Category Archives: New Car Technology

Title: The Rise Fall and Rise of Electric Cars (Part 1)

Hub Image:

Example image of The Rise Fall and Rise of Electric Cars (Part 1)

Summary: Electric cars are a contradiction: at the same time, they represent a futuristic vision of emissions free driving, yet electrically powered cars have been around for over one hundred and fifty years, and ruled all land speed records until the turn of the twentieth century. So, in light of the rebirth of the electric vehicle, let’s take a walk down memory lane. Electric cars: this is your life!

Meta Title: The Rise of Electric Cars | History of Electric Cars | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: Did you know the electric car was invented in the 1828 and was the century's top motor? No? Check out Bristol Street Motors' history of the electric car!

Article:

leccy cars

Electric cars are a contradiction: at the same time, they represent a futuristic vision of emissions free driving, yet electrically powered cars have been around for over one hundred and fifty years, and ruled all land speed records until the turn of the twentieth century. They may have been sidelined through the past century, however today EV’s are more popular than ever, and their popularity is growing year on year. So, in light of the rise of the electric vehicle, let’s take a walk down memory lane. Electric cars: this is your life!

The story of the development of electric transport starts in 1828, in Hungary, where Hungarian inventor Ányos Jedlik added an electric motor he’d designed to one of the earliest cars. At this point, a ‘car’ was essentially a horse drawn carriage, sans horses. 6 years later, in 1834, US blacksmith Thomas Davenport hammered together a similar vehicle which ran on a short electrified track. The next year, a Dutch professor figured out how to power a small scale car with a non-rechargeable cell.

Towards the end of the 19th century, the globe hopping story of the EV takes us to good old Blighty, where inventor Thomas Parker, credited with the electrification of the London Underground and overhead tramways, started tinkering with electric cars. He produced his first one in 1884, using specially designed high-capacity batteries, which were rechargeable. At least part of his motives for these endeavours is thought to be his concern about pollution in the capital city.

As well as the UK, France and Germany took a keen interest in developing electric transport systems, with the US not far behind. Leading up to the beginning of the twentieth century, all manner of locomotives, tramways and mine carts had been electrified. It was during this rush of enthusiasm that Belgian race driver Camille Jenatzy broke the 62mph (100km/h) speed barrier, maxing out at 65.79 miles per hour in his rocket-shaped vehicle. Incredibly, this was achieved in 1899, one hundred and seventeen years ago.

Image result for Camille Jenatzy
What a hero.

Throughout the 1890’s and 1900’s, passion for electric motors peaked, and this time is considered the technology’s golden era. Battery powered taxis took to the streets of London in 1897, nicknamed ‘hummingbirds’ due to the sound of their motors. While EV’s may have held the land speed record, the everyday models on the roads of the UK usually had a top speed in the 30pmh’s. This made them slower than their steam or petrol powered counterparts, however electric vehicles were largely preferable due to the fact they didn’t have the vibration, noise or smell which was so prevalent in their competitors. Additionally, electric motors didn’t require hand cranking to start, which petrol engines did. Nobody wants to stand outside for 5 minutes furiously cranking the engine before you can pop down to the shops.

Electric cars were especially popular as city cars, where their limited range wasn’t an issue. In the US, which eventually overtook Europe in production of electric cars, 38% of cars were electric, compared to 40% powered by steam and a mere 22% by gasoline. The cars themselves were huge and ornately designed, predominantly used by wealthy families and decorated with lavish interiors. Through the 1910’s, huge numbers were sold throughout the world, running on replaceable batteries.

Image result for electric cars 1900

In the 1920’s, due to the rapidly changing nature of driving, electric cars sales slowed, and went into decline. Reasons for this include improving road conditions meaning cars were travelling further, and EVs limited range became an issue. Additionally, discoveries of vast petroleum sources meant petrol was cheaply available, and gradually, petrol powered cars grew to travel faster and further than their eco-friendly counterparts. Further tinkering with petrol engines eliminated the need for the massive comedy hand crank at the front, and both the noise and smell was reduced by mufflers. Basically, driving got a lot nicer. Throw in the towering automotive figure of Henry Ford arriving on the scene heralding low priced petrol cars, and it looked as though the electric car had had its moment in the sun.

With the electric car virtually disappeared from the world’s roads by the early 1930’s, drivers at the time would be shocked to learn that today, EVs are more popular than they have ever been. In the second half of the motor-oil-stained tapestry of the electric car’s eclectic history, we’ll take a look at the 1990’s reigniting of interest, and the developments that has led the electric car, at one time the ghost of motors past, to the car of the future.

Author: Dan Hackett

Title: The Future is Here! Driverless Cars

Hub Image:

Example image of The Future is Here! Driverless Cars

Summary: If you've been anywhere near the internet in the past decade, you will no doubt have caught wind of all the hubbub surrounding driverless cars. Interest in self-driving automobiles has peaked, with seemingly every major manufacturer seeking to muscle in, and the imagination of the public has been captured. What's all the fuss about?

Meta Title: Driverless Cars | Self Driving Cars | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: This week, Bristol Street Motors takes a look at the recent exciting developments in driverless technology and self driving cars.

Article:

If you’ve been anywhere near  the internet in the past decade, you will no doubt have caught wind of all the hubbub surrounding driverless cars. Interest in self-driving automobiles has peaked, with seemingly every major manufacturer seeking to muscle in, and the imagination of the public has been captured.

Hollywood has always been fascinated with autonomous motors, from Knight Rider’s crime fighting KITT, to Roger Rabbit’s wise cracking taxi. Recently, however, the idea is looking increasingly like a reality. Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Ford, Toyota and more have all announced they intend to release vehicles that can drive independently by as early as 2020.

An autonomous car senses its surroundings through the use of gadgets including radar, GPS, motion estimation and object recognition. The vehicle’s systems interpret all of this data constantly, enabling it to keep track of its position, even in off road environments and England’s boisterous weather. From the outside, these cars appear normal; however there are cars currently in production that feature no steering wheel whatsoever, just comfortable seats, a smooth dashboard, and a GPS cheerily asking you where you would like to go. Volvo have even been in talks with Ericsson to arrange a high bandwidth allowance for their self-driving vehicle range, which would mean the occupants of their cars can sit back and binge watch Game of Thrones as they are ferried around.

