The 17th season of Top Gear Season is about to start. One of the cars we can expect upcoming season is the McLaren MP4-12C which has fueled rumors about setting a new track record.

Now a video has appeared which offers us a small preview of upcoming season. One item features an electric car challenge with James and Jeremy. Not very surprising, Jeremy’s Nissan Leaf ends up out of power.

James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson were spotted in the Italian town of Lucca last week. The three were accompanied by three small but hot cars; the Citroen DS3 Racing, Fiat 500C Abarth and Renault Clio RS. In the video the guys can be seen driving these cars around the Monaco F1 track together with Bernie Ecclestone, Flavio Briatore and Christian Horner.

But what happens more can been seen on Sunday the 12th of June on BB2!

41 COMMENTS

  1. A man who is creating Top Gear’s script should type this in google “850 Miles In A Tesla Roadster In A Weekend” and then realise his stupidity

  2. Hey, xDamiano, maybe you should listen to what they actually said before you falsely accuse them and go with the media on this issue. I believe what they said was that, “After a hard day on the track, the car would run out in 55 miles.” A hard day on the track is NOT regular driving. And, also, the article you refer to does not say anything about 850 miles on one charge. They charged up about a dozen times on the way. How about next time you stop complaining, listen up, and shut your mouth if you don’t have anything nice to say.

  3. @ kevin:

    let me explain. I don’t like Top Gear, because its a comedy show that makes negative impact on electric cars! They are the future of automotive, have lots of advantages over ICE and only need to “grow up”. Top Gear is very popular and has a strong impact on average audience. The problem is that the publicity doesn’t know much about electric cars and when they see on TG Nissan Leaf that is stuck they automatically will think that EV=Shit. See Tesla case. It’s pure entertaining show, but many ppl will get it serious

  4. Shawn sorry to break it to you but the McLaren did break the track record and has been proven to be faster than the 458. It was discussed in the press when it was leaked the car broke the track record. The car was even tested on the track during the car’s development. It will be shown during this series.

  5. Jack Randall, you just said the stupidest thing I’ve heard this year. MP4-12C is probably faster than Italia. But track record is ridiculous. Italia made the lap in 1:19.1 the record is 1:15.1 by Ariel Atom 500. This is exactly 4 seconds if you can’t calculate it by yourself. No way in hell MP4-12C is that faster than Italia. 0.5-1 second maybe. If they have luck and cheat a bit 1.5s, but i doubt that. The only way this is possible, is if they make the lap with MP4-12C GT3 racer. And I still suspect Atom could be faster than GT3 car.

  6. @ xDamiano,

    unfortunately, electric cars are NOT the future. just so you know, they are a massive problem for the environment. the energy involved in manufacturing the car and its batteries is far more damaging to the environment than normal ICE manufacturing. statistically you have to use the car for 10years for it to start becoming more environmentally friendly than ICE cars, BUT, the battery only lasts for 10years anyway. they are a publicity stunt. the future of cars is Hydrogen…. electric cars are a media joke!

  7. @mikethegreek LOL do you know how efficienty is to produce H2 to use it in very expensive fuel cell to produce electricity that powers electric motor? hahaha and where can you buy hydrogen? and do you know about costs of buliding a whole infrastructure from zero! damn stop watching pure entertaintment show called Top Gear and start to THINK :)

    Using hydrogen is totally ineffective, cuz to produce H2 you need more energy than you need to power an electric engine. OK please note that number of battery electric vehicles has significantly increased in the last few years. They are becoming better, cheaper and have a huge potential. Just take a look which cars are presented on various International Motor Shows. Were there any new fuel cell vehicles? NO, because they are not payable at all.

  8. @mikethegreek and i think you mentioned about NiMH baterries not Lithium-ion. So your opinion is based on Prius while mine on Tesla, Nissan Leaf :)

  9. OMG stop fighting. Not all cars are like the H2. Electricity has to be made in from petroleum (or natural gas, coal etc), so it’s not emission free. Maybe fuel efficiency should be improved first.

