Wheels Within Wales https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk Putting you in the driving seat for Welsh motoring news Fri, 04 Dec 2020 13:40:00 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Probe begins into questionable EV claims https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/probe-begins-into-questionable-ev-claims/ Fri, 04 Dec 2020 14:00:01 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43246 Aston Martin is probing how it became implicated in a report with inaccurate comparisons of the climate harm caused by cars powered by batteries and combustion engines and widely reported by media over the last week. One claim in the report said it took about 48,000 miles for EVs to be less polluting than conventional […]]]>

Aston Martin is probing how it became implicated in a report with inaccurate comparisons of the climate harm caused by cars powered by batteries and combustion engines and widely reported by media over the last week.

One claim in the report said it took about 48,000 miles for EVs to be less polluting than conventional cars but the figure is more like 16,000 miles, according to Auke Hoekstra, a researcher at the Eindhoven University of Technology.

Hoekstra said the report underestimated emissions from combustion-engine cars by roughly half and did not take into account fuel production and the ev chosen was a single model type.

Michael Liebreich, a clean-energy adviser and founder of BloombergNEF, wrote in a blog post that Hoekstra had “comprehensively debunked” the automakers’ report.

“Myths and misinformation about EVs slow down attempts to address climate change, they cause public money to be wasted and they destroy good investments,” Liebreich said.

Aston Martin CEO Tobias Moers said the report predated his appointment in August and he had not been aware of it untill it was covered on social media and in press reports and added that Aston Martin is “fully committed to the development of both hybrid and battery electric vehicles.”

The luxury car maker last year opened its multi-million assembly plant at St Athan and said its future electric models would be built there in the coming decade.

Other companies listed on the report include Honda and McLaren.

Michael Liebreich looked into the origins of the questioned report and found it came from a newly established PR company which is linked to a senior Aston Martin employee.

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Permits and green card dilemma for UK drivers https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/permits-and-green-card-dilemma-for-uk-drivers/ Fri, 04 Dec 2020 11:00:23 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43183 British drivers are facing a dilemma taking their vehicle abroad in the New Year. The EU is holding back on its requirements for UK drivers’ licences and insurance but it looks increasingly likely they will need international driving permits and the old style “Green Card”. Both will need to be obtained in advance of crossing […]]]>

British drivers are facing a dilemma taking their vehicle abroad in the New Year.

The EU is holding back on its requirements for UK drivers’ licences and insurance but it looks increasingly likely they will need international driving permits and the old style “Green Card”.

Both will need to be obtained in advance of crossing the Channel or they driver and vehicle will be turned around and prohibited from entering the EU member states.

Following the news that the European Commission is withholding a decision on the need for British motorist to use insurance green cards when driving in Europe, Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance, at comparethemarket.com, said, “The golden rule for drivers is to tell their insurer when they are planning to drive abroad or take their own car overseas.

“If an agreement is still not reached on this by the Brexit deadline, drivers would need to get a Green Card from their insurer. Drivers should apply at least one month before travelling and may need to pay an administration fee. Depending on the negotiations, motorists might also need an international driving permit to drive in continental Europe.

“This would be a headache for drivers, requiring them to be organised in advance of driving overseas, and ultimately may result in longer queues at EU borders.”

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Welsh Government £30M boost for EV network https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/welsh-government-30m-boost-for-ev-network/ Fri, 04 Dec 2020 09:00:10 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43241 The move to electric transport will be boosted by a £30M five-year investment announced yesterday by the Welsh Government. It is putting up the money to encourage private investors and network providers to install more public charging points to meet concerns motorists expressed so far in a public consultation which ends in February 2021, An […]]]>

The move to electric transport will be boosted by a £30M five-year investment announced yesterday by the Welsh Government.

It is putting up the money to encourage private investors and network providers to install more public charging points to meet concerns motorists expressed so far in a public consultation which ends in February 2021,

An assessment of the current EV network has revealed a serious shorage of public charging points which  discourages more people from making the switch to electric vehicles and currently only 0.17% of Welsh cars are pure electric.

The £30 M over five years will go into creating over 30,000 fast charging points and more than 2,500 rapid chargers which will help with the practical issues surrounding running an electric vehicle.

The UK Government has said it will outlaw pure petrol and diesel cars by 2035 and then only hybrids and pure battery electric vehicles will be permitted, but there is widespread belief only EVs will be allowed beyond 2040, possibly sooner.

The Welsh Government boost will kickstart the widerspread installation of chargers for public use and it is keen to introduce a uniform easy contactless payment system to support adoption of EVs, safe provision of charger stations and around-the-clock support which will be part of the investment.

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Newslines 4 December https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/newslines-4-december-2/ Fri, 04 Dec 2020 00:06:36 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43178 Travel between Wales and T1 or T2 areas in England is permitted from 6pm tonight.

But the Welsh Government ban remains for T3 areas, which include Bristol and Birmingham, while London and Liverpool are in the lower tiers.

The Cupra Formentor range of engines is expanding this month.

The entry-level 150ps comes in at £27,395 from the New Year , the PHEV version is due Spring 2021 while the first 310ps DSG 4Drive arrives this month £39,830 and the range will quickly extend to seven models.

The Daimler Board is going to ask shareholders to appoint Bernd Pischetsrieder as chairman of the car and trucks maker after former Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche withdrew his candidacy for the job.

Pischetsrieder is a former chief executive of Volkswagen Group and a former board member of rival BMW and oversaw the purchase of Rover Group and Rolls-Royce in the 1990s and was a distant cousin of Mini creator Sir Alec Issigonis.

Pure petrol and diesel cars are likely to be banned in Japan from mid 2030s.

It is expected to follow the UK lead and promote hybrids or pure battery vehicles after PM Yoshihide Suga said the country should work towards zero emissions by 2050.

Used electric cars are gaining popularity among drivers.

Buyacar has reported a 67% increase in used EV sales this year.

IAM RoadSmart, is calling for a targeted and local approach to combat pavement parking.

It comes as the Department for Transport consultation entitled ‘Pavement parking: options for change’ has recently finished, with a summary of responses due to be published within three months, ranging from an England-wide ban to local enforcement legislation.

AA Cars has launched its first warranty product to consumers with no limits on how many times they can claim up to the current market value of their car. 

It gives classic AA peace of mind, reassuring drivers that they will be covered for many expensive or unexpected repair bills, as claims can be made on almost all mechanical and electrical faults and Basic Roadside Cover is included.

The ‘Campervan and Staycation Goodies’ prize for the BBC Children in Need 2020 Appeal, which included a Wellhouse Leisure Toyota Proace Matino campervan worth £49,000, raised a total of £1,134,580.

An incredible achievement – and shows how popular campervans and staycations are right now!

Fiat brand will offer 60% of its range as hybrid or pure electric vehicles by the end of 2021, it said this week.

The progress is a benefit of working with engineers in the PSA part of its merged businesses and is likely to see common platforms they share with Vauxhall as well.

Amazon and Blackberry are jointly working on a cloud computing project to give car makers ‘off the shelf’ access to future over the air apps and updates.

The e-mobility era is seen as an opportunity to boost incomes.

Daimler is paying German staff up to £896 in a corona bonus.

It’s to compensate for personal and economic hardship caused by having to wear masks and working from home in some cases.

Despite corona virus restrictions in the US, General Motors made $4.4 Billion profit in the last financial quarter and Ford soared by $2 Billion profit.

Both sold fewer models but made more on them and cut costs, said Finaria research.

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Frozen White Christmas from Wales https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/frozen-white-christmas-from-wales/ Thu, 03 Dec 2020 13:00:40 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43080 Finished exclusively in Frozen White, the new MS-RT R120 is a Limited Edition of the Welsh company’s QVM-Approved MS-RT Transit Connect. The company, which uses styling and technology pioneered by Ford’s works rally team, is producing a limited run of 30 R120s in the mainland UK and 6 in Northern Ireland, with the model designed […]]]>

Finished exclusively in Frozen White, the new MS-RT R120 is a Limited Edition of the Welsh company’s QVM-Approved MS-RT Transit Connect.

The company, which uses styling and technology pioneered by Ford’s works rally team, is producing a limited run of 30 R120s in the mainland UK and 6 in Northern Ireland, with the model designed and built at its factory in Pontypool, South Wales.

Priced from £25,995 + VAT, the strictly limited edition is based on the Transit Connect Panel van as a two or three-seater, in either short or long wheelbase configurations.

The vehicle is available only in Frozen White, with subtle red and black rally decals and specially designed white rally-inspired OZ Racing Alloy wheels.

The interior receives further MS-RT treatment, with full leather seats with red stitching and a full carbon fibre sports steering wheel with red centre line.

In addition, it gets the MS-RT quad sports exhaust system with black exhaust tips, black mirror caps, bi-xenon headlamps, Ford Pass Connect, cruise control, wireless charging pad, reversing rear camera and dual sliding loading doors.

A further feature is a Maxhaust system, which uses app-based technology to deliver the sound of a sports exhaust through the van’s integral speakers, giving it a soundtrack to match its impressive road dynamics. This product will be a supply-only option from MS-RT.

The van will be available on a strictly limited basis with no plans to increase the production run, guaranteeing its status as a future collectors’ item and helping it stand out from other LCVs on the road.

All MS-RT Transit Connects including the R120 match Ford’s three-year/100,000-mile warranty, with a choice of manual or automatic transmission.

MS-RT Founding Director, Edward Davies, said: “The MS-RT Transit Connect has already been a huge success and we’ve developed the R120 in response to customer demand for something even more bespoke.

“The special edition model is sure to sell out very quickly and become an icon among fans of the MS-RT brand.”

Each van is constructed by hand at MS-RT’s Pontypool factory, which employs over 80 staff, all individually trained to meet the company’s exacting levels of craftsmanship.

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Evans poised to put WRC crown on his head https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/evans-poised-to-put-wrc-crown-on-his-head/ Thu, 03 Dec 2020 00:01:43 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43153 Elfyn Evans is on the cusp of making British motorsport history as he heads to Monza in Italy this weekend for the final round of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship. The 31-year-old Dolgellau driver arrives at the historic ‘Cathedral of Speed’ with a significant, but by no means unassailable 14-point lead over Sébastien Ogier, […]]]>

Elfyn Evans is on the cusp of making British motorsport history as he heads to Monza in Italy this weekend for the final round of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship.

The 31-year-old Dolgellau driver arrives at the historic ‘Cathedral of Speed’ with a significant, but by no means unassailable 14-point lead over Sébastien Ogier, his Toyota Gazoo Racing teammate. Hyundai’s top performer, Thierry Neuville, is a further 10 points adrift in third.

Even if the Frenchman wins and takes a maximum five points from the rally-ending Wolf Power Stage, a second-place finish would hand Evans the coveted prize – a seminal result that would see him not only crowned as the first Welshman to win the WRC drivers’ title but also the third British driver to rule the world after Colin McRae 25 years ago in 1995 and Richard Burns in 2001.

Moreover, with Lewis Hamilton already confirmed as the 2020 FIA Formula One World Champion, it would be a red letter day for UK motorsport, as never before have two British drivers lifted the F1 and WRC titles in the same year.

Not only that, but a unique ‘Quintet’ beckons as Mike Conway recently secured the 2020 FIA World Endurance Championship while Callum Bradshaw and Freddie Slater sealed honours in the FIA World Karting Championships – further fuelling the current British success.

Although content to be entering the season finale with a healthy points advantage, Evans and his co-driver Scott Martin know there is little margin for error. A maximum of 30 points remain on offer and his closest rival Ogier knows exactly what it takes to win the championship, having already bagged the WRC title on no fewer than six previous occasions.

“I will have to be at my best to achieve the ultimate goal,” confirmed Evans. “Although a lot of people see the points gap as quite big, in reality it’s still very open. It just takes one thing to go wrong and, all of a sudden, you’re no longer at the front of the championship fight.”

Making life harder for all the crews competing in northern Italy, the ACI Rally Monza is a totally unknown new addition to this year’s WRC calendar. It was only added to the revised 2020 schedule in September as a late replacement for rounds such as Wales Rally GB that were cancelled by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve been doing lots of research, but it’s difficult to know exactly what to expect,” Evans acknowledged. “We have just one day of pre-event testing on similar Tarmac roads for preparation and, having only joined the Toyota team at the start of this year, I don’t have much experience of driving the Yaris on asphalt. We did the Monte Carlo Rally back in January, but those wintry roads in the Alps are hardy representative of what we’ll find in Italy.”

Little has fazed the table-topping Welshman to-date in what has been a predictably truncated 2020 campaign. He is the only driver with multiple victories to his name with wins coming in Sweden and Turkey – and he is also the only man to have scored points in all six rounds staged thus far.

“We know what we have to do for Monza and the easiest way to achieve that is to prepare the best we can, give it our all and set out to win the rally,” he vowed.

The most important event of Evans’ career thus far features 16 special stages totalling 150 miles of spectacular against-the-clock action. On Friday, the speed tests are all set within the famous parkland Monza venue, home to Formula One’s annual Italian Grand Prix. Saturday’s timed sections switch to closed sections of public roads in the scenic hills around Lake Como to the north-east of Milan, with Sunday’s conclusion back at Monza… where the 2020 World Rally Champion will be crowned.

Fans can follow every moment of Evans’ title bid with three days of nail-biting live coverage available to WRC+ online subscribers. Further satellite and terrestrial programming will be provided on BT Sport, S4C and ITV4 platforms.

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Too much data defeats delivery https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/too-much-data-defeats-delivery/ Wed, 02 Dec 2020 12:00:11 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42927 Businesses are suffering from an information overload. A five point list aimed at helping fleets gain maximum insight from their data has been issued by FleetCheck as businesses seek to identify new levels of efficiency as they head into 2021. The fleet software specialist says that the continuing economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis […]]]>

Businesses are suffering from an information overload.

A five point list aimed at helping fleets gain maximum insight from their data has been issued by FleetCheck as businesses seek to identify new levels of efficiency as they head into 2021.

The fleet software specialist says that the continuing economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis has prompted many to look again at their fleet fundamentals – and how they measure key aims has become an important topic.

Peter Golding, managing director, explained: “It’s been a trend for many years that fleets are finding themselves with access to more and more data, and most of them will admit that they haven’t kept on top of everything it can be used to achieve.

“However, we’re now at a moment when the pandemic means that a huge number of businesses are re-examining their fleet activities from the ground up – and data is an area where it is generally agreed that real gains can be made.

“The aim of these fleets is to use the information available to measure key objectives but also to investigate areas where they are able to gain new levels of insight over their operations. They are very much open to new ideas and new thinking.

“The top five has been created by our team to help fleets travel down this road, to get them thinking about new approaches to the information to which they now have access – and how to avoid common issues such as a feeling of being overloaded with data.”

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UK car maker may need bailout https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/uk-car-maker-may-need-bailout/ Wed, 02 Dec 2020 09:00:15 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43063 Despite Coronavirus, the plug-in market in Europe grew by well over 100% this year and it will happen again in 2021. BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) will grow by more than 100% and surpass the growth of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). In 2019, the UK sold 38,000 BEVs and the UK is currently on track for between […]]]>

Despite Coronavirus, the plug-in market in Europe grew by well over 100% this year and it will happen again in 2021.

BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) will grow by more than 100% and surpass the growth of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). In 2019, the UK sold 38,000 BEVs and the UK is currently on track for between 98,000 and 101,000 BEV sales by the end of 2020.

Those in the industry are predicting that in 2021 there will be over 200,000 BEVs sold; approximately 70,000-80,000 PHEV sold and over 125,000 Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) sold.

The HEV market will continue to grow, but more slowly, meaning that pure EVs (BEVs) will outsell non-plug in hybrids (HEVs) over the whole year. Then, if there is limited economic damage after the end of the UK’s EU transition period, BEVs will continue to outsell HEVs for at least the first six months of 2021 too.

A PHEV is a plug-in Hybrid, while a HEV is just charged by its internal Combustion engine. PHEVs can in theory travel entirely emissions-free, if you don’t exceed their short range; however, HEVs can’t because all their energy comes from fossil fuels.

There’s quite a bit of controversy in EV circles about the term “self-charging” hybrid, since it sounds like the energy appears magically. In fact, all the energy comes from fossil fuels; a HEV merely charges up a battery when it brakes, i.e. it uses regen.

They were progressive in the 1990s – they’re not exciting now. In Norway, HEVs are HEaVily (sic) outsold by both BEVs and PHEVs and in the UK should be outsold by BEVs next year.

Osborne Effect will start to kick in

In addition, the Osborne Effect for petrol and diesel cars will start to kick in, declining by at least another 10% and 30% respectively (though mild HEVs, such as –

  • Audi A8, Audi A7 Sportbacks Range Rover Evoque (2018–)
  • Mazda 3 (2019-)
  • Mazda 2 (2020-)
  • Fiat 500 Hybrid (2020-)
  • Fiat Panda Hybrid (2020-)

– these vehicles will occupy a larger proportion of that); so BEVs will reach 12% of the UK market, and BEVs and PHEVs 19% of the market.

The Osborne Effect is where a company suffers a financial crisis due to its customers postponing or cancelling orders whilst waiting for the newest version of its technology.

In this case, it means that at least one major car manufacturer will ask for a government bailout; large-scale redundancies of ICE vehicle workforce and in particularly ICE R&D teams will effectively spell the end of the ICE era (since no new ICE engines will make it onto the market).

At the same time, the market for car maintenance will pick up; emissions will at last start to fall, but – paradoxically – by less than they should because people are keeping older cars on the road.  Another influential factor – the growing number of second-hand electric vehicles coming on the market as earlier adopters people move onto their second or third EV.

As a consequence, those key drivers for greater uptake over EVs for next year – together with tax incentives for fleets – will have a knock-on effect in pushing charging infrastructure forwards.

Increased price pressure for low cost chargers

With anticipated growth in the number of EVs on our roads, we’re likely to experience strong price pressure for low cost chargers during 2021. Despite reliability concerns around quality of some chargers on the market, sales of EV chargers will grow, but this will be coupled with a downward pressure on price.

In the UK, much of the low-cost charger market is driven by installers, particularly with new government regulations coming in around the requirement for new build homes to be equipped with electric vehicle chargers. Ultimately, both public and domestic chargers will get cheaper due to economies of scale and competition.

Payment and scheduling system improvements for EV charging

 Debit card payments will become the norm, rather than bespoke app or web-based systems. Innovative apps will become available to better manage public charger scheduling. The challenge of making public chargers pay for themselves, however, will remain, primarily because domestic electricity is cheap and utilisation is currently low (approx. 10%) making payback periods long.

Nevertheless, since there is a net economic benefit in driving EVs it should be possible to use this to finance the charging infrastructure whilst supporting the market.

Retreat from government subsidies

Government policy has had a massive influence on EV sales and chargers. Across Europe, although government policies differ country by country, they have helped to strongly influence take up of charging infrastructure.

In a business as usual scenario, subsidies will fall once the EV market has enough momentum, but on the other hand, the disruptive effect of EVs threatens car manufacturers and the greater urgency over decarbonisation means that governments will have to provide larger subsidies to car manufacturers.

Next year, we will begin to see a move away from everything being driven by government incentives. The public need to be weaned off subsidies and buy EVs just as they would make any major purchase. As the volume of EVs increases, the cost to manufacture them should decrease, making them more affordable. So, from 2021 onwards, we predict governments will start to scale down EV incentives.

