Rising in popularity in recent years, you could easily mistake hybrid cars as one the latest trend of mod cons to hit our roads! With cars such as Toyota Prius taking place in popular culture, it may surprise you to learn how long inventors have been exploring the idea of Hybrid cars. We are looking at the evolution of hybrid vehicles, in partnership with Go Green Leasing.
1830s- Robert Anderson builds the first electric car
The first ever electric vehicle was built and introduced between 1832-1839. Unlike other vehicles at the time Andersons invention did not run on literal horse power. Instead this four-wheeled electric carriage connected a motor to non-rechargeable power cells.
1901- Ferdinand Porsche builds the first ever hybrid car
The German automotive innovator creates the worlds first hybrid car in 1901. Named after the inventor, the Lorde-Porches Mixet hybrid combined an internal combustion engine with electric motors located in the wheel hubs.
1913- The takeover of gasoline cars
Gasoline- self-starter cars take over and dominate the automobile industry, while sales of electric and steam-powered cars drop in this period. This drop subsequently leads to a decline in hybrid innovation for 50 years.
1969- The plug-in car arrives
The late 60’s seen General Motors reveal several hybrids cars. The first vehicle revealed was the GM’s commuter XP512h which uses a gasoline/electric drivetrain. The company then went to rework the design and introduced the XP- 883 in 1969 with a two-cylinder engine and a plug that fit into a standard wall socket. The electric powered up to 16km after which gas engine would take over.
1990- NiMH batteries charge up the market
In 1967 the development of nickel-metal hydride rechargeable batteries began. The cells of hundreds of high-powered charge-discharge cycles. Thanks to the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) investing $90 million into the battery, the technology was later improved in the 80’s and was featured in electric and hybrid cars in the 90s.
Not so long ago, hybrids were the reserve of environmentally conscious school run mums, people living or working under the London congestion charge, and taxi drivers looking to save a bit of money on fuel.
However, with an ever-growing number of hybrids on the market, they are increasingly becoming a mainstream alternative to conventional petrol and diesel models. Hybrid is ditching the practical image and is slowly becoming the new cool kid on the block, with manufacturers such Mercedes, Mitsubishi and BMW releasing ground breaking models, the evolution of hybrid vehicles is set to keep breaking boundaries.
‘It’s a usable point-and-shoot coupe, quite willing to play hard, and then settle down for a drive to dinner,’ blogs Dan Scanlan.
I say AMG, and you say Mercedes-Benz’s hot rod, usually with a big V-8 hand-made by someone in Affalterbach, then signed on an alloy plaque on top. But just as the tuner started by Hans-Werner Aufrecht and Erghard Melcher has been fully folded into Mercedes-Benz, so have some changes come to what’s now called Mercedes-AMG.
So while this all-wheel-drive C43 AMG has received the golden touch from the folks who tune special Benzes, it is a different breed of Mercedes musclecar. This C-Class’ 3-liter/362 horsepower V-6, its twin turbochargers visible under air intakes in the tightly packed engine bay, wasn’t built in AMG’s operation in Affalterbach. It was just designed there. So, no engine builder’s plate, but it does get a new AMG-enhanced nine-speed automatic transmission with “Manual” mode so you can paddle-shift. With peak torque of 384 pound-feet in the “Sport+” drivetrain setting, it leaps to 60-mph in 4.5 seconds and 100 mph in 11.5 with super-quick up-shifts and no wheel spin. The G-meter on the expansive gauge display claimed .7 Gs acceleration at full launch. Tap the exhaust valve button and there’s an exotic snarling scream, each up-shift punctuated by a rifle shot-like bark from quad pipes. Backing off adds crackling, popping overrun. Set drivetrain in “Eco,” activating engine shut-off at stoplights, and the C43 AMG delivers 20 mpg on premium. It decouples the transmission from engine when you slow down. Or enjoy “Comfort,” which dials back the throttle response and steering feel for daily commuting, but still delivers precise, buffered shifts and strong mid-range torque for passing – 0 to 60-mph in 5 seconds, and 100 mph in 12.2.
Under its steel unibody with aluminum hood, trunk lid and front fenders, there’s an independent multi-link suspension with coil springs, tubular torsion bars and double-tube shock absorbers with adaptive variable damping. “Comfort” setting left us with a nice ride that absorbed everything, a touch of float over repetitive bumps. It was all too buffered, from steering to throttle response, for me.