The success or failure of these models will largely depend on the public’s trust in technology and willingness to be chauffeured by Optimus Prime’s distant cousin. So – what do the public think? A 2015 study by Delft University found that 33% of people interviewed stated they would buy a fully automated car. The most common apprehensions shared about driver-less cars were over hacking or misuse, as well as the more obvious concerns of your robo-chauffeur veering happily into a ditch.

 

As yet, Google’s prototype self-driving cars have only been involved in 14 minor road accidents over thousands of test miles travelled, and in each instance Google has maintained it was the fault of other (human) drivers. Nonetheless, the vehicles still report problems identifying when obstacles are harmless or not, causing the car to fly skidding into a hedge to avoid a drifting plastic bag. Similarly, the sensor technology cannot as yet determine when humans are signalling the car to stop – for example a furious police officer or baffled traffic warden.

As well as the afore mentioned fleet of search-engine funded robots, other companies such as Apple and Tesla are developing their own variants, in an automotive space-race to be the first car maker (or search engine, or, erm, computer manufacturer) to unveil an army of semi-sentient vehicles.    So far, so Skynet. One particular problem faced by engineers isn’t technical, but ethical. In situations in which the cars run into hot water, an algorithm would need to be developed in which the vehicles calculate the risks of their occupants, measured against the other cars on the road. For example: should your car drive you off a cliff to avoid a collision with a school bus? This moral conundrum has had engineers scratching their heads, and it is unlikely there will be an answer anytime soon.

Despite the bumps in the road, it seems the autonomous car is well on its way. In 2013, the UK government permitted the testing of driver-less vehicles on public roads. Financial services corporation Morgan Stanley estimates that autonomous cars could save the US $1.3 trillion annually by lowering fuel consumption, reducing crash costs, and boosting productivity. With more and more manufacturers piling on board, it looks increasingly likely that these robo-cars will be ferrying us around by the end of the decade. In the meantime, the Bristol Street Motors team can assist you in finding the perfect car with the latest in GPS technology.

Author: Dan Hackett

Title: Car Safety through the Years

Hub Image:

Example image of Car Safety through the Years

Summary: Despite the common insistence of grandparents the world over that ‘they don’t make ‘em like they used to’, the statistics point to cars being safer than ever before. The road to automotive perfection hasn’t been without potholes, though. Let’s hop into the Bristol Street DeLorean, floor it to 88mph and visit some of the pioneering moments in the history of motoring safety.

Meta Title: Car Safety | History of Car Safety | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: Bristol Street Motors explore some of history's most important developments in car safety.

Article:

shutterstock_305567459

Over the past hundred years or so, in-car technology has come a long way. Today’s vehicles are so advanced, in fact, that they don’t even need us inside them to function. Google’s driverless cars are well on the way to making humans redundant in the driving process, instead allowing us to slumber in our vehicles and watch repeats of Friends on infotainment systems while an efficient robot army whizzes us around our cities. It’s not always been such a utopia in the world of motoring, however.

Despite the common insistence of grandparents the world over that ‘they don’t make ’em like they used to’, the statistics point to cars being safer, more economical, and more technically impressive than ever before. The road to automotive perfection hasn’t been without potholes, though. Let’s hop into the Bristol Street DeLorean, floor it to 88mph and visit some of the pioneering moments in the history of motoring safety.

1861 – Speed Limits

There were practically no cars on the road at this point, so when the ‘Locomotives on Highways Act’ was introduced, it mainly limited the speeds of agricultural vehicles such as tractors, which were presumably tearing around the countryside at breakneck speed prior to this law.

1898 – Electric Headlamp

Our next stop is at the turn of the twentieth century, when Queen Victoria was still scowling at us all from our banknotes. The electric headlamp was a welcome addition to car safety in this year, when finally motorists could actually see where they were going. Pretty rudimentary, that one.

1903 – Windscreen Wipers

shutterstock_273660254

Rain on your windscreen? Hit one too many bugs/seagulls/deer and could do with clearing your field of vision? No problem, because in 1903, the first windscreen wipers were invented. Unfortunately, they were hand operated. Good luck cranking the handle while you steer. Ever tried patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time? Electric wipers were, thankfully, invented in 1926 by Bosch.

1921 – Headrests

After presumably getting bored of having to constantly wear neck braces due to receiving whiplash at every single traffic light, head rests were introduced in 1921 by Benjamin Katz. Useless trivia – Benjamin Katz is also the name of a side character on Desperate Housewives. Don’t ask how we know that.

1925 – Erm… Cigarette Lighters

Okay, after the previous two decades’ progress, this one’s kind of a step backwards. Yep, before air bags, seat belts, and shatter proof glass, our flat capped, chain smoking ancestors figured out how to fill their cabins with smoke while at the wheel. Priorities.

1930 –Safety Glass

As the Bristol Street DeLorean explodes out of thin air in 1930, a badly pitched cricket ball hurled by a scruffy street urchin rebounds off the windscreen. Shield your eyes! Oh wait, we needn’t worry, as safety glass was invented by Ford Motors in this decade. The first non-shatter glass was created by using two sheets of glass with a clear plastic laminate in between. Pretty cutting edge.

1949 – Crash Dummies and Disc Breaks

The crash test dummy was born in this year, and the first one was christened Sierra Sam. We don’t know why. These brave, selfless crash dummies have taken beatings innumerable over the years, so that we don’t have to. We salute you, Sierra Sam.

In the same year, disc brakes first became standard equipment on Chrysler’s Crown Imperial.

1959 – 3 Point Seat Belts

Flying from wall to wall every time you take a sharp turn must have got tiring after 60 years of motoring, as in 1959 the 3 point seat belt was invented. The first of these were made as standard issue, with Volvo taking credit as first manufacturer to see their life-saving potential. As soon as they were made mandatory, a 50% reduction in car-related injuries was reported.