#Avgasskam (AV-GAS-SKAM = Exhaust Shame in Swedish) – ICE vehicles start to become more unacceptable

The EV revolution has a cultural side too. Because exhaust pollution is uneven, we anticipate that ICE  vehicles will start to become more socially unacceptable, especially in the wake of the cleaner air so many of us experienced during the COVID-19 lockdown.

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Tradelines 2 December https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/newslines-2-december-2/ Wed, 02 Dec 2020 06:00:13 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43085 Prepare for the great Christmas breakdown.

That’s the message from Green Flag recovery which says after weeks of little use, cars will be under strain when the UK Christmas easement is made between 23 and 27 December, so its vital to make basic checks and get a service if planning a longer trip to friends and relatives.

Low rolling resistance to increase autonomy, decreased road noise for ultimate comfort, immediate grip that puts the power down for a quick getaway, and a special structure designed to support the weight of a battery-powered vehicle.

These are the key characteristics of Pirelli Elect tyres, developed by Pirelli together with leading car manufacturers to meet the specific technical requirements of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Leasys, a subsidiary of FCA Bank and leader in 360-degree mobility, has launched its dedicated online auction platform Clickar in the UK.

It offers retailers access to Leasys and FCA Bank used vehicle stock in a direct, simple and accessible way, for no additional cost.

Ecotricity has placed an order for three all-new Peugeot e-208s and one all-new e-2008, as it continues to upgrade its fleet.

The full electric models have been supplied by Olympic Cars Peugeot in Stroud and financed through Peugeot’s Free2Move finance specialists.

Learners are flocking back on the roads as public transport struggles to keep up with demand.

Marmalade learner driver insurance has reported a 54% year-on-year increase in customers taking out the policy between 1 August and 31 October after driving lessons and tests were put on hold by the UK Government, and then relaxed.

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Sustainable fuels moving up green agenda https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/sustainable-fuels-moving-up-green-agenda/ Tue, 01 Dec 2020 17:00:02 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43191 Sustainable renewable fuels must be included in future EU mobility legislation, say car makers and components industry. Nearly 40 businesses across Europe have signed a joint letter to the EU calling on it to not be blinded by electric vehicle lights on future uses. The signatories of this joint letter represent a crucial part of […]]]>

Sustainable renewable fuels must be included in future EU mobility legislation, say car makers and components industry.

Nearly 40 businesses across Europe have signed a joint letter to the EU calling on it to not be blinded by electric vehicle lights on future uses.

The signatories of this joint letter represent a crucial part of the automotive, fuel, energy industry and civil society in Europe, i.e. a combined force behind the transformation of EU mobility towards climate neutrality in a smart and sustainable way.

The European Union has set itself the ambitious objective of becoming climate neutral by 2050 and consequently raised its 2030 climate target. Whether the objective will be achieved and what impact this will have on EU competitiveness and employment strongly depends on the design of a suite of climate policies for the coming years.

Transport and future mobility will be a central element of these policies. The EU’s long-term climate strategy cannot rely solely on the development of new technologies and infrastructures; it must embrace a diverse portfolio of solutions in parallel, including existing sustainable renewable liquid and gaseous fuel solutions that can reduce greenhouse gases starting today.

Against this ambition, the EU Commission will outline the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and revise important mobility and energy legislations, such as COemissions standard for cars, vans and also heavy-duty vehicles. These upcoming revisions are the timely opportunity to implement a truly technology neutral approach by including the contribution to emissions reduction achieved using sustainable renewable fuels.

This recommendation aligns with the following principles, crucial to achieve a carbon neutral road transport sector in Europe:

  • Technology and fuel diversity towards 2050 – With increased climate targets there is added urgency for transport to accelerate its path towards net-zero emissions. To facilitate this acceleration, a broad portfolio of solutions is necessary to support the full spectrum of geographic, economic and vocational market demands. Considering the lack of a “one-size-fits-all solution”, it is imperative that all low carbon options, including alternative and renewable fuels, play a role in the energy transition not only on the existing fleet but also for new vehicles to curb the GHG emissions from the road transport sector across all the EU countries.
  • Coupling the efforts for the expansion of the sustainable renewable fuels market with further improvement of vehicle efficiency – Despite gains in fuel efficiency, increased demand for personal mobility and freight transport have led to increased CO2emissions from road transport. It is necessary to leverage all available solutions to reverse this trend and accelerate the decarbonisation of the sector. Accelerating the production of sustainable renewable fuels, accompanied by continued development of a range of new vehicles optimised for these fuels, can have a climate-positive impact today via the existing and future vehicle fleet for both passenger cars and heavy-duty vehicles.
  • Enabling a competitive, sustainable market till 2050– Many publications have shown that relying on full electrification alone will not result in climate neutrality in 2050. Products and solutions need to be placed according to their mission profile, where they are more necessary and accommodating the market demand. Conventional fuels and engine technologies provide a stream of revenues for vehicle manufacturers that can continuously be invested into alternative powertrains and solutions, according to the mission segment. As global players, vehicle manufacturers will maintain a central role in delivering innovative products, also in other parts of the world.
  • Integrating a growing rate of renewables in the market to practice the circular economy while seizing industrial opportunities – Sustainable renewable fuels technologies offer sectorial integration with the waste management and the agricultural sectors. This enables a clever approach to treat waste materials, which would have otherwise been disposed with the consequent emissions, while producing sustainable energy and, at the same time, high quality by-products like bio-fertiliser. This is a landmark example of circular economy targeting emissions in agriculture and waste. At the same time, the production of sustainable renewable fuel technologies involves a long value-chain, from renewable energy systems to components, taking place mostly in Europe. Sustainable renewable fuels value chain can contribute to create many new jobs and to maintain industrial leadership, while strengthening the cooperation with third-countries on innovative energy projects to speed up the energy transition.
  • System affordability– It is key to avert mobility poverty and to avoid a two-speed Europe while heading towards a carbon neutral mobility system. Being based on proven engine technologies and an already structured distribution network, sustainable renewable fuels are the most cost-efficient way to contribute to the decarbonisation process at the lowest possible cost to society. Besides the cost in relation to emission reductions, it is important to consider the impact on industrial competitiveness, innovation, affordability, and employment to ensure a fair transition for all European citizens.
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Newslines 1 December https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/newslines-1-december-2/ Tue, 01 Dec 2020 09:01:46 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43099 The motorist and transport industry will pay the price for the Government’s support package for the UK in the Chancellor’s Spring Budget, said Howard Cox, Founder of FairFuel UK. Fuel duties which have been frozen in recent years are likely to be substantially increased as HMRC has lost huge income and the Government wants to […]]]>

The motorist and transport industry will pay the price for the Government’s support package for the UK in the Chancellor’s Spring Budget, said Howard Cox, Founder of FairFuel UK.

Fuel duties which have been frozen in recent years are likely to be substantially increased as HMRC has lost huge income and the Government wants to discourage motoring to save emissions and drive its green agenda.

Honda UK has updated the 2021MY CR-V Hybrid.

The midsized SUV is now solely available as a hybrid with a number of revisions and styling tweaks, inside and out, refresh from £30,180.

Bentley Mulliner is now offering an elegant and sophisticated door trim option in tweed for the Flying Spur, Continental GT and Bentayga, providing customers with even greater choice when specifying their new vehicle.

The traditional leather finishes have been joined by four different tweeds, which add to the sustainability of the models.

ŠKODA completed the introduction of its bestseller’s fourth generation with the launch of the Octavia vRS.

The ŠKODA Octavia vRS iV – the brand’s first-ever vRS model to feature plug-in hybrid drive – is now followed by petrol and diesel.

Old cars are being snapped up across Europe, reports Reuters and research firm IHS Markit.

There’s also been a spike in internet searches for ageing vehicles as commuters want to avoid public transport, but it’s neither good news for struggling mass transit networks nor the environment as dirty old cars appear to be more in demand than new electric vehicles.

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Truck technology accelerates with ev powertrains https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/truck-technology-accelerates-with-ev-powertrains/ Tue, 01 Dec 2020 00:01:06 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42967 The data connectivity provided by electric trucks will mean a bigger revolution for fleet management than the vehicles themselves, r2c Online is forecasting. The commercial vehicle compliance and maintenance software specialist said that the ability to gather information in real time would provide massive operational advantages. Tim Meadows, managing director at r2c Online, said: “Electric trucks […]]]>

The data connectivity provided by electric trucks will mean a bigger revolution for fleet management than the vehicles themselves, r2c Online is forecasting.

The commercial vehicle compliance and maintenance software specialist said that the ability to gather information in real time would provide massive operational advantages.
Tim Meadows, managing director at r2c Online, said: “Electric trucks are a very exciting development but essentially, the approach to safety and maintenance dictated by their form of power is not too dissimilar to existing vehicles, if currently more specialist.

“However, what they will definitely bring is a much higher degree of connectivity than we have seen in the past and this will have a direct impact on how fleet management is approached in all kinds of potentially very productive ways.

“The technology to offer this degree of connectivity has been around for a while but it is really with electric trucks that we are going to see it adopted on a widespread basis, especially as the supporting infrastructure grows, we believe.

“The information we’ll be able to gather will cover all of the major areas that affect operational fleet management – safety, maintenance, range, payload and more. Interrogating that data correctly with the right systems and producing effective reporting will mean much better informed decisions can be made.

“Ultimately, it’s an approach that will allow fleet operators to become highly proactive. For example, you may be made aware that a part will fail before it happens because a sensor on the truck tells you, so the issue can be resolved before it becomes a problem.

“You’ll also be able to see the exact range of electric trucks out on the road, so that you’ll know which will have enough charge to reach a location and can make a decision from your desk about which to choose for the run you need. There are all kinds of possibilities.”

Tim added that there was also emerging excitement around that connectivity could enable Mobility as a Service (MaaS) ideas and the way in which this could make practices such as backloading much more practical.

“There are some signs of a shift occurring where fleet managers are thinking less about operating trucks and more about operating transport space and, of course, that prompts questions of how to make better use of that space?”

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Continuing disagreement over evs “green” credentials https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/continuing-disagreement-over-evs-green-credentials/ Mon, 30 Nov 2020 09:00:31 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43069 While more and more companies are focusing on electromobility in order to meet climate targets, the scientific community has by no means reached a consensus on what the propulsion system of the future will look like. This is shown in a new infographic from Block-Builders.net (right). The CO2 balance of an electric car looks much less […]]]>

While more and more companies are focusing on electromobility in order to meet climate targets, the scientific community has by no means reached a consensus on what the propulsion system of the future will look like.

This is shown in a new infographic from Block-Builders.net (right).

The CO2 balance of an electric car looks much less attractive than that of a conventional combustion engine when taking into account the manufacturing process (above) and not just the fuel use.

For example, production of an electric car generates 16.8 tonnes of CO2 equivalents, compared to 8.4 tonnes for a modern car with a diesel engine. As the infographics show, if an electric vehicle is used for 12 years, almost 60% of the total emissions can be attributed to the production phase.

Depending on battery size and consumption, an electric car must be driven for up to 300,000 kilometres before its CO2 balance is more favourable than that of a modern diesel.

The Association of German Engineers (VDI) suggests that all forms of propulsion could be climate-friendly and that all product developments should be pursued in parallel. However, other scientists arrive at significantly different conclusions.

While German manufacturers such as Volkswagen are strongly pushing and prioritising electric mobility, a different trend can be observed in China. The Middle Kingdom is aiming for a 55% market share for electric cars with batteries, hydrogen vehicles and plug-in hybrids by 2035.

However, high-ranking politicians there remain more open to conventional vehicles: “We do not want to stall petrol vehicles, as is happening in some countries,” as they say.

The climate debate is a key challenge for the automotive market. However the data available could hardly be more divergent. According to the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the CO2 equivalent of producing batteries for electric vehicles is around 154.5 kg / kWh, while the University of Eindhoven comes up with a CO2 equivalent of around 75 kg / kWh.

Stock market participants seem to take a much less controversial view of the situation. As the infographics show, 53.9% of Americans expect Tesla to show the strongest share price increases over the next 5 years.

The US pioneer exclusively produces electric vehicles. 9.3%, on the other hand, are betting on the hydrogen stock Nikola to achieve the best performance.

“While statements from numerous corporate leaders as well as price developments on the stock exchange floor suggest that electric mobility is set to win the race for supremacy in the automotive sector,” argues Block-Builders analyst Raphael Lulay,

“Controversial study results show that this is far from set in stone. Car companies seem to be well advised to continue to pursue all propulsion systems equally”.

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Cash in the garage as classics climb in value over gold https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/cash-in-the-garage-as-classics-climb-in-value-over-gold/ Sun, 29 Nov 2020 09:00:58 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43074 Classic cars have outperformed gold in terms of investment opportunity over the past decade. Using Hagerty’s average pricing for classic cars, Vanarama reviewed how much a classic car can appreciate in a mere decade. In 2020, the average second hand car lists for £15,000 according to the NFDA – so Vanarama have looked at 10 affordable […]]]>

Classic cars have outperformed gold in terms of investment opportunity over the past decade.

Using Hagerty’s average pricing for classic cars, Vanarama reviewed how much a classic car can appreciate in a mere decade. In 2020, the average second hand car lists for £15,000 according to the NFDA – so Vanarama have looked at 10 affordable classic cars under £15,000 and tracked their increase in value 5 times between 2010 and 2020.

The research reveals that the average value increase of a classic car that you could buy for under £15k is an impressive 97% in just 10 years.

Vanarama also looked at how the value of commodities like stock, property and art would increase in value if you paid in the same price of the average second-hand car (£15k).

To provide an honest comparison – they have averaged the value increase across all the cars in the study to find that they still all offer better return on investment than property, art, gold and savings accounts.

Investment % Change – 3 years % Change – 5 years % Change – 7 years % Change – 10 years
Stocks 35% 65% 101% 107%
Classic Cars 19% 33% 50% 97%
UK Property 14% 23% 33% 50%
Art 13% 22% 32% 49%
Gold 12% 20% 30% 45%
Average Savings Account 1% 1% 2% 3%


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Weekend roadtest: MINI John Cooper Works GP3 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/weekend-roadtest-mini-john-cooper-works-gp3/ Sat, 28 Nov 2020 09:00:07 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43020   Following the success of the two previous MINI GP models introduced in 2006 and 2013, the new limited edition MINI John Cooper Works GP3, is the most powerful and fastest production MINI ever sold, writes David Miles.   Just 3,000 of these models will be built at MINI Plant Oxford for global sales with 575 […]]]>

 

Following the success of the two previous MINI GP models introduced in 2006 and 2013, the new limited edition MINI John Cooper Works GP3, is the most powerful and fastest production MINI ever sold, writes David Miles.

 

Just 3,000 of these models will be built at MINI Plant Oxford for global sales with 575 of them available to UK customers.

They are priced from £35,345 on-the-road or track for the lighter weight base version or £37,345 if fitted with the Touring Pack.

This pack adds such items as the 8.8-inch display for the Navigation Plus Pack plus there is Apple CarPlay, MINI Connected and other items found on ‘normal’ MINIs such as automatic air-con, heated seats and better noise insulation material.

The engine and standard fit 8-speed automatic transmission are closely related to the same powertrain as used in the BMW M135i, but there the similarity ends.

For the MINI 3-door hatchback body  has seating just for two and the rear  is given over to load space of 612 to 816-litres with passenger shielded from potential luggage hitting their sports seat backs under braking with a protection bar which actually looks as though it is there for strengthening of the bodyshell.

 

The rear seats are not fitted to save weight and to allow for additional bodywork strengthening  In essence this is a track day car but suitable for two-up road travel if you are brave and bold enough.

And you don’t see many compact family cars bolder than this GP3 version. First of all it has a massive twin blade rear roof mounted wing and additional wheelarch spats. Other notable exterior go-faster tweaks include 18-inch lightweight alloy wheels, Racing Grey metallic paint, contrasting silver roof and mirror caps, darkened LED headlights and rear lights, GP aerodynamic body kit with a specific design front bumper incorporating large air intakes and a new rear bumper which includes a diffuser with twin exhaust tailpipes.

Perhaps the most talked about styling tweak, apart from the roof spoiler, is the carbon fibre wheelarch spats bearing each car’s individual limited edition number. These are apparently required because of the wider front wheel track and use of the 8J 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/35 profile tyres.

The spats look odd, like an aftermarket accessory fit and stand proud of the bodywork so mud, silt and rain can get between the spats and the bodyshell which was evident on my test car. I see the need for them for legal requirements but why they sit away from the bodyshell is very odd and looks naff and contrived.

 

Inside its very much posh MINI even for the base spec version with two JCW bucket sports seats upholstered in leather with red seat belts, central armrest, there is the GP version of the MINI digital cockpit, lots of GP labelled trim inserts and GP monogrammed gear change levers and cruise control.  The more popular GP Touring Pack items I’ve listed earlier in this test drive editorial.

On the technical side the GP3 has a 10mm lowered ride height and a 20mm wider front track than the standard JCW models, it has sports suspension with specific damper settings,  high rate performance springs, stiffer roll bars, and wheel camber settings.

It is fitted with Hankook performance tyres, a JCW sports braking system with 4-piston front callipers, enhanced air intake system, a Torsion sports mechanical differential and specific Dynamic Stability Control performance settings including a GP mode which can be turned off.

At the heart of the MINI GP3 is a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, TwinPower turbo petrol engine more or less straight from the hot-shot BMW M135i.

So is the standard fit 8-speed sports automatic transmission but its front wheel drive only, no ALL4 weighty 4WD traction for this version.

 

JCW upgrades to the engine include a new twin-scroll turbocharger with greater boost pressure, a reinforced crankshaft, larger main bearings, lighter pistons and connecting rods, a larger sump and uprated cooling.

Power output is 306hp with 450Nm of torque from 1,750rpm and the performance figures I’ve already quoted. Additionally the official Combined Cycle fuel consumption figure is 34mpg, (30mpg on my short test drive). The CO2 emissions are 189g/km so VED road tax First Year rate is £870 followed by the £150 Standard rate and company car Benefit-in-Kind tax (very likely you’ll be allowed one unless you are the Company) is the maximum 37%.  Insurance will be very negotiable depending on use, location, age and experience but will be based on a probable 30E rating.

No driver is going to get an easy ride with the MINI GP3, it’s a track-day orientated product. In base spec form it is more rustic with less sound deadening and no air-con to weigh it down. The Touring Pack option socialises the product in part with a nicer interior if it’s going to be used as a main every day car.

But that’s not what the GP3 was designed for, traffic cluttered public roads are not its friend, it doesn’t like chuffing along at stop-start speeds, its hungry to be let loose on open roads with good road surfaces and nicely cambered bends. If you can find one like that as I just about did in West Oxfordshire, then its performance is stunning.

Cornering grip is immense; no sign of understeer at legal cornering speeds but there is huge torque-steer if the power is applied to quickly. The differential just cannot dispense the torque equally to the front wheels which scrabble for grip but once grip is found the acceleration is huge and the wide torque band gives this unit a huge range of pulling power. In fact at times it’s the 8-speed auto gearbox that can feel slow to respond with gearchanges to accommodate the power output.

It’s fast, it’s agile, it’s nimble it’s potentially dangerous in over adventurous unskilled hands, it’s fun if you are in the mood and it can be very hard-riding on in-town poorer road surfaces. The hard suspension causes the car to hop about, become very unsettled and generally tiresome.

