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Car makers have a long way to go

I’ve never really liked American cars. They are usually over-powered and, possibly because fuel is so cheap in the US, never seem to be engineered as well as cars in Europe and Japan. It often feels like you’re driving a big spongy mattress on wheels.

Take the German manufacturer Porsche, for example. A 3.6 litre 911 GT2 will race from 0 to 60mph in 3.7 seconds (source: What Car?). Compare that to the Dodge, which is a stunning car and has an 8.4 litre v10 engine, but only does 0 to 60mph in “under 4 seconds”.

So, having got all excited about the Honda hydrogen car et al I’m not so optimistic about what the stats will be for the hydrogen fuel cell powered Cadillac Provoc. Will the company engineer the car well enough to actually get an efficient use from the vehicle?

The point is, it’s all very well saying you’ve produced a ‘zero emissions vehicle’. But if you still produce the power using non-renewably generated electricity and don’t use the principles of light weight and aerodynamics then, frankly, you may as well just not have bothered in the first place.

Quite simply, car manufacturers need to look beyond the greenwash of just using one technology to reduce carbon footprint and look at the bigger picture. Lotus did it. Seat and VW have done it. Most of the Japanese manufacturers are doing it. Others really need to play catch up.

3 Comments

  • jimbo
    Posted August 8, 2008 at 4:48 am

    Want to compare prices for the Porches vs the Corvettes? What does the Z06 cost vs the Carrera? or the Ford GT? Give me a break.

  • James Taylor
    Posted August 7, 2008 at 8:35 am

    So that’ll be the 6 or the 7l Chevy that you’re comparing with the 3.6l Porsche?

    Come on. I’ve driven the Chevy and, yes, it’s a great car. But it’s still not as well engineered. The best Corvette does the Top Gear circuit in 1:22.4 – Chevrolet Corvette Z06, vs. the Porsche’s 1:19.8 – Porsche Carrera GT.

    That’s a big gap. The acceleration is also weaker – 3.9s.

    Nah, Try the Ford GT. One of the better (albeit less reliable US cars). It’s still a 5.4l engine but is the highest ranking US car around the Top Gear track – 1:21.9 – Ford GT

    There are still 15 European and Asian cars ahead of it.

  • jimbo
    Posted August 6, 2008 at 6:08 am

    Why compare to the “Dodge” when a better comparison is to the Chevy Corvette. The “Dodge” is relatively expensive, and is a rude, crude machine this is wonderful to a certain clientelle. The Corvette on the other had is docile in comparison, and is an able racer here and in Europe. It is also capable of burning E85, which I doubt is true of the Porche. All while being much cheaper to purchase. How clever you are ignoring the Corvette.

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