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Bentley’s factory in Crewe is actually a fairly green place. With more than 300,000 bees, 30,000 solar panels, and gardens a-plenty, the manufacturer is trying to improve its impact. And its latest effort involves increasing the biodiversity around the plant.

Crewe is the home to endemic bird and bat populations. So Bentley is trying to help the local blue tit and pippistrelle bat populations flourish by building little homes for the creatures.

The manufacturer invited the UK’s Autocar magazine around to help put up the boxes. Although Bentley purchased the bird and bat boxes from a supplier, the British company does have in-house carpenters, so it gave them the opportunity to carve the brand’s logo into the wood before hanging them.

It should be noted here, that the boxes are necessary because of Bentley’s factory-among others. Lest we give the manufacturer too much credit, they aren’t actually helping the local wildlife, they’re just lessening the impact of their factory, to say nothing of the big, thirsty engines they produce.

Read Also: Bentley Wants To Build Its Audi-Based Electric Sedan In The UK

Greenwashing notwithstanding, bird boxes are put up because a number of bird species need to hide their nests in dead trees and other places. Beaks struggle to break through factory walls, so bird boxes help them find a place to make a nest.

Bat boxes act in much the same way, except instead of a little hole, there is a letter slot at the top and a bar from which the bats hang.

And although I think Bentley should hardly be celebrated for trying to hurt the local environment a little less, encouraging it and other brands to do better means recognizing the good. And Bentley’s head of site planning, Andrew Robertson, claims the effort to do better is a genuine one.

“There’s no certificate for increasing the biodiversity of a car park,” he told Autocar, “but it’s the right thing to do.”

Robertson’s next effort will be to collect rainwater to make the factory water-neutral. That’s a tough sell in the UK, where the financial benefit of collecting water is limited, but he says the ecological benefit is enough. I imagine the benefit of good press is also a consideration, but hopefully that’s a worthwhile trade.


When GMC was trying to get us hyped for the Hummer EV, they showed us crab mode. Fun features, especially in off-roaders, are all the rage, so it’s good to know that the Hummer’s were designed by someone who has built 12 off-road racers from the ground up.

Mike Colville is GM’s senior manager of complex feature integration, but, according to the Detroit Free Press, he just calls himself “the features dude.” That makes him the leader of the team that created CrabWalk, which allows the Hummer to drive diagonally; extract mode, which literally lifts the Hummer out of deep terrain; and Ultravision, which adds waterproof cameras under the truck to help you avoid big boulders and the like.

Many of the features come from Colville’s own experiences in off-road racing. In his career, he has built 12 cars by hand that compete in Ultra4 endurance races. These “cars” are better described as tube-frame buggies that can be powered by big V8s making up to 800 hp and fly across the desert at speeds of more than 100 mph.

Read Also: GMC Hummer EV Heads To Michigan For Winter Testing

“It was scary, fun, exhilarating and I’m proud,” Colville told the Free Press in an interview. “There was nothing I liked better than driving in the dust. It brought that competitive spirit out in me.”

In many ways, it was his off-road racing days that got him on the Hummer project. Having just returned from China in 2019, where he developed performance features for cars, he liked to talk off-road racing to Josh Tavel. Tavel was the chief engineer on the Hummer project, so he invited Colville onto the team to make sure there were off-road features. Immediately, he started thinking about his buggies.

“In my race car, I would constantly break half shafts,” he said, so he designed an algorithm to protect the Hummer’s half-shafts. “It knows what angle the shaft is at and knows what it can take.”

Ride height control was another feature that Colville wanted. Ride height is an important factor for off-road racing. It’s all well and good to go fast, but if you’re hitting rocks you won’t finish the race. That led to the Hummer’s extract mode, which lifts the car by up to 6 inches to allow it to get over obstacles.

“Crabwalk,” meanwhile, came from his days in rock crawling. Those trucks have four wheel steering to help them turn on a dime and when he realized that the Hummer did, too, inspiration struck.

“When we were deciding to make an off-road vehicle with rear steer on it, I said, ‘Well I had a vehicle with rear steer before.’ We thought about putting a lever on the vehicle that a person could use, but that was way too complicated even for rock crawl drivers,” said Colville. “So we invented CrabWalk that can go either the same or opposite direction as the front wheels.”

Colville also designed a tire-pressure honk. When you’re off-roading, you often have to deflate tires to get better traction. Usually, that means deflating a little, checking the pressure, deflating a little more, checking again, and so on. Colville thought there must be a better way, so he designed a system that allows the driver to input a desired tire pressure in the infotainment. When they deflate the tires to that level, the Hummer honks at them to let them know.

Fortunately, coming up with all of these features was, though not easy, didn’t exactly feel like work. According to Colville, working on the Hummer hasn’t been hard “because I am entertaining myself with a project that fits right into my hobbies.”

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For many car enthusiasts, the Autobahn is viewed as motoring nirvana, but things can turn from sweet to sour in the blink of an eye, as this video shows.

This clip was filmed from the helmet camera being used by the driver of a BMW M4 and shows him hitting speeds of around 174 mph (280 km/h). At the 15-second mark, the BMW driver is quite late to brake to avoid a slow-moving hatchback in the fast lane but when it gets out of the way, he quickly hits the throttle once again and starts to accelerate to over 167 mph (270 km/h).

However, at the 48-second mark of the clip, a maroon-colored Mazda3 changes into the fast lane to overtake a Ford Fiesta, crossing directly into the path of the BMW.

Watch Also: Red Light Runner Comes Within Inches Of Taking Out A Motorcyclist

The M4 driver is forced to slam on the brakes to avoid rear-ending the Mazda and apparently managed to slow from 174 mph to 87 mph (140 km/h) in just a few seconds. Had the BMW driver been a little later to react or had the Mazda driver made the lane change a touch later, the two might have collided and the results may have been devastating.

One could say that the driver of the Mazda is primarily to blame for the near-miss. Changing into the fast lane of the Autobahn isn’t something you should ever do without getting a good look at your mirrors to ensure there is no fast-moving traffic behind you. The M4 driver should have also been more careful and perhaps lifted off the throttle while passing slower traffic.