EMBARGOED: FOR RELEASE 0:01hrs MONDAY APRIL 1 2013
Note to readers - this story was an April 1 spoof.
EXPERTS at CAP Automotive are puzzling over how to publish essential details of a vehicle – claimed by its makers to be “the most environmentally friendly car in the world” – because it is powered by air.
Weighing in at just 400kg, the Yúrén Wind, built by the Shanghai-based Yúrén Automobile Co – and poised for UK launch this Summer – is built from ultra-tough resin-impregnated recycled paper and cardboard on a lightweight aluminium chassis and powered by a compressed air motor.
The problem lies in the fact that every car needs a code assigned to it by CAP, the independent publishers of valuation and technical information on all vehicles available in the UK – but CAP is currently unable to assign one to the Yúrén Wind.
The CAP Code is a string of characters that uniquely describes any vehicle so it can be included in databases, computer systems and websites for automotive professionals and motorists across Britain. Over 60,000 unique CAP Codes have been assigned by CAP since the Code was introduced by the business in 1982.
However, the current format of the CAP Code cannot record compressed air as a fuel type or indicate any passenger safety rating for a cardboard body. Other essential details are also unrecordable, leaving the Yúrén Wind with a half-complete code.
Resolving this will be critical for Yúrén because the CAP Code enables motor dealers, company car providers and websites for motorists to publish accurate details on every aspect of a vehicle, ranging from list price, fuel consumption, available options and colours to transmission type and CO2 output. Without a code, the Wind therefore has little chance of reaching a wide commercial audience.
But the Yúrén Wind has CAP’s Code experts baffled because it is the first time they have ever encountered cardboard and air as essential technical specifications.
CAP’s David Saville – who oversees the assigning of around 365 fresh CAP Codes to new cars every month – said: “The new car market has seen a great deal of innovation in recent years and we have always managed to keep the CAP Code up to speed with developments like hybrid fuel types and electric vehicles.
“But this is the first time we have ever come across compressed air as a fuel type and it poses a number of challenges to our code format. For example, we cannot assign an engine capacity, a fuel type or the fuel delivery system. Assigning an MPG figure is also a problem.
“We are hopeful we can overcome these problems because, at a time when economical motoring is more important than ever before, 4 wheeled transport with doors and windows for £3,995 is likely to be a winning proposition – if only we can find a way to describe it properly for the market.
CAP’s Manufacturer Relationships Manager, Martin Ward, is liaising with Yúrén Automobile Corporation officials after test driving the car. In his regular ‘First Drive Impressions’ column published on cap.co.uk he describes the Yúrén Wind as “surprisingly quick and very quiet.”
Notes to Editors
The Yúrén Wind is badged as Féngchē in China, meaning ‘cartwheel’ or 'children’s toy'. According to the manufacturer this name also fits the ethos of the car, which is 'quirky urban chic in an ultra lightweight and environmentally friendly package'. Yúrén describes the Wind as “the most environmentally friendly car in the world” with a chassis and frame built from recycled drinks cans and a body shell constructed from a reinforced resin-impregnated and highly compressed form of recycled paper and cardboard. The maker claims a range of 30 miles on one tank of compressed air at an average speed of 30mph. Yúrén is also working to establish a supply chain of the Wind’s compressed air capsules through a range of UK retailers such as DIY outlets and supermarkets. It is set to retail in the UK at £3,995.
The CAP Code effectively offers a ‘universal language’ for the automotive industry, enabling countless systems to communicate seamlessly and accurately to deliver standardisation and process efficiency. Effectively, CAP code 'connects' the industry and has proved to be key in delivering profitability and reducing risk in CAP’s customers' businesses. It is also matched to numerous other industry codes – such as those used by vehicle manufacturers themselves – so that information on vehicles can be seamlessly shared across numerous commercial platforms. It is widely seen as one of the keys to ‘big data’ and ‘intelligent connectivity’ across the automotive sector.