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From the Editor…
UP FRONT: Mixed messages, with the return of the normally aspirated flat-six and a 2020 tipping point for all-electric cars
2020 has barely begun and already Porsche has brightened up the winter blues by launching the new 718 Cayman/Boxster GTS with a normally aspirated, 4.0- litre, 400bhp flat-six. Don’t expect to see smaller flat-sixes arriving to replace the flat-four turbos, in the base and S model 718s, but with atmo sixes in the GTS and GT4, at least half of the 718 range now has a full complement of cylinders. So, a serious about face? Well, yes and no. The four-cylinder turbo cars haven’t won many fans, but they are a necessary evil in the new world of range average emissions. Porsche will still sell plenty of them and has calculated that it can bring back the atmo flat-six without falling foul of EU emissions fines. Every turbo 911/Boxster/Cayman and all-electric Taycan sold, or Hybrid Panamera/Cayenne, means a stay of execution for normally aspirated combustion. In short, Porsche is making hay while the sun shines.
The four-cylinder turbos haven’t won many fans, but
are a necessary evil
And talking of electrical devices, a tipping point for all-electric cars is on the horizon, in the the UK at least. The UK Govt has announced, as of April, that there will be no company car tax on electric vehicles in the first year, and then only very modest (compared to combustion engined cars) tax thereafter, year-on-year. That’s a serious incentive for many folk, given the size of the company car/fleet market in the UK (53% of new cars went to fleets in 2019). And if you are a company car driver/small business owner etc, then you will know just how significant those savings are going to be. Thousands of pounds in some cases.
Some companies are offering electric cars only now, with at work charging, too. More electric cars hitting the road – as they surely will – means more pressure on installing a decent charging infrastructure. It means a more rapid trickle down of secondhand electric cars onto the market, too, an important factor for take-up. Interesting times are ahead…