1984 – Air Bags

Turns out George Orwell was a little off the mark. Rather than a dystopian, oppressive state and the horrors of Room 101, 1984 actually brought us the humble airbag. Airbags had been tested for the previous three decades, but were finally added in cars as standard features in this year.

1990 – Brake Assist

Brake assist reduces the pressure needed on the brake pedal, according to how quickly it has been pressed, meaning it’s easier for drivers to brake in emergency situations. Nice.

2016 – Driverless Cars

Google, Apple, and the rest; today, the automotive industry’s eyes are collectively swiveled towards the future, and perfecting the technology enabling autonomous driving. The tech being developed will allow cars to sense everything in the road ahead of them, as well as to instantaneously communicate information to other cars in the vicinity, enabling them to react far faster than human drivers when there is an incident.

Over the last ten decades, the car has evolved from a clanking health hazard to a marvel of engineering. While news of autonomous cars on our roads is certainly impressive, however, the crown of the most ingenious automotive revolution still rests with one invention that even after three decades has yet to be paralleled in terms of its ambition and vision:  the in-car microwave.

Author: Dan Hackett

Title: Are Robot Taxis The Future?

Hub Image:

Example image of Are Robot Taxis The Future?

Summary: Just 20 years ago, in car entertainment and electric windows were the pinnacle of consumer auto technology. However, today much of the work going on behind the scenes of the major vehicle manufacturers is more comparable to something straight out of a sci-fi film.

Meta Title: Are Robot Taxis The Future | Robot Cars

Meta Description: A Japanese taxi company has challenged itself to get a fleet of driverless taxi's on the streets by 2020. Could driverless cars really be the future of the taxi industry?

Article:

Are Robot Taxis the Future

Just 20 years ago, in car entertainment and electric windows were the pinnacle of consumer auto technology. However, today much of the work going on behind the scenes of the major vehicle manufacturers is more comparable to something straight out of a sci-fi film.

We’re talking of course about the emerging autonomous vehicle market – or, in layman’s terms, self-driving cars. In the past few years, it seems like the auto industry has been moving closer and closer to bringing out vehicles that edge drivers out of the picture, with everyone from Ford to Google trialling self-driving vehicles.

So far, the majority of talk around the development of self-driving cars has fallen within the consumer area, with most concern looking towards what a market filled with driverless vehicles would mean for the everyday driver. However, as self-driving technology moves closer towards reality, some have looked towards what autonomous “robot” vehicles could mean for public transport, and in particular, the taxi industry.

Most recently, a Japanese company calling itself “Robot Taxi” has set itself the challenge of getting a fleet of self-driving taxis on the streets by the 2020 Olympics. The company says it aims to provide a “revolutionary and affordable transportation alternative” to current taxis, and looks to work with the government and local authorities to make this a reality.

When looking at the wider picture – both in terms of the taxi industry, and self-driving tech – Robot Taxi’s goals seem quite optimistic for a couple of reasons. Firstly, very few of the current leaders in self-driving technology estimate that they’ll have a fully autonomous car for sale by 2020. Whilst Ford, Tesla, Google, and more have estimated they’ll have partly autonomous vehicles for sale by 2020, the closest is perhaps Jaguar, who plotted out 2024 as the year they’ll release a car requiring zero human input. Secondly, Japan’s cities are some of the best served by taxis in the developed world, with Tokyo having around four times as many private hire vehicles on the streets as New York. With an uncertainty that the necessary technology will be ready, a thriving industry to compete with, not to mention a shady legal status to contend with, the chances of robots completely replacing humans by 2020 seem fairly slim.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that driverless taxis don’t stand a chance. Perhaps more feasibly, Robot Taxi has suggested that one of the main functions of its self-driving fleet could be to provide a “more convenient transportation option to non-drivers and those who have limited access to public transport”. A promotional video released by the company gives the example of people living in rural settlements, who due to public transport limitations no longer have an effective system of buses and taxis to rely on.

It’s perhaps these rural areas that would benefit most from driverless vehicles, and also be more open to the new technology. For the established taxi industry, isolated or rural areas present less of a business opportunity when compared to larger settlements. In these locations, demand is likely to be smaller, less frequent, and more sporadic than in the city, meaning that drivers who could serve these areas may in fact migrate to more built-up areas to work, leaving a gap for a driverless fleet to fill. As well as this, it’s highly unlikely that any government would allow self-driving vehicles to be released into heavily populated cities immediately. However, less populous rural areas present a lower risk environment for driverless taxis to be tested and trialled, and as such it would make sense for them to be initially rolled out in these areas.

With all this in mind, a future with “robot taxis” could be more complex than you might initially assume. Rather than representing a threat to a hundreds of years old profession, self-driving taxis could instead work in tandem to the established industry. Whereas traditional manned vehicles would carry on their trade in cities and urban hubs, driverless vehicles would realise their potential as service providers in areas where the established industry doesn’t operate. In essence, taxi drivers needn’t worry about losing their job to a robot any time soon.

You can’t buy a driverless taxi just yet, so why not do the next best thing and look at the taxis for sale we have online today

Author: Tom

Title: Taxi News Roundup – February 2016

Hub Image:

Example image of Taxi News Roundup – February 2016

Summary: Read all the latest UK taxi industry news from February 2016, courtesy of The Taxi Centre.

Meta Title: Taxi News Roundup | February 2016

Meta Description: Find out all the latest taxi industry news in our latest taxi news roundup. All the biggest news about Uber, Transport for London, and Hull's taxi driver shortage.

Article:

Taxi News - Feb 16

General Motors Partners with Lyft on Autonomous Vehicles

Last month General Motors announced that they had entered into a new partnership with rideshare service Lyft, in order to work together on researching driverless vehicle technology.

General Motors – the parent company of 13 global vehicle manufacturers, including Vauxhall, Cadillac, and Buick – stated that the partnership involves pledging around $500m to taxi service Lyft, and guarantees seat for the company on Lyft’s board of directors. A spokesperson for Lyft commented that the partnership would help the companies to “build a network of on-demand autonomous vehicles that will make getting around more affordable, accessible, and enjoyable”.

