Motoring News

When Tesla outsold the Ford Fiesta

THAT distant noise is the sound of Elon Musk shrieking with elation. Britain’s best-selling new car, according to the latest figures, is the Tesla Model 3.

America’s zero emissions 5-Series rival has finally managed to unseat all the usual candidates – Fiesta, Golf, Corsa, and so on – at the sharp end of the new car sales chart, with Tesla shifting more than 2.5 times as many of them as Vauxhall managed to flog Corsas. It’s good news for Jaguar, too, with the iPace – a European Car of the Year winner, don’t forget – managing to notch up second place.

Or rather, it would be good news if it weren’t for the wider context. The latest figures are for April 2020, when car showrooms were ordered by the government to lock their doors in response to the nationwide coronavirus outbreak. Having seen that new car sales dropped 44 per cent in March, a mate who’s in charge of one of the new car websites joined me in reckoning that April’s figures would be nearer an 80-85 per cent drop. Turns out we were both wrong – the official figure, released yesterday, shows that overall new car sales in the UK were down 97.3%.

The fleet market’s a little bit better, admittedly, but it’s the big boys in the new car market that have taken the biggest hits. Year-on-year Ford’s sales in April were down by 98.3 per cent, VW by 98.6 per cent and Vauxhall’s by a mere 95 per cent, which helps explain the bizarre scenario where the UK’s favourite family hatchbacks are clobbered in the new car sales chart by a Tesla. It only took 658 people – presumably, folk keen to outgun Porsches from the traffic lights, thanks to clever electric car trickery – to stick the Model 3 in the UK sales top spot. The Ford Fiesta, on the other hand, has managed to find 15,962 homes since the start of the year, making it a clear victor when it comes to overall sales for 2020 so far.

So, should Uncle Henry worry about some upstart from California de-throning the Fiesta? Not even slightly. The current situation is undoubtedly and unprecedently painful for anyone at the helm of a new car showroom, but if what I’ve been seeing in the world of classic cars – where auctioneers are still managing to sell the same 60-70 per cent of their cars, even when nobody can drive them first and sales are being conducted online – is true, then I reckon the new car market will, eventually bounce back too. All that appetite for new Audis, Nissan Qashqais and so on – it’s not dead. It’s just in the freezer, waiting for Boris to stick it in the microwave when he deems the time is right.

The fact that 658 of you were happy to fork out £43,000 on an all-electric executive saloon in the middle of a lockdown says it all. Britain’s best-selling new car, briefly, is a Tesla. You couldn’t make it up…

Normality returns! Mazda launches a special edition MX-5

EVERYTHING will go back to normal. I know this because just about the most normal thing in motoring has just happened; Mazda has launched a special edition MX-5.

Knowing that Mazda is on the verge of launching a special edition MX-5 is like predicting that your clock is about to tick or that Ant is probably going to pick Dec as his next co-presenter. It happens with such unremitting regularity that it probably isn’t all that special any more. Some, like the Tenth Anniversary back in 1999, are remembered for doing something interesting – like introducing a sixth gear for the car’s UK fans for the first time – and are, in car terms at least, quite collectible these days. Then there’s the BBR Turbo, which gave the MX-5’s earliest iterations a welcome dollop of forced induction, and the Le Mans, which has a magnificently daft paint job modelled – surprise, surprise – on Mazda’s 1991 Le Mans winner but was limited to just 24 examples in the UK. Apologies, George Orwell, but all are manufactured by robots in a Hiroshima factory equal, but some are more equal than others.

Others are just a succession of bright colours and vaguely evocative names.  Berkeley. California. Monaco. Indiana. The list goes on. There’s even, if you dial the levels of automotive anorak-ness up to 11, a website that chronicles each and every special edition  MX-5 – the point being that they’re not particularly special anymore. In the same way that all snowflakes (and I mean the cold ones, not the ones The Daily Express moans about) are individual.

So the MX-5 R Sport, then, probably isn’t all that special, even though it’s limited to just 150 examples across the UK – but I still like it. If I bought one I wouldn’t feel like I’m even remotely within some exclusive club, but I like the gunmetal grey alloy wheels and the way they set off the equally moody Polymetal Grey paint. Even the roof, if you do decide to stop having fun, is grey rather than black, and I think the burgundy leather seats brightening things up on the inside works a treat.

