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Why A BMW Painted With ‘The World’s Blackest Black’ Is Unlikely To Hit The Road

Topline: BMW rolled out its first vehicle painted with “vantablack”, known as the world’s blackest black⁠—and although the company claims it would like to see the car on the road, it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon.

  • The BMW X6 was selected as the first vehicle to receive the inky-black paint job and will debut in September’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
  • Vantablack in its purest form absorbs all light, without reflecting any back.
  • To make sure the X6 didn’t appear completely two-dimensional, the vantablack paint used on it reflects back 1% of light.
  • Although X6 designer Hussein Al Attar said he “absolutely” could see vantablack joining BMW’s lineup of color options for car buyers, the automaker has no immediate plans.
  • According to Ben Jensen, CTO of vantablack developer Surrey Nanosystems, “The limitations of vantablack in respect of direct impact or abrasion would make this an impractical proposition for most people. It would also be incredibly expensive.”

Chief critic: Auto enthusiasts. They question why a car needs to be painted with vantablack, especially since it won’t be for sale anytime soon. And safety studies show that regular black cars are already more dangerous to drive over lighter-colored cars⁠—chances of crashing a black car at dawn and dusk are 47% higher than that of a non-black car.

Key background: Developed by Surrey Nanosystems in 2014, the pigment in vantablack is made from tiny bits of carbon. Originally designed to be used in outer space, vantablack can be applied at temperatures hundreds of degrees below freezing. It has also been used in space cameras to block out light from the sun, letting the devices take clearer photos of distant stars and galaxies.

Surprising fact: The “vanta” in vantablack stands for Vertically Aligned Nano Tube Array.

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I’m a New York-based journalist covering breaking news at Forbes. I hold a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Previous bylines: Gotham Gazette, Bklyner, Thrillist, Task & Purpose, and xoJane.

Source: Why A BMW Painted With ‘The World’s Blackest Black’ Is Unlikely To Hit The Road

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The History of Rolls-Royce

A century of perfection

The turn of the 20th century marked the beginning of an extraordinary partnership between two of the most innovative minds of the moment. Henry Royce, a successful engineer and Charles Rolls, owner of one of the UK’s first motor car dealerships, agreed to sell motor cars under the name Rolls-Royce.

At that moment, a new company was born: Rolls-Royce.

The Best Motor Car in the World

In 1907, the Silver Ghost was declared ‘The Best Car in the World’ after its record breaking success. Travelling from London to Glasgow 27 times – covering 14,371 consecutive miles – the iconic motor car broke the world record for a non-stop motor run while demonstrating unrivalled reliability and comfort.

1930s

In the 1930s, Rolls-Royce broke world records on land and sea. And automation saw the arrival of Phantom III – the first ever Rolls-Royce to be built with a V12 engine.

1940s

The 1940s saw new developments in craftsmanship and design. Until 1959, each Silver Wraith had an individual, coach-built body.

1950s

The 1950s marked the start of a long-standing relationship between Rolls-Royce and the royal family.

1960s

By the time the Swinging Sixties began, Rolls-Royce had begun to appeal to a new breed of owner. Actors, rock stars and celebrities chose the marque as a symbol of their success.

1970s

The 1970s was a challenging decade for Rolls-Royce but, following re-launch as two separate companies, the decade saw the arrival of two exciting new motor cars.

1980s

By 1980, British defence company Vickers had bought Rolls-Royce Motors Limited, producing Rolls-Royce alongside Bentley motor cars. The new Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1985.

1990s

The 1990s marked a new chapter in the marque’s history when the BMW Group bought the rights to produce Rolls-Royce motor cars. With the change came a brand new manufacturing facility: the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood. It was here that an exciting new chapter would begin.

On the day it acquired the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars brand, BMW Group said it intended to build a plant in England. From a shortlist of possible sites, Goodwood in West Sussex in the south east of England emerged as the natural choice.

Tucked away in the heart of the South Downs National Park in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Goodwood is a quintessentially English setting. Perfectly in tune with our brand values and customer expectations. Despite it being an entirely new location for Rolls-Royce manufacturing, Goodwood has a strong historical connection to the brand. Sir Henry Royce, one of the company’s founders, lived less than 10 miles away in the charming village of West Wittering from 1917 until his death in 1933.

Starting with a blank sheet of paper, the project was approached in light of one of Sir Henry Royce’s famous quotes: “Strive for perfection in everything you do.” Not only did the facility have to be an extension of the brand, we also wanted to have minimal impact on the environment. So we brought in renowned British architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, whose portfolio includes the Eden Project in Cornwall, the International Terminal at London’s Waterloo Station and the National Space Centre in Leicester.

Built over four and a half years, the award-winning manufacturing facility opened its doors on 1 January 2003. Designed on a 20 x 20 metre grid with steel columns supporting roof lights, the main building is set two metres below the surrounding ground level, to blend into the landscape.

The floor-to-ceiling windows run the length of the Assembly Hall, providing essential natural light for our craftspeople and – for visitors who come to Goodwood – a front-row view of the entire production line. We like to call it ‘the glass mile’.

But, much like the design of a Rolls-Royce motor car, there’s more to our Goodwood home than first meets the eye. The eight-acre curved living roof – the largest in the UK – is home to hardy sedum plants. The green coverage improves the building’s insulation and reduces rainwater runoff, while also acting as an effective camouflage.

After being fully operational for nine years, we extended the Assembly Hall in 2012. By adding an extra 2,500 square metres, we were able to add new space to the Surface Finishing Centre and also to our Bespoke service, which has more than doubled in size since 2003.

As well as blending into its rural surroundings, Goodwood is designed to have the smallest possible impact on the environment. The exterior is clad with a mix of limestone and cedar wood, both from sustainable sources. And the timber louvre panels, activated by a weather station on the roof, control how much light enters the building and reduce our demand for electricity.

The large central lake attracts numerous wild birds, and also guards against flooding by storing excess water. Across the 42-acre site, we’ve established over 400,000 plants and trees of more than 120 species. We also compost all our green waste.

Source: The history of Rolls-Royce

Rory is let loose inside the Rolls-Royce factory in West Sussex, England, and discovers how the Wraith, Phantom and Ghost Series II are built. Subscribe for more great content: http://bit.ly/1f3dxSq

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