However, a date for the release of a driverless vehicle has not yet been released, meaning that you might have to wait a while to buy a taxi as a result of the partnership.

London Cabs to Accept Card Payments

Transport for London has announced that all black cabs in the city must be ready to accept contactless payment from October, in a bid to help the taxi trade keep up with rideshare competitors.

The decision was backed by representatives of London’s taxi trade, who stated that allowing card payment in cabs would benefit drivers and customers alike. In preliminary consultations, around 86% of drivers surveyed said they would like to see card payments introduced.

Steve McNamara of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Associated commented that the decision was “Fantastic news for London. This means that when you hail a cab you can be sure that you can pay the way you like, which is without doubt better for customers and for drivers.”

Gett Hires Knowledge Students as Couriers

Taxi app Gett announced last month that they were branching out into courier services.

Gett Courier, which launched on the 1st of February, allows customers to hire a moped courier to collect and deliver a parcel, with an estimated delivery time of around an hour. Gett has stated that it will use prospective black cab drivers – so called knowledge boys and girls – as courier drivers, in an effort to support the existing taxi industry.

The service, which at the time of writing is only available in London, will be active from 9am to 9pm, and is estimated to be around 30% cheaper than alternative couriers.

Local Council Tightens Licensed Vehicle Regulations

Operators of out-of-area licensed private hire and hackney cabs within the Bradford region have been told they have six months to make efforts to comply with new council regulations.

At present, private hire and taxi vehicles from other regions can lawfully be used within the Bradford council area if pre-booked. Under the new regulations, pre-booking of out-of-area vehicles will still be legal, but will be handled through a separate booking system that places their responsibility with the relevant licensing authority in instances of complaint. Customers will also be notified if a vehicle they have booked is not licensed by Bradford Council.

The regulations are set to crack down on the number of licensed drivers from other areas operating within the Bradford council region. Around 200 out-of-area drivers currently operate across the Bradford region, which the council believes could pose a risk to the safeguarding of the public.

Hull Experiences “Chronic Shortage” of Taxi Drivers

Private Hire companies in Hull are experiencing a “chronic shortage” of drivers, with reports of customers having to wait up to 3 hours for a taxi during busy periods.

Reports from local news in Hull state that some owners of private hire firms have to “beg” drivers to work in order to get enough cars on the road, and that the shortage is prevalent even in normally quiet periods. The shortage is being attributed to the method of licensing in the city, which some operators believe could be deterring potential drivers from applying. Drivers in the city must undertake a BTEC qualification in order to receive a license, with reports of the qualification process taking around 5-10 month, which many in the cities’ private hire trade believe to be too long.

Hull City Council’s licensing committee has agreed to meet with representatives of private hire firms in order to assess and resolve the situation.

Thinking of getting an upgrade? Take a look at the taxis for sale we have at The Taxi Centre.

Author: Tom

Title: Land Rover Looks Towards the Future

Hub Image:

Example image of Land Rover Looks Towards the Future

Summary: Land Rover is one of the UK’s most loved vehicle manufacturers, and a giant of British engineering. Since 1948 the company has released iconic vehicle after iconic vehicle, from the Safari ready Series I through to the modern luxury of the Range Rover and Discovery Sport models.

Meta Title: Land Rover Looks Towards the Future

Meta Description: With the retirement of the Discovery and an announcement that they are set to test self driving cars, we take a look at what's next in store for Land Rover.

Article:

Land Rover Defender

Land Rover is one of the UK’s most loved vehicle manufacturers, and a giant of British engineering. Since 1948 the company has released iconic vehicle after iconic vehicle, from the Safari ready Series I through to the modern luxury of the Range Rover and Discovery Sport models.

A large part of Land Rover’s continued success has always come from the company’s ability to combine the heritage styling of its most loved vehicles with new and innovate technology, keeping with the times whilst satisfying customers who are still looking for the classic features they’ve come to know and love.

However ground-breaking the manufacturers’ new vehicles might be, the company has always had one foot firmly in the past – by no means a negative thing.  However, two recent announcements suggest that Land Rover is looking to shift its focus, and look towards the future.

Defender: Retirement and Resurrection

In January 2016, the 67 year old icon that is the Land Rover Defender was assembled for one last time at Solihull, leaving fans of the 4×4 hankering to hear news of its future. They didn’t have to wait long, as shortly after the news of the Defender’s retirement, a second coming was announced; the “new Defender”, set to be released in 2019.

With a new Defender concept – the DC100 – unveiled back in 2011, Land Rover have revamped their design, promising their ‘new Defender’ will be very different, whilst retaining all that makes the original so unique.

Despite the problems the Defender range raised – largely, a labour-intensive production process and engines which struggled to meet Euro 6 regulations – it remains a fan favourite in the Land Rover range. The manufacturer is determined to continue the Defender line thanks to its reputation as the embodiment of 4×4 motoring.

The new iterations of the Defender are not expected to grow much in size, and are looking to be modern and simple in design. Some setbacks in the new vehicles production stem from debate over where they should be produced. While greater capacity for production may be found overseas (with a factory in Slovakia being considered), it is argued that, as an icon of British motoring, the Defender line should be produced on British soil.

Self-Driving Tech Brought to UK

Shortly after the news of the Defender’s retirement, Land Rover made another step into the future. In early February, the company announced they would be using a 41 mile stretch of road between Coventry and Solihull as a testing location for autonomous driving technology; self-driving vehicles.

The tech in question is a sensor system that would enable vehicles to instantly download information from overhead gantries down the motorway, updating the car with information such as queues, icy roads, traffic jams and accident warnings. The technology, known as vehicle to infrastructure communication, or V2I, would run alongside V2V – vehicle to vehicle communication. This means a link between cars on the road, making collisions less likely as the vehicles sensors would instantly react to obstacles in the road; for example, if the vehicle in front suddenly slammed on the breaks.

