Channel 4, 7pmMonday 16 February. ‘Dispatches’. This weeks documentary is about unscrupulous private parking companies. Under cover reporter secretly films the tricks used by wardens to maximise their ticket numbers – and the huge bonuses they could earn. Some of the practices employed by these companies are immoral. some could be plain illegal.
Thirty years ago my hobby was tuning the lightweight Coventry Climax derived engine fitted to the Singer Chamois. By fitting long inlet tracts in the induction, huge valves, a full race cam shaft and sports exhaust it was possible to make this engine produce enormous power with great efficiency an high revs. 100mph in top gear at 7,000 rpm was its natural gait. It could cruise all day on part throttle at this speed. It was, however not optimised for driving at lower revs. If you were not in a hurry then the shortcomings of an engine with had such a narrow power band became obvious.
A little car like this could be tuned to cruise at 100mph
The amazing thing about this car was the low fuel consumption at these speeds. A by-product of high efficiency is low heat wastage. Consequently the engine ran cool at speed and was largely reliable, I use the term ‘largely’ advisedly here. Sub systems were not designed for such speeds and I had to put on a large alloy driven pulley to slow down the cooling fan, water pump and dynamo.
My point? engines can be hugely efficient if they are not compromised by the tedious design limitations of performing adequately at various loadings and speeds. The obvious solution – a pure hybrid with only electric motors driving the wheels and a small diesel generator acting as a range extender.
Diesel cars have received a great deal of bad press these last few days. Some reports say that some countries are banning them from city centre but fail to mention that this only applies to older vehicles. Euro 6 vehicles are not excluded. Little mention is made of the higher carbon dioxide emissions of petrol vehicles.
The power wasted in the combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine depends mainly on the compression ratio. Petrol engines simply cannot function at very high compression ratios.
Euro 6 diesel engines are costly to manufacture due to the complexity of making the engine comply with the limits at various engine loadings and speeds.
Clearly a diesel electric hybrid car could tick all the boxes. Now if this drive train could be put in my Octavia …….
One of the best programs produced by ITV. I will fit a camera on my windscreen. I may be another victim of cash for crash one day. For a review see –