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TURBO OBSOLESCE

Brian Wood, via email

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TURBO OBSOLESCE

I read with interest the Honeywell turbo development (‘Explained’, Wheels, September.) Good on them. But isn’t that a bit like improving gas lighting? Surely the trend towards splitting the turbo (to drive a generator) from the compressor (run by an electric motor), makes it pretty much redundant? Even then, it’s surely just a stepping stone from hybrids to full EVs? And given CSIRO has solved the shipping of hydrogen problem (stripping off the H from ammonia, at the filling station), EVs may be a fleeting ‘stepping stone’ to fuel-cell EVs?

Referring to Insider in the same issue, I’ll get an early vote in that BMW is doing the smart thing by using the same platform for fuel, hybrid and EVs until the market settles down. Although some may like to wear their hertz on their sleeve and drive a funky futuristic-looking EV, I’m betting the larger part of the potential market just want the benefit without the ‘look at me’ theatrics. Personally, I’d be up for a 440e right now if BMW would like to provide one. The idea of driving silently to work and back as an EV yet having something like 250kW/500Nm for a fang on the weekend, is very compelling.

In the meantime, I’m off to buy an atmo, V8, manual, Mustang … Call me when youse all have made yer mind up. Not that I’m likely to hear the phone ring…

We take your point, Brian, and the CSIRO’s hydrogen development could be a game-changer. Yet with the path to a low-emissions motoring future as fragmented as it is, it’s clear there’s a place for incremental ICE gains alongside R&D into alternative tech. – Ed

Brian Wood, via email

“GET SET, ZZZZ!”

Like Editor Inwood, I also missed Goodwood FOS this year. I had to fly home midway through my holiday in the UK as my brother died and his funeral was on the day I had scheduled to go to Goodwood.

I liked the August issue’s Editor’s letter touching on the electric Volkswagen ID R at Goodwood and noting the role noise plays in high-performance vehicles. Though I have never driven an EV, let alone an EV track car, a few thoughts occurred to me.

I’m the owner and somewhat slow driver of a Subaru WRX tarmac rally car. Track cars are a pain to drive on the road – climbing over the roll cage, the crashing suspension, the jerky and whining drivetrain, the loud exhaust, squeaking brakes, on/off clutch and the clatter of road debris being flung into the arches by the sticky semi-slicks.

However, when you’re at a sprint and the starter shouts ‘Go!’, all that disappears. You become focused on the gutwrenching launch, the line for the next corner, the braking points, trying not to lock the brakes, feeling for understeer or oversteer, trying to figure out which way to go if it’s a new course, or listening to panicky shouted instructions from your co-driver. Sensory overload, basically. The engine and exhaust noise become irrelevant except to tell you when to change gears.

So, my guess is that once you get an EV on a track, the experience will be just as exhilarating, but not so much for the spectators.

Ken Strain

You make a good point, Ken. EV racers and track cars will still be thrillers... for the driver. But the soundtrack is a key missing visceral element in EV road cars – Ed

“Your decision to belt the Vantage through NZ couldn’t have been a hard one”

“Once you get an EV on a track, the experience will be just as exhilarating”

Letter of the month winner

Thank you, Brian, for being one of Wheels’ most consistent letter writers, and making valid points regarding the real future of EVs. Enjoy 12 issues of Wheels on us.

DRAWN TO FRANK

Compliments to Stephen Corby and Thomas Wielecki, both from my architect brother, Keith Loffler, in Toronto, Canada, and from me, on your article, House Proud, (Wheels August), featuring the genius architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. We are both great admirers of this man, and were delighted and impressed that a car magazine would pay such a fine tribute to him, with eloquent words by Stephen Corby and superb photography by Thomas Wielecki. Our congratulations and thanks to both men.

If Lloyd Wright were still alive, he would probably have a Tesla Model S on display in the courtyard of Fallingwater.

Don Loffler, via email

“We were delighted that a car magazine would pay such a fine tribute to Lloyd Wright”

THE ‘I’ HAS IT

I suppose one of the perks of being editor is that you get to allocate writers to stories. And your decision to belt the Aston Martin Vantage through the South Island of NZ couldn’t have been a hard one. But I’m glad you did as it was a well-balanced and easily read reminder that I have to do that road trip.

I enjoyed the final three paragraphs the most. Three guys who have seen plenty of cars, plenty of landscapes, and have arguably some of the greatest jobs in the world, still stopping to enjoy the serenity, and the magic of their situation. Well done, mate, a great read and very glad I renewed my subscription.

Darcy Maynard, Canberra, ACT

SOUND OF SCIENCE

I enjoyed the feature on Callum and the new Jaguar EV in the September issue. I can just imagine how good it must have been to glide to Scotland in sumptuous I-Pace silence. Being able to do at least 224km before a first stop would have been unthinkable just few years ago, so EVs have come a long way.

Maybe the nostalgia of the wonderful trip with Ian muddled the science a little, though. I cannot help but comment on ‘The charger, working at the rate of 50 kWh...’ and ‘A fast charging network, capable of 100kWh....’ I have to disagree here: Charger rate/ capability surely needs to be expressed in kW!

Elardus Mare, via email

More power to you, Elardus. – Ed

MAC DADDY

Just a quick letter to concur with two of your readers published in the September issue, Simon Inglisr and Gerry Patrick.

The ‘Cape Fear’ feature on the McLaren 720S (Wheels, July) was the best I’ve read here in an Australian magazine – keep that quality coming. And, I wholeheartedly agree with Simon about the numbers of inappropriate vehicles on the school run. I regularly witness a black M4 that will never bounce off either the rev or speed limiter, let alone see a race track, resplendently fitted with the carbon-ceramic brake option.

But I have to take issue with Simon in one respect: whilst Wheels and your sister publication MOTOR are topdrawer, CAR is the big boy and likely to remain so – the insider knowledge insight and writing are so hard to beat. It’s the Porsche of motoring journalism and thus inevitably wins every group test...

Jonathn Dymond, Tas

Enright says thanks, Jonathn, and he hopes his drive of the McLaren 600LT on page 58 is similarly well received. – Ed

JOY OF PRE-LOVED

Firstly, thanks for publishing my letter in the September issue ... I’m now looking forward to being punched at 3:30pm given my opinions on the new Ford Ranger series on the school run!

Can I however run an idea past the editorial team? As a part-time scribbler for a number of UK publications over the years I can truly attest to the interest in and reality of the used market for most people. One of the more interesting and relevant pieces to see in a monthly mag such as Wheels would be a couple of pages dedicated to a used car of the month. As you know we consumers can only guess at the desirability and reliability beyond say three years and 30,000 to 50,000kms. Could you please consider such a piece on say three- to 10-year-old vehicles in the future?

As an example, I travel to Melbourne weekly and to Adelaide every month, so I bought a turbo-diesel earlier this year. So far so good, as I pack on the kilometres, but being a four-cylinder, four-door Euro sedan, I did find it for a song, despite its full service history and top condition. Such cars and others for real-world purposes are still desirable, are often nice places to sit and have become genuinely affordable.

Simon Inglis, Ararat, Vic

We hope there’s something for you in Gold Star Cars next issue, Simon, which takes a pragmatic look at the new car market, with a particular focus on retained value. Meantime, we’ll run your used-car suggestion past the Wheels brains trust. Stay tuned – Ed