With this technology perfect, it would help roads to operate at maximum capacity and reduce congestion, as cars would be able to form a perfectly synced line down the motorway, with only small gaps between them, meaning less wasted space.

Land Rover is set to invest around £5,000,000 into the project, which it refers to as “the world’s first self-learning car”. The testing has only recently been green lighted by the government, and will be one of the first times that driverless cars are tested in the UK, making Land Rover one of the key British manufacturers working in this area.

For fans of the manufacturer’s more heritage vehicles the Defender and self-driving technology news might seem alienating. However, Land Rover is in fact doing what it has always done, rising to the challenge, quietly innovating, and working to bring world leading technology and vehicles to the masses.

Author: Tom

Title: The World’s Most Brilliant Police Cars (And A Couple Of Rubbish Ones)

Hub Image:

Example image of The World’s Most Brilliant Police Cars (And A Couple Of Rubbish Ones)

Summary: The world is evolving rapidly. A hundred years ago, a ‘high speed chase’ was a red faced, baton waving policeman jogging down a country lane after an apple thief. With new technology in constant development and an ever increasing population, law enforcement has had to adapt to combat the changing nature of crime around the world. And one of those ways is by buying lots of really, really cool cars.

Meta Title: Police Cars | Cool Police Cars

Meta Description: Take a look at our list the world's most brilliant police cars, with a couple of duds thrown in for good measure.

Article:

The world is evolving rapidly. A hundred years ago, a “high speed chase” was a red faced, baton waving policeman jogging down a country lane after an apple thief. With new technology in constant development and an ever increasing population, law enforcement has had to adapt to combat the changing nature of crime around the world. And one of those ways is by buying lots of really, really cool cars.

Don’t let Hollywood’s depiction of police cruisers as skidding stunt-fodder fool you. Today’s police cars look a lot less Chief Wiggum and a lot more Dirty Harry. Below we’ve assembled a collection of the fastest, most powerful, and just plain coolest police cars on the road today. Oh, and a couple of terrible ones, just for good measure.

2015 Dodge Charger

Dodge Charger

Look at this car. Just look at it. This is what a law enforcement vehicle should look like. The iconic Dodge Charger already resembles Mike Tyson if he was a Transformer, but the souped-up police version boasts a 5.7L, 340bhp Hemi V8 engine, capable of catapulting the vehicle to 60mph in under 6 seconds. Setting it further aside from the civilian Charger are upgraded heavy-duty brakes, police performance tuned steering, as well as the more obvious addition of a ton of hi-tech police radio equipment and computer kit.

Arial Atom PL

Ariel Atom Pt

The Arial Atom was gifted to the Avon and Somerset Constabulary as part of a campaign to increase safety awareness for motorcyclists and discourage speeding. How, exactly, a 155mph, 2.0 litre, 350bhp super-car tearing around the county’s roads promotes motorcycle safety isn’t really clear, but regardless, it’s a seriously cool machine, which looks (and moves) like a rocket, with a whiplash-inducing 0-60mph of 2.5 seconds. However, fear not, teenage loiterers, the car is only for promotional use, and won’t be out on the beat any time soon.

Caparo T1 – Rapid Response Vehicle

Caparo T1

If the guys on Traffic Cops had one of these, the programme would be over a lot quicker. Imagine the shock of glancing in your rear view mirror to see this demon powering up the road behind you, with its ridiculous 3.5-litre V6, 345bhp engine and max speed of 205mph. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on whether or not you’re a bank robber) the police issue version of the Caparo T1 was only a prototype, and never made it to production.

Bugatti Veyron

bugatti veyron

In keeping with the city’s reputation for its quiet dignity and respectable taste, the Dubai police force has recently assembled a modest squadron of Smart City Coupés to patrol the community, promoting safety while keeping emissions low.

No wait, that’s not right. Ah, yes – the Dubai police force have in fact spent 6.5 million dollars assembling a fleet of super cars including an Aston Martin One 77, a Ferrari FF, and a McLaren 12C. The jewel in the crown is the Bugatti Veyron, second fastest car in existence, 987bhp, 0-60mph in 2.5 seconds, 922lb·ft of torque, and an earth shaking top speed of 267mph. The Dubai police force use their armada of mega-machines for show, patrolling wealthy tourist areas to maintain an image of class.

The only vehicle in existence that could outrun this police car is the Hennessey Venom GT, with a top speed of 270mph. Now that would be a good highway chase to watch.

Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 Polizia

Lambo

Despite the Italian traffic police writing off both Gallardo’s that Lamborghini gifted to them in 2004 (with one Gallardo somehow ending up squashed under a van), the manufacturer forgave and forgot, presenting the authorities with a shiny new Huracán in 2014. This gorgeous car packs a 5.2 V10 engine, 602bhp with a top speed of 202mph.

While it may not be as fast as the Veyron, the Huracán takes the top spot on this list due to the fact that, unlike Dubai’s fleet of supercars, the Italian authorities actually use their prized Lamborghinis out on patrol. The car has an LED light bar (specially attached so it doesn’t fly off when accelerating), four sirens, gun holsters, and a refrigeration system for transporting human organs due for transplants. On top of this, the car features recording equipment, as well as a detachable screen to show mischievous motorists exactly what they did wrong. Let’s just hope the Italian police force get to enjoy their Lambo a bit longer this time before a wayward minivan flattens it.

Now To The Other End Of The Spectrum…

Lada Riva

Lada

With a 1.5 litre engine, a chassis-rattling top speed of 95mph, and a 0-60 time of about 3 days, the Lada Riva used by the Cuban police force isn’t exactly the Batmobile. Used and abused by the Russians for decades, the Lada-loving Soviet Union sent several thousand across to Cuba in the 1970s, which have been in circulation ever since, a favourite of the police force and taxi drivers. The police version is kitted out with all the mod cons: a few wheels, probably some windows, and a massive honking comedy siren. That’s the sound of the police.