Of course, under the skin it’s still exactly the same as any other fourth-generation MX-5 – so you get the same rev-happy 1.5-litre engine, good for 130bhp, the same addictively snappy six-speed manual box, and scalpel-sharp ride and handling. You wouldn’t particularly want to alter something that already works brilliantly, but if you’re not fussed by having fifty shades of grey on your MX-5, you can save £3000 and get the standard car.

Or do what I’ve done – wait, and buy a secondhand one. I’m just glad that Mazda’s still at it – coronavirus can do all the damage it wants, but as long as there are special edition MX-5s there’s some semblance of normality.

CARL – the creepy-sounding future for electric cars

CARL is here to see you. He’s a slightly creepy-sounding robot, and he’s popped round to charge your car up.

Don’t worry, Champion readers, this isn’t a terrible pitch for a really bad episode of Black Mirror in which the protagonist develops an unhealthy relationship with an artificial form of intelligence. Nope, if anything it’s slightly more surreal. A Chinese company that’s hoping to crack the UK market has developed patents for an autonomous device that tracks your car down and then charges it up, so you don’t have to.

In the meantime it’s developed a line-up of all-electric off-roaders, the first of which, the U5, is available to order this month. It’s also following some of its compatriots, notably Lynck & Co, by refusing to have anything so resolutely old hat as dealerships. To buy one you have to do it all through your smartphone. They’ve also got a BMW X4-esque coupé crossover on the way; the jury’s out on whether it’ll be any good to drive, but it certainly looks the part.

So where does CARL – and that really is the robot’s name – step in? Well, the idea is that you fire up the Aiways app on your smartphone when your U5 is running low on juice, and he’ll find it, wherever it’s parked, and ‘fill’ it up with electricity. CARL uses GPS to find your pride and joy and can charge up the batteries to 80 per cent charge in 50 minutes. CARL might have a stupid name – apologies if you’re reading this and you’re called Carl, but any name sounds crass if you write it in ALL CAPS and apply it to a robot. He also looks like a cross between a food blender and a prop from a 1980s episode of Doctor Who, but he’s succeeded. He’s made me want to buy an Aiways U5.

I’d happily snap up a U5, just so I can leave it parked on Rannoch Moor on a bleak Sunday night. Perhaps I might indulge in a spot of creative parking at the top of the Honister Pass. If I’m feeling reallycruel, I might book a cross-Channel ferry, drive on, wait ‘til it’s halfway to Calais and then decide that my Aiways needs topping up. Forget charging in the busier bits of Britain – our charging infrastructure’s a lot better than it was a decade ago, and I’m fairly confident most of us could find a charger ourselves.

CARL, on the other hand, only really makes sense in the few areas where you can’t do that. He’s like Liam Neeson in Taken. He has a very particular set of skills. He will find you. And he will charge your car up.

Bring it on, Mr Creepy-Sounding Robot. But if you can’t charge my car up at the side of a single-track road in Snowdonia when it’s lashing it down, I want my money back.

The cool way to outrun a Lotus Carlton

NOT long ago – well, before the nation’s descent into binge-watching Netflix boxsets anyway – I clocked myself doing 177mph through the suburbs of Kent.

What’s more, I had absolutely zero control of the vehicle, and yes, your honour, it was completely legal. In fact, I even cracked open a can of Diet Coke and tucked into a bag of crisps, happy that in about two hours’ time I’d be milling around in Brussels on my way to a car show.

The point I’m making is that there are loads of ways of going really, really fast without going to too much effort, and without troubling the poor chaps whose job it is to drive up and down our motorways in a borrowed BMW X5. You are, for instance, doing 1000mph right now without even thinking about it, because that’s roughly, depending on where you are, the speed that the Earth rotates. Not feeling it? Not to worry; just dig out your old PS3, stick Gran Turismo 5 in and notch up three-figure speeds to your heart’s content. You could even, seeing as you’re not supposed to leave the house anyway, go onto YouTube and stick on Claude Lelouch’s superb 1976 short film C’était un rendez-vous, which stars a Ferrari 275 GTB being pressed into action around some deserted Parisian thoroughfares. If you’re a petrolhead and you haven’t seen it, you need to. Trust me!

