercar? Though built in relative high numbers, the F40 was born to be a classic. A 1990 example of the original 200 mph supercar hit the block with RM, fetching $1.7 million – even at that price, surely worth every penny?

1948 Tucker 48

Sale price: $1,820,000 (£1,411,109)

1948 Tucker 48

Sat in a twin-turbo hypercar sandwich is this monstrous old slice of (just) post-war American bravado. Tipped as “the most legendary post-war American automobile” in the listing, it’s just undergone a concours-level restoration. Result: a $1.8 million sale price.

2014 McLaren P1

Sale price: $1,820,000 (£1,411,109)

2014 McLaren P1

There’s rarely a high-rolling car auction these days without a prong or two of holy hybrid hypercar trident. The first on our list (hint hint) is this 2014 McLaren P1 – one of just two examples finished in MSO Liquid Silver.

1963 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster

Sale price: $1,930,000 (£1,496,396)

1963 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster

This 300 SL was one of a few in this auction to pip the million-dollar mark. This late model comes in the most desirable black-on-black specification, complete with alloy engine block and disc brakes.

1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV

Sale price: $2,177,500 (£1,688,291)

1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV

The first of the inimitable mid-engine V12 Lamborghinis and, as such, the world’s first supercar – there’s little one can say to overstate the coolness of the Miura. This late red P400 SV was once owned by the man that, in (unlikely) partnership with record producer Giorgio Moroder, founded 80s supercar firm Cizeta.

2014 Ferrari LaFerrari

Sale price: $3,305,000 (£2,562,482)

2014 Ferrari LaFerrari

Ah, the second prong. This stunning LaFerrari comes virtually as-new, with only test mileage recorded since delivery. All of the proceeds are to benefit the College for Creative Studies, Detroit – school of many prominent car designers.

1934 Packard Twelve Individual Custom Convertible Victoria

Sale price: $3,745,000 (£2,903,629)

1934 Packard Twelve Individual Custom Convertible Victoria

Quite unlike a LaFerrari, this unique Packard is a stately concours-winning staple of the U.S. Vintage scene, taking Best of Show honours at 2013’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

1998 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLK GTR

Sale price: $4,515,000 (£3,500,637)

1998 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLK GTR

One of the legendary road-faring refugees of GT1, the CLK GTR is a token reminder of a golden age of sportscar racing when motorsport madness spilled over onto the road. This example is number 9 of just 25 built.

1956 Maserati A6G/2000 Berlinetta Zagato

Sale price: $4,515,000 (£3,500,637)

1956 Maserati A6G 2000 Berlinetta Zagato

The Maserati A6G helped fortify the mythos and reputation of the Italian trident and this Mille Miglia-competing Zagato-bodied example is one of the finest of the lot. Recently restored, it’s a regular concours competitor and winner.

1957 Porsche 550A Spyder

Sale price: $4,900,000 (£3,799,141)

1957 Porsche 550A Spyder

A pertinent buy in this, Porsche’s 70th anniversary year. The 550 Spyder is perhaps Stuttgart’s most famous model in US motorsport. Not surprising, then, that it nearly topped $5 million.

1966 Ford GT40 Mk II

Sale price: $9,795,000 (£7,594,406)

1966 Ford GT40 Mk II

One of those cars you’d think would simply be beyond valuation. Priceless, in a very real sense. As it turns out, this Ford GT40 – one of the three in that legendary 1966 1-2-3 Le Mans finish – clocks in at just under $10 million.

1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype

Sale price: $21,455,000 (£16,634,812)

1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype

Aston’s GTO never quite had its time to shine in period, but the DP prototype GT racers demonstrated Aston’s competition resolve. This DP215 clocked 198 mph at Le Mans in 1963 and was the final David Brown Aston racer.

Ordinarily, a sale price of over $21 million would be a colossal sum. But then along came a Ferrari…

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO by Scaglietti

Sale price: $48,405,000 (£37,530,090)

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO by Scaglietti

RM sum it up best, really. The world’s most important, desirable and legendary motor car. That’s it, in a nutshell.

This Scaglietti-bodied Series II GTO/64 has a Targa Florio win to its name, topping the list of 15 class and overall victories in period. It’s now once again a winner: it’s the world’s most expensive car ever auctioned, with a jaw-dropping sale price of $48,405,000.

Automobili Pininfarina PF0 teser image

Automobili Pininfarina releases first PF0 hypercar image

Automobili Pininfarina PF0 teser imageAt Monterey Car Week 2019, start-up supercar firm Automobili Pininfarina will reveal its all-electric hypercar, and it’s getting in on the teaser act early by releasing the first official shot of the PF0 concept.

Technically, we’re not quite the first to see it: for the past four days at Pebble Beach, the firm’s been carrying out private viewings which have led to “strong demand for limited PF0 allocation and significant interest from leading U.S. luxury car retailers”.

Pebble Beach marked the culmination of a six-week programme of launch activity in the U.S. – both of the car and the business plan that will support it. The U.S. was chosen for this debut activity because it will be the Munich-based firm’s strongest market.

10 brilliant Pininfarina designs – and 10 you can afford

Indeed, the firm’s already predicting demand for the first Pininfarina-designed, Pininfarina-branded hypercar will far outstrip supply.

CEO Michael Perschke admitted the U.S. launch programme was not easy, but “we had some great feedback from clients who have owned numerous Pininfarina-styled supercars… we know we are on the right track”.

The initial teaser image doesn’t reveal much, but does suggest this is going to be a hypercar packing drama. Luca Borgogno is Automobili Pininfarina design director and said it is based on classic Pininfarina principles: “To combine elegance and beauty with functional design that defines a new product vision.

“PF0 has to stand out in an emerging sector – beauty and performance to make your heart skip a beat. You can see that impact in the PF0 rear view treatment where the car’s performance potential is functionally defined by dramatic wings and its beauty highlighted by the overall form.”

Classic Pininfarina admirers, fear not: “Purity and elegance of design has not been lost to the battle for downforce and cooling.”

Like the look of this and are now eager to see more? Fear not: there are plenty of them on the way over the next year…