This thing

PC Keith Waller

PC Keith Waller of Hampshire Police fashioned this mean machine with the aid of teenagers at a local comprehensive school. The pedal car has five gears, cost over £1,000 to make, has a varying top speed dependant on whether or not the driver has had a Red Bull recently, and has a 0-60 time of forever.

The car was constructed to make the police look “cooler” and “fun”, but Hampshire constabulary have admitted they’re unlikely to be arresting anyone without a zimmer frame.

Need to wash away the memory of the Lada Riva and the Hampshire pedal car? Head over to our new cars section.

Author: Dan

Title: The World’s Most Bizarre Concept Cars

Hub Image:

Example image of The World’s Most Bizarre Concept Cars

Summary: With stiff competition every year to produce thrilling new concept cars, designers occasionally succumb to the pressure, go a bit loopy, and end up proudly presenting their gleaming new design to a chorus of laughter. We've compiled a list of the most baffling concept cars that, thankfully, never made it to production. Prepare yourself, it's going to get weird.

Meta Title: The World's Most Bizarre Concept Cars

Meta Description: We've searched out the most bizarre concept cars in existence. Read on. It's going to get weird.

Article:

Concept cars are a chance for car manufacturers to prove themselves as forward thinking, original and industry leaders in innovation – think of a concept car show as a fashion catwalk, except with more metal, oil and rubber. Actually, probably about the same amount of rubber.

With stiff competition every year to produce thrilling new concept cars, it will come as no surprise that designers occasionally succumb to the pressure, go a bit loopy, and end up proudly presenting their gleaming new design to a chorus of laughter.

Below we have compiled a list of the most baffling concept cars that, thankfully, never made it to production. Prepare yourself, it’s going to get weird.

  1. BMW 328 Hommage

BMW 328 Hommage

Looks like: An absolutely furious beaver.

The Facts: The BMW 328 Hommage was unveiled in 2011 on the 75th birthday of the BMW 328 Touring Coupe. The tribute boasts a 3.0 litre engine, carbon fibre-reinforced plastic bodywork, and a minimalist dash like its race car grandfather. Sounds great. Unfortunately, this car gains a place in the list due to its giant set of gnasher-like grills and dead-cartoon eyes/headlights. Sorry, BMW, you just can’t unsee it.

  1. 1965 Dodge Deora Concept

Dodge deora

Looks like: There’s a bonnet thief in the neighbourhood.

The Facts: The 1965 Dodge Deora actually won awards, which goes a long way towards proving award ceremonies don’t always get it right. Lacking any side doors, the only way into the car is through the front, which opens up like a car boot, which means that every time you want to get in the car you have to shuffle rear-first into your seat. Smooth.

  1. 1950 Martin Stationette

1950 Martin Stationette

Looks like: A giant walnut.

The Facts: The Martin Stationette was designed in 1950 as a last ditch attempt of inventor James Martin to create a prototype ‘economy car of the future.’ Nobody was convinced by the rear wheel drive, suspension-less wooden frame and blistering 60 mph top speed, and so the car was never mass produced and the prototype was presumably left to grow into a full size oak tree.

  1. Mazda Miata Mono-Posto, 1999

mazda miata 1999

Looks like: A ketchup stain on wheels.

The Facts: Sick of annoying friends asking for rides? Need more ‘me’ time? Why not make it physically impossible for anyone to ever bother you again, by completely removing the passenger seat and boxing yourself in. Lightweight, with 190 horsepower and a Formula One style steering wheel, this is the car for you if you like going fast and hate everyone.

  1. Rinspeed X-TREM

X Trem Rinspeed

Looks like: A Transformer. That transforms into a Croc.

The Facts: Technically a pick-up truck rather than a car, this car is the brainchild of Switzerland based Rinspeed Designs, designed by the company’s director/resident mad scientist Frank Rinderknecht. The X-TREM boasts a V8-Cylinder 5439cc engine, onboard computer, waterproof upholstery, oh, and your very own hovercraft complete with a mini crane to winch you down gracefully into the sea. Heaving your cumbersome hovercraft out to the beach will never be a problem again!

  1. 1957 Studebaker-Packard Astral

studebaker-packard-astral

Looks like: The Torture Chamber of Tomorrow! ™

The Facts: Unveiled at the 1958 Geneva Motor Show, this concept car is the peak of 1950’s space race hyperbole. The Astral was packed with all kinds of exciting sounding but vaguely defined technology, such as an atomic engine, a single gyroscopically balanced wheel, and a ‘protective curtain of energy’, presumably to keep the Jetsons safe as they zip around Orbit City.

  1. Tang Hua Detroit Fish

detroit fish

Looks like: A Teletubby that has witnessed terrible, terrible things.

The Facts: Chinese company Tang Hua offered up this cute little monstrosity in 2008. Besides its being shaped like a Minion’s behind, the bizarrely named Detroit Fish also claims to be amphibious… despite having gaping holes where the doors should be. Best bring your wellies.

  1. Honda Fuya-Jo

Honda Fuya-Jo, 1999

Looks like: A Dalek on a hen night.

The Facts: Honda’s disco toaster was presented at the 1999 Tokyo Show and was designed for ferrying around “party animals who demand the full excitement of night life”, apparently completely forgetting the whole ‘no drink driving’ thing. The dash and steering wheel are designed to resemble a DJ’s turntables, and the minimalist seats are basically a backrest with a seatbelt, allowing for maximum partying. The interior is spill proof, too, so you don’t have to worry about all the Jägermeister flying overhead as you drive.

  1. Peugeot Moovie

moovie

Looks like: A beheaded C3PO.

The Facts: In 2005, Peugeot asked the world to “draw the Peugeot of your dreams for the near future”. To give it credit, it’s far from the goofiest car on the list; agile and city-friendly with an elegant and spacious interior. It’s just… well… how do you go uphill in it? Empty, the car weighs a mere 500kg. All it would take is a slightly hefty pair of occupants to send the car glamorously tumbling backwards like a massive metal Zorb.

  1. Aurora Safety Car

Aurora-Safety-Car

Looks like: One of those hideous fish from the deep ocean.