  10. @ xdamiano (or should I say GAYmiano?)

    you’re English and grammar skills are appalling, but not nearly as bad as you’re misunderstanding of electric cars! These other guys are correct, electric cars are not efficient to manufacture and they DO NOT “help” the environment. I’d rather wait 20 years for a hydrogen infrastructure to be implemented than suffer the scourge that is the electric car. And to make things worse, electric cars ALL look about as good as an unpopped pimple on Michael Moore’s hairy ass cheek!
    And by the way, don’t knock top gear! To everyone else: Can’t wait to see the new season of TG this month!

  11. @Levlhead do you have any concete argues? What’s your point? I don’t mind your offence. Everyone can say that EV=Shit. Give me some argues why you think so. Can you prove that I’m wrong? I wrote many reasons why EVs are better. Do you have any counterarguments?

    My opinion is ICE=Shit, because it’s simply obsolete and very inefficient. I can write what I want same as you.

  12. @xGaymiano

    The points have already been made. EVs are ridiculous just to manufacture. The material for the batteries are mined in canada then shipped (on a boat using petrol or diesel) half way around the world to be refined ( which I’m sure does plenty of damage to the environment, or at least as much as petrol refinement), then AGAIN shipped to Asia to be manufactured…plus where do you think the power comes from to recharge that electric car of yours?hmmmm, oh yeah GAS and COAL POWER PLANTS … Tell me how that is better? The internal combustion engine is not dead, never will be. It continues to be refined and honed because it is the best solution for transportation. And I say again: hydrogen infrastructure may be a long way off, but if that’s the alternative, I’d rather wait for hydrogen than bore myself to death electric cars.
    Again I will state what a liberal you are…you talk about how people listen to what is said on top gear? Sounds like YOU are the person believing what is said in the media about the so called “efficient” and “green” electric car

  13. @Levlhead (I won’t call you name anymore, because we are not kids from preschool :) please do the same, OK)

    even electric cars powered by electricity made from coal are more green than petrol cars. Total emissions (from drilling for oil under the sea, transport it by ships to rafinery and then to petrol stations and then to burn it in internal combustion engine) are higher than pollution of power plants LOL electric motor is almost 100% efficient while ICE max 30%. so 2/3 of energy is wasted (by heat). so EV compared to ICE is like traditional Lightbulb and LED :)

  14. @Levlhead please note that electric motor is just perfect for cars. It’s efficiency is over 90% compare to +/- 30% with an ICE which never will be more efficient, because it’s technically imposible. Same with torque distribution no matter how good and advanced gearbox is. And next in EV you don’t need super complicated and expensive gearbox or even a clutch. It’s useless! Think about how good traction could be when max torque is always available. Then electric motor has only few moving parts compered to few thousands in an ICE. Think about realiability and service costs… no oil changes etc. almost no maintenance = forget about horrendous service costs and all kinds of addidional money wasting.

    And finally silence and clean air (especially important factor in heavy urbanised areas) = no noise and gas pollution = better living conditions, less diseases, less stress = better life :)

  15. @Levlhead “I’d rather wait for hydrogen than bore myself to death electric cars.” – You’re my idol :)

    Fuel Cell car has the same electric motor as electric car with batteries (it’s FCEV Fuel Cell Vehicle). Besides of heavy and solid tank in FCEV the only difference between these two types of electric cars is: in BEV electric motor is powered by electricity from batteries while in FCEV there is a Fuel Cell that produces an electricity from hydrogen. OK think which way will be more efficient.

    1 use electricy from any source to produce H2 to use it in very expensive fuel cell to produce electricity that powers an electric motor

    2 use use electricy from any source to charge battery that powers an electric motor.

    and now can you tell me why BEV is more boring than FCEV? Because liquid fuel is not boring? hahaha

  16. @xDamiano
    You are aware, of course, that the electric engine is essentially useless because the battery takes more time to charge than discharge. What that means is when you run out of power, you’ll have to wait about eight hours to drive again. Filling a petrol, diesel or H2 tank takes a couple of minutes.

