As the last of the Christmas turkey is cleared away and we slump in front of the TV to while away the afternoon watching the traditional 007 film, we find ourselves daydreaming about James Bond's future transport ...
A new mission beckoned, and Bond felt his pulse race at the thought of a new car. Would it be the ubiquitous Aston Martin? A Lotus? A high-end BMW? Maybe another of the Q Branch specials that had more gadgetry than any agent could reasonably be expected to learn?
In the shadows at the far end of the garage beneath the disused Underground station, Bond spied the latest Aston – the DB 14 EV12. That would fit the bill nicely.
Bond was musing on the design cues that led back to his memorable DB 5, and the DB 3 before that, when he realized Q himself had slid from the shadows and was approaching.
"Here for your new transport 007?"
"A new mission, a new car," said Bond.
"Well we've remotely installed a new app into your smartphone, why not give it a try?" asked Q.
Familiar with the remote access technology that Q Branch so loved, Bond slid the phone from the pocket of his jacket and thumbed through the applications, hitting 'car', fully expecting the driver's door of the DB 14 to ease open.
"Here she comes," said Q, pointing instead to the small pod-like vehicle advancing slowly from the dark recesses of the basement. "It's part of our new OMSS range."
"OMSS?" said Bond.
"Yes: Optimised Mobility for the Secret Service."
The pod stopped and the door sprang open.
"Now listen carefully 007, it's important that you understand the advanced elements of this vehicle designed to carry you safely in the modern world" said Q.
"First, you'll have noticed that this is a pure electric car, no tailpipe emissions and silent on its approach."
"What's the range?" asked Bond.
"About 150 miles on a warm day, but we're working on that now."
"You know I don't have off-street parking" said Bond, thinking of his small flat off the King's Road.
"We've thought of that," said Q. "And the good news is that we've included a wide range of connecting cables and charging contract cards in a very large compartment under the driver's seat."
"What about the top speed?" asked Bond.
"No need to worry on that front," said Q. "This vehicle is equipped with the latest in intelligent speed adaptation. Absolutely no risk of it exceeding the speed limit here or in any of the 140 countries we've already pre-programmed into it using our ultra-accurate GPS system."
"So you've solved the problem of GPS accuracy in urban canyons?" asked Bond.
"Sort of," replied Q, slightly more hesitantly. "If the car can't trust the signal it assumes it's in a built-up area and defaults to 20mph just to be on the safe side."
"But what if I need to get away from SPECTRE agents pursuing me?" asked Bond.
"Well in an urban situation we have you covered, just press this button" said Q, reaching to the dashboard.
With a click the boot-lid opened, revealing a folding bicycle.
"The latest collapsible, electrically-boosted Rompton," explained Q, "with its carbon-fibre and graphene frame it weighs practically nothing and if you give it a bit of welly it's capable of speeds up to 25 mph, so long as it senses that it's in a dedicated cycle lane".
"And if not?"
"Rather less," said Q.
"There's no gear lever in the car," observed Bond. "So, where's the ejector seat button?"
"We don't fit ejectors anymore," answered Q, shaking his head ruefully. "Health and safety gone mad if you ask me".
"But what if I'm being threatened at gunpoint by an enemy?" asked Bond.
"You just press this button," answered Q more excitedly. "And the car will trigger the seat massage function and switch the stereo to soothing ambient music."
"I don't suppose there's a smokescreen either?" said Bond.
"Ah, afraid not. Bad for air quality. But we did install this!"
Q flicked another switch on the dashboard and a sign illuminated across the rear window.
"Please back off. Don't be a space invader," read Bond, incredulously.
"Tested very well with our stakeholder sounding board," said Q,
"Plus, you won't be doing much driving yourself, this vehicle has the latest autonomous technology fitted, though we recognize not everyone is a good passenger."
"Is that why the upholstery is all wipe-clean vinyl?" asked Bond.
"Yes, well, we know that 009 had a bit of a problem with motion sickness, which is why we installed this," said Q, flipping down the sun visor. "A packet of ultra-quick acting anti-nausea tablets held in with a handy rubber band. Take two and you'll be fine within 20 minutes."
"You seriously expect me to head off on my new mission in this?" said Bond.
"No, 007, not just that. You get this too," said Q, now brandishing a credit-card sized piece of plastic.
"Your new OMSS 'Winkle' card. Not only will it cover the cost of this fine, on-demand car, it works on the tube, bus and rail services. But do try to stick to off-peak, we're not made of money," said Q.
Happy New Year, everyone.