This year’s April Fool’s Day was less eventful than usual given that it also fell on the exceptionally quiet news day that is Easter Sunday, but the car companies were nonetheless out in full force with wacky spoof news releases and videos.
Honda's 'Sixth Sense'
Inspired by Honda Sensing (which are basically all the usual driver assist gadgets just with a Honda label), Honda's Sixth Sense is described as a major breakthrough in active safety technology that also helps save people's skin after they've stepped out of the vehicle.
The sad thing is that with today's generation of screen-mesmerized walking zombies, there is actually a genuine need for such a thing!
Porsche's Mission E Tractor
If your track day friends always mock you for "going farming" they might just be unintentionally hinting at an application that's more suited to your sub-optimal driving skills. But now, thanks to Porsche, you really can "go farming" without sacrificing too many of the petrol-head perks.
Plugging into the future of all-electric agriculture, Porsche proudly announces the Mission E Tractor. Combining the best of Porsche’s tradition and innovation, this 515kW plug-in workhorse will be the fastest accelerating, quietest and cleanest tractor in the world.
Lexus Genetic Select
Introducing Genetic Select by Lexus. The world's first service that uses human genetics to match you with the car of your genes. Through an exclusive partnership, 23andMe's breakthrough science will analyse each of your 23 pairs of chromosomes to fully unlock your DNA profile and use it to create the Lexus that's perfectly suited to you.
Just be sure to give that steering wheel a decent scrub if you're buying pre-owned.
Tesla goes bankrupt
Assuming of course that Musk's Twitter account wasn't in fact hacked by an enhanced and electronically mutated version of himself that had beamed in from the future, this was officially Tesla's April Fool's prank.
Aston Martin Project Sparta
Aston Martin unveiled radical plans for monster truck challenger codenamed “Project Sparta”.
In what was already set to be a landmark motorsport year for the luxury British marque, its entry into the monster truck world will add even more excitement for fans worldwide, on top of both Aston’s F1 and WEC campaigns.
Engineered in parallel with the brand’s upcoming DBX SUV, Project Sparta 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.
The vehicle will utilise the same 810kW 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 designed for the recently unveiled Valkyrie AMR Pro.
Under the customer’s request, three times Le Mans winner and Aston Martin Racing Works driver Darren Turner will compete in all Monster Jam events in 2019.
Turner said, “Winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans was a real thrill last year, but when I heard about this opportunity I just couldn’t say no. I hope the guys line up a great selection of cars for me to tear apart, because I’m sure this monster truck will really do the business”.
Skoda's noise-cancelling headrests
Never has there been a parent that didn't secretly (or not so secretly) wish for something like this.
Now, thanks to the the introduction of an innovative noise-cancelling front seat headrest, parents can enjoy their journeys and concentrate on driving.
Skoda's new QuarrelKancel™ technology features in-built speakers that can be deployed by the driver within seconds of a rear seat fracas breaking out. The system can also work in ‘automatic’ mode, and can ‘listen’ for the first signs of an argument.
The system was conceived by Skoda’s Chief of Family Relations, Professor Si Lence and Special Projects leader, Dr April Fürst. “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 1000 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.
Hyundai i30N's sweet secret
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…
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…”
Getting stuck without parts is so last April
A worn valve cap in the middle of the Icelandic ice desert, a gear lever broken off in the depths of the Brazilian jungle or a split oil sump in the hamada: this kind of problem often leads to a lengthy interruption, if not the end, of a motorcycle tour or a long-distance trip on two wheels.
For BMW riders, such inconveniences will be a thing of past. Beginning in September, BMW Motorrad will be offering BMW Motorrad iParts as an optional equipment item. It is a 3D printing system that will allow BMW Motorrad dealers and customers to print out spare parts, as needed, to enable riders to continue their journey as quickly as possible.
This system, which includes an integrated processing centre, allows the manufacture and subsequent machining of large and complex parts such as bevel gears, crown gears and engine housings. Now even very rarely required parts not generally stocked by BMW Motorrad sales partners can be supplied on a just-in-time basis.
Smaller parts such as handbrake, clutch or gear levers, valve caps, fork bridges and turn indicator glasses can even be printed out by BMW Motorrad customers themselves using the BMW Motorrad iParts 3D Mobile Printer. This can be done not just at home but even when out and about, since the handy high-tech device can be conveniently stowed in a top case or side case.
The design data and material specifications required for printing purposes are supplied from the BMW iCloud, whether at the customer's home or during travel: the data is downloaded directly onto the 3D printing systems via mobile phone, tablet or PC.
A functioning internet connection is, of course, required for successful download. Anyone traveling on their motorcycle to particularly remote areas of the planet where an internet connection is not always available can make use of the optional equipment item BMW Motorrad iParts Explorer. This enables a selection of potentially required spare parts data to be saved directly on the smartphone before setting off on the journey.
In addition to creating parts from metals such as aluminum, steel and titanium, the BMW Motorrad iParts 3D printers also allow fast production of plastic parts. This means that a turn signal lens that is broken during a fall, for instance, can quickly be replaced with a print-out version. It is even possible to replace a cracked rear mirror using the BMW iParts 3D printers.
BMW Motorrad has carried out extensive functional and strength tests on all the parts approved for 3D printing – initially in the lab and later in the field.
Penny pinching Seat
Seat's new Arona Copper Edition is being billed as the first car ever that truly costs pence to run.
Featuring a coin slot in the dashboard which activates the engine, the Copper Edition is a direct response to the UK Treasury’s push to scrap copper coins from circulation, and means drivers can jump in a sporty crossover with just a handful of change.
If the small coins are scrapped, Britain could find itself with over 15 billion redundant 1p and 2p pieces, but rather than see them melted down Seat has found a way to keep these soon-to-be historical artefacts motoring on for years to come.
Statistics show that the average person has £12.70 in loose change, and Seat is confident that even the keenest penny pinchers will fall for the Arona’s charms.
Rhea Sonible-Price, product manager at Seat UK commented: “Research shows that some of our customers are understandably brassed off that copper coins could disappear forever, but here at SEAT we’re convinced there’s a new lease of life to be had for these little bits of history as part of the workings of a cutting-edge, modern car.
“Arona already boasts highly competitive running costs, but pound-for-pound there’s little to touch this latest edition of our fabulous crossover in terms of style, value and economy. Although coin-driven, there’s no compromise on power, security or the Arona’s impressive driving ability. There really isn’t a better way to spend a penny when it comes to buying a new car.”