The very stiff suspension is not at all compliant as you might expect from a track-day car but the GP3 will be used by more road users than racing wannabes. Perhaps the base car should keep the stiff suspension settings but the Touring Pack version could have as standard a less radical suspension firmness to it without losing most of its handling abilities – surely that’s possible in this day and age.

Whatever uses the owner has for the MINI GP3 it will surely make them smile despite its non-eco friendly application and sometimes rough ride. They will smile not least because of the performance it has but also money wise when you consider the Pound Sterling per mph value this car gives. It has to be considered a bargain and when did we last say that about a MINI?

MILESTONES: MINI John Cooper Works GP3 £35,345 or £37,345 as tested with the Touring Pack

Engine/transmission: JCW 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, TwinPower turbo petrol engine, 306hp, 450Nm of torque from 1,750rpm, 8-speed sports auto/man transmission, Torsion mechanical sports differential with front wheel drive

Performance: 164mph, 0-62mph 5.2-seconds., WLTP Combined Cycle 34mpg (30mpg on my short public roads test drive)

CO2 189g/km VED First Year road tax  £870 then Standard rate of £150, BiK company car tax 37%

Insurance group: 30E (tbc)        Warranty: 3-years/unlimited mileage

Dimensions/capacities: L 3,879mm, W 1,762mm, H 1,420mm, wheelbase 2,495mm, luggage space 612-816-litres, 3-doors/2-seats

For: Fastest and most powerful production MINI ever offered for sale, made in the UK, extreme performance, superb road holding and front end cornering grip, exclusivity and good value for money if you want that level of performance, fun factor 10 for some owners

Against:  Some questionable body enhancement tweaks such as the wheelarch spats and the very oversized rear roof mounted wing, a very firm ride which is OK for track use but tiresome for road driving, slow auto/man gearchanges during hard acceleration, massive amounts of torque-steer at times.

© David Miles

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Newslines 27 November https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/newslines-27-november-3/ Fri, 27 Nov 2020 15:30:40 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43132 US safety engineers have issued a warning about 115,0000 Tesla models over possible suspension failure. It concerns Model S and Model X cars from 2015 and 2017 after 43 cars were reportedly involved and three years ago the car maker issued a service check advisory, Reuters reports. Britishvolt has announced the intention to site its […]]]>

US safety engineers have issued a warning about 115,0000 Tesla models over possible suspension failure.

It concerns Model S and Model X cars from 2015 and 2017 after 43 cars were reportedly involved and three years ago the car maker issued a service check advisory, Reuters reports.

Britishvolt has announced the intention to site its new global headquarters in the West Midlands.

The new facility, sited in the heartland of the UK automotive industry, will spearhead the development of battery technologies for future electrified vehicles and the company is still talking to Welsh Government about a manufacturing centre in St Athan.

Over 1.1M new cars were registered across Europe in October, about the same level as in 2028.

EVs and hybrids accounted for over a quarter of these and the best selling BEV was the VW ID.3.

Volkswagen is reportedly planning a new city car to capture those seeking pure electric travel for commuting.

It has not been confirmed by the German giant but its likely to bring about platforms shared with others in its group such as SEAT and Skoda and Maserati has said it will have electric cars throughout its range inside five years.

There will be two wheelbase and trim levels for the forthcoming Mercedes-Benz eVito van.

Prices start from £40,895 and both Progressive and Plus versions come with a 35kWh motor and 92 miles range after a six hour charge.

The demand for Electric Vehicles and Hybrid Electric Vehicles has grown consistently over the last decade but comprehensive extended warranty cover has not been on the menu.

MotorEasy has now bridged this shortcoming by extending its pioneering electric car warranties to cover degradation of the drive battery and was the first to offer extended warranty cover for EVs and is believed to be the only one that is prepared to cover drive battery capacity loss.

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Learning to drive is breaking the bank for some https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/learning-to-drive-is-breaking-the-bank-for-some/ Fri, 27 Nov 2020 13:00:40 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43013 Cost is putting the brakes on learning to drive. A study by Comparethemarket shows almost a third (31%) saying the cost of lessons put them off from learning, and a further 31% of people say that they can’t afford to purchase a car or its running costs. Nearly a quarter (24%) of Brits have said […]]]>

Cost is putting the brakes on learning to drive.

A study by Comparethemarket shows almost a third (31%) saying the cost of lessons put them off from learning, and a further 31% of people say that they can’t afford to purchase a car or its running costs.

Nearly a quarter (24%) of Brits have said they simply don’t want to drive, and the fear of getting behind the wheel was another determining factor with nearly one fifth (19%) saying they’re scared of other drivers on the road and having an accident.

Two thirds (69%) of Brits have said they regret never learning to drive, and 40% don’t think they’ll ever learn.

There are considerable differences between male and female respondents too. Nearly a quarter (23%) of women claimed the main reason they never learnt to drive was that they’re scared of other drivers, while just 10% of men said the same. A further 22% of women admitted they’re scared of having an accident, but only 11% of men agreed.

Those aged between 18–24 have been financially hit hard by the pandemic, so it’s unsurprising that this age group said they’ve never learnt to drive due to affordability (28%).

Of that age group 69% are keeping positive and will look to learn to drive in the future.

Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance at comparethemarket.com said, “Our research shows that for the majority of people who can’t drive, the cost of buying a car and running it is the determining factor that puts people off learning, especially those aged between 18-24.

“For the 69% of 18-24 year olds who plan on learning to drive in the future, it’s worth noting that buying a car is likely to be more expensive than insurance. The pandemic hasn’t helped this and has forced many young people into financial difficulty, impacting their ability to fund the running costs of having a car. The easiest way to combat this is by switching. Our statistics indicate that 17 – 24 year olds can save over £200 by switching to a better deal on the market”.

For anyone who is nervous about learning to drive once lessons resume driving instructor John Parry, shares his top tips on how to beat the nerves.

Pick an instructor who’s right for you

Seek recommendations, speak to friends and family and check out local social media groups too. It’s a good idea too and may be worth dropping them a message to ask them about their experience with that instructor.

Don’t compare yourself to others

We all learn in different ways and at different speeds. COVID-19 has also meant that many learners have had to encompass a start/stop approach to their lessons due to the local and national lockdowns, which have also resulted in long delays when it comes to booking a test slot.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a week or two off from lessons

If you’re struggling, taking a couple of weeks off could help to refresh your mind, so you can get back behind the wheel even more determined.

In another report young drivers have been forking out over £40M in fines for offences, some repeated more than once.

Moneyshake submitted a FOI request to the DVLA to uncover the UK’s most careless young drivers. The data revealed that 9 drivers aged 16-25 are caught driving illegally every hour, and 165 young drivers are caught speeding every day, costing £6 million in fines annually.

Moneyshake uncovered thata huge 81,509 motoring offences were committed by drivers aged 16-25 in the last year, resulting a shocking £40.7 million in fines.

A driving conviction is also extremely likely to make your insurance premium go up, as convictions needs to be declared for five years.

Moneyshake’s research also reveals that 1,182 drivers have been caught for the same type of offence in one year.The most common multiple offence is speeding on a public road, with 726 double offences recorded.

This would result in a maximum of 12 points, a £2,000 fine and a ban.

The Most Common Offences Committed Are:

  1. Speeding
  2. Driving without insurance
  3. Failure to identify driver

The DVLA’s shocking statistics also show that there are young drivers who commit the same crime up to four times.

The data reveals that 16-25 year olds were caught multiple times in the same year for reckless or dangerous driving, which could result in 44 points, a ban, unlimited fine and 8 years in prison.

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Breath tests are six times more likely in Wales https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/breath-tests-are-six-times-more-likely-in-wales/ Fri, 27 Nov 2020 11:00:31 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43095 Drivers in Wales are up to six times more likely to be breath tested in December than other months. Analysis of Home Office data by AlcoSense Breathalysers shows that in December last year, 7,345 motorists were stopped by Police across Wales on suspicion of drink driving. North Wales led the way with 3,964 tests – […]]]>

Drivers in Wales are up to six times more likely to be breath tested in December than other months.

Analysis of Home Office data by AlcoSense Breathalysers shows that in December last year, 7,345 motorists were stopped by Police across Wales on suspicion of drink driving.

North Wales led the way with 3,964 tests – far higher than any Police force in England.  Second on the list was Northamptonshire with 2,957 tests.

South Wales Police conducted 1,567 breath tests, followed by Gwent (1,029) and Dyfed-Powys (785).

A total of 624 drivers in Wales tested positive last December, a failure rate of 8.5%.

The number arrested in North Wales (322) was the highest outside the Metropolitan Police area of Greater London (412).

“We might be going to fewer Christmas parties this year, but several studies show that people have been drinking more alcohol during lockdown,” comments Hunter Abbott, MD of AlcoSense Laboratories.

 

“This increase has been driven by job uncertainty and pandemic anxiety, fuelled by the rise in at-home drinking where measures are more generous than a pub or restaurant.

“This trend makes it more likely that people may get behind the wheel and drive with alcohol still in their system the next morning.  Even a small amount of alcohol slows reaction time, inhibits judgement and reduces concentration – increasing the likelihood of accidents.

“One in five drink drive convictions are in the morning.  A personal breathalyser takes the guesswork out of knowing when alcohol has cleared the morning after the night before”.

Welsh Police carried out 32,530 roadside breath tests throughout 2019 – of which 4,577 were either positive or refused.

Across England and Wales there were 8,860 injuries last year due to a driver being over the limit, including 240 deaths.

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Dishing the dirt on the germs in your car https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/dishing-the-dirt-on-the-germs-in-your-car/ Fri, 27 Nov 2020 09:00:49 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42999 ATS has dished the dirt on its customers. Cleanliness really has been put next to goodliness this year when shopping, socialising or simply being at home, but how about sitting in your car? Here, according to Professor John Ward from the Department of Biochemical Engineering at University College London, there is a problem,“Studies have found […]]]>

ATS has dished the dirt on its customers.

Cleanliness really has been put next to goodliness this year when shopping, socialising or simply being at home, but how about sitting in your car?

Here, according to Professor John Ward from the Department of Biochemical Engineering at University College London, there is a problem,“Studies have found that on the average toilet seat there are 50 bacteria per square inch and the most heavily contaminated parts of a car number between 2,000 and 4,000.”

ATS invited Prof. Ward to its garage in Brixton Hill, London to see what he’d find. Here, the professor and his team were given eleven cars owned by the general public to inspect, with the same six touch-point areas of each car under inspection.

The places in question? 

The humble cup holder, the dashboard buttons, steering wheel, gear stick, seat belt catch, and finally, the door handle.
Swabs were placed in agar plates and incubated for 4 days at 30oC. Photos were taken of the bacteria growing before the plates were incubated for 3 more days at the same temperature.

In the report this is what was found – as well as the potential harm these bacteria pose.

Beware “nooks and crannies”, Prof. Ward notes, as this is where tiny bits of debris and skin flakes accumulate. By contrast, the gear stick and steering wheel fare well, in part because their smooth and shiny surfaces retain less bacteria.

“As for the cup holder – it’s exactly that… a holder with a shape designed to hold and retain the cup… as well as any other small bits of debris. With some little bits of liquid, this provides quite a good little environmental niche for bacteria to be trapped and grow.”

In summary, Prof. Ward and his team discovered skin bacteria throughout all the cars. Alongside this, sinusitis-causing Staphylococcus aureus was present in the cup holders and on the seat belt catch.

Soil bacteria was discovered on drivers’ door handles and dashboard buttons, and mucus residue on places like the steering wheel.

The nature of the study meant that harmful bacteria like Burkholderia and Prevotella didn’t show up on the agar plates, but Prof. Ward believes these “commensal microbiomes” are likely present and can be harmful to people with heart problems and pacemakers.

Most germ-riddled areas ranked most to least:

  1. Cup holder –100% (in 11/11 cars tested)
  2. Dashboard buttons – 90% (in 10/11 cars tested)
  3. Seat belt catch – 90% (in 10/11 cars tested)
  4. Steering wheel – 82% (in 9/11 cars tested)
  5. Door handle – 64% (in 7/11 cars tested)
  6. Gear stick – 55% (in 6/11 cars tested)

Prof. Ward’s final advice is clear, “Clean your car as you would your home. Wipe down surfaces, and take particular precautions if you have children, as they can pick up viruses you might not encounter otherwise.”

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Roads and signs need recycling to pay for green drive https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/roads-and-signs-need-recycling-to-pay-for-green-drive/ Fri, 27 Nov 2020 00:01:04 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43043 Road surfaces will have to be recycled along with old signs as part of the Government drive towards a greener future, says one engineering company.

Rishi Sunak set out his first Spending Review against the backdrop of an economy ravaged by the effects of Covid-19.

The Chancellor announced measures to support Boris Johnson’s “levelling-up” agenda with the publication of the National Infrastructure Strategy and investment across the UK’s regions and nations, including £1.6 billion for local roads.

This Spending Review comes a week after the announcement of the Government’s 10-point green plan. In the new plan, there are a number of initiatives that will need the help of infrastructure specialists to help meet the goals. For example, to support the phase-out of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, £1bn will be spent on supply chains and manufacturing, with another £1.3bn going on charging infrastructure.

Grants subsidising the cost of electric cars will be extended until 2023, and the government says the industry will support 40,000 new jobs by 2030 and save 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. To help move people away from cars and onto other forms of transport, it has already been announced £5bn for buses and cycling and £4.2bn for public transport.

Money will be spent on 4,000 zero-emission buses and rail electrification, as well as more cycle lanes and low-traffic neighbourhoods, building on a scheme rolled out in councils across the country this year.

Harry Pearl (right), CEO of Roadmender Asphalt, said, “This new green plan will revolutionise the way that roads and the wider infrastructure is both produced and maintained.

“The processes and materials used to build and maintain roads will have to become more sustainable.

“There is a huge amount of waste in the industry so reclaiming and recycling used bitumen, a technique we are pioneering at Roadmender Asphalt, will become the norm for road builders.

The ironwork and architecture around highways are also going to have to change to accommodate a new landscape. New charging points and signage will require additional materials but producers will be encouraged to recycle as much product as possible.

Therefore, it is like that sign producers, metal workers and ironmongers, will be encouraged to reclaim old or unused signage and recycle to raw material. This may be a trend seen across the entire market, but if successful, those in the industry will be leading the way in industrial recycling and sustainability, he added.

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M4 congestion report wants more trains – and cycleways https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/m4-congestion-report-wants-more-trains-and-cycleways/ Thu, 26 Nov 2020 16:00:59 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43105 Welsh Shadow Minister for Minister for Economy, Business, and Infrastructure Russel George MS has criticised  the report into plans to tackle congestion on the M4  which he says do not put sufficient emphasis on the need for a relief road. Mr George said, “Let’s be clear: Welsh Conservatives are firm believers in tackling the problem […]]]>

Welsh Shadow Minister for Minister for Economy, Business, and Infrastructure Russel George MS has criticised  the report into plans to tackle congestion on the M4  which he says do not put sufficient emphasis on the need for a relief road.

Mr George said, “Let’s be clear: Welsh Conservatives are firm believers in tackling the problem of congestion on the M4 into and out of South Wales though a variety of means, and as the party that believes fundamentally in the ‘greening’ of industry and transport, we see much to recommend in the report – if measures are introduced alongside the much-needed M4 relief road.

“Just last week, Prime Minister Johnson outlined his 10-point plan for a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’, and Welsh Conservatives are firmly behind this multi-layered approach, which of course includes transport.”

He added, “The emphasis in the report on rail transport is laudable, but since Transport for Wales, which is a company owned by the Welsh Labour-led Government took responsibility for rail services, we have seen issue after issue, and a poorer service for rail commuters. it’s a clear case of putting the cart before the horse, because we do not yet have a rail service fit for the 21st century.”

Mr George concluded, “Another major concern is the fudging of costs. One of few mentions of money is about a “Workplace Parking Levy’.

“Of course, ‘levy’ is just another word for ‘tax’ and the hint is made that that each employee in businesses in Cardiff and Newport could be taxed £434 a year just to park at their place of work.

“This, it’s claimed could realise some £10m revenue annually. At that rate, it will take only 15 years to claw back the money the government here wasted on the £157m M4 Relief Road inquiry. “

This year, Coronavirus has thrown much into confusion. Businesses and their employees don’t want confusion, but clarity and certainty.

“We’re certain, as are businesspeople and commuters, that an M4 relief road must be at the heart of any multi-stream plan to create a transport system fit not just for the rest of this decade, but long into the future.”

The South East Wales Transport Commission under Lord Burns said coping with the M4 issues would cost up to £800M and required a massive boost to train services, stations and co-ordinated bus services, workplace parking taxes in Newport and Cardiff, and better cycling provision in Newport and a link to Cardiff.

After Wales FM Mark Drakeford scrapped the public inquiry recommended £1.6B  14 miles relief road over the Gwent Levels and set up the commission study excluding the relief road, the UK Government said it might bypass the Welsh lawmakers and build the road in any event.

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Call for new thinking towards net zero challenge https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/call-for-new-thinking-towards-net-zero-challenge/ Thu, 26 Nov 2020 13:01:13 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43101 The UK automotive sector is a valuable asset to the UK economy, generating £82bn and providing 832,000 jobs in the UK, said Matt Western MP, chair of the all party parliamentary motor group.

Writing the forward to a new report on Government plans to reach net zero carbon by 2050, which will be a huge challenge for society and industry in Britain, he said there is no silver bullet to kill the issue.

“It is a key sector and a global R&D focus point with £3.75bn invested in 2019, yet government ambitions for phasing out the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles at some point in the 2030s mean the next few months will be critical in determining its future.

“The Government has pledged that by 2050 the UK will be a ‘net zero’ emitter of CO2. Emissions have reduced since 1990 and the UK has done well so far in meeting its CO2 reduction targets. However, at present, the UK is set to fall behind by 2023.

He went on,“Now that coal-fired power stations have closed down and we have started to use much more natural gas and renewable energy, road transport is one of the biggest CO2 emitters. We need to reduce this, and quickly.”

“While a clear and achievable target for ending the sale of petrol and diesel cars is vital for the industry to prepare for a managed transition to a cleaner future, we should not be fooled into thinking this alone will solve the problem. We need to address the decarbonisation of both vehicle and fuel to have any real hope of meeting our CO2 reduction ambitions.” 

The UK has made significant progress in reducing its carbon emissions, but more needs to be done, and road transportation is a key area where improvements are required if decarbonisation targets are to be met.

The number of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs)
is increasing, but there remain a number of significant barriers to uptake. These range from cost, to availability and practicality for the user.

As outlined in this report, the needs of the varying segments of the road transport sector vary depending on the attributes of that particular vehicle and its use. The type of powertrain is best matched to its usage cycle. We therefore need to consider the usage of the vehicle when assessing the correct powertrain solution for a given vehicle.

The analysis goes on to recommend six actions:

Decarbonise fuels not vehicles; adapt cleaner fuels for older vehicles; different vehicles need alternative technologies; publication of the whole-vehicle CO2 footprint; link renewable energy and transport decarbonisation and finally, allow industry to innovate with a range of solutions not impose only one.

It is therefore important to consider the principle that the cars define how much energy is used (fuel consumption), but it is the fuel that defines how much carbon is produced (carbon intensity).

Any policy changes should therefore focus on both aspects in a holistic Well to Wheel approach in assessing the emissions of a vehicle.

Making all new vehicles Zero Emissions at the tailpipe (FCEV/BEV) only works if the energy grid is zero emission, it also only addresses those new vehicles sold each year circa 2m per annum (2019), whereas introducing a low-carbon fuel impacts on all vehicles in the car parc, circa 40m.

