Good Oil: Skoda promises big things with electric performance
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Skoda has been consistently brilliant at providing performance-flavoured cars that don’t compromise on practicality or lead to difficult conversations with financial advisers for several years now.
While the little Fabia vRS hot hatch is no longer a proposition, the Volkswagen Group’s Czech offshoot has perfected the idea of the “hot wagon” with several generations of frankly fantastic vRS Octavia.
Now, with a refocus on electric mobility (just like everyone else in the industry), Skoda is also rethinking its strategy around its sporty models. Thankfully though, that doesn’t mean the end of those evocative letters on the boot lids of future Skodas. They’ll just be prefixed by the letter “e”.
British outlet Auto Express has broken the news this week that Skoda intends to make a performance variant of its upcoming all-electric model. To be built using the Volkswagen Group’s MEB scalable electric platform, the go-faster model will be known as the eRS and should be on sale by 2020 (like every single other eagerly promised new EV, it would seem).
While a “performance” EV might seem like an oxymoron, Skoda believes the eRS will still boast a 480km range. That’s assuming you don’t drive it like an RS of old, of course.
Alain Favey, Skoda’s board member for sales and marketing has poured a little lukewarm water on the idea, though, saying that “it’s not about performance as such. It’s about experience, and that’s something we can do very well in our future electric cars”. Oh no; he said “experience”. That doesn’t bode well and smacks of marketing department input.
Regardless of whether the idea of an electric Skoda interests you; there is even better news on the horizon. Not only is the next-gen Fabia rumoured to once again be augmented with a vRS badge, but the manufacturer’s most-popular model – the Kodiaq – is also possibly set to receive the vRS treatment. Who needs an EV that badly anyway?
Ford set to reopen order books for iconic GT supercar
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Ford doesn’t want people to buy its GT. It has single-handedly infuriated hundreds of cashed-up would-be GT buyers by imposing a strict application process on nabbing one.
It seems you don’t choose a Ford GT. Ford chooses you. Turns out it’s adept at this whole “supply and demand” thing.
But news has surfaced that FoMoCo is set to reopen the order books on the GT, allowing another handful of eager buyers through the gates in order to well, apply to own one of the supercars.
When the application process is reopened, it will be the first time since 2016 Ford has allowed the grubby masses to pore over its wide-bodied exclusive baby. It is believed Ford wants to cap production of the GT at a thousand examples.
If they keep up this whole intermittent order process, some Blue Oval fans might only be writing cheques two, maybe four years from now.
Hacking? It’s a gas, gas, gas
Pity the poor service station attendant who has to deal with the low blow of someone doing a runner with lots of lovely petrol sloshing about in their gas tank, but no money in the till.
As petrol prices rise, it’s probably inevitable that more people will try it on, despite more and more oil chains employing pay-first-fill-later pump security.
Some petrol thieves in the US have just got a little bit smarter than Johnny Lawman though. Or Mike Caltex.
According to local news in Detroit, thieves hacked into a gas station’s computer-controlled pump system and electronically persuaded it to dispense fossil fuel into 10 vehicles over the course of 90 minutes.
The pinched petrol equated to US$1800 worth and about 600 gallons (nearly 2800 litres). The rather worrying aspect for the petrol station (and, indeed, all petrol stations), is that once the attendant realised something was up, the software hack meant that the pump ignored commands to stop pumping, effectively preventing itself from being shut off.
The system could be shut down only when the attendant used an emergency close-off measure.
Just the one gas station was involved, and Detroit police aren’t sure if all 10 cars that took advantage of the hack were in on the scam. (Regardless, you have to presume that’s 10 rather dishonest motorists all the same.)
Then again, 10 cars and 600 gallons means those vehicles had to be carrying jerry cans in order to get away with so much petroleum. Mix together global warming and rising petrol costs forcing brazen theft against the backdrop of post-apocalyptic Detroit and all of a sudden Mad Max starts to look like a documentary.