“Sport” gave a slightly firmer edge that smoothed out repetitive bumps, further buffering on full compression. The firmer suspension and all-wheel-drive with a rear biased torque distribution of 31 percent front/69 percent rear meant the C43 just hugged curves and went around them in a neutral fashion, turn after turn. Sport+ offered much quicker and tighter bump control, not too nice on rougher road or streets with raised crosswalks, but great for nicely paved sweepers. Its quicker and more aggressive shift pattern meant razor-sharp downshifts for powering out of curves, and tighter steering to help. There’s an “Individual” mode, so you can set steering and drivetrain – I picked powertrain in “Sport+” and suspension in “Sport,” tapping open the sport exhaust valve. The C43 AMG stitched turn to turn, the shifts putting the rpm where needed to pull out of a curve. Tap the paddle and downshifts were executed concisely with a throttle blip. Bumps didn’t bother as we swept through turns, very flat.
There was no drama on our skidpad, only a touch of understeer. We regularly pulled .93 Gs in turns. With cross-drilled and vented 14.2-inch front discs, and 12.6-inch rear solid discs, we had great pedal feel and initial bite on our 3,000-mile-old test coupe. Plus solid stopping power with no nosedive and no fade after some very high-speed stops, pulling 1.1 Gs at full pedal push.
The C43 has a more prominent and upright grille with big Benz star and upswept LED headlights. Concentric chrome-plated pins flank the grill’s center star; side brake ducts flanking a low center air intake. The 10-spoke light-alloy wheels in gloss black with brushed alloy finish show off big disc brakes with silver AMG-badged front calipers. Lower profile P225/40R 19-inch Continental tires up front are matched with staggered wider P255/35Rs in back, giving the coupe a well-planted look. Our test car’s “Night Package” adds a gloss black lower diffuser with twin ebony-finished tailpipes, as well as gloss black front splitter.
Inside are highly sculpted bucket seats with leather-like MB-Tex and suede-like microfiber inserts, accented in red stitching. With 10-way power adjustment, they were very grippy in turns, with great support. Black leather and suede accent the flat-bottomed AMG multifunction sport steering wheel, also with red stitching. The fat-rimmed steering wheel has long, easy to reach alloy shift paddles behind it. There’s a 180-mph speedometer and 8,000-rpm tach with 6,500-rpm redline. They flank a 4.5-inch display for stereo, navigation, and an AMG menu item – digital speedometer, gear, G-force, lap-timer, turbo boost and engine gauges. A head-up display shows tach, speed and gear position.
A base C300 Coupe starts at $42,650, while our C43 AMG coupe started at $55,500 with lots of standards including the high-performance summer tires. But options like the COMAND navigation system, red paint, ash wood interior trim, AMG exhaust and split-spoke alloy wheels brought it to $66,945. You can still get an AMG coupe with more muscle – the C63 AMG with twin-turbo V-8 and 469 horsepower and easily-smoked tires. Or go for AMG-lite C43 and get a very comfortable and usable point-and-shoot coupe, quite willing to play hard, and then settle down for a drive to dinner.
Whether you ride a sports bike or a cruiser, the new Weise Renegade and Highway motorcycle gloves have you covered. And the good news is that both choices are pretty cost-effective summer riding kit.
Weise Renegade Gloves:
The Weise Renegade motorcycle gloves are for the knee-down one-piece leather brigade. Which means they go heavy on the armour and protection. So the Renegades get full-grain leather selected from the strongest part of the hide. And feature a twin overlay on the palm, integrated TPU reinforcement armour on the knuckles and finders, plus padded panels on each cuff.
Inside there is a lightweight polyester lining, which helps to keep your paws cooler, along with a perforated wrist section. Stretch panels on the fingers and above the knuckles help to keep you nice and flexible, and there are silicon prints on the palm to aid your grip. Lastly the wrist and cuff are eslasticated and fastaned with Velcro.
The Weise Renegade motorcycle gloves are available in sizes XS-3XL in Black or Black/White and cost £89.99.
Weise Highway Gloves:
Also new for 2017 are the Weise Highway motorcycle gloves. These are designed for cruiser and classic owners who want the retro look with 100% goatskin. On the plams are Chamude overalys to give extra grip on top of the soft, flexible goatskin. And the short cuff is designed to fit neatly under your classic riding jacket, which means you’ll look cool as well as helping to keep air flowing around your wrist and up your sleeves.