  17. @Lawrencealot Have you ever heard about fast chargers? anyway you won’t need to use fast charger everyday :) only when you’re going for a long trip. Normally you will charge it during nights at your garage (note that electricity is even cheaper at night). And when batteries will have better capacity than today, you can easy use a vehicle a whole day without recharging.

    btw watch “24 hour EV Road Trip” on YouTube

  18. Kris- The top gear lap record is actually held by an Ultima GTR which is a kit car that for some reason top gear has never featured.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdAz2sbUm3E <<< Road Tires

    When they ran it on slicks it was faster than the Ferrari FXX.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjOqaH2shOU&feature=related <<< Slick tires

    Xdamiano has a really good point. Top Gear is no longer a car show but an entertainment forum based around automobiles etc. A lot of people do take it as a factual program because they don't know any better. For that reason I think he has a really good point.

  19. @xDamiano, sorry that everyone has been hating on your love for electric cars, the problem is that real Top Gear fans are car enthusiasts that cringe at the fact that some people think that electric cars which haven’t been as reliable on the tests as petrol vehicles are thought to be the way of the future.

    We ”those petrol-heads” prefer paying the raising gas prices for the sound/speed of those over 300hp high octane engines that got us to love Top Gear.

  20. @Anthony

    I hate paying the raising gas prices and the fact that electric cars should have come out 20 or even 30 years ago if the money wasn’t for the gas companies, government, wars (for oil) etc. :(

    anyway I’m glad that the future is bright and finally there is a real perspective for EVs. Right now they are like the mobile phones in late 80s, so we’re just before a revolution. In a few years they will become better and cheaper. The number of charge points will skyrocket, people will find out about their advantages over ICE. Then a sports cars like fully electric next gen Nissan GTR or meybe a Bugatti EV will outclass petrol versions.

  21. @Chris

    Thanks :) A whole lot of people who know nothing about EVs take what Top Gear says as fact, and that’s the problem.

  22. Look. The debate about the Tesla Roadster can be solved very easily if you just look at the facts and the physics.

    Tesla Motors claims that the Roadster does 250 Wh per mile. It has a battery that holds 53 000 Wh. Take those figures at face value, and you get 212 miles which is roughly what it actually can do.

    That much is undisputed.

    Now, the physics bit: take 250 Wh per mile, and ask how much power does that mean when you’re going at 60 mph? The answer comes out: 60 miles per hour for an hour is 60 miles, which takes 60 x 0.25 kWh which is 15 kWh of energy. Since you took an hour to travel that distance, it is also your average power – 15 kW.

    15 kilowatts is about 21 horsepowers. That’s how much power you can use on average to get that 212 miles in a Tesla Roadster at 60 mph.

    That’s what this debate is all about. If you’re using 100 HP driving hard around a track, then all the laws of reality say that you are not going to get even 55 miles out of the battery. Meanwhile ordinary cars can get as many miles on a track as you put gasoline in the tank.

    In fact, the only reason the Roadster can do 200+ miles on the battery is because it’s a very small and aerodynamic car with low rolling resistance tires and a suspension tuned for maximum efficiency. Cars of ordinary shape and size are lucky to get by at 350 Wh per mile, and that’s a big issue for electric car manufacturers. They can only afford batteries half as large as Tesla’s to be able to sell the cars as well.

    And that’s why they have to cheat. When they say the car does a hundred and fifty miles, you can safely lop off 50% of the range and be in the ballpark of what it will actually and reliably do.

  23. @xDamiano

    The electric motor is not simply 90+% efficient. It depends entirely on at what speed you are trying to run it.

    Below approximately 25% of the nominal speed of a typical induction motor, the efficiency drops sharply towards zero. At a standstill, the efficiency of an electric motor is actually zero for the instant before it starts rolling.

    Since electric cars typically employ only one gear between the wheels and the motor, the top speed the designers set for the car – where the electric motor starts to lose power because of certain rather boring to explain physical properties of inductors – ends up defining how efficent the car is to drive around the town.

    If you design the top speed to be 60 mph, then you really don’t want to put your foot down on the pedal below 15 mph because you’d just be wasting power. If you want a top speed of 150 mph, then it’s wasteful to drive slower than 37 mph.

    So that’s that for the “full torque at standstill” argument as well. Yeah, it’s technically true, but using it is incredibly stupid.

    And why don’t electric cars simply add another gear? Reason: cost. The car is already too expensive. The second reason, and why Tesla ditched the two-speed gearbox was that they couldn’t design it to handle the torque of the motor.

