It's April 1, and you know what that means – the car industry is coming up with its weirdest and most 'out there' ideas it can for April Fools Day. Take a read through this year's offerings below.
McLAREN'S NEW MEASURES TO BOOST EFFICIENCY
McLaren Automotive, the British creator of luxury, high-performance sportscars and supercars, says it is introducing new measures to boost efficiency as it drives for another record year of sales.
Specially-trained staff have been brought in for a range of jobs that include daily monitoring of the water level in the lake in front of the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC). Other teams have been tasked with measuring each component of the award-winning building, right down to the floor tiles in MTC’s Boulevard. Those that don’t measure up – sometimes by as little as 0.01mm – are replaced.
New ideas developed with metronomic timing have been introduced to ensure staff move around the MTC complex far more efficiently than before … and with no risk of collision. Synchronised tea-drinking is another new initiative that has resulted in considerable time savings.
A short video released today by MCLaren gives a rare insight into what it’s like to work in such a well-ordered and measured environment.
SKODA's BICKER-BUSTING HEADREST TO SILENCE BACK-SEAT SQUABBLERS
Backseat bickering and sibling squabbles have been an ongoing issue for parents since the invention of children. But now, thanks to the introduction of an innovative noise-cancelling front seat headrest, parents can enjoy their journeys and concentrate on driving.
Skoda's new QuarrelKancel technology, the newest addition to the brand’s range of accessories features in-built speakers that can be deployed by the driver within seconds of a rear-seat fracas breaking out.
Available exclusively as an option on the Karoq SUV, the noise-cancelling headrests are activated at the touch of a button via the Skoda infotainment system. The system can also work in ‘automatic’ mode, and can ‘listen’ for the first signs of an argument.
The Czech carmaker wants us to believe what its Chief of Family Relations, Professor Si Lence and Special Projects leader, Dr April Fürst says: "To create this technology, we recruited a Skoda ‘Scream Team’ – a group of volunteers dedicated to solving this global parenting issue,” explained Lence.
“We tested 1,000 families over 10,000 miles and identified that 80dB, the sound equivalent of a vacuum cleaner, is the pitch most unbearable for parents,” added Fürst.
Developed in partnership with sound specialists Canton, the speakers are engineered to continuously monitor, measure and react to the in-cabin child decibel level. Once activated, the speakers generate unique sound waves that intelligently block out bickering but still allow parents to hear essential road noises, such as emergency sirens.
“We know backseat bickering is a serious issue for our customers, the hotline to the Family Relations team is constantly ringing with parents at a loss of how to solve the problem,” said Lence.
“This is why we have spent thousands of hours coming up with this stress-busting solution. We’re the first manufacturer to offer an accessory this smart and we think it will change the lives of many parents throughout the UK, we certainly might see fewer grey hairs.”
ALPACA WASTE TO POWER MG CARS
MG Motor UK has announced a new engine development programme to power its cars by alpaca waste in a move that will be a world first.
The innovative decision, according to the company, comes as part of global-wide push within the motoring industry to run cars using sustainable energy sources and help reduce vehicle emissions. MG Motor UK hopes that the results from the alpaca-powered vehicle trials on its compact-SUV will help revolutionise the industry and encourage the adoption by the mass-market.
Technical engineers at MG have been researching the potential for using alpaca waste as a power source for several years. The revolutionary new fuel is produced using a process known as anaerobic digestion, during which microorganisms break down biodegradable material to produce pellets that can be used to power car engines.
Alpaca waste has been specifically chosen as it doesn’t need to be aged before it can be transformed into a useable fuel.
Commenting on the new trials, Daniel Gregorious, Head of Sales & Marketing at MG Motor UK, said: “We have launched a pilot programme in the UK with the Faerie Tale alpaca farm in Kenilworth and the initial results are very impressive. Following our decisions to no longer sell diesel-powered vehicles in the UK market, we wanted to take it one step further and see what was possible using alternative fuels to develop low emission vehicles.
“We look forward to the day when people resign horsepower to the history books and refer to alpaca power. It really packs a punch.”
HYUNDAI SPILLS THE BEANS ON its i3ON HOT HATCH
Hyundai Motor UK has unwrapped the development secrets behind the i30N hot hatch’s dynamic handling, with a special film recorded at its top-secret test track. The film uncovers the unique Cacao Corner, featuring a bespoke surface cooked up by Hyundai’s engineers to capture tyre prints for dynamic analysis.
The bespoke high viscosity material has been produced in Hyundai’s Research & Development facility using a selection of abundant natural and completely biodegradable components. Following months of testing, and the combination of hundreds of different ingredients, Hyundai settled on a mixture of just three…
During dynamic testing the i30N completes laps of the test track – including Cacao Corner – and the project engineers analyse the on-board telemetry in conjunction with the tyre prints left in Cacao Corner. The resulting data is used to tweak the i30N’s handling characteristics to create one of the finest handling hot hatches on sale today.
Thanks to the unique properties of the corner – created by mixing cocoa, butter and milk – parts of Cacao Corner can be removed and refrigerated to create a long-lasting record of previous testing results. These samples are traditionally responsibly disposed of by Hyundai’s engineers during Easter.
Hyundai’s chief materials engineer, Cara Mell, said: “At Hyundai we create almost everything needed to produce our cars, including the steel, the robots, and the ships to transport them. So, it only makes sense that we create our own track-testing surfaces, including the unique butter, milk and cocoa mixture used for Cacao corner. The team of people that develops the mixture is among the most dedicated in the business, but they do tend to go a bit quiet over the Easter period…”
HONDA'S TOPLESS CR-V CONCEPT
Honda kicked off this year’s April Fools’ early with the reveal of a new concept car it describes being “completely undriveable”.
The CR-V roadster concept is essentially a hacked-into CR-V that’s lost its B and C-pillars, and roof. The result is a structurally unsound car, hand crafted by an angle grinder and backed for production by, um, Honda’s PR team.
“This is a bold new direction for the CR-V and opens up an entirely new non-existent market,” said the project’s boss, Eipurirufūru, which translates into April Fool in English. “Our sales target is somewhat conservative to start with, at zero cars, but we are confident that once the minor glitches are ironed out, such as the lack of roof and the fact it is totally structurally unsound, the car will fly out of showrooms.”
ASTON MARTIN'S MONSTER TRUCK PROGRAMME
Aston Martin has delivered shockwaves in the motorsport world, after unveiling its latest competition-crushing monster truck programme - ‘Project Sparta’.
In what was already set to be a landmark year of motorsport for the luxury British marque, its entry into the monster truck world on top of both Aston Martin’s Formula One and FIA World Endurance Championship campaigns adds even more excitement to AM fans.
Project Sparta, which has been engineered in parallel with the brand’s upcoming DBX SUV, is set to wreak havoc in the Monster Jam series from 2019, taking on some of the world’s biggest names including Grave Digger, Big Kahuna, Ice Cream Man and Jailbird. Named after the Ancient Greek province, famous for its battlefield warriors, this monster will take no prisoners.
Project Sparta, says Aston Martin, will use the same 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 designed for the recently unveiled Valkyrie AMR Pro that produces 1100bhp.