A New U.K. Race Car Boasts Zero to 60 in 1.4 Seconds. And You Can Buy One in the U.S. Next Year.
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A New U.K. Race Car Boasts Zero to 60 in 1.4 Seconds. And You Can Buy One in the U.S. Next Year.

By Jim Motavalli
Thu, Jan 25, 2024 11:41amGrey Clock 3 min

The fastest cars you can buy are all electric. Cars with zero-to-60 times under two seconds are the Rimac Nevera and its close relative the Pininfarina Battista, the Tesla Model S Plaid Edition, and the Lucid Air Sapphire.

Now, add one more: the British-made McMurtry Spéirling. At a Silverstone track event in December, Mat Watson of the YouTube channel Carwows drove the electric, rear-wheel drive Spéirling PURE model to 60 miles an hour in 1.4 seconds, with zero to 100 in 2.63 and a quarter mile in 7.97. The PURE is a racer in an edition of 100, but McMurtry said it will eventually be producing a street-legal version.

The price in the U.K. for the handmade PURE is £895,000, and in the U.S. around US$1 million. McMurtry Automotive was founded in 2016 and based in England’s posh Cotswolds region of Gloucestershire. Managing Director Thomas Yates comes from Formula 1, and the company’s focus is on race-bred technology. Testing, in secret, occurred in the U.K. at tracks such as Castle Combe and Donington Park. The first reveal to the public was at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2021, with racers Derek Bell and Alex Summers giving demonstration runs. The next year, the PURE set a hill climb record at Goodwood (going up in 39.08 seconds).

Miller Motorcars of Greenwich, Connecticut, which also handles Ferrari, Bugatti, Maserati, Rolls-Royce, and other luxury brands, announced it was taking on McMurtry in January. The record-breaking car was shown by its battery supplier at CES in Las Vegas earlier this month, but will also be making an appearance in Greenwich, with an open house Feb. 3. The West Coast dealer is O’Gara Motorsport, and the star car was in California at Thermal Raceway earlier this month for a demonstration.

The record-setting McMurtry Spéirling PURE on display at CES this year.
Jim Motavalli

Evan Cygler, director of special projects at Miller, tells Penta he was “completely dumbfounded” to encounter the rear-wheel drive McMurtry PURE in England. “They purposely came out with a finished car at Goodwood to break a record, and achieved the goal,” Cygler says. “The sound of it is incredible, as is the tiny size. We are passionate about our business, so we told them that if there was an opportunity to sell these cars, we’d love to be involved.”

Miller will support these track-only cars with its own track days at Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park, Cygler says. “It is less than two hours away and a fun place to host our customers for a day,” he says. “The Spéirling PURE is a cool weekend racer, and definitely something different. Whether you are into EV products or not, you have to love this.” Miller expects to get one or two PURE cars in 2025, he added. McMurtry will also host customers at private track events in the U.K.

The Spéirling reportedly offers 1,000 horsepower and 1,033 pound-feet of torque from two electric motors. Keeping it on the track are a pair of huge turbines (adapted from Formula 1 and Can Am) located behind the single occupant that extract air from under the car and produce more than 4,000 pounds of downforce. The battery is relatively small at 60 kilowatt-hours, but the carbon fiber-bodied car is so light at approximately 2,200 pounds that it has an estimated 300 miles of range (driven lightly, and on the forgiving European WLTP cycle). Top speed is around 200 mph.

The battery pack in the PURE prototype uses Molicel cells that can fast charge in 20 minutes, with rapid cell cooling. A charge can get the car around Silverstone track for 10 laps. Customer cars will use next-generation cells that are still in development.

The cockpit of the Spéirling PURE is a tight fit, and entry is made easier by a removable steering wheel. The single occupant sits on the rear fender and swings his or her body through the narrow opening, then drops into place. It’s a racer’s view forward, with no infotainment or anything else extraneous to ultra-high-speed driving. The Spéirling PURE may not be useful for getting groceries, but it offers the ultimate acceleration experience.



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The Lifespan of Large Appliances Is Shrinking

Appliance technicians blame a push toward computerisation and an increase in the quantity of components inside a machine

By RACHEL WOLFE
Thu, Feb 22, 2024 4 min

Our refrigerators, washing machines and ovens can do more than ever, from producing symmetrical ice cubes to remotely preheating on your commute home. The downside to all these snazzy features is that the appliances are more prone to breaking.

Appliance technicians and others in the industry say there has been an increase in items in need of repair. Yelp users, for example, requested 58% more quotes from thousands of appliance repair businesses last month than they did in January 2022.

Those in the industry blame a push toward computerisation, an increase in the quantity of individual components and flimsier materials for undercutting reliability. They say even higher-end items aren’t as durable.