The Facts: Father Alfred Juliano, a Catholic priest, designed the Aurora in 1957 to be the pinnacle of car safety. The car’s ‘astrodome’ roof and bulbous windshield was designed so rain would roll off it (this was pre-windscreen wipers). Instrument panels were padded with foam, the spare tire was mounted in the front to absorb impacts, and the seats could swivel round in the event of a collision. How that would be useful, we don’t know.

Due for unveiling in 1957, the car broke down 15 times on the way to its own press conference and was towed to a total of 7 different garages en-route. After chugging into the conference hours late, barely functioning, and looking like a shark that’s had its nose punched in, the public were unsurprisingly uninspired, and none were ever sold. If you fancy punishing your eyes, you can view the car fully restored at Beaulieu Motor Museum in Hampshire.

Whew, what a ride. The horror show is over. Now, let us guide you back to normality with some cars that are a little easier on the eyes.

Author: Dan Hackett

Title: The Fastest Cars of All Time

Hub Image:

Example image of The Fastest Cars of All Time

Summary: The fastest vehicles people have engineered operate in outer space. Up there, there’s no energy to waste on traction, and no gravity to worry about. But down on the ground, there is, and things get trickier. Yet as far back as the 1920s, we were mastering it – mastering the art of horsepower, torque and getting a tonnes’ worth of metal to move at over 100mph.

Meta Title: The Fastest Cars of All Time

Meta Description: Speed through the decades with our list of the fastest cars of all time, from 1920's torpedoes through to today's torque trailblazers.

Article:

The fastest vehicles people have engineered operate in outer space. Up there, there’s no energy to waste on traction, and no gravity to worry about. But down on the ground, there is, and things get trickier. Yet as far back as the 1920s, we were mastering it – mastering the art of horsepower, torque and getting a tonnes’ worth of metal to move at over 100mph.

It’s amazing when you think about it.

To celebrate this miraculous achievement, we’re going to list the fastest cars in the world by decade, starting with the 1920s. To make this a fair round up, only production cars will make the cut – no race cars and no prototypes. So without further ado, let’s begin:

1920s – Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo
20s - Mercedes Torpedo - resized

Manufactured from 1928, the Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo was way ahead of its time, and was the fastest production car of the 1920s. It had a top speed of 110mph, courtesy of a 6.8-litre inline-6 supercharged dual-carburettor engine with a total 180 horsepower.

1930s – Delahaye 135 Modifie Speciale (MS)

The 135MS, launched in 1937, was the definitive version of Delahaye’s signature chassis. It was the top model in the range, with a 3,557cc straight-6 engine with 135 horsepower. It had a quoted top speed of 100mph, and was therefore one of the fastest cars in the world.

1940s – Jaguar XK120

40s - Jaguar XK120 - resized

Launched at the 1948 London Motor Show, the Jaguar XK120 was the fastest production car in the world at the time. It was powered by a 3.4-litre dual overhead-cam inline-6 XK engine with 160 horsepower. The 120 in its name is a tribute to its top speed – 120mph.

1950s – Mercedes-Benz 300SL Coupe

Produced between 1954 and 1963, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Coupe had a revolutionary fuel injection system, derived from the DB 601 V12 World War II fighter. This was added to a 3.0-litre overhead cam straight-6 engine, for 215 horsepower and a top speed of 161mph.

1960s – Lamborghini Miura P400S and Ferrari Daytona 365 GTB/4

60s - Lambo - resized

We’ve chosen two cars for this decade, as we can’t decide which is most impressive. We’d rather you be the judge of that! So first up we have the Lamborghini. The Lambo Miura – pictured above in a fetching orange colourway –  was produced from 1966 to 1973. It was powered by a 3,929cc naturally aspirated mid-mounted V12 engine with 360 horsepower. Its top speed is quoted as 171mph. The Ferrari 365 GTB/4 was powered by a 4.4-litre front-mounted V12 with six Weber carburettors, producing 352bhp. Yet with less power than the Miura, it had a greater top speed of 174mph.

1970s – Lamborghini Countach LP400 and Ferrari F12BB

Again, we’ve had to choose two cars for this decade because they are so closely matched. The Countach LP400 was the perfect successor to the Miura. Although originally planned to have a 5.0-litre V12, it had a 3,929cc mid-mounted V12 engine with 360 horsepower and a quoted top speed of 186, but in reality it was more like 170. The Ferrari F12BB, or Berlinetta Boxer, had a 4.4-litre V12 engine with 360 horsepower. To do one up on Lamborghini, they quoted a top speed of 188mph, however in reality it was no faster than the Countach.

1980s – RUF CTR

Introduced in 1987 and based on the Porsche 911, the RUF CTR was a limited-production high-performance super-light sports car that shocked the supercar world. It had a highly tuned version of Porsche’s 3.2-litre flat-six cylinder engine. Two turbochargers and uprated components gave this car a staggering 469bhp and 553 N-m of torque, and with that a 0-62mph time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 211mph. Nicknamed ‘Yellowbird’, the CTR could be outperformed to 60mph by supercars, but it’d outperform them at the top end.

1990s – McLaren F1

90s - Mclaren f1 - resized

The McLaren F1, like the RUF CTR, is faster than many supercars today. It was a huge leap forward in car engineering, with a stunning top speed of 242.8mph with the speed limiter removed, or 231mph without the limiter removed. It was powered by a 6.1-litre S70/2 V12 engine with 618bhp and 617 N-m of torque. It wasn’t just the mighty top speed that made this car the icon it is today, however, with its acceleration smashing every other production car ever made; 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds and 0-100mph in 6.4 seconds is what it would do.

2000s – Bugatti Veyron 16.4

00s - Bugatti Veyron - resized

The McLaren F1 was knocked off its perch as the fastest production car in the world in 2005 by the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 – almost a decade after it was introduced. The Veyron was somewhat of an oddity, though, in that it wasn’t a super-light supercar. It had big leather seats, a luxurious interior and a suspension designed for comfort, not the track.