But what you definitely don’t need to do is to trek out to the M58, take advantage of the fact there’s barely anyone on it, and then press your right foot all the way down, which a worrying amount of people seem to have been doing on the nation’s motorways lately. Over the Bank Holiday weekend a chap was stopped for tootling up the M1 at 151mph – there’s some debate over what the car was, with the consensus being that it was a tweaked BMW M140i, but the key thing is that number. I’ll say it slowly – one hundred and fifty one miles per hour. That’s quicker than any high speed train in the UK, with the exception of the Channel Tunnel one that I took the other week. It’s faster than the top speed of an E-type Jag, beyond what all but the fastest of today’s hot hatches can crack, and only 4mph of what most of today’s supersaloons are electronically limited to. Oh, and more than twice the UK’s legal speed limit.

The last thing I want to do is come across as some Daily Mail-reading killjoy, but I’d much, much rather spend my lockdown saving up to go on a proper trackday. In fact, I’d go even further; a couple of years ago I took my MX-5 to the Nürburgring in Germany, where I spent a morning racking up three-figure speeds down the long straights and getting in the way of people with 911 GT3s. That’s much more fun than driving in a straight line, very fast, down a boring bit of grey motorway and winding the police up. Surely if you can afford an M140i, you can afford a weekend away in Germany once this is all over?

That or just hop on the Eurostar to Brussels. Quicker than a Lotus Carlton, and you munch on a bag of crisps while you’re at it!

The Hyundai that looks like a Lamborghini

IT’S a mighty good thing that my bedroom wall has lots of sensible, framed pictures on it. Otherwise – and I know I’d get the mickey ripped right out of me for this one – I’d have to admit to Blu-tacking a brand-new Hyundai onto it.

Bedroom walls, if you’re about nine, are hugely important galleries, curating all that’s great and good in the car world – and they have a genuine impact on the real world too, because a generation of kids who had the Ferrari Testarossa and Porsche 911 Turbo on theirs are now all grown up, and pushing the prices up for these 1980s performance heroes. I remember a time, not that long ago, when the Testarossa was regarded as Maranello’s dodgier efforts, and you could get one for under £40,000. Not any more.

Mine, growing up in the Nineties, had the Ferrari F355 and the TVR Cerbera. I’ll even own up to sticking the, erm, Ford Puma on it, but it never, ever had a Hyundai on it, not even the original Coupé from 1995, which is far better-looking than most petrolheads will readily admit.

But if I were a nine-year-old in 2020, there’s a sporting chance that the new Prophecy might make it into the hallowed territory of today’s bedroom wall, alongside the Ferrari F8 Tributo and the McLaren Speedtail. It’s a four-door saloon that runs on electricity, but since when does Hyundai come up with a car that looks like a Lamborghini at the business end, a Mercedes CLS 55 AMG in the middle, and has a rump that looks curiously like that of a 911 Carrera RSR? The Korean carmaker says that it’s designed to make you think of cars from the 1930s, but I don’t think they’re fooling anyone – they’re clearly taking on Tesla, and nicking a few bits from old supercars while they’re at it.

The front end, at least, is fairly easy to explain; the new Prophecy has been penned by the same bloke who did the Lamborghini Murcielago, and it shows. It’s even braver on the inside too, where Hyundai’s decided that a steering wheel is far too old-hat and fitted a joystick instead,and trimmed the seats with tartan cloth that looks like it’s been nicked straight out an early Lotus Esprit.

You probably won’t have even needed to read this far to work out that this isn’t going to replace the i30 Fastback any time soon; it’s a concept car, a one-off flight of fancy that, with no Geneva Motorshow to head to anymore, has only just been unveiled properly. The chances of it going into production are about as likely as Sir Alan Sugar being named as the next James Bond, but it’s relevant because some of its more out-there looks might make it onto Hyundai dealer forecourts in a couple of years’ time.

Oh, and it because it reminds nine-year-olds that you have to be Ferrari or Bugatti to make a car that looks really cool. Well, I’d have it on my bedroom wall, anyway…

How carmakers are helping to beat coronavirus

QUICK game of word association, to keep you occupied while you’re at home. MG – what does it make you think of?

Chances are it’s the ‘B that clogs up your grey matter first – it is, after all, the best-selling sports car Britain ever made and a firm fixture of every motoring show from Ormskirk to the Outer Hebrides. Britt Ekland drove one for about three seconds in The Man With The Golden Gun. And then there were those fantastically tongue-in-cheek ads. The ones that boasted that your mother wouldn’t like it.

