Serious about electric cars? Beating the pot holes. Getting a grip on Cactus. Tiguan+?
Published 17/08/2016 | 02:30
Some people believe electric cars to be the answer to our emissions ills. Maybe they will be; maybe they won't.
But we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that a fair bit of the power generated for them will not be emission free.
Sure there is hydro-electric and solar and so on but there's a good deal of what we'll call fossil-fuelled electricity as well - especially in the US.
That is often overlooked.
I'm all for the electrics but I just can't imagine a world without a petrol or diesel engine.
Yet that could soon be the reality for The Netherlands. There is a growing demand there for it to become the first country in the world to ban the sale of diesel and petrol cars.
Draft laws to that effect are being supported by prominent Dutch politicians.
They, and their Norwegian counterparts, favour allowing the sale of ONLY zero-emission vehicles from 2025.
Apparently the chances of it happening in the Netherlands are quite high.
They are what you'd call being serious about electric cars. Close to a quarter of its current new-car sales are fully electric.
In Ireland we have €10,000 incentives to buy electric cars but I often wonder if we are truly serious about them at the highest political levels.
• As an aside to the electric-car/emissions debate, UK internet searches on air pollution have increased up to 750pc in the last 10 years according to Nissan. That's an indication of general concern over global warming (C02) and our health (NOx).
• It is now looking increasingly likely that the longer-wheelbase version of new Volkswagen Tiguan - it adds 110mm - will go on sale in Ireland.
It should be a formidable piece of work judging by the current one with normal wheelbase.
• Citroën's New C4 Cactus Rip Curl special edition gets here in October. I mention it because it brings Grip Control to the Cactus for the first time.
The level of grip with this technology, which is basically an advance on traction control, is quite impressive.
You get 'sort of' 4x4 benefits for a few hundred euro.
• Audi may have come up with the pothole beating suspension. They say they are advancing a shock absorber that not only saves fuel but also makes your car far more comfortable over rough-and-tumble roads.
It has horizontally arranged electric motors that replace your conventional telescopic shock absorbers.
And there are electromechanical rotary dampers to make it an easier ride.
The prototype is called "eROT" - not the most appropriate name I've heard for a car part but that won't matter if it does the business.
As it is an actively controlled suspension, it adapts to poor road surfaces and your driving style.
And because of its shape and size it leaves more room for the boot.
And that's not all. It can convert the energy generated by the stresses on the shock into electricity which can be used to lower the car's fuel emissions.
They reckon we could see it quite soon.
But I think they really should test it over a few roads in Ireland first.
I think some secondary roads have been left to deteriorate awfully.