Introducing our new monthly blog, bringing you snippet-sized motor industry stories to enjoy with your cup of tea - and biscuit - of choice!
What has been happening in May?
Let's find out...
EV experiments make electric MINI go to market
Detective work by Auto Express has spied the new electric MINI Cooper SE just months ahead of its reveal.
Missing the memo on ‘how-to go undercover’, the new MINI was spotted completely undisguised on the streets of Los Angeles. Meanwhile, with their mitts around a magnifying glass, Auto Express were up close and personal with the electric hatchback.
Exposing its unique design cues, such as buttercup-yellow mirrors, detailing, and a flashy front grille, the MINI Cooper SE was unmistakable and was not getting away with being unseen.
But just to point out – this is NOT the first EVER electric MINI. If we potter down the brand timeline back to 2008, we’ll see that engineers etched away at electric MINI ideas by introducing the MINI E. The normal petrol engine and fuel tank was replaced by a 201bhp electric motor and a 35kW/hr lithium ion battery (delivering a range of 100 to 120 miles), yet only 600 of these were produced and leased.
But why didn’t it make it big the first-time round?
The 2008 MINI Cooper SE didn’t make it past bootcamp
We can think of a few reasons - the rear seats vanished, boot space shrank and the EV hardware added 350kg. The BMW i3 was then engineered in an attempt to put these EV errors right.
Innovation didn't stop there and the current electric model for MINI, with even better battery-life and improved technology, is the MINI Cooper SE. With unique go-kart handling, an urban feel, and instant torque to the front tyres, the evolutionary MINI Cooper SE is snug in suburbia, soaking up the undulations and vibrations of city streets and spinning crisply around the corners.
Back to school for more mature motorists!
Do your grandma and grandad get the green light from you for their driving? Or would you stop them at red if you had the chance?
Do older drivers need to refresh their skills and knowledge of the road?
According to poll results, sixty per cent of 18 - 34-year-old drivers said they’d send mature motorists over 60 back to driving school to repeat their theory and practical.
At the moment, older drivers must mail off their licence for renewal at the age of 70 – then every three years afterwards – but they do not have to face the nail-biting ordeal of the invigilator, the indignant orders of the instructor and the heart-pounding hazard perception, all which make up take their test again.
This debate comes after 97-year-old Prince Philip’s recent accident, in which he apologised for pulling out in front of another vehicle in his Land Rover near the Queen's Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
Government officials have ruled out further action for now out of fears it would result in a major dip in the road for many retired people, making them give up their cars prematurely. A Department for Transport report in November found that a call for people over 70 to take new eyesight tests could lead to many of them having to stay off the roads altogether. Sorry Specsavers: looks like a trip to you is off the cards...
13 years into supercharging Daimler to success, notorious – for his tufty walrus moustache above all else – Dieter Zetsche has stepped down from his leadership of the multinational manufacturer.
Dieter Zetsche - The man with the walrus moustache
In a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the former CEO, BMW have been causing mischief with their lookalike Zetsche, who also got roped in on the trouble!
As the ‘real-life Mr. Dieter Zetsche’ turned in his badge and said brand goodbyes to be chauffeured away in his Mercedes, he motors down his driveaway in a convertible that BMW know all too well...
In the Daimler leader's den full of Mercedes models, what's that burrowed between the bonnets...?
The BMW i8 Roadster!
So, that's it for May - full-electric MINIs have finally been brought to market, youngsters think their elders need to take their test again and BMW have been causing chaos with their Daimler double.
Make another ‘Pitstop’ next month for a peek at all the latest motoring updates.