Perhaps, if you grew up when Laura Branigan’s Gloria was a nightclub staple, MG means hotted-up Metros and Maestro Turbos. Then again, it could be dancing around on wet country lanes in a TD Midget, popping the roof down in an MGF or – if you’re really, really young – it could mean a company flogging electric Quashqai rivals dreamt up in China.

But it probably doesn’t mean trucks.

That’s exactly what, you might be surprised to learn, the sports car gurus from Abingdon specialised in for much of the Second World War. They made bits for Lancaster bombers, too. They weren’t the only ones; Rover worked on jet engines, Vauxhall swapped cars for tanks and Nuffield – owners of Morris – made Spitfire fighter planes in the very factory that Jaguar Land Rover uses to this day. The might of the car industry flexing its muscles for a common cause.

So in these topsy-turvy times, when going to car shows is a no-no and you’ve watched your eighteenth Top Gear rerun of the week, I’m genuinely delighted to see the great and good of the car world turning their efforts to giving coronavirus the finger. They might not be making many cars right now, so they’re busy beating the virus instead.

McLaren, for instance, is using its F1 knowhow to come up with medical ventilators. Ford is using its facilities – and, I gather, bits from its F-150 pick-up truck – to rustle up tech that can help stem the outbreak in America. Vauxhall, Honda and Toyota are all stepping in, too, and Rolls-Royce is ramping up its efforts to help. It is genuinely inspiring – and unprecedented in modern times – that manufacturing giants who would normally be fierce rivals on four wheels have teamed up to help save lives.

I certainly hope none of you have to deal directly with this nasty, invisible enemy that doesn’t care whether you’re the Queen or someone who listens to Queen, but if you do it’s nice to think that it might be a McLaren that’s deployed to help. I’ll have mine with extra carbon fibre, please.

Gordon Murray’s MOTIV – a brilliantly engineered answer to a question I’m still not sure about

YOU sit up and notice when the man behind the McLaren F1 and Mercedes SLR rustles up a new set of wheels. Especially when all the ingredients – on the face of it, at least – sound indisputably spot on to a set of a petrolhead ears.

Gordon Murray’s latest creation weighs in at less than 450kg, making it lighter than a Caterham Seven R500 or an Ariel Atom. You clamber into it after opening an SLR-esque ‘gullwing’ door that opens upwards, and there’s just one, centrally-mounted seat, BAC Mono-style. The body panels are composite, and underneath the structure’s ultra-lightweight, high strength extruded aluminium. It has everything going for it to be a brilliant new supercar – but the MOTIV emphatically isn’t one.

In fact, it’s a beautifully engineered answer to a question I’m still scratching my head over.

The MOTIV, officially launched later this week at a show in London, might look like one of those automated pod things that darts around the car park at Heathrow Terminal Five but it in fact is Gordon’s solution for city slickers who are currently clogging up Liverpool and Manchester with Fiestas and Astras that have only ever seem to have one person on board at any time. It’s fully autonomous, can crack 40mph on a cruise and can recharge its 20kw electric motor to 80 per cent of its capacity in just 40 minutes. It’s also narrower than a Smart Fortwo – but if you send it off on its own on cargo delivery duties, it’s got as much luggage space as an Audi A3 with the back seats folded down. All while meeting car safety standards that – because it’s officially a quadricycle, on account of weighing about as much as a helium-filled supermodel – it doesn’t legally have to.

I don’t even mind the fact that it’s deliberately been designed to look “non-threatening” (their words, not mine), because it’s got weird echoes of 1950s bubble cars, which did exactly the same job but with tiny, two-stroke engines instead.

Nope, the only thing I’m still trying to get my head around is how it’s been designed so explicitly with big cities in mind. I can count the times I’ve driven in Central London on the digits of a single hand because there’s no reason why you’d want to; you can go absolutely everywhere on buses and the Tube. Equally, there are very few places in Liverpool that I can’t get to without using a Merseyrail train or the bus. So, I’m not sure why I’d hop into a MOTIV instead.

The Catch 22 is that in order to benefit from the MOTIV you’ll either be somewhere where a train/bus/tram already does the job or you’ll need to park up somewhere in a much bigger car, even if it is a Boris-friendly all-electric one, and switch vehicles. As for anywhere else, would you want to tackle the trip in something with no room for your mates and runs out of puff at forty? Exactly.

