The thoughts of Chris Gurton on motorsport, his photography, his work and his life in general. The thoughts, views and opinion's expressed in this blog are those of Chris Gurton and not necessarily those of any publication that he contributes to.

Environmentally Ugly

Like most people, I rely on my car. I don’t live in the governments ideal world where you can walk to the end of the street, wait a couple of minutes and hop on a bus or tube and get to where ever I need to get to. I have to drive. I have to drive to work, to earn money to pay for my car and its usage which gets me to work in the first place.

Although it is expensive to run a car, it would cost me more to catch 2 different busses to work or get three busses to visit my girlfriend 32 miles away. I could catch the train but that would cost even more and would mean two changes and three different trains. Added to the fact it would take an age. If the government want people to use public transport why don’t the help make it cheaper? Simple answer, they don’t want you to use public transport. They want you to use your car. Money spent on public transport goes to the companies who run it. Money from using your car goes to the government. A lot of money at that!

It cost me £60 to fill up my car yesterday. That will probably last me a week to 10 days. The latter if I’m lucky. I often wonder how much a year I spend on fuel and how this year’s fuel bills will compare to those of years passed. Then I quickly realise that I don’t want to know at all. It’s probably best I don’t if I want to avoid slipping in to a depressive episode. Whilst I appreciate the cost of oil is high at the moment, I also realise the government know that people rely on cars and will still pay for fuel regardless of the amount of tax they slap on it. Here’s an interesting fact, despite the cost of petrol and diesel per litre, Shell petrol stations make more money from the sale of snacks and drinks than they do from the sale of petrol.

We might as well get used to it too, because it is highly unlikely that petrol prices will fall by more than a few pence and if it does the fuel duty will be increased again. So what are we to do? Many car companies are developing more fuel efficient engines which will help to some extent, but I can’t afford a brand new car so it will be a long time before these cars become affordable for me, by which time fuel prices will be so high, the economical engine will make no difference.

The new Volkswagen XL1 can do over 300 miles per gallon.

This week I read with interest, an article about a new car made by Volkswagen which does over 300 miles to the gallon called the XL1. Now that’s more like it. This could well be the future of motoring. There is just one problem though. It is hideous! To say it was an ugly car is being too kind. This leads me on to a major issue I have with new environmentally friendly, hybrid and economical cars. They look awful and aren’t very practical.

Why can’t car manufacturers put this new engine technology into their current range of cars? Volkswagen make some nice looking cars, so instead of putting a new engine that does 300mpg into an ugly car the size of a Polo, why not actually put it IN a Polo? I drive an estate car so when I photograph at an event I can get all my equipment in. I would happily buy a car that could do 300 miles to the gallon, but a small car is no use to me. As for the larger ones, well they look horrible. The Toyota Prius doesn’t exactly turn heads and what on earth was the designer thinking when he came up with the Honda Insight? Let’s not even mention the G-Wiz!

Was the designer of the Honda Insight blind?

I appreciate that development of new engines are high on the list of priorities within car company HQ’s, I just wish designing a good looking car to put the new engines in was as high on the list too. So until then, I guess will have to continue throwing money at my car.


One response

  1. The VW XL1 can make over 300 MPG because of the combination of high-tech engineering, extremely low aerodynamic drag, low weight and efficient driving techniques.

    The car has a 35 kW (47 hp) 0.8L two-cylinder turbo-diesel engine and a 20 Kw (27 hp) electric motor. They both transmits power to the rear wheels through a seven-speed DSG transmission.

    The coefficient of drag is 0.186, which is a very big difference from the normal 0.31-0.36 cars.

    The cars weights only 795 kg (1,750 lb). So this makes a big difference too in fuel efficiency. You can compare the weight of the XL1 to the weight of Geo Metro…

    The 300 MPG score was done using very efficient driving techniques, so if you drive normally, you won’t get those results.

    So if you take the internal combustion engine (ICE) and the electric motor plus the DSG transmission and put it in a normal car or truck, you would get only a little % of what the XL1 is getting, maybe 10-15 MPG depending on the car.

    IMHO, both too cars (XL1, Insight MK1) looks beautiful.

    January 22, 2013 at 6:43 pm

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