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This Week In Cars – 2nd-8th February 2013

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It’s February, historically one of the most boring months of the year, but not in the world of automobiles. There’s always something to talk about, and luckily there have been some great stories on the web this week. Welcome to This Week In Cars, where we bring you the best few pieces of car writing, photography and a video or two from the last week.

The CarThrottle.com guys love their Mazda MX-5

If you haven’t been on CarThrottle.com, you’re missing out. Lively conversation, great features and a great sense of humour. It’s that sense of humour which comes across in this awesome parody of One Direction’s hit song. The difference being, it’s not a girl they’re singing about, it’s their beloved Mazda MX-5! Cue boyband pouting, running into the sea in slo-mo and genuinely awesome entertainment value. When asked how they come up with this kinda stuff by on Twitter (follow them here), their response was as follows…

“We’re all a little mentally disturbed. So this sort of stuff comes easily”

Well played, guys. Looking forward to more of this!

A Dead End for Electric Cars? – on Reuters. Read it Here

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We all know that things need to change to move forwards. We can’t continue using petrol engines forever and electric cars seem to be the obvious next step, right? Well, no. Not according to this great article by Reuters, which details the efforts made so far and why they might be futile…

Despite the promise of “green” transportation – and despite billions of dollars in investment, most recently by Nissan Motor Co – EVs continue to be plagued by many of the problems that eventually scuttled electrics in the 1910s and more recently in the 1990s. Those include high cost, short driving range and lack of charging stations.

Nissan in particular have been struggling to meet their targets, slapping big discounts onto their Leaf EV supermini to shift the vehicles. Toyota, on the other hand have seen great success with their Prius line, which was launched in 1997 and has become one of the most successful “green cars” to come to market. They believe that eventually development will be less focused on EVs and more on alternative, more advanced fuel cells…

Vice Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada, the “father of the Prius” who helped put hybrids on the map, said he believes fuel-cell vehicles hold far more promise than battery electric cars.

“Because of its shortcomings – driving range, cost and recharging time – the electric vehicle is not a viable replacement for most conventional cars,” said Uchiyamada. “We need something entirely new.”

How To Survive A Run In The Indy 500 – On Jalopnik. Read it Here

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Oh man, I really need to stop mentioning Jalopnik, but to be honest, they’re the best car site out there and consistently supply the best writing about cars, car culture and everything that goes along with such topics. Alex Lloyd is a race driver originally from the UK and now based in Indianapolis, and in this stunningly interesting piece, describes what it’s like behnd the wheel of an Indycar in the world-renowned Indy 500…

A savage-like demeanor may actually be a hindrance in a race like the 500, as patience is imperative. On a road course, you can allow a little more viciousness to seep into your veins, but this is not a road course. This is Indianapolis, one of the most challenging and dangerous racetracks in the world.

Lloyd speaks from experience, and it shows. The feel of the road, the turbulence, the 5 million things you have to remember to do, the car in front of you, the car behind you… All whilst being instructed by your team engineers directly into your ear to keep trying to save fuel. Get that MPG up a little more…

… Strategy becomes the focus. Primarily, saving fuel. Saving fuel is tough because you mustn’t lose pace with the guys in front. Lapping in sixth gear instead of fifth will save a valuable fraction of an MPG (average MPG per lap is around 3.00), as will lifting early towards the end of the straights. Of course, when doing this, you are opening yourself up to an attack from behind, but the engineers will be screaming at you to continue saving fuel.

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