It’s all the finest, freshest ingredients, cooked to perfection by Marco Pierre White and served in an exquisite, candle-lit, five star restaurant – it’d just be nice if you could remember what you’d ordered.

The biggest rival for the new Jaguar F-Type? The old Jaguar F-Type

SANTA’S sleigh is going to need to be pretty hefty this year – because I suspect a fair few of you are going to be asking for the new Jaguar F-Type this Christmas.

Forget the logistics of getting this neatly facelifted sports car all the way from Castle Bromwich to the North Pole and then back to your place. Put aside, for a moment, the question of how this range-topping Jaguar can possibly be squeezed down a chimney, and even if it could, what sort of an insurance payout the subsequent plummet towards your living room would prompt. Nope, just think about, despite the months of faffing with its already delicate lines, and Jaguar’s decision to quietly drop the V6 from the range, how the F-Type is still one of the best-looking new cars on sale today.

Initially, I thought the squinting headlight treatment, nabbed straight from the i-Pace electric car, didn’t really work – it almost looks as though it should have a set of Ferrari-esque pop-up headlights neatly sculpted into the bonnet too, but this isn’t the 1990s anymore. Nor do I think the copious use of ‘JAGUAR – EST 1935’ logos dotted around the interior do it any favours, but the rest of it looks absolutely spot on. Beautifully proportioned and, if Jaguar’s promo video of a V8 F-Type being pushed hard around some Alpine roads is anything to go by, it still sounds just as spine-tingling as the outgoing car, too.

But if a friend or relative really is going to stick you down for an order just in time for Christmas, they’re going to have to be pretty generous. Prices for the new F-Type start at £54,060, and that’s for one of the two-litre, four-cylinder versions, rather than the full fat V8 models. A considerable amount when you remember that you can get a Porsche 718 Cayman S and the Mercedes-AMG SLC43, two-seater sports cars which are much more powerful than the F-Type, for less.

So which would I go for? None of them, actually, because I reckon the new Jaguar F-Type has some tough home-grown competition for less than half the price. The toughest competition for the new F-Type, I reckon…is the old F-Type. Especially because, having just been made to look positively outdated, I think now’s absolutely the right time to making brave offers for the rakish original.

The other day I had a look at the classified ads and found a V6-engined model for £21k – so that’s an F-Type for less than the price of an entry-level Mondeo. In other words, you get a (slightly) better looking Jaguar with more power (335bhp vs 300bhp). Admittedly, the one I found had 110,000 miles on the clock, and won’t have a warranty – but the £33,000 saving will pay for a lot of repairs! It’s the same story with Porsche Caymans, BMW M3s, Mercedes SLKs and Audi TTs too – because the sort of people who insist on keeping up with the Joneses want the latest one to show off in, the savings on the old ones make them stomping value.

The older, prettier F-Type and more than £30k in your back pocket, or the wow factor of the new one? For me, it’s a no-brainer.

The Roma is that rare thing – a truly beautiful Ferrari

I DON’T know if the chaps at Ferrari Styling Centre are allowed to have the radio on at work – but I suspect if they do, it’s probably permanently tuned into Planet Rock.

Every offering in Maranello’s current range is full of the sort of shouty styling that you’d expect from someone exposed to Guns ‘N’ Roses, Led Zeppelin and Foo Fighters eight hours a day – oh, and perhaps the occasional bit of Pink Floyd on lunch breaks. The F8 Tributo is a truly jaw-dropping supercar, but it is very, very loud and in-yer-face. Which, I suppose, is exactly what you’d want a mid-engined Ferrari to be.

But imagine if, just for one day, someone snuck in, switched the frequency to Smooth FM instead and then glued the tuning knob firmly into position. The resulting car would still have that gem of a turbocharged V8, of course, but the bodywork would be penned by people who’d been listening to Bryan Ferry, the Carpenters and Fleetwood Mac instead. That’d be lovely, right?

Well, that’s what I’d like to imagine happened in the run-up to the new Roma, which is everything the equally new F8 Tributo and SP90 Stradale aren’t.

