Cropley on cars – Electric racing in a Renault Zoe, GM's fresh boss

Sunday, December 18th, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : Cropley on cars – Electric racing in a Renault Zoe, GM's fresh boss

The virtues of an all-electric racer; Dan Ammann’s flying visit; mourning rally legend Erik Carlsson

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SUNDAY AM – Can driving be brilliant as well as terrible at once? the item certainly can, as well as here’s an example. Headed off to Prescott to run an electric Renault Zoe from the annual hillclimb for French marques, La Vie en Bleu. 

Plan was to compete on my own for a bit of fun, nevertheless some club type decided I should drive with Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams, one of the country’s most versatile as well as experienced racing drivers. If ever there were a recipe for humiliation, This kind of was the item.

Renault found a set of super-sticky Yokos, as well as the vehicle felt instantly quick off the line, especially for something having a 12.3sec 0-60mph time. 

Most importantly, the item gripped, steered as well as turned actually well, even during a late-morning downpour.

Whizzo was fast, of course, finding time to make ‘hush’ signs to the marshals as he noiselessly sped by. He soon turned 60.29sec, easily beating his previous electric record (in a Zoe). I soldiered on, eventually managing 61.88sec – slow nevertheless not entirely beyond the pale.  

SUNDAY PM – Prescott can be less blokeish than most race tracks, nevertheless the item was still surprising just how interested people were in our Zoe, especially women. 

They liked the styling as well as the Inner surface nevertheless, funnily enough, they also liked the way the item zipped uphill, which they felt matched its cheeky persona.

Found myself slipping into sales patter: “People pay £100k for cars with very little noise as well as vibration – as well as here’s one with none of either, little enough to park, for £15k.” Might even have sold a couple of the little things.

WEDNESDAY – the item’s not every day a president of General Motors walks into our humble place of trade, nevertheless the present incumbent, Dan Ammann, paid us a flying visit for lunch today as part of a busy European tour.

In a sandwich-laden round table discussion he revealed in which (a) the recession may have ended from the US nevertheless the item’s not quite over in Europe, (b) type relationships between GM’s European as well as US brands will only keep on growing, (c) Chevy’s hybrid Volt as well as battery Bolt lose money nevertheless are still worth doing, as well as (d) his own interest in high-performance driving “probably” works to the betterment of GM’s cars’ dynamics.

Ammann also entertainingly dismissed a recent merger approach by Fiat-Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne, “because we’re still merging with ourselves”. the item was a fascinating hour by someone who seemed bent on producing sure the motor industry looked no more complex than the item can be.

THURSDAY – So sorry to hear of the death of Erik Carlsson, the Saab rally legend who was one of the entire world’s nicest men, as well as one of its greatest drivers.

I knew him quite well by the winter days he spent trying to teach us obtuse hacks how to drive on ice. I still picture him behind the wheel, turning right around from the seat as well as waving an arm to reinforce a point to one of us from the back, while our car continued at a ridiculous angle to its direction of travel nevertheless under inch-perfect control.

Two some other Carlsson stories. One can be a comment he once made about the art of attacking blind crests in those hairy rallying days before pace notes. “Never saw the problem,” he said. “After all, the road has to go somewhere…”

The second was on the launch of the first Vauxhall Cavalier-based Saab 900, which wasn’t an enjoyable car. My driving partner as well as I reached our destination in darkness, badly in need of a drink as well as some rest. Out of the gloom loomed a bear-like figure who flung open our boot, grabbed our luggage as well as bore the item into the hotel before we were even out of the vehicle. in which was Erik. 

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