Overdrive Podcast Radio Program Issue 27 – 2020

Overdrive: e-Scooters; Jaguar I-Pace electric taxis; Alfa’s 110 birthday; Tesla’s sign confusion

Welcome to Overdrive, a program that probes deeply into the issues of motoring and transport as well as the absurd and quirky.


  1. National Walk Safely to School Day Rescheduled for Friday 11 September (1:43)
  2. UK trialling e-scooters on public roads (2:41)
  3. Ford will allow some new customers to return vehicles if they lose their job (3:39)
  4. Jaguar i-pace electric taxis on world’s first wireless high-powered charging rank (4:36)
  5. Ford debuts F-150 (5:43)
  6. An historic celebration: 110 years of Alfa Romeo (6:43)


We talk to our Melbourne Correspondent Chris Leadbeatter about the love and affection (and the need to have a vehicle for his daughter’s wedding) in restoring a Mk 1 Jaguar (7:49)

Adrian Feeney is the chairman and CEO of the Society of Automotive Engineers.  He has some strong words about our potential for car manufacturing in the Australia. (14:20)

Quirky news

  • And in sort of quirky news we again catch up with Brian Smith to talk about an assessment of how well Tesla autopilot vehicles interpret road signs that have been mischievously modified. (22:17)

National Walk Safely to School Day Rescheduled for Friday 11 September

The National Walk Safely to School Day is now planned to go ahead on Friday 11 September, following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Pedestrian Council of Australia originally promoted a Walk to Work day which was an unrealistic option for many people.

It helped create the view with some that the Pedestrian Council was full of zeal but lacked engagement with people it was trying to encourage to walk more.

The journey to school is one category of trip that has become highly dominated by cars, SUVs and utes.

Making short trips by walking or by bicycle is a key component of people getting incidental exercise and the trip to school is where many people develop habits that they take with them for the rest of their lives.

The fluctuating situation with COVID-19 may mean that the date of this event may have to be reconsidered.

UK trialling e-scooters on public roads

The UK government is allowing trials of rental e-scooters on public roads.

Whether commuting to work or riding for leisure, local residents will be able to test the benefits of e-scooters on roads, cycle lanes and tracks.

The trials are designed to help understand whether the devices reduce motor traffic, as well as their impacts on safety for their users and others. They will be strictly prohibited on pavements, will be limited to 25km/hr and riders are recommended to wear helmets.

Users will need a full or provisional car, motorcycle or moped licence to take part in the trials, and must be 16 or over. To avoid a flood of poor-quality scooters onto the streets, the regulations only cover rental schemes.

Individually owned scooters will still be illegal on public roads.

The trials are due to last for 12 months.

Ford will allow some new customers to return vehicles if they lose their job

In the United States, several car companies are offering forgiveness plans to new car buyers if they subsequently lose their job.

If you lease or own a new vehicle at least 90 days and lose your job, GM will make payments up to $500 for up to nine months.

GM will cover consumers for up to $5,000 if their vehicle is worth less in two years than they owe and they want to trade it in on a new GM vehicle.

Buyers of Fords, Lincolns or Mercurys have to have made payments for at least a month, then the Ford Plan will make payments of up to $700 a month for up to 12 months in case of a job loss. Ford workers are eligible.

Hyundai gives payment relief for up to 90 days besides allowing no-penalty return of vehicles for those who are suddenly jobless.

Jaguar i-pace electric taxis on world’s first wireless high-powered charging rank

Jaguar Land Rover will support the City of Oslo to create the world’s first high-powered wireless taxis in a programme known as ‘ElectriCity’,

Multiple charging plates, will be installed in the ground at pick-up-drop-off points. This allows each appropriately equipped taxi to charge while queuing for the next fare. The system requires no physical connection between charger and vehicle, engages automatically and provides on average 6-8 minutes of energy per each charge up to 50kW.

By receiving multiple charges throughout the day hopefully these zero emission cabs will operate without driving range restrictions.

Jaguar will provide 25 of their I-PACE SUVs to Cabonline, the largest taxi network in the Nordics

Oslo wants to make all cabs emission free by 2024

This can also be a step in developing inductive charging for your garage at home rather than having to plug-in your vehicle frequently.

Ford debuts F-150

The bestselling vehicle in the United States for the last 38 years is not a traditional passenger car, it is the Ford F-150 pickup which is by Australia standards a big ute.

Ford has shown its latest F-150, which includes a hybrid version for the first time. But it will only be built in left-hand drive and so you will need to pay for a local conversion for Australian roads.

Ford says the hybrid will have a range of more than 1100km per tank full

The battery capacity is 1.5kWh which is not high and while it will allow for a small amount of electric driving only, the setup is not just a pollution reduction measure.

The hybrid technology will boost the towing capacity to nearly 5,500 kgs

All models get a ten-speed automatic transmission; rear wheel drive is standard while AWD is optional.

An historic celebration: 110 years of Alfa Romeo

And it is a happy birthday to Alfa Romeo which is 110 years old.

Alfas have a passionate following but their products have had some ups and downs.

Hence the joke “What is the most senior position in Alfa Romeo – the Manager of Spare Parts”.

Alfa’s strengths and weaknesses were epitomised by the Alfasud; an entry level car built between 1971-1989. The company was under government control and it was a political decision to build it in a new state sponsored factory in the south of Italy (Sud means south).

Despite their sophisticated engineering, Alfasuds (especially the early ones) had a bad reputation for rusting.  There were reliability problems as well.

Some owners quoted a Henry Longfellow poem

And when she was good, she was very, very good,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

Alfa Romeo is now owned by Fiat Chrysler.


You can find more information at Driven Media or previous programs are available as podcasts on iTunes or Spotify. OR our Facebook site OverdriveCity

Originally broadcast 4 July 2020 across Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) and Torque Radio affiliated commercial radio channels and has a weekly audience of over 450,000.

About David Brown 604 Articles
David’s boyhood passion for motor cars did not immediately lead to a professional role in the motor industry. A qualified Civil Engineer he specialised in traffic engineering and transport planning. What followed were various positions including being seconded to a government think-tank for the planning of transport firstly in Sydney and then for the whole of NSW. After working with the NRMA and as a consultant he moved to being an independent writer and commentator on the broader areas of transport and the more specific areas of the cars we drive. His half hour motoring program “Overdrive” has been described as an “informed, humorous and irreverent look at motoring and transport from Australia and overseas”. It is heard on 22 stations across Australia. He does weekly interviews with several ABC radio stations and is also heard on commercial radio in Sydney. David has written for metropolitan and regional newspapers and has presented regular segments on metropolitan and regional television stations. David is also a contributor for AnyAuto