There’s an adjsutable popper strap on the cuffs to keep the Highway gloves nice and secure on your hands. And putting them on and off is helped by the rubber grip tab with the subtle Weise logo.
The Weise Highway motorcycle gloves are available in sizes XS-4XL and you can choose them in either Brown or Tan. They cost £45.99.
Kane Avellano has set a new record for youngest round the world motorcycle rider. Or more formally, he has achieved an official Guinness World Record for the Youngest Circumnavigation by Motorcycle, at the age of 23 years and 365 days.
He managed a total of 32,000 miles and 37 countries in just under eight months, and raised more than £2,200 for UNICEF in the process. Which means there is now an extremely well-travelled 2008 Triumph Bonneville back in Newcastle, England.
If you want some inspiration, apparently Kane describes himself as an appalling motorcycle rider to start with. But he managed a 5 week, 7,000 mile European tour not long after passing his test and completing a university degree. And that was merely a warm-up to the global circumnavigation.
After his first Bonneville was stolen, he replaced it with this 2008 model with 2,000 miles originally on the clock. And some changes were made, including the aluminium panniers, replacing the rear suspension, and adding a fly screen, new indicators and rev counter.
The challenges included torrential monsoons in India, desert rides in Australia, and powerful storms in South America. But in addition to the help of the people he met during the trip, he also had some support from the thousands following his adventure via social media.
“The past eight months have been the most exciting in my life. I had the chance to discover what the world really has to offer, to meet many different people along the way and explore their cultures, religions and behaviours, while having an incredible time,” said Kane.
And after all of that travelling, and a new record for youngest round the world motorcycle rider, it appears Triumph then made Kane experience the delights of Hinckley to get some photos.
In all seriousness, congratulations to Kane on his record and fundraising. And it’s always good to see a variety of different motorcycles being used for trips like these. Even though the internet and social media makes it feel more normal to see pictures, watch video and read about riders going on foreign adventures, it’s important to remember that it’s still a challenge to actually complete a global circumnavigation by land.
Fancy something a bit different. How about also stylish and retro. But more practical at the same time? Then maybe you need the Wunderlich Green Hell ISDT Scrambler Kit for the BMW R nineT.
Rather than the typical cafe racer, Wunderlich have used the BMW bikes entered by the factory in the late 1970s for the International Six Days Trial events. And it’s a good choice, judging by how the finished motorcycle looks.
There’s quite a shopping list of bits added. Starting with the ‘TT’ headlight surround and short, yellow fly screen which definitely give the R nineT a more vintage look. With the green paint, it almost looks like a World War 2 military motorcycle. Then there are the Wunderlich Six Days Handlebars, which can be adjusted for height. And the Clear Protect Hand Guards which are definitely important for off-road riding. And being clear, they don’t spoil the lines of the BMW in the way modern, solid plastic hand guards would. Plus fully-adjustable brake and clutch levers to finish switching the controls to something which can be tailored to any rider.
But the front is just the start. The traditional Spoked Wheels are now covered with shorter Brushed Aluminium Mudguards to stop stones and dirt being flung at you quite so much. There’s also a new vintage-style Tubular Steel Sub-frame at the bike, which has an integrated brake light. And a brushed, aluminium Number Plate Holder.
You can also fit the side-mounted Aluminium Number Plate, Monza Fuel Filler Cap and three-piece Tank Pad Set to give even more of a competition vibe.
But there are more than cosmetic changes. There’s a fully-adjustable Rear Suspension Kit, Fork Upgrade Kit and adjustable Paralever Strut. So you can properly tweak your BMW R nineT to cope with whatever terrain you plan on tackling.
Don’t put the shopping list down yet though. For added crash protection, there are Engine Crash Bars, Dakar Engine Protection plate, Header Pipe Protector and the Oil Cooler Guard. And there are LED Auxiliary Lights for more illumination, and Sidebags available in black or brown to carry your essentials.
The good news is that you can buy everything separately. Or just pay for the full conversion with the whole Wunderlich Green Hell ISDT Scrambler Kit for the BMW R nineT in one go.
About the only bit I’m not entirely sure about is the header pipe protector. It’s useful and practical. But perhaps a little bit ornate to be sat on top of the exhaust pipes like some bronze jewellery. The rest of it looks pretty awesome though.