The Truth About Cars » London The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 20:45:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » London Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ London Headquarters To Focus On Corporate Finance Wed, 21 May 2014 11:00:08 +0000 Fiat 500 in London

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ new headquarters in London, England will be as small as many Silicon Valley startups, with a staff of 50 mostly focused on finance.

Automotive News Europe reports FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne and Fiat Group chairman John Elkann will have a home in London, with FCA COO Richard Palmer possibly having a place there as well. Though no new hiring is planned, the automaker hopes to pull more finance employees from its Asia Pacific and Latin American regions to its headquarters, where most of the work will involve treasury operations.

The move to London also means tax savings for FCA; whereas Fiat paid 31.4 percent in corporate taxes to Italy while Chrysler paid 35 percent to the United States, the Italo-American company will pay only 20 percent for its part of filling the Queen’s coffers. This strategy has come under fire from both sides of the Atlantic, with feelings of betrayal on the part of Italians due to history, and on Americans due to tax dollars used to rescue Chrysler in 2009.

]]> 6
Sunday Share: Priggish Puritans vs. Arab Arrivistes Sun, 25 Aug 2013 08:54:34 +0000 gucciwolf-21

Wealthy Arab men have been in the habit of offending the sensibilities – pecuniary, aesthetic, and otherwise – of the English upper class for some time now; just ask Prince Charles.  Recently, however, privileged Arab youths in the habit of transporting their exotic wheels to London for “Supercar Season” – a fortnight of pre-Ramadan Dionysian revelry based on conspicuous consumption, street racing, and gratuitous throttle blipping rather than imbibition – have found themselves in the public eye.  Rather than breathless Youtube and Instagram fluffers, these arrivistes have found themselves in the critical eye of a Very Serious Documentary Film, entitled Millionaire Boy Racers.

If this is a lazy Sunday for you, check it out (apologies, but my exceptionally limited technical skills prevent embedding a non-YouTube video).

If you choose to devote 45 minutes of your day that could otherwise be invested in edifying activities, you’ll be thrilled by naive, carefree men from the Middle East who’ve escaped hellish temperatures and stifling societal strictures for a few weeks of summertime fun.  They’re preening and strutting around London’s glamorous West End in their flashy supercars, but the resident English aristocrats are unwilling to stand for this effrontery.  The stiff upper lip brigade is galvanized, politicking and raising awareness for this worrisome “degradation of the neighbo(u)rhood.”  These xenophobic practitioners of received pronunciation are concerned about “reverse colonization,” whereas the intruders who’ve interrupted the idyll are just there to have a good time (and pump untold pounds into the still struggling economy).

I know which group of people I’d rather spend time around.

David Walton grew up in the North Georgia mountains before moving to Virginia to study Economics, Classics, and Natural Light at Washington and Lee University. Post-graduation, he returned to his home state to work in the financial services industry in Atlanta.  A lifelong automotive enthusiast, particular interests include (old) Porsches and sports car racing.

]]> 58
London Looking To Alter Congestion Charge Exemptions By Lowering CO2 Threshold Wed, 05 Dec 2012 16:22:08 +0000

The 100 grams/km CO2 output figure is an important one for motorists in the UK. Cars that can hit this magic number are exempt from London’s daily $16 Congestion Charge, which is levied upon motorists attempting to enter London’s downtown core. But new rules may leave drivers liable for the daily fee, as lawmakers seek to change the exemption threshold to 75 grams/km.

AutoExpress reports that as many as 19,000 motorists could be screwed over by the change in regulations, though they’d be exempt from having to pay the fee until 2015. The new rules would leave just 9 cars – 6 of which are pure EVs – exempt from the charge. The remaining three use some sort of hybrid system to achieve such a low CO2 output.

]]> 23
London Olympics High On Hydrogen Tue, 23 Feb 2010 08:47:52 +0000

The London 2012 Olympics promise to be a “low Carbon” affair. The London games will have everything from a low carbon Olympic flame to official energy provider EDF providing 24MW of energy from renewable resources. Even the official Olympic fleet is getting in on the “low carbon” act. What else is there to do? Right: The humble British Black Cab is getting the “low carbon” treatment. It’s coming from a source that had already been written off: Hydrogen.