The Government should adopt a technology neutral approach, allowing industry to continue to innovate.
In doing so, the UK would be well placed to lead
in the development and manufacture of these new technologies. We have a diverse automotive industry, centres of excellence in materials (NCC), the new battery research centre technology (UKBIC), a growing Hydrogen generation industry and one of the best supply chains around the globe.

However, government ambition needs to recognise the differing technology needs of the various vehicles on the market. We can research the best technology and build the best vehicles to be powered by this technology, but currently we have to import this technology from abroad. Given the fragility of supply networks halfway across the globe and the polluting effect of transporting components such as batteries, this is not a long-term solution for a UK automotive industry that wants to be a global leader.

The diversity of the UK automotive industry is also unique with a large number of small and niche manufacturers. These manufacturers often act as the route to market for new technology, so the UK has a distinct advantage.

There is a golden opportunity in a post-Brexit, post-corona virus world for the UK to become the global leader in state of the art zero emission technology, but we must find a way to support both the technology development and the industrial development that follows.

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Naran muscles into motoring world https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/naran-muscles-into-motoring-world/ Thu, 26 Nov 2020 13:00:26 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=43087 Naran Automotive, the new manufacturer of luxury ultra-high performance cars, has revealed the exterior design of its first model – The Naran. The four-seater hyper-coupé will deliver an authentic GT3-style driving experience for the road when it arrives next year, combining the uncompromising performance and dynamics of a track-focused hypercar, with opulent ultra-luxurious materials inside […]]]>

Naran Automotive, the new manufacturer of luxury ultra-high performance cars, has revealed the exterior design of its first model – The Naran.

The four-seater hyper-coupé will deliver an authentic GT3-style driving experience for the road when it arrives next year, combining the uncompromising performance and dynamics of a track-focused hypercar, with opulent ultra-luxurious materials inside and out.

Just 49 examples of the first-of-its-kind, four-seater, all-wheel-drive, front-mid engined hyper-coupé will be created. Each vehicle produced will be individually tailored to the personal taste of the collector, including the designation of a bespoke model name – a convention normally reserved for luxury superyachts.

Naran Automotive has brought together a team of world-class partners from the pinnacle of automotive design, motorsport, material innovation and powertrain development to create The Naran, which is Hindu for  manly.

Jowyn Wong, founder of Wyn Design and visionary behind the Apollo IE and De Tomaso P72, is leading the design, while colour and materials design is being tailored by Kate Montgomery, former Aston Martin Lagonda designer.

The bespoke 5.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine is built in Germany with partners Racing Dynamics, produces 1,048hp with a 0-62mph time of under 3secs and maximum over 230mph.

The Naran will start from around the £750-850k mark, but all cars are dependent on the buyers configuration and so is very much price on application.

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Classic cars and their ev future https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/classic-cars-and-their-ev-future/ Thu, 26 Nov 2020 09:00:30 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42969 The Government stands to lose about £28B in fuel duties annually as EVs become the norm in a decade or so, says Hagerty Classic Car insurance, so it must find a way to compensate. At the last count, there were more than 20 toll roads in the UK, including 18 river crossings, but also the […]]]>

The Government stands to lose about £28B in fuel duties annually as EVs become the norm in a decade or so, says Hagerty Classic Car insurance, so it must find a way to compensate.

At the last count, there were more than 20 toll roads in the UK, including 18 river crossings, but also the M6 toll road and congestion road pricing in Durham and London.

UK motoring taxes raise almost £40 billion a year, 70 per cent of it in fuel tax. In the last 20 years, fuel duty had dropped from 2.2 per cent of gross domestic product to 1.3. And it will drop to effectively zero as the government heads to ‘net zero carbon emissions” by 2050.

Road pricing isn’t just about money, congestion is also a factor. In 2018, transport consultant INRIX published a report showing the average British driver spent 178 hours stuck in jams a year, costing each one £1,317 in lost time, which annually loses the British economy £7.9 billion.

Classic and many modern classic cars don’t have connectivity, some don’t even have electrics to speak of, which means to make something like a national road-pricing scheme work, owners of cars without the necessary communication equipment will have to carry a tracker or pay up front before driving their cars – or we adopt nationwide automatic numberplate recognition technology.

While proponents of road pricing point out that mobile telephones, fitness trackers and even credit cards monitor our movements, there is a general unease with the idea of tracking our every journey.

“We might have bigger fish to fry with this issue,” says Wayne Scott spokesman for the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC), “such as how we get fuel after 2030 and whether it will still be made.”

That said, however, the general assumption is that since classic vehicles registered before 1980 are exempt from road tax and the requirement to have an annual MoT test (if more than 40-years old), they could well be exempt from road pricing as well.

“That’s what you might expect,” says Scott, “especially as classic vehicles are responsible for less than 0.2 per cent of all road miles, but we are very keen to be seen as paying our way and not an exception as that might affect our freedom to drive on the roads.”

The Queen’s Highway is a peculiarly precious idea in British Society; freedom of movement and association have been hard won in our society and are not easily or simply returned back to our masters. Do we really want to establish such an overwhelming level of surveillance and control by governments as well as the sheer embuggerance and cost of road pricing?

Lee Mathewson, Vice President of International Insurance Products and Managing Director of Hagerty UK concluded, “There are many factors affecting the classic car world, not least the planned phasing out of new combustion driven vehicles in 2030, and now road pricing.

“The UK classic car industry is misunderstood, far from being old and decrepit it is modern and dynamic and adapts fast to provide innovative ways for owners to enjoy their vehicles in an ever-changing world. Hagerty champions the cause for the classic motorist and will continue to do all we can to protect the industry and keep classic vehicles on the road.”

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The road to anxiety may be short or long https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/the-road-to-anxiety-may-be-short-or-long/ Thu, 26 Nov 2020 00:01:20 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42965 A study with 2,000 UK motorists found 58%  suffer anxiety behind the wheel.   Conducted by rural car insurer NFU Mutual, the study reminds motorists to consider other road users and prioritise safety as Winter approaches and they prepare to take their first long journeys when lockdown lifts next week. The study discovered 36% of UK drivers struggled with anxiety as […]]]>

A study with 2,000 UK motorists found 58%  suffer anxiety behind the wheel.  

Conducted by rural car insurer NFU Mutual, the study reminds motorists to consider other road users and prioritise safety as Winter approaches and they prepare to take their first long journeys when lockdown lifts next week.

The study discovered 36% of UK drivers struggled with anxiety as a direct result of suffering a collision or a near-miss. An astounding  42% of UK drivers have suffered a collision at least once in their lifetime.

Other top triggers include poor road conditions like ice or potholes (50%), Britain’s  bad weather (48%), unfamiliar roads (44%), and driving in the dark (41%), with 9pm  and later  the most woryking time of day for Brits to be driving.

Almost a quarter (23%) reveal  having cyclists around them makes them anxious. For 15%, backseat drivers put their nerves on edge and nearly a third (29%) are concerned about other motorists.

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Bassetts SsangYong wins customer award https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/bassetts-ssangyong-wins-customer-award/ Wed, 25 Nov 2020 12:00:06 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42986 One of Wales’ oldest family dealerships has won a new award. Bassetts SsangYong has won the marque’s customer Experience Award for selling and leasing. This month sees the launch of carwow’s Retailer Awards showcasing the best performing carwow retailers and leasing partners of 2020. Bassetts SsangYong has been named the winner of the SsangYong Customer […]]]>

One of Wales’ oldest family dealerships has won a new award.

Bassetts SsangYong has won the marque’s customer Experience Award for selling and leasing.

This month sees the launch of carwow’s Retailer Awards showcasing the best performing carwow retailers and leasing partners of 2020. Bassetts SsangYong has been named the winner of the SsangYong Customer Experience Award.

Dylan Bryer, dealer principal at Bassetts SsangYong, said, “We are thrilled to have been granted the carwow Ssangyong Customer Experience Award, we have only been partnered with SsangYong since April 2019 so this is a real achievement for the entire team. We value all of our customers and aim to provide the optimum level of service to them.”

Bassetts is a family owned and managed dealership, originally established in the 1920s, offering a friendly, unpressurised showroom environment. The site is still managed on a daily basis by the family who form part of the management team.

Bassetts were selected as a result of their excellent customer reviews, the handling of customer enquiries and the number of customers who specifically chose to buy from them.

Kevin Griffin, managing director of SsangYong Motor UK said, “We are delighted that Bassetts SsangYong in Swansea has been recognised for its excellent customer service. This retail customer experience award celebrates the dealerships outstanding track record – congratulations to the whole team in Swansea.”

Meanwhile, Avia Autos in Bridgend won a Garage Star Award from the Motor Ombudsman for going the extra mile to provide practical driving tips and free car care courses for consumers alongside a busy work schedule.

Commendations went to Garej Arwyn, Caernarfon and John Stokes at Renault Retail Group, Cardiff.

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Volvo play it safe for real https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/volvo-play-it-safe-for-real/ Wed, 25 Nov 2020 09:01:28 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42923 Volvo Cars engineers call it “the ultimate driving simulator”, but it is not just an excuse for them to indulge their inner basement gamer.     Instead, the Swedish company’s ground-breaking mixed-reality simulator is used to make new strides in safety and autonomous driving technology. A setup with a moving driver’s seat, a steering wheel with […]]]>

Volvo Cars engineers call it “the ultimate driving simulator”, but it is not just an excuse for them to indulge their inner basement gamer.

 

 

Instead, the Swedish company’s ground-breaking mixed-reality simulator is used to make new strides in safety and autonomous driving technology.

A setup with a moving driver’s seat, a steering wheel with haptic feedback and a crystal-clear virtual-reality headset would make any serious gamer jealous, but Volvo Cars’ simulator takes this concept to the next level, making it hard to tell reality from simulation. Which is exactly the point.

Using cutting-edge technology from the leading real-time 3D development platform Unity and Finnish virtual and mixed-reality experts Varjo, the simulator involves driving a real car on real roads. It combines life-like, high-definition 3D graphics, an augmented-reality headset and a full-body Teslasuit that provides haptic feedback from a virtual world while also monitoring bodily reactions.

This combination of software and hardware allows Volvo Cars engineers to endlessly simulate traffic scenarios on a real test track road while using a real car, all in total safety.

Engineers gain important insights on the interaction between people and the car for development of new safety, driver-assistance and autonomous features. Testers can be exposed to imagined active safety and driver-assistance features, upcoming autonomous drive user interfaces, future car models and many other scenarios.

It can be used on real test track roads or in the test lab, and every scenario is fully customisable. The possibilities are literally endless.

According to Casper Wickman, Senior Leader of User Experience at Volvo’s Open Innovation Arena, and one of the hosts of the livestream, this enables Volvo Cars to study authentic human reactions in a safe environment and at a fraction of the cost of a real test.

“Working together with great companies such as Varjo, Unity and Teslasuit has allowed us to test so many scenarios that look and feel totally real, without having to physically build anything,” said Casper Wickman. “It lets us test drive actual cars in traffic scenarios that look and feel real but can be adjusted at the touch of a button.”

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Tradelines 25 November https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/tradelines-25-november/ Wed, 25 Nov 2020 00:02:21 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42971 Ford is introducing a new Ranger chassis cab variant for the first time in 2021. It will provide a wide range of customers with the ability to easily create bespoke vehicles based on Europe’s best-selling pick-up and winner of the International Pick-up Award 2020. Autotrader  announced a new partnership with automotive industry charity, Ben. The […]]]>

Ford is introducing a new Ranger chassis cab variant for the first time in 2021.

It will provide a wide range of customers with the ability to easily create bespoke vehicles based on Europe’s best-selling pick-up and winner of the International Pick-up Award 2020.

Autotrader  announced a new partnership with automotive industry charity, Ben.

The company has made a significant donation to Ben and is committed to supporting the charity over the coming years after it was devastated by a funding crisis due to the CV-19 outbreak affecting traders and charity events.

Vauxhall has lowered prices on its new pure electric models for 2021.

Alongside the new on-the-road prices for the new all-electric Corsa-e, the 2021 Corsa and Corsa-e models feature new styling updates, a wider trim selection and new engines for the Corsa and prices for the Corsa start from £16,440 in SE trim, while the all-electric Corsa-e starts from £26,640 in SE Nav Premium trim.

As Brexit talks enter the final stretch, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders made a last call for negotiators on both sides to keep the health of automotive at the heart of discussions and stretch every sinew to get a deal in place by Christmas that avoids tariffs, or risk damaging one of Europe’s most valuable manufacturing industries.

The entire European sector, including the UK,  has already lost €100 billion to the pandemic and has repeatedly called on EU and UK leaders to ensure the sector will not face further damage from the imposition of tariffs from 1 January 2021, which would deliver another €110 billion blow to manufacturers on both sides of the Channel.

PEUGEOT and PSA Finance have launched PCP PLUS, an all-new four-year personal contract purchase offer that contains two years of vehicle servicing and vehicle insurance under a single payment plan. 

PCP PLUS is available across the entire Peugeot model range and has been designed so customers can fix all of the major running costs for two years under a single payment plan, for ease of use and a reduction in payments. It’s the first product of its kind and complements Peugeot’s innovative Just Add Fuel scheme.

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Three ways to Invest for a New Car Purchase https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/three-ways-to-invest-for-a-new-car-purchase/ Tue, 24 Nov 2020 12:00:07 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42950 A couple years ago, it wasn’t uncommon to speculate about an era without personal vehicles. Ride-sharing businesses were soaring, eco-friendly public transportation initiatives were being discussed in more major cities around the world, and it was becoming almost trendy to muse about giving up your car and the expenses that come with it. A future […]]]>

A couple years ago, it wasn’t uncommon to speculate about an era without personal vehicles.

Ride-sharing businesses were soaring, eco-friendly public transportation initiatives were being discussed in more major cities around the world, and it was becoming almost trendy to muse about giving up your car and the expenses that come with it.

A future like that may still come to pass. It could be that in time, public transportation and autonomous ride sharing are clean, cheap, and popular enough to manage our day-to-day transportation needs for us. But as of 2020, this conversation has actually turned around somewhat.

Our report ‘Car Importance Now Greatest’ revealed that more than half of UK drivers (57%) consider access to a car more important than it was before the pandemic. This is due to a certain unease with public transportation, which may persist for a long while even once the pandemic is under control.

Additionally, electric vehicles appear to be catching on at last. Despite years’ worth of stories about the UK’s reluctance to adopt EVs (due to high costs), Clean Technica reports that sales are “blowing up” in 2020, with EVs now accounting for roughly 10% of auto sales nationwide.

So, altogether we have more UK drivers valuing access to cars, more distrust in public transportation, and an increasingly popular EV market emerging. This all suggests that more people will be looking to purchase new cars in the coming years than we would have predicted fairly recently, and for that reason we wanted to suggest a few tips for how to start saving and investing for a new car purchase of your own.

Buy Into an Index Fund

An index fund is a popular option among investors, and can be particularly suitable if you want to invest for a specific purpose. For those who aren’t familiar, an index fund is essentially a pre-packaged bundle of diversified assets that are traded together as a single entity. These funds function almost like professionally managed portfolios like mutual funds, but give traders easy flexibility to buy in and cash out as needed.

Essentially this amounts to a relatively easy way of engaging in strategic market trading on your own terms. There is of course no guarantee that an index will appreciate as you want it to; any investment comes with risk. But if you’re investing for a specific purpose, like a new car purchase in the next year, it can be a simple venture with a decent probability of short-term gains.

Learn the Forex Trade

The forex trade is a little more involved than an index fund. This is the worldwide market in which currencies are traded against one another, and it is generally a very busy environment. High-end forex traders deal in large amounts of money in order to capitalise meaningfully on even small shifts in currency values. However, it’s also a market you can trade in with smaller amounts, as well as one you can learn fairly quickly and manage on your own time.

This is true largely thanks to the online and mobile tools that have made the forex trade more accessible in recent years. FXCM describes these modern trading platforms as being able to “cater to the needs of the individual trader, regardless of experience level or trading style,” and that’s a fairly good way to put it. Forex is now something you can approach on your terms, with your own priorities and methods. So, while here too there are no guarantees, it’s a market you can engage in as a sort of side project in the hopes of earning enough returns to offset the costs of your new car.

Open High-Yield Savings Accounts

Another option if you know you’re going to be buying a car and you’d just like to set up a small financial boost between now and when you start making payments is to simply put some money into high-yield savings accounts. These accounts can vary in their specific approaches and interest rates (and in the UK specifically a Certificate of Deposit is a popular alternative), but the basic benefit is always the same. As CNBC puts it, a high-yield savings account will grow at a faster rate than a traditional one.

The “con” to opening high-yield savings accounts is basically that they’re not the most efficient ways to save. People working on long-term financial plans might do better to put their money elsewhere. But if you’re looking for a stable way to generate a modest amount that will help with a car purchase in the next year or two, it’s an option worth considering.

Hopefully this has helped you to start thinking about how you might pay for your next new car! If you’re among those throughout the UK who are giving this idea more consideration, we wish you luck with the purchase.

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Leading EV pioneer warns of jeopardising advances https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/leading-ev-pioneer-warns-of-jeopardising-advances/ Tue, 24 Nov 2020 09:00:36 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42906 As the UK Government prepares to bring forward a complete ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars to 2030 it has been warned by an experienced automotive engineer not to jeopardise advances. Former CEO of Aston Martin and one of the UK’s most experienced and well-known industry experts, Dr Andy Palmer, welcomed the […]]]>

As the UK Government prepares to bring forward a complete ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars to 2030 it has been warned by an experienced automotive engineer not to jeopardise advances.

Former CEO of Aston Martin and one of the UK’s most experienced and well-known industry experts, Dr Andy Palmer, welcomed the news as a step towards achieving a net zero carbon future and potentially reviving the UK’s automotive industry. He said, “Investment in pioneering battery technology could offer the key to saving Britain’s car industry from decline.”

Dr Palmer was instrumental in launching Aston Martin into its second century with plans for electric versions of the luxury cars being built at St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan and in October joined InoBat Auto, a European electric vehicle battery producer that has developed the world’s first ‘intelligent’ battery, produced through a combination of AI and High Throughput technology, continues:

“If the UK is not investing in batteries and pioneering battery technology, then ultimately Britain’s car industry will decline. Creating an environment where engineers are innovating through competition is Britain’s opportunity to become a global leader in zero carbon transport.”

However, Dr Palmer has warned of the potential risk of interference in the bid for net zero emissions.

“Governments’ should define the problem and let engineers innovate the solution. Too many are putting in place legislation that picks a technology winner. Those that discourage Darwinism within technology run the risk of losing out on that all-important first mover advantage.”

Prior to joining Aston Martin, Dr Palmer set up the Nissan Leaf EV battery plant and model lines in Sunderland in 2009.

Dr Palmer is now set to bring his expertise to help InoBat realise their vision for a Gigafactory to be built in 2024 in Slovakia to serve the European market at scale.

Kevin Brundish, CEO at AMTE Power welcomed the development.

He said,“This is obviously fantastic news and accelerates the electrification of cars, which is a significant step in meeting the country’s climate change targets.

“This accelerated transition to electrification will require an onshore supply chain for the electric vehicle’s most crucial component, the lithium ion battery, the creation and growth of which will also stimulate the wider economy and create much needed jobs. AMTE Power’s own manufacturing expansion plans are very much aligned with this onshore supply chain need.”