American households spent 43% more on home appliances in 2023 than they did in 2013, rising from an inflation-adjusted average of $390 to $558, according to Euromonitor International. Prices for the category declined 12% from the beginning of 2013 through the end of 2023, according to the Labor Department.

One reason for the discrepancy between spending and prices is a higher rate of replacement, say consumers, repair technicians and others. That’s left some people wishing they had held on to their clunky ’90s-era appliances and others bargaining with repair workers over intractable ice makers and dryers that run cold.

“We’re making things more complicated, they’re harder to fix and more expensive to fix,” says Aaron Gianni, the founder of do-it-yourself home-repair app Plunjr.

Horror stories

Sharon J. Swan spent nearly $7,000 on a Bosch gas range and smart refrigerator. She thought the appliances would last at least through whenever she decided to sell her Alexandria, Va., home and impress would-be buyers.

That was before the oven caught fire the first time she tried the broiler, leading to a 911 call and hasty return. The ice-maker in the refrigerator, meanwhile, is now broken for the third time in under two years. Bosch covered the first two fridge fixes, but she says she’s on her own for the latest repair, totalling $250, plus parts.

“I feel like I wasted my money,” says the 65-year-old consultant for trade associations.

A Bosch spokeswoman said in an emailed statement that the company has been responsive to Swan’s concerns and will continue to work with her to resolve ongoing issues. “Bosch appliances are designed and manufactured to meet the highest quality standards, and they are built to last,” she said.

Kevin and Kellene Dinino wish they had held on to their white dishwasher from the ’90s that was still working great.

The sleeker $800 GE stainless steel interior dishwasher they purchased sprang a hidden leak within three years, causing more than $35,000 worth of damage to their San Diego kitchen.

Home insurance covered the claim, which included replacing the hardwood down to the subfloor and all their bottom cabinetry, but kicked the Dininos off their policy. The family also went without access to their kitchen for months.

“This was a $60 pump that was broken. What the hell happened?” says Kevin, 45, who runs a financial public-relations firm.

A GE Appliances spokeswoman said the company takes appliance issues seriously and works quickly to resolve them with consumers.

Increased complexity

Peel back the plastic on a modern refrigerator or washing machine and you’ll see a smattering of sensors and switches that its 10-year-old counterpart lacks. These extra components help ensure the appliance is using only the energy and water it needs for the job at hand, technicians say. With more parts, however, more tends to go wrong more quickly, they say.

Mansoor Soomro, a professor at Teesside University, a technical college in Middlesbrough, England, says home appliances are breaking down more often. He says that manufacturers used to rely mostly on straightforward mechanical parts (think an on/off switch that triggers a single lever). In the past decade or so, they’ve transitioned to relying more on sophisticated electrical and computerised parts (say, a touch screen that displays a dozen different sensor-controlled wash options).

When a complicated machine fails, technicians say they have a much harder time figuring out what went wrong. Even if the technician does diagnose the problem, consumers are often left with repairs that exceed half the cost of replacement, rendering the machine totalled.

“In the majority of cases, I would say buying a new one makes more economic sense than repairing it,” says Soomro, who spent seven years working at Siemens , including in the home-appliances division.

These machines are also now more likely to be made with plastic and aluminium rather than steel, Soomro says. High-efficiency motors and compressors, too, are likely to be lighter-duty, since they’re tasked with drawing less energy .

A spokeswoman for the Association for Home Appliance Manufacturers says the industry has “enhanced the safety, energy efficiency, capacity and performance of appliances while adding features and maintaining affordability and durability for purchasers.” She says data last updated in 2019 shows that the average life of an appliance has “not substantially shifted over the past two decades.”

When simpler is better

Kathryn Ryan and Kevin Sullivan needed a new sensor to fix their recently purchased $1,566 GE Unitized Spacemaker washer-dryer. GE wasn’t able to fix the sensor for months, so the couple paid a local technician $300 to get the machine working.

The repairman also offered them a suggestion: Avoid the sensor option and stick to timed dries.

“You should be able to use whatever function you please on a brand new appliance, ideally,” says Sullivan, a 32-year-old musician in Burbank, Calif.

More features might seem glamorous, Frontdoor virtual appliance tech Jim Zaccone says, but fewer is usually better.

“Consumers are wising up to the failures that are happening and going, ‘Do I really need my oven to preheat while I’m at the grocery store?’” jokes Zaccone, who has been in the appliance-repair business for 21 years.

He just replaced his own dishwasher and says he bought one with “the least bells and whistles.” He also opted for a mass-market brand with cheap and readily available parts. Most surprisingly, he chose a bottom-of-the-line model.

“Spending a lot of money on something doesn’t guarantee you more reliability,” says Zaccone.

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