2017 has been a crucial year for the car industry, with a lot of sweeping political statements being made regarding potential bans on petrol and diesel engines within 20 years or so.
However, politicians do not seem to understand that many marginal electricity grids, already struggling to supply growing urban populations, simply cannot take the additional stress of millions of cars being charged up at the same time.
Then there is the inconvenient fact that more fossil fuels will have to be burned to create that extra electricity, simply moving the air pollution problem from A to B. In Germany, Angela Merkel’s move to start decommissioning nuclear power plants after the Fukushima disaster has already put more emphasis on burning coal and oil to produce electricity. How does that aid a reduction in air pollution?
Only Norway, a country with a relatively small population, and ironically a big oil exporter, can truly create a low emissions environment since 90% of its electricity comes from ultra low emissions hydro-electric power.
Politicians and the non-specialist media always seem to conveniently forget that the vast majority of normal working people cannot afford to buy expensive new hybrid or electric cars, the latter currently with limited range. Millions will not buy electric cars because there is no credible re-charging infrastructure, especially for those who live in apartments or have to find street parking in urban areas. Additionally, insurance premiums for electric cars are currently much higher than for conventional ones as the insurance industry is not yet sure of potential repair costs, and so assumes the worst-case scenario.
Making sweeping statements on how the future of the car will look is ivory tower behaviour. How many people still cook with gas because they were not able to heat up their dinner during a power outage? At this point in time, the reality of future power sources for vehicles is not at all clear-cut.
Meanwhile, the latest petrol and diesel engines continue to become cleaner and more efficient, while synthetic fuels that will further lower the emissions of existing engines are ready to go now. How strange that no politician is talking about this immediate palliative alongside their electric hobby horse.
Under the fog created by all this hot air, there were many notable absences from this year’s Frankfurt Show, which is the biggest and most important bi-annual event in the European show calendar.
Porsche had many stars on their stand this year, but with 700hp directed to its rear wheels, the GT2 RS was by far the fastest and most powerful. Looking like a racecar without numbers, its main styling cues are the big front air intakes, air splitter, front wing vents from the GT3 RS, and a huge rear wing.
GT3 Touring Package
There are so many variants in the mainstream 911 range that Porsche’s seminal sportscar has become all things to all men. Now the GT division at Weissach is playing the same game on a smaller scale by offering a Touring Package version of the new GT3, which features a manual transmission and a powered rear wing with 10% more downforce than last year’s 911 R. With the latest engine and a superior chassis, it is easily the better drivers’ car.