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UK specialists’ EV technology & weight challenge https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/uk-specialists-ev-technology-weight-challenge/ Tue, 24 Nov 2020 00:01:49 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42910 In just nine years all new cars sold in the UK will have to be fully electric, or in some cases still to be clarified, hybrid. But where does that leave the specialist car companies of Britain, who have shaped a disproportionately large part of our nation’s automotive identity? Electrification poses a number of challenges for […]]]>

In just nine years all new cars sold in the UK will have to be fully electric, or in some cases still to be clarified, hybrid.

But where does that leave the specialist car companies of Britain, who have shaped a disproportionately large part of our nation’s automotive identity?

Electrification poses a number of challenges for makers of specialist cars, most notably the weight and cost of the batteries, as Graham MacDonald, CEO of Caterham, is first to point out.

“The whole ethos of the Seven is to add lightness, and the battery packs add somewhere in the region of 300kg which would kill the handling characteristics of the Seven. We know the advantages of electric powertrains, but it just doesn’twork.

Cost is also a driving factor says MacDonald “We don’t have the skill or budget to develop our own electric powertrain and while electric powertrains doesn’t fit the ethos of Caterham now, I have no doubt that it will do in the future.”

Others are taking a more proactive move towards electrification, including Ariel (above). Simon Saunders, founder of the reborn Ariel brand, has already shown great interest in electric vehicles and is aware that it would be dangerous to do nothing.

“We are involved in several multi-million-pound projects working on EVs, battery packs and control systems” explains Saunders. “Many of the jumps in technology come from small technology companies like us, who can adopt this technology quickly and in low numbers, start a supply chain and introduce cutting-edge technology to the market.”Ultimately, says Saunders, “those who can’t move with requirements and legislation will die.”

 

Morgan is taking a less drastic approach to its evolution, despite having already shown the fantastically steam punk electric Three-Wheeler EV3 (right).

 

Steve Morris, chairman and CEO of Morgan, says the company that was once famed for refusing to change the way things were done is now focussed on an electric future.

“Models like the EV3, which is not yet planned for production,” says Morris, “have proven that there is genuine demand for an electric Morgan. The EV technology within the marketplace is evolving at such a speed, we are assessing a number of drivetrain solutions and opportunities.”

There are other factors to consider, too. Understandably, whether in private or in the open, many of these manufacturers hope that the government can be persuaded to extend the deadline or even provide an exclusion to niche car makers.

MacDonald says Caterham is particularly hopeful about continuing with a traditional petrol-powered offering, if legislators will allow. “If we can canvass the government and say ‘look, the reality is that the cars are noisy and arguably dirty, but they get driven under 2000 miles per year – can there be an exception for low volume cars?’

Some suspect the move to electrification in the mainstream could see car enthusiasts buying more specialist models. After all, if everyday cars become more uniform, finding an outlet for motoring fun is potentially far more likely to come from a low mileage ‘hobby’ car.

Arguably more problematic than the powertrain technology is the charging infrastructure needed to support cars. Take the challenging environment of a motor racing circuit. Can the largest venues, never mind the sort of grass-roots locations often used for track days in the UK, afford the infrastructure needed for routine super-rapid charging of multiple vehicles?

However, beyond the issues of weight and cost, all agree that the benefits of electric propulsion are clear and considerable. As Ariel’s Simon Saunders puts it, “It’s not just a case of taking out the ICE and fitting a motor. Electrification can open up a whole new kind of performance.”

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Ineos Grenadier to get fuel cell version https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/ineos-grenadier-to-get-fuel-cell-version/ Mon, 23 Nov 2020 16:00:21 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42958 A hydrogen-powered Ineos Grenadier will be introduced after the new 4×4 is launched. Hyundai Motor Company and INEOS announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding to explore new opportunities to accelerate the global hydrogen economy after the Korean company has successfully introduced their own Nexo SUV fuel cell car (above). Hyundai and INEOS will […]]]>

A hydrogen-powered Ineos Grenadier will be introduced after the new 4×4 is launched.

Hyundai Motor Company and INEOS announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding to explore new opportunities to accelerate the global hydrogen economy after the Korean company has successfully introduced their own Nexo SUV fuel cell car (above).

Hyundai and INEOS will jointly investigate opportunities for the production and supply of hydrogen as well as the worldwide deployment of hydrogen applications and technologies. Both companies will initially seek to facilitate public and private sector projects focused on the development of a hydrogen value chain in Europe.

The agreement also includes the evaluation of Hyundai’s proprietary fuel cell system for the recently announced INEOS Grenadier 4×4 vehicle. This cooperation represents an important step in INEOS’ efforts to diversify its powertrain options at an early stage.

Hyundai’s proprietary modular fuel cell system, which evaluation vehicles will use, has already proven reliable and effective in the Nexo SUV.

The world’s first dedicated hydrogen-powered SUV has the longest driving range among hydrogen-powered vehicles in the market. Hyundai is one of leading company in the field of fuel cell technology having started the world’s first mass production of fuel cell electric vehicles in 2013.

“INEOS’ move into the development of a fuel cell electric vehicle and hydrogen ecosystem marks yet another milestone towards sustainable and clean transportation,” said Saehoon Kim, Senior Vice President and Head of Fuel Cell Center at Hyundai Motor Company.

“Hyundai believes this will provide an important low-carbon option across a wide range of sectors. We also hope our decades-long expertise in hydrogen fuel cell work in synergy with INEOS’ expertise in field of chemistry to realize the mass production of green hydrogen and fuel cells for the Grenadier.”

Peter Williams Technology Director INEOS, said, “The agreement between INEOS and Hyundai presents both companies with new opportunities to extend a leading role in the clean hydrogen economy. Evaluating new production processes, technology and applications, combined with our existing capabilities puts us in a unique position to meet emerging demand for affordable, low-carbon energy sources and the needs of demanding 4×4 owners in the future.”

INEOS recently launched a new business to develop and build clean hydrogen capacity across Europe in support of the drive towards a zero-carbon future. The company currently produces 300,000 tons of hydrogen a year mainly as a by-product from its chemical manufacturing operations.

Through its subsidiary INOVYN, INEOS is Europe’s largest existing operator of electrolysis, the critical technology that uses renewable energy to produce hydrogen for power generation, transportation and industrial use. Its experience in storage and handling of hydrogen combined with its established know-how in electrolysis technology, puts INEOS in a unique position to drive progress towards a carbon-free future based on hydrogen.

In 2018, Hyundai Motor Group announced its mid- to long-term roadmap, Fuel Cell Vision 2030, to increase annual production of hydrogen fuel cell systems to 700,000 units by 2030.

Ineos will make its Grenadier 4×4, a close rival to the new Land Rover Defender, in France next year after controversially reversing out of plans this year to assemble the SUV in South Wales.

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Newslines 23 November https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/newslines-23-november-3/ Mon, 23 Nov 2020 12:00:31 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42931 Interest in electric vehicles offered online surged by 500% last week as the government announced a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel models from 2030, reports BuyaCar. With electric cars normally representing little more than 300 searches per day, after last week’s announcement that figure shoot up to 1,679 in the 24 hours […]]]>

Interest in electric vehicles offered online surged by 500% last week as the government announced a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel models from 2030, reports BuyaCar.

With electric cars normally representing little more than 300 searches per day, after last week’s announcement that figure shoot up to 1,679 in the 24 hours following but electric cars still have a hill to climb in the face of sustained demand for petrol cars, while even used diesels remain a popular used choice – despite their decline in the new car market.

M6 Toll price will increase 20p extra daily from 4th December, which could see regular toll users forced to pay £13.80 a day and over £300 a month. 

It’s the most expensive tolled road in the UK and almost three times as expensive as the Dartford Crossing over the Thames east of London.

Research from Close Brothers Motor Finance indicates 46% of drivers support the introduction of a low emission zone (LEZ) in their nearest city.

Younger people are much more supportive, with 62% of Gen Z drivers, aged 17-24, in favour, compared to just a third (34%) of over 55s.

Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid (V2G) has installed the first of 100 V2G chargers, as part of its trial to demonstrate how V2G technology can provide a solution to potential electricity network capacity issues as the numbers of electric vehicles (EVs) increase. Over 450 EV drivers have applied to join the new Electric Nation trial so far. 

Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid – a project of Western Power Distribution (WPD), in partnership with CrowdCharge – is recruiting Nissan EV owners in the WPD licence areas of the Midlands, South West and South Wales to take part in the trial of Vehicle to Grid smart charging technology.

Kia Motors (UK) has struck new partnerships with bp Chargemaster and Pod Point to offer Kia customers preferential terms for the provision of a homecharge point.

As part of these new partnerships, all Kia dealers are able to offer Kia EV and PHEV owners preferential prices for a home 7kW smart charger and its installation with savings between £20 and £60.

There has been a spike in websearches about electric vehicles.

Before October there were over 80,000 enquiries but last month it jumped to nearly 13,500 and most asked about how long charging takes and the cost of it, if government grants existed and where are charging points located.

A new trend for glampervanning is on the rise this winter as Brits look for inventive ways to staycation with loved ones during the colder months of COVID-19 – and it is being driven by a surprising demographic.

A survey of 2,000 UK adults, commissioned by Auto Trader, revealed that 71% of Brits who are thinking about taking a holiday this winter would consider staying in a luxury caravan or motorhome and these can cost from £50,000.

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Winkelmann returns to Lamborghini https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/winkelmann-returns-to-lamborghini/ Mon, 23 Nov 2020 10:00:03 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42898   Stephan Winkelmann will become the new President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. on 1 December 2020. Winkelmann will also remain president of Bugatti and succeeds Stefano Domenicali, who will take over as CEO of Formula 1 starting from 2021. Stephan Winkelmann was President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini from 2005 to 2016, when […]]]>

 

Stephan Winkelmann will become the new President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. on 1 December 2020.

Winkelmann will also remain president of Bugatti and succeeds Stefano Domenicali, who will take over as CEO of Formula 1 starting from 2021.

Stephan Winkelmann was President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini from 2005 to 2016, when he transformed Lamborghini into a global leader in the manufacture of super sports cars.

Prior to first joining Lamborghini Winkelmann held a variety of senior positions in the Fiat Group.

 

Lamborghini models introduced under Winkelmann started with derivatives of the Gallardo and ranged through introductions of the V10 Huracán and V12 Aventador as well as limited editions and one-offs, setting numerous new sales records. In 2015 the third model line was announced, the Super SUV Urus, to be constructed in Sant’Agata Bolognese, and marking the beginning of a new era for the company.

In March 2016 Winkelmann became CEO of Quattro GmbH (today Audi Sport GmbH) before joining Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. as president at the beginning of 2018.

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JLR move to block VW premium models in United States https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/jlr-move-to-block-vw-premium-models-in-united-states/ Mon, 23 Nov 2020 08:30:19 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42943 A row has erupted over intelligent all-wheel-drive systems used by a number of car marques. Jaguar Land Rover filed a complaint in the US to block imports of VW Group’s Porsche, Lamborghini, Audi and VW SUVs. JLR allege they are using its patented Terrain Response technology without permission. JLR said in its court documents with the […]]]>

A row has erupted over intelligent all-wheel-drive systems used by a number of car marques.

Jaguar Land Rover filed a complaint in the US to block imports of VW Group’s Porsche, Lamborghini, Audi and VW SUVs. JLR allege they are using its patented Terrain Response technology without permission.

JLR said in its court documents with the US International Trade Commission the systems negotiate a “broad range of surfaces” and used in Jaguar’s F-Pace and Land Rover Discovery models.

“JLR seeks to protect itself and its United States operations from companies that have injected infringing products into the U.S. market that incorporate, without any license from JLR, technology developed by JLR and protected by its patent,” JLR said in the filing.

Jaguar wants to halt Porsche’s Cayenne; Lamborghini’s Urus; Audi’s Q8, Q7, Q5, A6 Allroad and e-tron vehicles; and VW’s Tiguan vehicles.

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Sunday drive: Volvo XC40 B5 AWD R-Design Pro https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/sunday-drive-volvo-xc40-b5-awd-r-design-pro/ Sun, 22 Nov 2020 09:00:29 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42804 To their credit Volvo Cars was the first established car maker to commit to all-out electrification and is the only brand to offer a plug-in hybrid variant of every model in its line-up, writes David Miles.   I was scheduled to test drive Volvo’s latest award winning SUV, the compact XC40 but in its PHEV […]]]>
To their credit Volvo Cars was the first established car maker to commit to all-out electrification and is the only brand to offer a plug-in hybrid variant of every model in its line-up, writes David Miles.

 

I was scheduled to test drive Volvo’s latest award winning SUV, the compact XC40 but in its PHEV plug-in hybrid form.

Unfortunately, Covid arrangements at the Volvo vehicle movements company meant my delayed delivery was in fact the XC40 B5 AWD R-Design Pro priced at £40,315 but with options being showcased actually weighed in at a hefty £46,765.

Other XC40 models start from a more competitive £25,420 and stretch up to £59,985 for the latest addition – the P8 Pure Electric AWD automatic model which has an all-electric driving range of 260-miles with zero CO2 emissions, so no tax costs.

The XC40 range of 5-door, 5-seater models  I describe as Volvo’s compact SUV but in fact it’s not so small  at 4,425mmm in length with a 452-litre boot which expands to 1,328-litres with the rear seat backs folded down and it will tow up to 2,100kg. It’s only ‘compact’ in my eyes because Volvo’s XC60 is their mid-sized 5-seat SUV and the XC90 their large 7-seat SUV.

The XC40 was a milestone car for Volvo when it was launched and became the 2018 European Car of the Year. It uses the company’s all-new CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) and being a Volvo incorporates the latest in connectivity, driver-assistance technology, collision avoidance and class-leading safety functions.

The XC40 is available in pure electric, petrol-electric plug-in hybrid or petrol form. The XC40 Recharge Pure Electric P8 is Volvo’s first ever fully electric car, while the plug-in hybrid and petrol versions are powered by Volvo’s own range of powerful yet efficient Drive-E powertrains.

Volvo says the XC40 is primarily designed for urban environments, not so in my area, and it is available in two and all-wheel-drive forms and with manual or automatic gearboxes. No diesel engines are now used by Volvo for any model.

The all-aluminium petrol engines use direct injection and turbocharger technologies combining efforts for fuel efficiency but still providing ample power. These Drive-E powertrains are available with up to four cylinders and with a maximum size of 2.0 litres.

It will also introduce a range of fully electric models in the coming years, starting with the XC40 P8 Recharge Pure Electric with UK customer deliveries starting soon.

Sales of its plug-in hybrid cars amounted to more than a quarter of sales in Europe during the first three quarters of 2020; they are now up 27% until the end of October.  Volvo Cars are still the number-one plug-in hybrid premium brand in Europe and by 2025 they aim for their global sales volume to consist of 50% fully electric cars, with the rest hybrids.

Should we think Volvo might be on the wrong path with electrification of their models, data fromthe industry’s respected analysts JATO Dynamic’s shows in  27 markets in Europe that the total number of electrified cars registered in September (encompassing pure electric, plug-in hybrids, full hybrids and mild hybrids) was higher than the number of registrations for diesel cars.

For the first time in the modern era, alternative-fuelled vehicles outsold one of the two internal combustion engine (ICE) types.  JATO says this marks significant change – for just five years ago, diesel cars were a dominant player in Europe.

 

The new range consists of four petrol, two petrol-electric plug-in hybrid and one all-electric powertrain.

These are the T2  129hp and T3  163hp petrols and the petrol-electric Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T4 129+82hp and T5 180+82hp models – all use a 1.5-litre, 3-cylinder engine.

 

The B4 197hp and B5 250hp petrol engines are 2.0-litre four-cylinder units with 48V mild hybrid support. The P8 Recharge pure-electric has two 204hp electric motors giving a total of 408hp.

The 3-clinder T2 has a 6-speed manual gearbox, the T3 petrol unit come with a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic gearbox. The 4-cylinder B4 and B5 petrol units with 48V mild-hybrid come exclusively with the automatic transmission. The Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T4 and T5 have a 7-speed twin clutch automatic transmission. The Recharge Pure Electric P8 has a single-speed automatic transmission. The XC40’s manual gearbox is made by Getrag, with the 8-speed automatic supplied by Aisin-Warner.

To go with the wide range of powertrains there is a wide choice of specification levels depending on the powertrain chosen. These spec levels are Momentum Core, Momentum, R-Design, R-Design Pro, Inscription, Inscription Pro and First Edition for the new P8 Recharge all electric model.

 

In whatever form the XC40 is Volvo’s best selling model in the UK. Its main competitors are the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes GLA and Range Rover Evoque.  The XC40 has a 50/50- UK sales split between retail and fleet/business customers but total sales numbers remain confidential. Volvo say however the UK’s best selling engine is the T3 and the best selling trim is R-Design so that version is priced at £31,995 for the manual and £33,545 for the automatic and both versions are only available with front wheel drive. Judging by how many I’m seeing on the road there are lots of takers; probably some downsizing from large XC60/XC90 versions, after all the XC40 might be scaled down in size but it’s not in terms of model choice, technology or performance.

I’m not going to list all the spec items and what you get for each level, suffice to say standard equipment is pretty comprehensive for most people.

Standard includes the Sensus nine-inch tablet style touchscreen, 12.3-inch TFT driver’s information screen, voice-activated control systems, LED headlights, satellite navigation.

There’s also climate control, rear parking sensors, City Safety front end collision warning, fully automatic braking for pedestrian and large animal detection, Oncoming Lane Mitigation and Auto Guidance, Run Off-Road protection in an accident, data SIM card with 100GB of data for 12 months and the Volvo On Call connected services platform.

My road test model was a stand-in XC40, not a plug-in hybrid model I expected, so it’s unlikely to be the most popular of choices but it is the boldest one in terms of outright performance.

The XC40 B5 AWD R-Design Pro has a 4-cylinder turbo petrol 2.0-litre petrol engine with 250hp and 350Nm of torque from 1,800rpm up to 4,800rpm.

Matched with the ratios of the 8-speed automatic gearbox the engine response is impressive more or less right through the entire rev-range, certainly ample ‘grunt’ up to the legal maximum speed limit. It also cruises effortlessly and quietly.

Top speed is 112mph, modest but you don’t need more and that speed is more to do with gearing than power output.  The zero to 62mph acceleration time is only 6.4-seconds so you can easily see just how quick this family SUV is when needed.

There are of course the usual selectable driving modes and it has AWD traction on demand automatically when needed.  It’s no mud-plugger of course but it’s capable and secure enough on muddy or gravel farm tracks and to a degree driving over wet grass and it would help with better traction in snow.

Ride comfort was first class in part due to its use of a multi-link rear suspension despite it having the stiffer sports set-up of the R-Design spec level. I found it more compliant than Audi/BMW models and the handling well balanced. It’s not that agile at quick direction changes but the steering was precise which given its sporty performance was a good feature.

Body roll during cornering was also well controlled and with the AWD system made the XC40 feel surefooted and predictable on soaking wet road surfaces.

The WLTP rated official Combined Cycle fuel economy is 34.4 to 36.7mpg and for my week of driving with one long motorway journey and lots of short pre-lockdown urban trips and a few winding country roads thrown in, the overall test driving figure was 32.2mpg which given it’s a powerful petrol engine with an automatic gearbox and with 4WD in a relatively heavy tall vehicle is acceptable.