The Guardian reports that a new Black Taxi Cab is being developed with the hope of being ready for road trials by 2012. The Black Cab will look exactly the same as the normal diesel cabs, but underneath hides a hydrogen power train developed by Lotus.

A drag racer it will be not: The fuel cell taxi can go to a top speed of 81mph, go from 0-60mph in 14 seconds and get about 250 miles on a full tank of hydrogen. “The intent is to take the taxis and retrofit a powertrain that has zero tailpipe emissions,” said Henri Winand of Intelligent Energy, the company making the fuel cells for these taxis. “But also it has to deliver some very important things: a reasonable range, very quick refueling time and no modifying the passenger or driver space.”

London’s deputy mayor, Kit Malthouse aims to have 6 hydrogen filling stations in London by 2012 to help the deployment of these taxis. He wants 20-50 fuel cell taxis in operation as well as 150 hydrogen powered buses. Lotus is very proud of this project. “There is a global drive to reduce CO2 emission levels and this is something we are dedicated to, for both Lotus cars and our engineering clients,” said Simon Wood of Lotus Engineering. “The fuel cell hybrid taxi is a fantastic achievement for all the companies involved. The level of quality and professionalism that has been demonstrated is extremely high and the taxi is already running through a series of tests.” Looks like the air quality of London, by 2012 will be high. Just like the budget of the Olympics.

The taxis seem to be a low carbon-copy of a previous  Olympic exercise: Beijing had 20 hydrogen-powered cars on its roads in 2008. After the games were over, nothing was ever heard or seen of them.  Also, apart from the often cited logistic challenges of a hydrogen infrastructure, the gas has a dirty little secret: Currently,  it is most frequently made from methane or other fossil fuels.

]]> 10
London Olympic Committee: EVs Are Gimmicks Fri, 20 Nov 2009 22:26:44 +0000 We are not amused (courtesy:Reuters)

We didn’t want a big fleet of electric vehicles. We’re only just over two years or so away from the games and time is running out to create a viable network. Many of the vehicles will be used for around 18 hours a day. It’s hard graft, and we knew BMW could supply the vehicles to meet these demands.”

Paul Deighton, CEO of the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) explains to Autocar why the games won’t be relying on electric vehicles in 2012. Nissan had presented a bid to be the games’ official vehicle supplier which proposed using Leaf EVs for over half the planned fleet. A “small proportion” of BMW’s winning fleet proposal will be electric MINI Es, and all proposals were required to achieve a fleet average of 120g/km of CO2. But that hasn’t stopped Nissan from getting petulant.

Nissan spokesfolks tell Autocar:

As part of our proposition, more than half of the vehicles we were going to supply would have been Leafs. Through LOCOGs decision, London has missed out on a significant opportunity to build confidence in electric vehicles in the UK. We have the vehicle and we had the chance to do something with it in the UK.

Nissan reps went on to say that the chances of quickly implementing an electric infrastructure in the UK have taken “several steps back.” London Mayor Boris Johnson, who has committed to installing 25,000 EV charging stations across the city by 2015, tried to see the upside.

We hope that BMW, through this sponsorship agreement, will take the opportunity to demonstrate their long term commitment to electric vehicles and showcase their new MegaCity [aka BMW's long-rumored Neo-Isetta EV] car at the 2012 Games.

In an industry that always has something around the next corner, it’s interesting to see a window emerge for the viability of electric vehicles. After all, if the Olympics thought an EV-heavy fleet was practical, they’d have done it. Having attended an Olympic conference on sport and the environment (don’t ask…), I can say there’s not an eco-gimmick that PR-happy organization won’t try. The city of London was behind the idea. Unless BMW put a 7-series in every LOCOG member’s driveway, Nissan’s EVs simply weren’t up to snuff.

]]> 6