And yet with its 8.0-litre W16 quad-turbo engine producing 1,000bhp and 1,250 N-m of torque, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 obliterated the F1’s speed record with a top speed of 253.81mph and a 0-62mph time of 2.7 seconds, thanks to all-wheel-drive. In 2010, Bugatti bettered their own record with a speed of 267.857 in the Bugatti Veyron SuperSport, a lighter more agile version of the 16.4. But this record didn’t last for very long…

2010s – Hennessey Venom GT

10s - Hennessey Venom GT - resized

Known as the unofficial fastest accelerating car in the world, The Hennessey Venom GT is produced by Hennessey Performance in America. It is based on the Lotus Exige, however ‘based on’ is putting the two together too closely, really, for the GT is in a different world.

In tests, it hit 270.49mph at the Kennedy Space Centre in 2014, making it the world’s fastest road car. However, it did not make the Guinness World Book of Records, because Hennessey hadn’t produced 30 at the time. But make no mistake – this is still the fastest road car in the world! To compound this, it does hold several other records, such as for the fastest production car from 0–186 mph with an average acceleration time of 13.63 seconds which was recorded and awarded by Guinness. Next stop – 300mph with the Venom F5.

Author: Tom

Title: Top Apps for Drivers

Hub Image:

Example image of Top Apps for Drivers

Summary: These days, your phone is way more than just a phone. It can help you to avoid traffic, get you to your destination on time and find you the cheapest fuel prices. It can even find you a parking space. We've done the hard work for you and come up with a list of the top apps for drivers in 2015

Meta Title: Top Apps for Drivers | Best Driving Apps | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: Take a look at our run through of the 9 most helpful, simple to use, and overall best apps for drivers right now.

Article:

These days, your phone is way more than just a phone. It can help you to avoid traffic, get you to your destination on time and find you the cheapest fuel prices. It can even find you a parking space.

Of course, you might already know this.

But do you know of the best apps to achieve these feats? Didn’t think so. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you and come up with a list of the top apps for drivers in 2015.

  1. Waze (iPhone, Android)

Waze

If you hate traffic (who doesn’t!?) then you’ll love Waze. Waze is a community-based traffic alert and navigation app. It offers real-time traffic data and road information to help motorists save time and ease congestion, and you can add your very own experiences to help other motorists out. Waze combines this class-leading traffic information system with a visually appealing turn-by-turn navigation feature that’s perfect for daily drivers.

  1. CoPilot Premium Europe HD (iPhone, Android)

If you don’t want to fork out for a dedicated sat-nav, then CoPilot Premium Europe HD is the next best thing. CoPilot is a satellite navigation app that works both online and offline – just download maps when you’re connected to Wi-Fi and you don’t have to worry about losing your mobile signal on the move. The app costs £25.99, and for an additional £7.99 you can get traffic alert features. This is a great app that’s highly recommended.

  1. WhatGas Petrol Prices (iPhone, Android)

It’s often a lottery as to who’ll have the cheapest fuel prices on any given day. The Esso down the road might be 2p a litre cheaper than the Shell up the road on Monday, but vice versa on Tuesday. WhatGas Petrol Prices solves this problem by detailing the cheapest fuel prices according to your GPS location. It’s a community-based app that works well (read: no fakery) and it’s free to download and use, and you could save a lot of money on fuel.

  1. JustPark (iPhone, Android)

Going somewhere you’re not familiar with? Download JustPark and avoid the frustration of driving round endlessly to find a parking space. Unlike some similar apps, JustPark isn’t London only – it supports most cities and towns in the UK – and you can choose from over 150,000 spaces in real-time. Some locations will even allow you to pre-book your parking space through the app, a lifesaver if you’re short of time (or just patience). Even better, the app is free to download too.

  1. Appy Parking (iPhone, Android)

Appy Park

Appy Parking is an alternative to JustPark. It’s on-par with the latter in terms of features, but it doesn’t support locations outside of London (at the moment). But if you live in London, this app may be better. It lets you see every Controlled Parking Zone in London and clearly displays available parking spaces, along with any time limits and prices. It also lets you see all available Green Zones and Red Zones. As such, it’s perhaps one of the ideal apps for drivers living in London.

  1. The Highway Code UK (iPhone, Android)

With The Highway Code UK app, you can read and listen to the latest version of the Highway Code. It’s an easy to use app with accurate information and it’s a great way to review your own driving style and the driving style of others. However, it’s perhaps one of the best apps for learner drivers, giving a quick an easy learning resource that can be read on the go (but not behind the wheel!). The app is free but you have to pay £0.99 to access all content. But this is still cheaper than the official Highway Code app (£3.99). Just remember to update the app regularly so you have up to date information.

  1. GloveBox (iPhone, Android)

GloveBox

GloveBox helps you to track your car’s fuel economy and expenses, so you can see exactly how much it’s costing you to run and maintain your car. It boasts support for multiple users per car and partial and full-tank entries, and you can view fuel units in litres, US gallons and imperial gallons – making it ideal for any country. All statistics are stored in the cloud on a GloveBox account, so if you lose your phone you don’t lose your data.

  1. Find My Car (iPhone, Android)

Ever forgotten where you’ve parked your car? If so, we recommend you download the Find My Car app. With this app, you can store the GPS location of your car when you park up and when the time comes to return to your car, you simply open the app and view your position and your car’s position on the map at street level. This makes finding your car a breeze and you’ll have no excuses for losing your car ever again!

  1. MileTracker (iPhone)

If you lease your car, if it is on a PCP, or if you drive a lot for work, then knowing your mileage is handy. If you lease, going over a mileage allowance can mean you’ll incur an extra cost, which is where MileTracker comes in use. This app – which is available only on iPhone at the moment – is an extremely easy to use mileage calculator, also keeping track of fuel and expenses. It uses GPS to log your movement, and as far as we can tell is pretty accurate.

So there we have it, 9 apps for drivers that can make day to day travelling easier. However, what use is a driving app if you’ve got nothing to use it in? If you’re itching to test one of these apps in a new motor, take a look at the new and used cars for sale at Bristol Street Motors.

Author: Tom