Less so are the CO2 figures which despite the 48-volt mild-hybrid support are 174 to 186g/km so tax costs are high at a First Year VED rate of £870 and then a Standard rate for year two onwards of £150 but, and it’s a big BUT, this model even without options costs over £40k so add to the £150 cost another £325 a year for 5-years, as the vehicle costs over £40k.

Given this is a very good, well sized, well specced, safe and roomy family SUV I’d clearly go for a model under that £40k on the road price.

Outside the XC40 looks chunky with a strong upright stance, it has classy kerb appeal and the interior is a classy cabin. There is no doubt that it is worthy of Volvo billing it a premium product.  It is all well laid out, sensible controls and the only downside is the fiddly and not easy to use tablet styled touchscreen both in terms of size, looks and functions.

It needs updating, to be faster and more user-friendly. Can we also have proper heating and ventilation controls, not the current ones operated by the touchscreen? It’s not safe or easy to operate on the move. Front seats are large and comfortable and the back is large enough for two adult passengers and a child in the middle rear seat. Rear leg room is adequate for adults.

The long list of options which pushed my XC40 to what could be a prohibitive price included the Lounge Pack at £2,250 which essentially provides all automatic forms of parking, parking camera, a panoramic powered sunroof, smartphone integration which should be standard and Sensus Connect with a premium Harmon Kardon sound system.

The £1,550 Driver Assist pack gave more driving support functions, £300 for heated rear seats and steering wheel, £475 for the handsfree opening system and powered folding rear headrests, £1,125 for the retractable tow bar plus £150 for a spare wheel and jack.

Overall the XC40 is a very good award winning compact SUV, full of quality but the version you select needs choosing with care otherwise the costs to purchase and in terms of taxation, become prohibitive.

I look forward to my forthcoming XC40 T5 Recharge plug-in- hybrid test drive version due in December – Covid regulations permitting this time.

MILESTONES:

Volvo XC40 B5 AWD R-Design Pro, compact SUV £40,315

Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo direct injection petrol with 48-volt mild-hybrid assist, 250hp and 350Nm of torque from 1,800rpm, 8-speed auto with AWD

Performance: 112mph, 0-62mph 6.4-seconds, WLTP Combined Cycle 34.4 to 36.7mpg (32.2mpg on test)

CO2 174 to 186g/km, First Year VED road Tax £870, Standard rate £150 and an additional annual £325 payment for 5-years as it costs over £40k, BiK company car tax 37%

Insurance group: 29E       Warranty: 3-years/60,000-miles

Dimensions/capacities: L 4,425mm, W 1,910mm, H 1,658mm, wheelbase 2,702mm, boot/load space, 452-1,328-litres, braked towing weight 2,100kg, 5-doors/5-seats

For: XC40 well sized for family/business transport, classy styling and quality inside and out, lots of driving support and safety systems, high spec – but at a price, strong responsive engine, compliant ride, well balanced handling for an SUV

Against: High emissions, costly taxation for this version, too many functions operated via the sluggish touchscreen, ungenerous warranty.

© David Miles

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Weekend roadtest: Ford Fiesta ST3 3-door https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/weekend-roadtest-ford-fiesta-st3-3-door/ Sat, 21 Nov 2020 09:00:53 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42871 More than any other car in modern times, the Ford Fiesta has defined British motoring and the ST-series is the most desirable, particularly among rally fans. Consistently one of the top selling cars in the UK market, the Fiesta is the right size for thousands of buyers looking for three or five door jack-of-all-trades transport. […]]]>

More than any other car in modern times, the Ford Fiesta has defined British motoring and the ST-series is the most desirable, particularly among rally fans.

Consistently one of the top selling cars in the UK market, the Fiesta is the right size for thousands of buyers looking for three or five door jack-of-all-trades transport. It has appeared in the top ten list every year since 1977 and has been the best seller more than any other model over five decades and particularly since 2009.

Naturally it was a vehicle for Ford’s presence in motor sport and rallying in particular, spawning the ST series and now that comes with a common high performance engine in three trim levels.

Our top line ST-3 was fitted with big 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, red calipers, limited slip differential, distinctive grille and body kit, LED lamps, sophisticated driver assistance aids, premium sound system, privacy glass, sports seats and leather trim as well as heated seats and wheel.

The test car had £2,295 of options including Ford Performance Blue paint; electric sunroof and driver assistance pack which included autonomous emergency braking, blind spot warning and rear view camera.

At the top of the range is the ST-3 and the three-door version is the defining model for many buyers who respect its motor sporting achievements over four decades. Another £450 buys the five-door version. You have to compromise on accessibility to wriggle into the back seats and while the headroom is good, the space for legs is not great and the vision is restricted. The single side doors do look better to my eyes than the pair in the five door derivatives, but that’s a matter of opinion outweighing practicality.

Inside, the oddments room is very good with seat back pockets for those behind and infront you have door bins, console box and trays as well as a reasonable glovebox. Behind, the boot has good access and is of a sensible shape and capacity, easily tripling in volume when the offset split back seats are dropped, although they don’t fold completely flat.

 

Driver and front seat passenger have very easy access and superbly comfortable, figure hugging leather covered seats with good adjustment range and a lot of leg, shoulder and headroom, while the steering column has a wide adjustment range to help achieve any desired driving  position.

The seats are nicely shaped and cushioned to hold and comfort occupants which is just as well because the ride is generally firm but sometimes bad surfaces hammer through the sporting-set suspension and shock absorbers.

Most of the time it’s a very compliant and absorbing ride, with an occasional harshness upsetting progress.

 

The stiff ride comes with agile, pin-sharp handling with its LSD and very good roadholding and manners so the driver always feels in control, helped by the feeback through the steering and very powerful, precise and informing brakes underfoot. There are three driving modes and a launch control setting for the ultimate getaway.

The three-cylinder 1.5 litre engine is impressive with 290Nm of pulling power and a neat close ratio six-speed manual gearbox to make the most of its 200ps output making it spritely to sixty and very relaxed at motorway speed.

What surprised me most was the fuel economy never showing below 38mpg and even some way over the WLTP figure at times, so it can be an economical as well as exciting car.

The ST-3 specification is very good but I was surprised by the lack of any front parking sensors at this price and without the driver assistance pack there would not be any at the rear or a camera. That is one useful feature that Ford could include in the next facelift.

The Fiesta ST-3 looks very good and goes very well, with clear sightlines to front and sides, more compromising when pulling out from an angled junction, and the noise levels are modest from engine, road and wind.

Lights are wide and long beamed at night, the wipers front and back are efficient and the air conditioning with heated front screen gives rapid and constant clear vision.

Add the heated front seats and the warming steering wheel and you have a car for all seasons and possibly all reasons, which probably explains why it is such a good allrounder for so many buyers.

We’ve tested a few ST-3 versions over the years and this is certainly the benchmark for this sporting hatchback sector.

FAST FACTS Ford Fiesta ST-3 3-door
Price: £24,195 as tested Mechanical: 200ps 3-cyl 1497cc petrol engine, 6sp
Max Speed:  144mph 0-62mph:  6.5sec
Combined MPG: 40.4 Insurance Group: 28
C02 emissions: 158g/km Bik rating:  34%, £540FY, £150SR
Warranty:  3yrs/ 60,000 miles Size: L4.07m, W1.74m, H1.47m
Bootspace: 292 to 1093 litres Kerbweight: 1262kg

For: Performance and handling, steering, brakes, economy, refinement, seats, equipment, big sunroof, oddments space

Against: Rear seat access and legroom, occasionally bumpy ride on bad roads, no front parking sensors, some visibility issues.

© WheelsWithinWales  

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Bumpy road to low carbon future, say experts https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/bumpy-road-to-low-carbon-future-say-experts/ Fri, 20 Nov 2020 10:00:48 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42919 The UK Government’s drive towards electric cars and a low carbon future faces a bumpy journey, say experts. Car-makers said they are committed to them and invested billions but the challenge of the next nine years is “immense”, according to Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. “We are pleased, therefore, to see Government accept the importance of […]]]>

The UK Government’s drive towards electric cars and a low carbon future faces a bumpy journey, say experts.

Car-makers said they are committed to them and invested billions but the challenge of the next nine years is “immense”, according to Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.

“We are pleased, therefore, to see Government accept the importance of hybrid transition technologies – which drivers are already embracing as they deliver carbon savings now – and commit to additional spending on purchase incentives.

“Investment in EV manufacturing capability is equally welcome as we want this transition to be ‘made in the UK’, but if we are to remain competitive – as an industry and a market – this is just the start of what’s needed.”

Success will depend on reassuring consumers that they can afford these new technologies, that they will deliver their mobility needs and, critically, that they can recharge as easily as they refuel.

“For that, we look to others to step up and match our commitment. We will now work with government on the detail of this plan, which must be delivered at pace to achieve a rapid transition that benefits all of society, and safeguards UK automotive manufacturing and jobs,” he added.

Members of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association operate about five million cars, vans and trucks and say its going to be difficult to source enough evs to turn-over fleets, to finance and charge them.

Smaller fleets will particularly struggle but they’re grateful for the 2035 extension for higher efficiency hybrids using petrol or diesel engines.

There must be tax incentives to buy and run evs, a buoyant market for them and a widespread reliable charging network.

The businesses which sell us petrol and diesel also want support to install more rapid chargers with a national grid which supports them, and warns ev buyers may be put off if they cannot quickly top up said the Petrol Retailers Association.

There is also a lack of home or kerbside charging which could create a two tier society of haves and have-nots where some motorists cannot physically do an overnight charge and will therefore stay with ICE or hybrid models longer than they should, unless new discretionary and punitive fuel taxes are implemented.

“People driving used ICE vehicles are generally those with less disposable income. Penalising ICE drivers who can’t afford to make the transition to an EV is no way to foster a new market in alternative fuels and, as ever, the biggest tax burden will fall on those least able to afford it,” said Brian Madderson Chairman of the PRA.

His thoughts were echoed by the RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes,“With the Government formally bringing forward the date for banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2030, the car industry and those responsible for charging infrastructure now have an enormous task on their hands.

“Production lines that for decades have been set up to build cars powered with internal combustion engines will have to be transformed to allow manufacturers to profitably build a wider range of EV models in sufficient quantities. Meanwhile the country’s public charging network will need to grow exponentially to cater for the surge in EVs on the road.”

He added, “There’s also lots for consumers to get used to in order for them to feel confident about going electric. Running an EV is currently very different to a petrol or diesel car which can be refuelled in a matter of minutes, so those switching in the next few years face a big learning curve which involves different types of chargers, connectors and varying charging speed.”

While many EV drivers will charge at home and start with a ‘full tank’, this won’t be possible for everyone, particularly those without off-street parking. Right now running an EV requires a level of planning as charging generally takes significantly longer than a visit to a fuel forecourt.

Charging aside, EVs will also spell the end of the manual gearbox that so many drivers will have been used to.

Cost is another factor, according to the RAC and finance houses, when the purchase price of EVs is higher than ICE models and their resale value is less well known to set residuals as more come to market. As more move into the second hand market the prices will drop but with that comes concerns of remaining battery life and replacement costs for buyers who may be struggling with finance in any case.

Seán Kemple, Managing Director at Close Brothers Motor Finance commented,“A ban is step one in a long journey towards a ‘revolution’.

“The motor industry will step up to this challenge, with manufacturers, dealers, and finance providers all facing their own hurdles.”

Whilst the Independent Garage Association supports the government’s green agenda, the desire to push to a full Hybrid Electric Vehicle car parc by 2030 is very ambitious considering there are many issues still unresolved, said Stuart James, Chief Executive of the IGA.

“There are also many unanswered questions surrounding HEV battery life, the sustainability of producing these batteries, and charging point infrastructure.”

Finally, but no less importantly, the people who surface our roads point out the extra weight of all these electric vehicles – which can be twice that of a conventional car – will put added strain on tarmac and substructures, leading to more frequent and deeper repairs at higher costs, which must be factored into council or Government budgets.

Harry Pearl, CEO of Roadmender Asphalt, said it was looking forward to working with the road engineers to pick the right materials for each job.

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South Wales has some of UK’s safest roads https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/south-wales-has-some-of-uks-safest-roads/ Fri, 20 Nov 2020 00:01:50 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42896 Five areas in Wales have some of the safest roads in Britain. Analysis of road accidents recorded by the Department for Transport showed over half of accidents happen between 21 and 30mph and with T-junctions the blackspots. The data shows that Kent has the most dangerous roads in the UK says Uswitch, which has looked […]]]>

Five areas in Wales have some of the safest roads in Britain.

Analysis of road accidents recorded by the Department for Transport showed over half of accidents happen between 21 and 30mph and with T-junctions the blackspots.

The data shows that Kent has the most dangerous roads in the UK says Uswitch, which has looked at the figures.

Government recorded 131,369 deaths or serious injuries on Britain’s roads in four years up to 2019.

Four out of five local authorities in the East of England had the highest number of casualties with Essex, Hampshire and Surrey following Kent.

Away from the south east the safest roads were found in parts of Scotland, with Merthyr Tydfil, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Vale of Glamorgan and Anglesey completing the top ten safest roads.

The results of the study show that the majority of incidents involved people aged between 24 and 55 years old, with almost half (46%) of all recorded casualties falling within this age bracket.

The data also highlighted a gender split, with 7 out of 10 (69%) accidents involving men.

Other reports have indicated that rural Wales has some of the more dangerous roads due to weather, speed and the amount of holiday motorists using them.

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Colin McRae’s legacy 25 years on https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/colin-mcraes-legacy-25-years-on/ Thu, 19 Nov 2020 10:00:25 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42838 Twenty-five years ago next Sunday, Scot Colin McRae climbed out of his iconic blue Subaru Impreza to wild adoration as he became the youngest ever world rally champion. Massive crowds celebrated at Chester Racecourse with McRae, co-driver Derek Ringer and their Prodrive team after victory at Britain’s RAC Rally sealed the crown. McRae was 27 […]]]>

Twenty-five years ago next Sunday, Scot Colin McRae climbed out of his iconic blue Subaru Impreza to wild adoration as he became the youngest ever world rally champion.

Massive crowds celebrated at Chester Racecourse with McRae, co-driver Derek Ringer and their Prodrive team after victory at Britain’s RAC Rally sealed the crown. McRae was 27 years and 109 days old.

He was the first British driver to win the title following one of the FIA World Rally Championship’s most pulsating finales. Life was never the same for the Scot, whose face was emblazoned across TV news bulletins and the front of national newspapers. He went on to become one of the most popular drivers the sport has known.

His achievement is celebrated in a new 30-minute WRC TV documentary called Colin McRae: 25 Years A Champion, in which father and five-time British champion Jimmy and Prodrive Welsh boss David Richards relive fond memories of the 1995 success.

McRae’s daughter, Hollie, who was not born when he won the title, speaks publicly for the first time about the man who was simply ‘dad’.

McRae carved a reputation as one of the WRC’s fastest and bravest drivers. Tragically he died in a helicopter crash in 2007 along with his son, Johnny, and two family friends.

Subaru team-mates McRae and Carlos Sainz started the RAC Rally tied at the top of the championship after controversial team orders forced McRae to gift victory to the Spaniard at the penultimate round in Spain.

Rally fever gripped the nation as more than two million fans turned out to roar on their hero at the finale in Britain’s muddy forests.

McRae led but slipped behind Sainz after a puncture. Incredibly, he fought back to demote his colleague, claim a 36sec victory and secure the title by five points.

“I can always remember the finish and the doughnuts,” recalls McRae senior. “The crowds that were there, it was unbelievable. I think most of Lanark [the family’s home town] turned up down there, pretty sure he was going to win it.

“One of the things Colin said, I can’t remember if it was at the end of the last stage or back in Chester, he just said,‘World champion, the world’s a big place, isn’t it?’ I always remember that.”

In the programme McRae senior drives the famous Impreza at Kames race circuit, where his then teenage son made his debut 10 years before his title glory. The youngster drove an untaxed Hillman Avenger bearing false number plates, while his oblivious parents were on holiday!

Hollie (right) recalls childhood adventures on any machinery with four wheels and an engine. “For the first eight years of my life, I didn’t really know Colin McRae the world champion driver, I just knew him as dad and that’s all he was,” she said.

“He would go off and do some pretty cool things and come back with some great stories, but when he was around the house he was just like anybody else’s dad. He was loving, he was caring, that’s what still sticks with me.”

Richards recalls the tension within the team as the championship reached its climax and the impact of McRae’s victory,“This was something that is hard to imagine, hard to explain to anyone today. You know, we’ve seen Lewis Hamilton win world titles in Formula 1, but this was more than that. There were millions of people going out to watch the event, it was something quite extraordinary,” he said.

Six years after McRae’s victory, England’s Richard Burns got the better of his nemesis to win the 2001 crown in another final round showdown.

Now Welshman Elfyn Evans is bidding to emulate their success and become the third Briton to claim the prized title.

He carries a 14-point lead over team-mate and six-time champion Sébastien Ogier into the final round of 2020 at ACI Rally Monza (3 – 6 December) in Italy.

Despite his points advantage, the 31-year-old Toyota Yaris driver, whose father, Gwyndaf, won the British title in 1996, will carry the attack to Ogier.

 

“I will need to be at my best. With the points situation as it is, the championship is still very much an open game. We will go to Monza trying to win the rally,” he said.

 

  • Colin McRae: 25 Years A Champion will be available from regular WRC broadcasters worldwide from Friday 20 November. Check local listings for details. It will also be available on the WRC+ channel at wrcplus.com.
  • Live coverage of every special stage at ACI Rally Monza, as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis, will be available on WRC+ on 3 – 6 December.
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Morris ends frustrating first season with new team https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/morris-ends-frustrating-first-season-with-new-team/ Thu, 19 Nov 2020 08:00:42 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42893 Bentley Continental GT3 racer Seb Morris experienced a frustrating conclusion to the 2020 GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup season at Paul Ricard in France on Sunday when superb pace went unrewarded following an unfortunate accident for team-mate Nelson Panciatici.

While retirement early in hour two of the six-hour race halted a realistic charge towards a deserved top 10 points finish, Bentley factory driver Morris, from Marford, near Wrexham, still departed the track feeling positive about the superb development work done with the CMR squad in its first season as a Bentley customer team.

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Driving Combe for Christmas ideas https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/driving-combe-for-christmas-ideas/ Thu, 19 Nov 2020 00:04:30 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42856 As Lewis Hamilton clinched his seventh World Drivers’ F1 Championship crown, Chippenham’s Castle Combe Circuit has unveiled an array of thrilling experience days and gifts aimed at providing local motorsport enthusiasts with presents they’ll never forget this Christmas. The local race track has been a hub of high-speed petrol-infused action for over 70 years now, […]]]>

As Lewis Hamilton clinched his seventh World Drivers’ F1 Championship crown, Chippenham’s Castle Combe Circuit has unveiled an array of thrilling experience days and gifts aimed at providing local motorsport enthusiasts with presents they’ll never forget this Christmas.

The local race track has been a hub of high-speed petrol-infused action for over 70 years now, with its recently-launched ‘Driving Combe for Christmas’ campaign featuring special offers and all-new products to suit all budgets this festive season.

If you’re looking to provide a loved one with an unforgettable day out, Castle Combe’s driving experiences are the way to go. Ranging from high-speed passenger rides with professional racing drivers through to getting behind the wheel of a real-life race car, there’s something to suit everyone’s tastes.