Obviously, Ferrari has come up with its own, rather waffle-ish explanation for the understated looks – they are, and I quote Maranello’s own press release, “a contemporary reinterpretation of the carefree lifestyle of 1950s and ‘60s Rome, from which the car takes its evocative name”. Ahem. It then goes on to explain, for people who speak petrolhead rather than marketing, that it’s taken inspiration from the 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso and 250 GT 2+2 of the early Sixties. In other words, Ferrari’s looked at some of its older stuff, realised it’s much prettier than what it’s offering at the moment, and decided it’d like to bring some of the old magic back.

Good. I know I described the F8 as “proper bedroom wall stuff” in The Champion about six months ago – but I’m in my thirties and don’t blu-tack posters of supercars on my bedroom wall anymore (and I’m not entirely sure what my wife would say if I did). Nope, the Roma reminds me instead of the last new Ferrari I truly lusted after – the utterly wonderful, and equally understated 456 GT. No ground-snorting nose, no massive vents and absolutely no look-at-me rear spoilers – just lovely, beautifully proportioned curves cloaking an enormous engine, a leather-lined cabin and a steering wheel with a Prancing Horse badge on it.

Obviously, it’s worth mentioning that the Roma has a 611bhp version of the V8 that’s won the Engine of the Year award three times on the trot. You might be interested, too, in that its eight-speed double clutch gearbox is six kg lighter than the seven-speed one in the old Ferrari California, and that it has a dynamic control system that controls yaw angle by hydraulically adjusting brake pressure at the callipers.

Or – if you’re like me – you could just leave all the stats to children who want to win at Top Trumps by having the F8 Tributo in the pack. Just appreciate that Ferrari have finally come up with something that reminds you of the Daytona and the 456 GT – a front-engined GT that looks gorgeous and goes like stink.

From now on, Planet Rock is banned at Ferrari Styling Centre. I’m sure the chaps will learn to love Smooth FM…

Electric isn’t the threat to classic cars – autonomous vehicles are

I MIGHT have to take an extended retreat on a mountain-top monastery and try and meditate my way out of having what – to a dyed-in-the-wool petrolhead – are clearly unholy thoughts. For a split second the other night, I thought buying an electric car might actually be a good idea.

They have, from the various ones I’ve tried, come a long way in barely a decade. If I was being sensible I might be tempted by a BMW i3, but if I wasn’t it’d be an emphatic yes to Renault’s Twizy. What’s more, either would make perfect sense on my current commute; a 20-mile drive to and from an office which, helpfully, already has charging points on site.

That’s the way the nation’s moving; for all those longer drives I do to North Wales and the remoter bits of Yorkshire I’m still very much an advocate of internal combustion, but for an increasingly large swathe of the population it’s getting ever easier to go all-electric, especially with unleaded nudging £1.30 a litre.

But that’s not the worry I had for a classic owner who wrote to me the other day, pondering what implications Britain’s lunge towards zero emissions motoring had for his Jaguar Mk2. For me, it’s autonomous vehicles, not electric ones, that pose the biggest challenge.

Again, these are getting better every year, but until you remove humans and their awkward habit of making irrational, last-minute decisions out of the equation, you’re still going to get crashes. Logically, the only way to do that is to have autonomous-only roads – a sort of Docklands Light Railway for cars, if you like – where cars that don’t have that driver-free capability can no longer roam.

There are no plans from the Department for Transport to do this, but it’s already looking at technology that’s pointing in that direction, the most obvious being smart motorways that beam traffic information straight onto digital displays on car dashboards. The EU’s already mandated that new cars from 2022 onwards will have speed-limiting tech pre-installed. Even in an all-electric world it isn’t hard to imagine a scenario where people with classic cars would still be able to get petrol from somewhere, but I dread the day when they’re confronted with roads they’re no longer allowed to use.

What’s more – and I know this is a hugely indulgent, selfish thing to admit in our bid to become a cleaner, greener, safer Britain ­– I like driving. Not thrashing a car to within an inch of its life, but taking a great car, learning all of its little facets and characteristics, and exploring our wonderful country with it. Seeing quaint buildings in villages you didn’t know about. Stopping off at canal-side pubs on summer evenings just for the hell of it. And yes, pondering whether the Jaguar Mk2 is better in 3.4-litre form is actually somehow more satisfying and better balanced than the 3.8-litre one, even though prices still suggest everyone’s after the latter.

These are the sort of things you just can’t do if you pre-program your destination into an autonomously-guided electric pod – no matter how good an idea they might briefly seem. Think carefully, chaps in Whitehall…