  24. And the issue about fast charging.

    You have no idea how ridiculously large powers it takes to charge a large battery in a reasonable time.

    Take the Tesla Roadster battery. 53 kWh in an hour takes 53 kilowatts of power. That’s pretty basic math. Doing it in 1/10th of an hour, or 6 minutes, takes 530 kW or half a megawatt.

    That’s 2208 amps out of a 240 volt circuit. The cable itself would be solid copper as thick as your wrist, and you’d need a forklift to move it around.

    The larger the battery, the more physically implausible it becomes to really recharge it quickly outside of Nikola Tesla’s physics laboratory that harnesses the power of lightning. Very few people realize, that when they pour a gallon of gasoline into a bucket, let’s say it takes a minute, they are actually transferring chemical energy at a rate of 3 Megawatts from one container to another.

  25. And the real reason why the electric car will simply be a flash in the pan is that it’s becoming possible to make hydrogen directly from sunlight and water using less expensive catalysts that mimic the way plants do it.

    Once you got cheap hydrogen, then all you need to do is add carbon, and you can make just about any gaseous or liquid fuel you need. The carbon can be from any source, like your old socks, or distilling it directly from the air.

    The easiest of course is methane, or natural gas. It works with a fuel cell and a regular engine, and it’s relatively easy to store in tanks – unlike pure hydrogen – and it’s much denser so it gives you more miles per refill.

  26. @Eikka

    something about fast charging: 80 percent of drivers in the US, commute fewer than 40 miles a day and Nissan Leaf’s EPA real world range is 73 miles (100 Nissan offcial). So for daily driving it’s OK! Then think about upcoming Tesla Model S with 300 miles battery pack :) You will need to use fast charger only from time to time or even few times a year. There are also a few promising technologies like induction charging, battery swaping etc. and I bet the fast chargers technology will improve in a few years.

    OK the reason I hate ICE are air pollution, noise pollution, expensive service cost, dependence on foregin oil import and too complicated everything! EVs are simple, durable, silent and zero emission. I’m against of typical petrol cars. You see for daily driving (work, shopping etc.) from point A to point B present cars are just ridiculous. In a traffic jam you’re wasting petrol (money) even if you’re stuck and an average 1.6 engine doesn’t sound like an orchestra. So what’s my point? Replace them with EVs which are perfect for commuting. The cities will become a better place :) I bet that next generations will think “How the people could live in a such polluted enviroment?”.

  27. @Eikka

    now about H2:

    “Once you got cheap hydrogen, then all you need to do is add carbon, and you can make just about any gaseous or liquid fuel you need. The carbon can be from any source, like your old socks, or distilling it directly from the air.”

    wow I didn’t know about that before. Well my question is: When this technology could be adopted for automotive industry? next 20y, 30y… god knows. This technology is like a futuristic documentary on Discovery channel :) I mean it sounds idyllic, but god knows when we could use it in a real life. But hey we have already a technology that can be used successfully for +/-90% drivers in the world. It’s battery EV. Nissan Leaf sales to hit 10,000-12,000 in U.S. by end of 2011, then in 2012 20 000 Tesla Model S. And this is just the beginning! Please tell me where I can buy any FCEV or even lease one?

    “And the real reason why the electric car will simply be a flash in the pan is that it’s becoming possible to make hydrogen directly from sunlight and water using less expensive catalysts that mimic the way plants do it.”

    make hydrogen directly from sunlight? LOL do you know that it’s also possible to produce electricity directly from the sunlight? You don’t really need to make a H2, because electric motor needs power not fuel. It’s just simplier, much more effective and zero emission.

    “The easiest of course is methane, or natural gas. It works with a fuel cell and a regular engine, and it’s relatively easy to store in tanks – unlike pure hydrogen – and it’s much denser so it gives you more miles per refill.”

    please only not gas. It’s clean, but it’s not renewable. Being dependend on gas? This is not a future. Just invest in renewable sources.

  28. Kris Sorry to break your “Italia” heart but the McLaren is faster, and quite a bit faster. You might have to come to face the fact McLaren built a better faster car than Ferrari.

  29. What on Earth is James driving in that bit about hot hatches. I see Jeremy is in the Citroen DS3 and Richard the Fiat 500 c, what is James driving? Please respond.

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