Pinch punch, first of the month… yes it’s April Fool’s Day. And never let it be said the motor industry doesn’t try its hardest to fool us.
1 Land Rover electric charging point
Surely there’s nothing unusual about another charging point these days. Well, there is if it’s in the middle of nowhere on the Isle of Skye. The company says it is the UK’s most remote charging point, 15 miles from the nearest road across steep traverses and muddy plains, so you need a Land or Range Rover to get to it. The rapid charger can top up the batteries in the firm’s P400e models in 2 hours 45 minutes. Max Watts, Jaguar Land Rover Head of Vehicle Charging, told us: “We have ohm-mitted nothing in our quest to ensure that eco-minded Land Rover owners are able to adventure in zero emissions comfort.” Land Rover says they are not expecting much of a queue…yet. But from 2020 all new Jaguar Land Rover vehicles will offer the option of electrification. And that’s not a joke.
They say: “ideally situated for Range Rover Sport P400e drivers who might need a mid-adventure top-up charge”.
Never get ripped off with a dog of a car again… instead use a dog to find the pawfect (sorry) model. That’s the thinking behind this clever canine initiative from car shopping website CarGurus. They have trained a six-year-old cocker spaniel called Bobo to sniff out the best used-car deals. The forecourt mutt, which signifies the car to buy by barking at it, needed six months of training to learn all CarGurus used-car algorithms and market valuations. Buyers can borrow the dog when going car-shopping, says Anna Milexpert, head of at CarGurus K9 research, in return for giving it some dog treats.
They say: Bobo has proved to be the perfect sniffer dog.
We say: A car’s best friend or just barking mad?
3 Castle Combe to host F1 Grand Prix
While Brexit rumbles on, the Wiltshire home of Castle Combe circuit has taken a leaf out of Monaco’s book and declared itself a sovereign state. Henceforth it is known as the Kingdom of Castle Combe Circuit and is in the running to host its first grand prix at the 1.85-mile venue as early as 2020. “Forming our own country is certain to take Castle Combe Circuit to the next level,” said Tom Davis, Prince of Castle Combe Circuit. The shock news comes just 12 months after a plan was revealed to move the circuit piece by piece to the Orkneys.
They say: We are also going to ban all vehicles from the venue that didn’t originate from a British manufacturer.
We say: Hamilton, Vettel and Ricciardo side by side through Quarry Corner? Hang on, that could be rather good…
4 MG paints the town red
MG is offering buyers of its MG3 model the chance to show their true colours with a cheerful new take on automotive personalisation: the world’s first road-colouring tyres. You can have the tyres, which are impregnated with water soluble dye, in any colour you like. They literally paint the road as you drive along, bringing the brand’s Colour the Road marketing slogan to life. Daniel Gregorious, head of MG marketing, said: “They say a picture paints a thousand words, but what about an entire road?”
They say: Innovative tyres are guaranteed to beat those driving blues.
We say: Another case of MG chasing rainbows…
5 Škoda’s ProjectaPal puddle lights
Škoda has been the punchline of jokes for years but recently has been taking its humorous side seriously. Last year there was the Škoda rent-a-family (provided at no charge but must be returned at the end of the test drive), and the year before that the famous Škoda dog umbrella. Now we have puddle lights on the Karoq SUV that can be configured via a smartphone to display images or messages on the road surface when the doors are opened. Called ProjectaPal, Škoda says LED lights can show messages as reminders for forgetful owners, or show a favourite pet. Škoda’s head of infotainment Dr Ivor Tüchskreen said: “Every week, I forget to put my bins out for recycling. Before ProjectaPal, I would tape a note on the interior door handle but it would fall off. That’s when we started designing ProjectaPal.”
They say: Škoda comes to the rescue of forgetful drivers.
We say: Most useful message: please close door before driving off…
6 BMW Lunar Paint
We all know solar cells charge up batteries from sunlight, but what if there could be lunar cells that take a charge from the moon? Enter BMW and its i electric-car boffins who have come up with Lunar Paint, designed to recharge a car’s batteries when the sun goes down. The paint is embedded with photovoltaic technology.
They say: An out of this world innovation engineered to push the limits of electric driving.
We say: But isn’t the moon made of cheese?
7 Fiat Inbetweeners Hawaii Edition
Yes, it’s back, the famous Hawaii Edition Fiat. Ten years ago, Simon, one of the group of sixth formers in the hit TV show The Inbetweeners, passed his driving test and his parents thoughtlessly bought him a Fiat Cinquecento Hawaii Edition: M-reg, bright yellow with one battered red door. The most derided car ever was born and TV history made. And now Fiat is bringing it back, correct in every detail (apart from the fact that it’s a Panda rather than a Cinquecento) and complete with cassette player and free insurance for teenagers.
They say: We expect it to sell-out today.
We say: Thorpe Park here we come!
8 Toyota PieAce taxi
And finally, from the other side of the world, comes a Toyota HiAce people mover with a difference: it’s a convertible. With three rows of seats and a drop-down tailgate (incorporating the optional pie oven, hence the name, in case you were wondering), the fresh-air taxi offers a novel way for folk down under to enjoy the sun on their way home, and to have a snack while doing it. “To serve a new generation of Australian workers on the road, we’ve taken our iconic transit van to a new level,” says Toyota Australia. Unfortunately, the PieAce is for its domestic market only.