News that Honda has 3D-printed a diminutive delivery van certainly is astounding.
However, this miraculous mini-motor comes with its share of catches attached.
For a start, while the image of a little van emerging fully formed from a large-scale 3D-printer is a great idea, in reality the notion of 3D-printing every aspect — frame, engine components, transfer case — is still the stuff of science fiction. So, actually, Honda 3D-printed only the exterior panels and cargo section.
And before you start thinking about what sort of paint job such a van might boast, the panels are made of paper. This limits the speed with which you’ll be able to deploy your delivery van to its next port of call. It will apparently travel up to 70km/h, but cartoon images of a van briskly shedding its skin along the motorway come to mind at that speed.
Developed with 3D-printing firm Kabuku Inc, the electric van is known as the Honda Micro Commuter and is based on the same architecture Honda uses in its Japanese market-only MC-Beta ultra-compact electric vehicle.
Only a trial van at present, the 600kg Micro Commuter has an impressive EV-range of around 80km, making it a usable wee city delivery tool. And what will its owner Toshimaya Corp use it to deliver? Er, little individual snacks of shortbread apparently. And no, we didn’t make that up.
Lewis Hamilton cameos in Call of Duty
Ah yes, we suppose it was about time F1 ace Lewis Hamilton appeared in one of the various competing console game racing franchises. But wait, what? His isn’t a walk-on part in the next Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo release, but rather the next edition of first-person shooter Call of Duty.
Turns out Hamilton is a bit of a fan of the title and, according to French media outlet M6, was spied recording phrases such as “I’m right behind you!” in a studio for his role as an engineer in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
We can assume only he wasn’t picturing Nico Rosberg while uttering such a sentence, though.
Like many console game franchises these days — which rival the top Hollywood film productions in terms of global revenue — Call of Duty is no stranger to having actors and sports stars voice characters.
Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington is the main villain in the upcoming edition, which also stars UFC fighter Conor McGregor. The game’s ‘Space Zombies’ mode stars David Hasselhoff, Seth Green and Paul “Pee-wee Herman” Reubens, among others, too.
As for Hamilton, there is no word on whether he goes near a wheeled vehicle during the scenes he’s in, but all will be revealed when the game is officially launched next week.
Need 160 Rovers? Have we got a deal for you
It’s fair to say that Canberra resident Dr V.J.A. Flynn was quite partial to the British Rover brand.
During a lifetime of collecting, he amassed more than 160 examples of the marque before his death; models spanning production from 1949 until the late 1970s. And now the collection — along with a few other odds and ends, including various Cadillacs, La Salles and Buicks — is up for auction.
Dr Flynn was the son of a prominent solicitor, Vincent John Flynn, and Jean Marie Flynn, an heiress to Australia’s Tattersall’s lotteries sweepstakes.
In his professional life Dr Flynn was a philanthropist and academic specialising in Indian history, as well as — if his large lock-up is anything to go by — the highs and lows of British car manufacturing.
Rover fans will be descending on Canberra next month for the everything-must-go, no-reserve auction.
The auction organiser Exoticars and Slattery Auctions has said several international bidders are expected.
Images of the cars suggest a bunch of well-maintained machines, although there is no information on how many of them are in sound working order. In addition to the cars, the organisers say there is a “significant range of spare parts [to be] auctioned, sufficient to fill 14 containers”. With miscellaneous examples from British Leyland’s glory years on offer, we can only presume there will also be a surplus of oil drip trays up for grabs, too.