Single Seater Driving Experience

Offering the ultimate thrill on the 1.85-mile circuit is the Single Seater Driving Experience, the closest they might ever get to driving an actual Formula 1 car on a real racing circuit. Develop confidence in a Ford Fiesta Zetec S hot hatch with your instructor before experiencing the full glory of an open-wheel Formula Ford 1600 racer for yourself.

With over 24 miles covered throughout the day, this is a great way to enjoy some high-speed action behind the wheel.

Rally Experience

Prefer to live life slightly off the beaten track?

The venue’s Rally Drive Experience involves plenty of mud, thrills and spills on the dedicated off-road course adjacent to the track.

Again carried out by professional instructors, it’s hard not to finish this day without a huge grin on your face.

Here, you’ll start the day being taught some specific rally driving techniques to ensure you get the most out of your time on the mud. You’ll then take to the loose-surface ‘stage’ in high-performance Toyota Celica GTs and BMW Coupes, performing 10 laps and competing in a ‘time trial’-style competition with the other attendees. The day will be topped off with a thrilling high-speed passenger lap with your instructor at the helm.

Merchandise and More

As well as countless other driving experiences on offer, Castle Combe also boasts a comprehensive merchandise shop that features everything from stickers to clothing – the perfect place to find some fantastic stocking fillers.

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Car trade shake up from 1 January https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/car-trade-shake-up-from-1-january/ Wed, 18 Nov 2020 14:00:57 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42836 Car trades between Wales, England and Scotland to Northern Ireland face a shake up at the end of December.

The issue arises from the status of VAT margin schemes for goods moved between GB and NI from 1 January 2021. This will apply regardless of whether there is a free trade deal agreed between now and December 31.

Margin schemes enable traders of used goods, such as vehicles, to pay VAT based on the profit earned from the re-sale of those goods, rather than the entire value of the good. This benefits consumers as it makes used cars more affordable, as the amount of VAT they pay is far smaller compared to the 20% they would pay for a new vehicle.

However, under current rules as part of the Northern Ireland Protocol, motor traders in NI will be unable to access VAT margin schemes for used vehicles they sell which were sourced from GB.

Guidance from HMRC states, “In line with EU rules, margin schemes involving goods, such as the second-hand margin schemes, will not usually apply for sales in Northern Ireland where the stock is purchased in Great Britain. The VAT on these sales will be subject to the normal rules and must be accounted for on the full value of the supply”.

Impact on motor traders

If left unamended, these rules will be a major disincentive for NI dealerships to buy used vehicle stock in GB, as it would lead to an immediate 20% increase to the sale price of these vehicles.

The problem arises because the Withdrawal Agreement keeps Northern Ireland in the EU’s Customs Union. Correspondence with UK officials suggests that the problem can only be resolved if the European Commission indicates that an exception can be agreed to enable us to set aside our current legal obligation under the Protocol.

Sue Robinson, NFDA Chief Executive, commented, “If left unamended, these rules will not only have a detrimental effect on vehicle dealerships and consumers across Northern Ireland but also in Great Britain. We estimate that between 10-20% of used vehicles sold by our members every year in Northern Ireland are Great Britain imports and would be affected by these rules.

“Given the major impact the pandemic has already had on the motor industry this year, it is simply not option for this steep increase in cost to be absorbed by motor businesses. This would increase prices for consumers looking to buy affordable used cars in Northern Ireland, particularly at a time when many people are looking for ways to avoid public transport use and help limit the spread of Coronavirus.

“We strongly urge HMRC to raise this issue with its EU counterparts to seek an exemption before the end of the year”.

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Covid-19 has failed to contain car auctions https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/covid-19-has-failed-to-contain-car-auctions/ Wed, 18 Nov 2020 09:00:34 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42834 UK motor auctions have told the National Association of Motor Auctions it is ‘business as usual’ despite the four-week lockdown in England and the additional restrictions across the country. NAMA has recently held a member meeting where auctioneers discussed the challenges facing their businesses due to COVID-19 and analysed the current and future state of […]]]>

UK motor auctions have told the National Association of Motor Auctions it is ‘business as usual’ despite the four-week lockdown in England and the additional restrictions across the country.

NAMA has recently held a member meeting where auctioneers discussed the challenges facing their businesses due to COVID-19 and analysed the current and future state of the market.

The majority of businesses suggested it is ‘business as usual’ despite the lockdown currently in place in England and the additional restrictions across the UK forcing most auction houses to remain closed and focus on online sales, collection and deliveries.

Louise Wallis, Head of NAMA, said, “Following the first lockdown, businesses are now more familiar with running auctions under covid-safe procedures. Positively, it is business as usual for most auctions thanks to auctioneers’ ability to adapt, focus on online sales and carry on doing business in a safe and compliant way.

“Online auctions have been performing extremely well and we are pleased to see that the NAMA Grading Scheme* continues to support sales. The scheme allows buyers to identify quickly the vehicle that they want, and it provides them with additional information via the detailed report available to them.

“Following a particularly strong year, the market remains ahead of 2019’s levels despite all the challenges and it would be normal to experience a slight realignment over the coming weeks”.

According to cap hpi, volumes of sold wholesale data have been relatively consistent before and after “lockdown 2” commenced, although these were not at the peaks they were at in September. Trade buyers are still buying, although not to the same degree as in previous months.

Enquiry levels at retailers remain healthy and ‘click & collect’ sales to consumers have been to a level that meant it has been well worth dealers, independents and supermarkets remaining open virtually.

Derren Martin, Head of Valuations UK for cap hpi added, “From our perspective, retail values are holding quite firm, whereas trade prices continue to drop in November. Cap Live values have been dropping steadily since late September, but we have not seen a huge acceleration in this over the last two weeks.

“It is important to remember that on average, used values are over 5% higher than they were a year ago, for a like-for-like car at the same age and mileage point. This is very unusual and with the fourth quarter of the year generally being a period when there is more pressure on prices, plus some reduction in the buoyant demand factors of the summer 2020, it is unsurprising that values are dropping.

“We expect values to continue to drop for a few weeks, although they may stabilise depending on when lockdown ends and the proximity to Christmas”.

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Tradelines 18 November https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/tradelines-18-november/ Wed, 18 Nov 2020 00:01:00 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42794 Mercedes-Benz Vans UK Ltd has launched a winter campaign, offering two free services and 0% APR across the range, plus a £250 deposit contribution, to help keep small businesses moving as the van community ramps up for an unprecedented festive peak. Coupled with the Brand’s offering of three years unlimited mileage warranty, and 24/7 free […]]]>

Mercedes-Benz Vans UK Ltd has launched a winter campaign, offering two free services and 0% APR across the range, plus a £250 deposit contribution, to help keep small businesses moving as the van community ramps up for an unprecedented festive peak.

Coupled with the Brand’s offering of three years unlimited mileage warranty, and 24/7 free roadside assistance, as well as a round-the-clock, dedicated, nationwide Dealer Network, Mercedes-Benz remains committed to the van community.

London Electric Vehicle Company announced its first official conversion partner for its new VN5 electric van.

Modul-System is one of the largest global vehicle racking manufacturers and will support LEVC across multiple key European markets.

 

The 2021 Commercial Vehicle Show will take place on 8-10 June 2021 at the NEC in Birmingham, moving from its traditional April date to deliver the best possible Show in the safest environment.

In light of the ongoing disruption and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic regarding the holding of events in the UK, the opportunity to move to a summer date for 2021 provides more certainty to both exhibitors and visitors offering more time to plan and prepare with confidence their attendance at the Show. 
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New Nissan Micra for MY2021 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/new-nissan-micra-for-my2021/ Tue, 17 Nov 2020 14:01:46 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42787 The Nissan Micra has been significantly refreshed. There’s a new engine in the range, which can trace back its origins 38 years, with a host of technical and trim changes and it goes on sale this month from £13,995. Save Post as PDF]]>

The Nissan Micra has been significantly refreshed.

There’s a new engine in the range, which can trace back its origins 38 years, with a host of technical and trim changes and it goes on sale this month from £13,995.

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Tolled roads warning from motoring bodies https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/tolled-roads-warning-from-motoring-bodies/ Tue, 17 Nov 2020 09:10:35 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42782 British motorists are likely to be facing a new national tolled roads system. The scheme is being put forward again to offset losses from falling fuel duties and taxes, which accelerated during the lockdowns. They left a £40 Billion hole in Government finances and this week it’s expected and reported by national media that the […]]]>

British motorists are likely to be facing a new national tolled roads system.

The scheme is being put forward again to offset losses from falling fuel duties and taxes, which accelerated during the lockdowns.

They left a £40 Billion hole in Government finances and this week it’s expected and reported by national media that the tolled roads system will be unveiled in a green industry paper on wednesday or thursday.

Even if Prime Minister Boris Johnson is isolated in his Downing Street flat, the consultation paper is expected to be presented to the country by another minister.

It is thought to be part of the scheme to bring forward the ban on sales of petrol and diesel cars in Britain by 2030, five years ahead of the date which was itself five years ahead of previous timetable of the Government. Hybrid cars using petrol or diesel engines with electric motors would be allowed until 2035.

The variety of powertrains seems complicated but Automatic Number Plate Recognition can instantly identify vehicles and their power systems as well as registered keepers and charges would be sent to them if they fell within the tolled category. It would also pay for the ANPR national network of cameras, which are always live.

Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance, comparethemarket.com said, “A per-mile road tax will be a daunting prospect for many motorists in the UK.

“Cars are critical for so many people who rely on them to get to work, and post-lockdown to see their family and friends. The cost of running a car is already a significant burden for some and simply becoming unaffordable for others, particularly given the financial constraints people face as a result of the pandemic.

“Our research indicates that 71% of young people – who pay the most of any age group to keep a car – don’t believe their pay cheque is high enough to cover the cost of driving. It is essential that the Government think carefully about how this rumoured road pricing scheme is implemented to protect these under-pressure groups as they struggle to cover the existing costs, let alone a further tax.”

With the government this week expected to announce a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, research by Kwik Fit clearly shows the areas the government and industry must work on over the coming decade to convince UK motorists to make the switch.

A study for Kwik Fit has revealed that just one in twelve (8%) of car owners expect their next vehicle to be fully electric, with researchers exploring the biggest factors which are putting drivers off opting for these models.

Improving the charging infrastructure will be key to motorists switching to electric. A lack of fast charging points in the areas people commonly drive is the most frequently given reason for motorists not considering a fully electric vehicle (37%). As well as charging when on the road, 30% of drivers say they would not be able to charge their car at home. 

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said, “As more electric vehicles come on to our roads, revenue from fuel duty will decline so it’s inevitable a new system will have to be developed.

“While not paying car tax is clearly an incentive to go fully electric at the moment, we will very soon need a system that can levy tax on both conventionally fuelled and battery electric vehicles fairly. If this isn’t addressed, we risk finding ourselves in a situation where petrol and diesel drivers continue to pay all the tax for using the roads which is unsustainable.

“But drivers are firm in their views that any new system must not be used as a way to increase the tax burden on them. Despite this, RAC research shows around four-in-10 drivers believe that some form of ‘pay-per mile’ system would be fairer than the current system of fuel duty, while half (49%) agree that the more someone drives the more they should pay in tax. Drivers are also clear that tax revenues from any replacement for fuel duty should be solely reinvested back into the road network.”

The proposed system would have to be able to cope with foreign registered vehicles using UK roads, including those from Southern Ireland, and the UK’s exit from Europe may lead to issues over access to data on the vehicles so a large one-off fee may be extracted when the vehicle first enters the UK.

There is also the issue of likely reform to the multi-layered emissions tax bands which have favoured hybrids and electric vehicles until now but as they become the norm, the incentives to use them diminish. Alternatives may have to be introduced as the current tax system is gradually replaced.

Technology around charging for EVs can indicate when a vehicle is drawing on power and possibly this is when a higher charge could be implemented at the power point, so EV users would pay to charge and then face tolled charges when they got on the roads, possibly rising at peak times or in heavily congested areas.

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Newslines 17 November https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/newslines-17-november-2/ Tue, 17 Nov 2020 00:04:49 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42780 Nissan has denied it is considering selling a third of its stake in Mitsubishi Motors, as reported by Bloomberg News. It is most likely to sell the Mitsubishi Motors business to the larger Mitsubishi Group, which owns a fifth of the car business said the media agency, but this has been denied by Nissan. Honda’s […]]]>

Nissan has denied it is considering selling a third of its stake in Mitsubishi Motors, as reported by Bloomberg News.

It is most likely to sell the Mitsubishi Motors business to the larger Mitsubishi Group, which owns a fifth of the car business said the media agency, but this has been denied by Nissan.

Honda’s first battery electric vehicle for Europe, the Honda e, has been named ‘German Car of the Year 2021’ in the country’s prestigious annual Car of the Year Awards.

It’s the first vehicle from a Japanese brand to win the award and it also picked up the title of New Energy winner.

The German government is being urged to consider offering a truck scrappage scheme.

This would apply to trucks with emissions classes of 3,4 or 5 and enable them to be replaced with class 6 engines, electric or hydrogen power at a cost of  €15,000 each.

Mature higher earning drivers want more speed limit signs to be displayed.

That’s the conclusion of a survey as Road Safety Week starts, police clamp down on law-breakers and a third of drivers admit speeding.

VW Group allocated €73 Billion for electrification, hybridization and digital technologies over five years.

It will widen from a vehicle maker to a mobility business to meet changing society needs.

Wellhouse Leisure and the Caravan Club have joined forces to donate a £49,000 Toyota Proace Matino campervan to the BBC Children in Need text to win competition.

The luxury four-berth van comes with a year’s CC membership and 12 weekend breaks in the UK, together with other prizes for a family to enjoy.

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Newslines 16 November https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/newslines-16-november-3/ Mon, 16 Nov 2020 15:30:12 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42770 CUPRA continues to accelerate the transformation of its business and the electrification of its premium performance range, opening the order books for the new CUPRA Leon plug-in hybrid in the UK. Customers can purchase the CUPRA Leon e-HYBRID VZ2 245PS, with 1.4-litre TSI engine, 85PS electric motor and 13.1kWh battery pack, from £34,495, with order […]]]>

CUPRA continues to accelerate the transformation of its business and the electrification of its premium performance range, opening the order books for the new CUPRA Leon plug-in hybrid in the UK.

Customers can purchase the CUPRA Leon e-HYBRID VZ2 245PS, with 1.4-litre TSI engine, 85PS electric motor and 13.1kWh battery pack, from £34,495, with order books for pure-petrol variants opening early 2021.

The new Honda Jazz e:HEV has been awarded the maximum five-star rating in the latest round of Euro NCAP safety tests, which introduce a range of rigorous new assessments.

The Jazz has an advanced all-new body structure and includes as standard a comprehensive suite of active safety technologies and driver aids. This combination of carefully integrated active and passive safety features reinforce the model’s reputation as one of Europe’s safest passenger cars.

The all-electric Mazda MX-30 has been awarded the maximum five-star rating by Euro NCAP in its latest series of tests, with 91% and 87% scores in its respective adult and child occupancy categories.

The 91% is the best Adult Occupant Protection result yet registered amongst all vehicles tested in the latest 2020 Euro NCAP ratings.

Tracker provides telematics and usage-based insurance and is urging young motorists to heed this week’s  ‘No Need to Speed’ safety drive.

Someone is injured on a UK road every four minutes, and speed contributes to 1 in 5 fatal crashes, however drivers aged 17 -25 are five times more likely to be involved in a road accident and three times more likely to be in a crash caused by speed.

More than half of drivers (56%) say they’ve been left struggling to understand the language used by garages when describing faults with cars and what needs to be done to fix them, new RAC Breakdown research shows.

From odd terms like ‘big end’ (part of an engine) to acronyms such as AGM (a type of battery, not a meeting), DPF (a filter which helps clean up diesel exhausts) and TPMS (a system that monitors tyre pressure), the world of garage servicing and repairs has more than its fair share of words that have the potential to baffle – which might explain why half of drivers surveyed (50%) feel they’d been overcharged or ripped off by a garage, with more than one-in-10 (15%) saying a garage carried out work they hadn’t agreed to.

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Suzuki Swace heading for showrooms https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/suzuki-swace-heading-for-showrooms/ Mon, 16 Nov 2020 09:00:20 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42758   The British-built Suzuki Swace estate is about to go on sale.   A badge-engineered facelifted version of the Toyota Corolla Hybrid Estate made in Derby with 1.8 litre petrol engines from Deeside, the newcomer will be sold in SZ-T and SZ5 trim. The nominal boot space of 596 litres rises to 1,606 litres when […]]]>

 

The British-built Suzuki Swace estate is about to go on sale.

 

A badge-engineered facelifted version of the Toyota Corolla Hybrid Estate made in Derby with 1.8 litre petrol engines from Deeside, the newcomer will be sold in SZ-T and SZ5 trim.

The nominal boot space of 596 litres rises to 1,606 litres when the back seats are dropped and the boot floor is reversible to take wet or dirty items without marking the carpet side.

The prices start at £27,499 and £29,299 respectively for the 102ps petrol models which have 53kW electric motor for economy and performance boost which lifts maximum power to 122hp for the automatic-only models.

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Car importance now greatest https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/car-importance-now-greatest/ Sun, 15 Nov 2020 09:00:04 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42714 More than half of UK drivers (57%) say having access to a car is more important than it was before the coronavirus pandemic, with reluctance to use public transport in the future at its highest level in 18 years, research for the RAC’s annual Report on Motoring has found. Two-thirds of drivers in three specific groups – […]]]>

More than half of UK drivers (57%) say having access to a car is more important than it was before the coronavirus pandemic, with reluctance to use public transport in the future at its highest level in 18 years, research for the RAC’s annual Report on Motoring has found.

Two-thirds of drivers in three specific groups – young drivers, those with fewer than 10 years’ driving experience and people living in the capital – are all significantly more likely to say they need a car more now than they did before March.

When it comes to needing to use a car for work, a majority (64%) still expect to drive to offices or other places of work in the future, a figure which is almost unchanged on the 67% who said they did so before the pandemic.

A little over a third of drivers (36%) said they expect to work from home more frequently in the future as a result of the coronavirus.

Despite the rise in home deliveries, nearly seven-in-10 drivers (68%) say a car is essential for carrying items like shopping, up from 54% last year – perhaps partly driven by the rise in click-and-collect services and people carrying out fewer, larger grocery shops than before the lockdown.

Meanwhile, six-in-10 drivers (59%) say the car is essential for meeting up with friends and family who live elsewhere in the country, significantly up from 45% in 2019.

The research also shows the scale of the challenge to encourage drivers to switch from their vehicles to public transport for some trips even in a post-pandemic scenario – and if this was a problem before the lockdown, it’s likely to be an even greater one in the future.

For the first time since 2002 fewer than half of drivers (43%) say they would use their cars less, even if public transport was improved – down sharply from 57% in 2019.

Taken at face value, the declining appeal of public transport seemingly represents a seismic shift compared to recent years, and suggests drivers are more wedded to their cars than they have been for a long time. It also reflects ongoing safety concerns of using potentially crowded public transport systems.

The coronavirus aside, the reasons drivers give for not opting for the bus, train or tram for some trips is consistent with previous years. Nearly half (46%) say fares are too high (2019: 50%), 43% say services don’t run when they need them to (2019: 41%) and 41% say services aren’t frequent enough (2019: 41%).

