Environmentally friendly fun

For a change I had a nice relaxing afternoon in the local watering hole over the weekend. I was disappointed that the red team beat the blue team but consoled myself with more golden nectar and once the fusball was over some car chat. Everything was going brilliantly until someone brought up the topic of hybrid and electric cars. Being seen as something of a quasi expert (within my group of drinking buddies anyway) on all things motoring everyone turned to me for my input and bluntly asked whether or not I would spend my hard earned cash on an environmentally friendly car.

A few months ago the response would have been a resounding no. With the exception of the Honda CRZ no car with a battery in it has really floated my boat. I may be getting older, greyer and more responsible but for me a car still has to have a bit of get up and go for those rare moments when you round the bend of your favourite stretch of road to find it empty. However my ideas have been changed recently by three cars.


Porsche 918 Hybrid Spyder


Recent talk of Porsche shoehorning diesel engines into their line up may be akin to blasphemy but a plug in hybrid – that’s like digging up Jesus, urinating on his corpse while reciting satanic verses. Thankfully the purveyors of the finest sports cars have not gone all greenie on us though as the limited edition 918 RSR will feature a 500bhp V8. For most manufacturers that would be enough but instead Porsche see fit to also outfit the car with a pair of electric motors, one for each axle, producing a combined 218bhp. For those not good at maths that is a combined seven hundred and eighteen horsepower which sounds more like it.

Performance is expected to be phenomenal with the benchmark 0-100kph completed in a shade over 3 seconds with a top speed of 320kph (199mph). Add in a fuel economy of 3L/100 km, CO2 emissions of 70 g/km (Tax Band A) and an electric only top speed of 151kph and things certainly seem interesting. Shame about the projected €645,000 excluding taxes price tag though.


Jaguar CX-75


The CX-75 may not be getting the turbine engines that it was shown with at the Paris Motor Show but that does not make recent confirmation of its production any less interesting. A tie up with the Williams F1 team will see the stylish supercar outfitted with a Formula One engine alongside its two electric motors. Unfortunately it will be next seasons F1 engine meaning it will not be an all singing – all dancing V8 but instead turbocharged 1.6 litre four pot. Yes that’s right Jaguars first foray in the supercar market since the XJ220 will have the same size engine as a MINI Cooper.

However the Williams engine and electric motors are expected to produce circa 800bhp!

The 1350kg car will accelerate from 0-100kph in 3 seconds, will have a top speed on the good side of 322kph (200mph) and emit less than 99g/km (Tax Band A). Again it comes with a Euromillions price of between €900,000 – €1,000,000 but apparently the turbine engines will be added to a handful of cars.


Delta E4 Coupe


There is not much news on this one as it was only launched this morning but from the press release it looks interesting. Unfortunately I am too low down the motoring food chain to have joined the likes of Robert Llwellyn at the Silverstone launch but the E4 certainly has credentials. The team who built it are the guys who supplied all fifteen cars for the Grand Prix Masters series that saw the likes of Nigel Mansell, Ricardo Patrese and Emerson Fittipaldi battle it out at classic F1 circuits in 600bhp cars.

Unlike the Porsche and Jaguar the E4 Coupe is a completely electric car (EV) featuring four electric motors each producing 120bhp. With 600Nm of torque the all carbon coupe sprints from 0-100kph in under five seconds and has an estimated top speed of 241kph (150mph). Add in a Nissan Leaf shaming range of 320km (200 miles) and it seems Delta may be on to something.

It may be a while before hybrids and EV’s replace our reliance on petrol and diesel but at least cars such as these show that the move towards green cars does not necessarily mean we are going to miss out on a bit of fun during driving!