A similar proportion (39%) complain that bus or rail lines don’t run close enough to where they live or are looking to get to (2019: 38%), while nearly three-in-10 (29%) report services just take too long (2019: 25%).

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Weekend roadtest: Suzuki Ignis SZ5 Allgrip https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/weekend-roadtest-suzuki-ignis-sz5-allgrip/ Sat, 14 Nov 2020 09:00:42 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42686 City slicker meets countryside pony is how I would describe the top specification model in the revised Suzuki Ignis range, writes David Miles. All models now have a new 1.2-litre four-cylinder K12D Dualjet Hybrid petrol engine offering WLTP CO2 emissions from 114g/km and combined cycle fuel economy from 55.7mpg for the 2WD models.  And you […]]]>

City slicker meets countryside pony is how I would describe the top specification model in the revised Suzuki Ignis range, writes David Miles.

All models now have a new 1.2-litre four-cylinder K12D Dualjet Hybrid petrol engine offering WLTP CO2 emissions from 114g/km and combined cycle fuel economy from 55.7mpg for the 2WD models.  And you will note from those last few words I say 2WD model so that means there is a 4WD option, yes there is but only with the top level SZ5 specification.

 

The spec options are SZ3, SZ-T and SZ5 and prices start at £13,999 for the SZ3 model with its standard 2WD traction and rise to £17,499 for the SZ5 Allgrip 4WD variant.  Whilst a 5-speed manual gearbox is standard fit a CVT automatic option costs an extra £1,000 and it is only available on 2WD models with SZ-T and SZ5 spec levels.

The Ignis is a crossover in terms of refreshed styling. It’s short, compact, chunky with a raised ride height and in its 2WD form ideal as a city car. Add the SZ5 spec and Allgrip 4WD system and it becomes a compact, lively potential on-off road mule for countryside duties. It could well be the answer to those Suzuki Jimny owners now that model has finished production for European markets.

We know from years of experience Suzuki are experts at producing sensible small cars and impressive small to medium off-roaders and the Ignis keeps up that reputation with its different model options.

Suzuki expects to sell around 6,000 of them in the UK in a full year – Covid lockdown regulations permitting.  Although Crossover/SUV sales are high, small versions are limited in their availability and probably the Ignis SZ5 Allgrip model’s competitor is the Fiat Panda 4×4 or Fiat 500X and if you go a little larger but comparable for price then it could be the Dacia Duster.  If you treat the Ignis 2WD models as City Cars then there are lots of competitors such as the Fiat 500, Kia Picanto, Hyundai i100, Toyota Aygo and VW Up.

So what specification do we get for our money?  Standard fit is air conditioning, six airbags, LED headlights, rear privacy glass, DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity. The SZ-T adds individually sliding rear seats, rear view camera, wheel arch extensions, side mouldings and roof rails, 16-inch alloy wheels and Smartphone Link Display Audio with Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

Venture into the top SZ5 spec level and the additions include auto air conditioning, satellite navigation, cruise control, keyless entry and engine start, door mirror mounted indicators, Dual Camera Brake Support, Lane Departure Warning and Driving Lane Weaving Alert.

 

Those are the contents, what about the wrapping?  For the August 2020 introduction of the latest Ignis the styling facelift provides a more rugged compact SUV appearance. Suzuki says the new Ignis reinforces its unique position as the only ultra-compact SUV on the market.

It has a new front grille and bumpers, a wide choice of exterior and interior colours, boosted by the efficiency-enhanced engine with its uprated hybrid system.

The clamshell bonnet is retained above the Ignis 5-spoke grill and headlights which gives an appealing cheeky expression I think. The wheelarch mouldings, robust rear shoulders, strong looking front and rear bumpers featuring trapezoid shape silver under body garnishes, amplify the overall SUV character and unique style. It has an ‘I might be small but don’t mess with me’ attitude.  The Tough Khaki pearl metallic paintwork of my test car enhanced its street-cred and off-road image.

The latest Ignis has a reduction of weight as well as increased rigidity. Body rigidity has been enhanced by approximately 10% per cent and a new structure with very high tensile steel is used to reduce the total vehicle weight by around 15 per cent. The lightest Ignis model has a kerb weight of 895kg even in the highly equipped SZ5 2WD model and 940kg for the Allgrip version.

Inside it is much as before with sweeping horizontal styling lines which convey width and a feeling of space. In the rear two seats are fine for children but with limited leg space for adults. But being a 5-door body means rear passengers have their own doors for ease of access.  The squabs of the front seats are on the small side and lack support near the edges.

With the rear seats in use the boot space is just 204-litres for the 4WD version, 260-litres for the 2WD models. With the rear seat backs folded down this goes up to 490/514-litres to the waistline and up to 1,096/1,100-litres loaded to the top of the front seat head restraints depending on the model.

 

Thankfully the Ignis retains sensible individual controls and buttons either on the fascia or steering wheel and the display screen is mainly about sat-nav operations. It’s not the most modern or fastest loading navigation system but it was simple to use.

Does it measure up for size, will it fit your urban parking space or town house narrow garage and will you easily find a parking slot at a trendy country food market?  It is 3,700mm long, its 1,690mm wide and 1,605mm high so you can judge it’s tall and narrow but also short. The wheelbase is 2,435mm and it has a braked towing weight capacity of 1,000kg.

The Tall height, narrow body and 180mm of tall ground clearance do of course have an effect on the car’s handling.

In windy conditions it proved a bit of a handful on a motorway journey but on winding country roads it coped, was reasonably predictable with steering which could have given a bit more feedback during cornering.

However in its city car domain the steering proved to be sharp with a 9.4-metres turning circle.

For such a tall, short wheelbase vehicle the revised suspension settings provide a compliant ride with only broken and potholed town road surfaces giving it a choppy performance.

So it’s on to the biggest change for the latest Ignis, the use of hybrid support for the petrol engine.  In common with most other manufacturers with cars using combustion engines, to lower the emission levels to meet or get close to the new levels required in 2021, hybrid support systems are popular and some are complex and some more simple and  readily available.

The revised core 1.2-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine uses Suzuki’s latest Dualjet technology which uses twin fuel injectors per cylinder close to the inlet valves for finer fuel/air atomisation into the revised combustion chambers and bowl shaped piston crowns. The engine also uses electronically controlled variable valve timing which alters the opening and closing time of the inlet valves depending on the load placed on the engine.

The engine is paired with a 12-volt self-charging hybrid system and new 10Ah lithium-ion battery. The hybrid system uses an Integrated Starter Generator (ISG).  This unit is belt driven and assists the petrol engine during initial vehicle take-off and acceleration modes. It also generates electricity through regenerative braking recharging both the lithium-ion battery and the conventional 12-volt battery and it operates the fuel saving Stop/Start system.

 

Matched with a precise action 5-speed manual gearbox the eager revving engine needed to be kept in its most comfortable area of the powerband as losing revs and the responsive momentum was lost.

 

 

The Suzuki Allgrip Auto system is well known; it’s simple, fully automatic and provides permanent four-wheel drive which transfers additional torque via a viscous coupling system to the rear wheels when required. When the front wheels lose their grip the engine torque is automatically directed to the rear wheels to instantly regain vehicle traction.

Enhancements to the latest Ignis Allgrip Auto 4WD system include Hill Descent Control and Grip Control. Grip Control activates on slippery surfaces at speeds of less than 18mph. Once switched on by the driver it focuses torque on the driven wheels that have grip and will quickly apply braking to the wheel that is spinning.

Hill Descent Control activates once switched on by the driver and when the vehicle is travelling on an incline at under approximately 15mph in first or second gear.  Thanks to the use of small and lightweight components Ignis Allgrip is just 45kg heavier than its equivalent 2WD model.

As for fuel economy and emissions the headline figure for the Ignis 2WD is the new WLTP rate CO2 of 114g/km with a Combined Cycle figure of 55.7mpg.  For my 4WD test drive model the CO2 figure is 123g/k and Combined Cycle at 51.9mpg.

My week of test driving using town and country roads, plus a longer motorway journey in high winds, the overall figure was 56.2mpg.  On one non-motorway run the figure was as high as 62mpg – very impressive.

It is higher sustained 70mph motorway speeds that lowered the overall figure.

 

The engine, despite its hybrid support, also noticeably slowed up climbing moderately steep hills so it is horses for course. It will cope with long journeys but shorter in town, urban and country lanes is its home turf.

MILESTONES: 

Suzuki Ignis 1.2 Hybrid SZ5 Allgrip 5-door city car crossover £17,499

Engine/transmission: 1.2-litre, 4-cylinder, Dualjet variable valve timing and starter/generator Hybrid assist 83hp, 107Nm of torque at 2,800rpm, 5-speed manual with 4WD

Performance: 103mph, 0-62mph 12.8-seconds, WLTP Combined Cycle 51.9mpg (56.2mpg on test)

CO2 123g/km Alternative Fuel rate VED First Year road tax £165 then £140 Standard rate, BiK company car tax 27%

Insurance group: 19P       Warranty: 3-years/60,000-miles

Dimensions/capacities; L 3,700mm, W 1,690mm, H 1,605mm, wheelbase 2,435mm, boot/load space 204 to 1,086-litres, braked towing weight 1,000kg, 5-doors/4-seats

For: Compact dual role vehicle for city or rural motoring, very good real life fuel economy, well priced, well equipped, easy to drive, capable 4WD system, nice Tough Khaki paint colour

Against: Very limited rear seat leg space for adults, front seat squabs are small and lack support, fidgety ride at times, old fashioned sluggish infotainment and sat-nav systems.

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Drivers delay servicing but risk fines https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/drivers-delay-servicing-but-risk-fines/ Fri, 13 Nov 2020 11:00:55 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42743 Nearly half of UK drivers have put off servicing or essential car maintenance across 2020, according to a new study from money.co.uk. The study from the financial comparison service found that 48% of drivers had delayed repairs or services for their vehicle across the coronavirus pandemic, as average mileage has plummeted, and MOT’s have been deferred. […]]]>

Nearly half of UK drivers have put off servicing or essential car maintenance across 2020, according to a new study from money.co.uk.

The study from the financial comparison service found that 48% of drivers had delayed repairs or services for their vehicle across the coronavirus pandemic, as average mileage has plummeted, and MOT’s have been deferred.

The survey of motorists found that just under a fifth (17%) are driving with at least one service light or warning sign on their vehicle, with more than half (64%) of those saying they didn’t see the point in addressing the issue immediately as they rarely use their vehicle.

Overall, just under a third (28%) of drivers said they had one or more warning lights currently on their vehicle or were driving with known issues with their car.

Tyre maintenance was the most commonly ignored issue, with the majority (68%) of drivers saying they hadn’t checked their tires since the beginning of the year. Of those who had inspected their tyres, more than quarter (26%) said they knew their tyres needed to be replaced but hadn’t done so citing cost (32%), availability (12%), and lack of large journeys (40%) as the main reason.

According to the research, the average UK mileage has dropped by more than half to an estimated average of just 3,500 miles a year, since the start of the year. This is down from 8,000 in 2019. As a result, the study found drivers were less likely to pay attention to service lights and other required maintenance.

Other maintenance issues likely to be ignored included, interim services (38%), oil checks/changes (28%), unrecognised warning lights (21%) and washer fluid (15%)

In most cases (40%), drivers blamed the lack of regular use of their vehicle for not addressing issues, along with tighter budgets (32%) and delayed MOT’s (17%).

However, drivers who do not keep up with regular maintenance could risk fines, penalty points and a long-term impact to their insurance premiums.

Important: The servicing and repair of UK cars is big income generator
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Logistics claim Government is failing businesses over Brexit https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/logistics-claim-government-is-failing-businesses-over-brexit/ Fri, 13 Nov 2020 07:00:02 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42727 The Government has failed to provide the UK logistics industry with information it needs to meet obligations and ensure a smooth Brexit transition, said Elizabeth de Jong, policy director at Logistics UK, the business group which represents the sector. “Logistics UK has been working closely with government for some time to highlight the issues which […]]]>

The Government has failed to provide the UK logistics industry with information it needs to meet obligations and ensure a smooth Brexit transition, said Elizabeth de Jong, policy director at Logistics UK, the business group which represents the sector.

“Logistics UK has been working closely with government for some time to highlight the issues which could affect the smooth passage of goods through the supply chain after the end of the Transition Period,” she said.

“Much has been achieved but there is still much to be done if disruption is to be avoided from 1 January 2021, with detail still required in order for logistics operators to brief and train staff, and adopt new processes for declarations, tariff calculation and payments.  As always, we stand ready to provide all support necessary to make Brexit a success but need government to provide us with the information we require, in detail and at pace.”

Logistics UK, formerly FTA, is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods.

With COVID-19, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc.

Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods.

“In order to ensure the integrity of the UK’s supply chain, it is vital that our HGV drivers can operate safely, and our members will ensure that their drivers follow all government advice and isolate for 14 days if they are arriving from Denmark.

At the same time, logistics is an agile industry and importers can switch between transport modes to ensure that products still arrive at the end customer.  In any case much of the ferry transport between the UK and Denmark is sent in unaccompanied trailers, so drivers simply collect their loads from ports, with no need to travel across the border.

The industry will continue to maintain high levels of vigilance and follow all necessary health protocols to protect the UK.”

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Newslines 13 November https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/newslines-13-november-3/ Fri, 13 Nov 2020 00:02:28 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42755 A Honda Legend brimming with sensors will be able to use busy motorways without driver assistance from April 2021, the company has told Reuters. The Level 3 autonomous car will be the world’s first with this new technology approved by Japan’s safety regulatory body. Renault is considering using the Alpine name to promote its high […]]]>

A Honda Legend brimming with sensors will be able to use busy motorways without driver assistance from April 2021, the company has told Reuters.

The Level 3 autonomous car will be the world’s first with this new technology approved by Japan’s safety regulatory body.

Renault is considering using the Alpine name to promote its high performance versions of mainstream cars.

There has been speculation that the enormous PSA group will bring back the Lancia name in sporting models now it has merged with FCA.

There could be a serious shortage of diesel cars from 1 January.

That’s the deadline for diesels to have on-board fuel consumption monitoring under EU legislation which the car makers have failed to get delayed by six-months.

A survey of Road Users’ Attitudes wants a ban on cyclists wearing headphones.

Now IAM RoadSmart want the ban to be part of the revised Highway Code and future legislation.

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Evans leaps towards WRC crown https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/evans-leaps-towards-wrc-crown/ Thu, 12 Nov 2020 09:01:04 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42649 Elfyn Evans has moved another step towards becoming the first Welsh driver to be crowned FIA World Rally Champion following the cancellation of this month’s Renties Ypres Rally Belgium. Belgium was due to host the FIA World Rally Championship for the first time but, following rising COVID-19 infections in the country, directions from regional government forced […]]]>

Elfyn Evans has moved another step towards becoming the first Welsh driver to be crowned FIA World Rally Champion following the cancellation of this month’s Renties Ypres Rally Belgium.

Belgium was due to host the FIA World Rally Championship for the first time but, following rising COVID-19 infections in the country, directions from regional government forced the organisers to cancel the season’s penultimate round.

As a result, Evans will now enter next month’s season finale – to be staged at Monza in Italy 4-6 December – holding a significant 14-point advantage over his closest rival, with a maximum 30 points still on offer.

Sébastien Ogier, his six-time championship winning team-mate at Toyota Gazoo Racing, currently sits second in the standings; Hyundai pair Thierry Neuville and defending champion Ott Tänak are also still mathematically in the title race, but with just one round remaining, their respective chances are far more remote.

“It’s such a shame as I know the Belgian organisers had put in a massive effort to get their event onto the WRC calendar and we were really looking forward to the special challenges of rallying on the rural roads around Ypres,” said Evans on hearing the news. “We will now keep working as much as possible in readiness for Monza.”

However, while acknowledging that the cancellation of the Belgian round could work in his favour, the championship leader also cautions that its annulment might count against him and co-driver Scott Martin.

“You can look at it both ways,” he pointed out. “If I had an issue with two rounds left, there would still have been one remaining rally to make up any lost ground. Now, should anything go wrong in Italy, the job is probably finished – there will be no opportunity to claw back points.

“In one way, of course, the title is closer but in reality things are still open and anything can still happen in the one remaining round… and that assumes that Monza will run to a full itinerary and full points will be awarded, as we currently expect.”

Although this year’s pandemic-truncated FIA World Rally Championship will now only be decided over a maximum of seven rounds, the 31-year-old from Dolgellau has already made a big impression since joining the title-winning Toyota team at the start of the campaign.

Showing impressive speed and stamina, Evans is the only driver to have won multiple rounds during 2020 and is yet to finish outside the top four. Now, he knows one more outstanding performance in Italy will see him crowned as just the third British driver to lift the prized WRC title. Colin McRae was the first 25 years ago and Richard Burns the second six years later in 2001.

“I will need to be at my best,” he agreed. “From my side, with the points situation as it is, the championship is still very much an open game. We will go to Monza trying to win the rally – that’s ultimately where I’m at.”

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Morris races to South of France this week https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/morris-races-to-south-of-france-this-week/ Thu, 12 Nov 2020 00:01:13 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42738 Welsh racer Seb Morris heads to Paul Ricard in the south of France this week for the final round of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup season. The Bentley factory ace will be pushing as hard as ever to battle for a big result as his 2020 European campaign draws to a close. Round […]]]>

Welsh racer Seb Morris heads to Paul Ricard in the south of France this week for the final round of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup season.

The Bentley factory ace will be pushing as hard as ever to battle for a big result as his 2020 European campaign draws to a close.

Round four, the six-hour 1,000-kilometre Paul Ricard race, carries a lot of importance for the 24-year-old as the final encounter of his maiden season in Europe as a full ‘works’ driver.

Morris, from Marford, heads-up the No.107 Bentley Continental GT3 entry for French squad CMR and says the groundwork he has done ahead of the season finale on Sunday, 15 November, has been greater than ever and, along with team-mates Pierre Alexandre Jean and Nelson Panciatici, he is determined to fight for a top 10 finish in CMR’s home race.

“I’ve prepared like never before for Paul Ricard”, said Morris, who is represented by Greenlight Sports Management, “I’ve been up at M-Sport [Bentley technical partner] going through data, they won at Ricard last year and I’ve been working hard to ensure I can give CMR the best set-up possible.

“Personally, I did well at Ricard last season [with Team Parker Racing] and my stint times were very good and the pace was incredibly strong, so I’m really looking forward to being back there and hopefully ending the season on a high.

“To have finished the Spa 24 hours last month really was an achievement in itself, it shows the reliability we have at CMR which is very important.”

He added, “It’s a six-hour race at the weekend, and obviously the team’s home race, so we’re all aiming for a big finish to the season.

“One of the team’s strengths is the pit-stops, we’ve been gaining a lot of time there, so I think we could surprise a few people if we have a straightforward run.”

Additionally, it will be the 50th ‘Endurance Cup’ contest staged since the series was established in 2011.

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Operating guides for dealers https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/operating-guides-for-dealers/ Wed, 11 Nov 2020 14:00:01 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42722 NFDA is creating a new series of ‘hands-on’ guides to provide franchised dealer members with straightforward, operational guidance on the main issues affecting them, said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association. After analysing our daily legal enquiry reports, NFDA has launched a new series of operational guides covering some of the […]]]>

NFDA is creating a new series of ‘hands-on’ guides to provide franchised dealer members with straightforward, operational guidance on the main issues affecting them, said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association.

After analysing our daily legal enquiry reports, NFDA has launched a new series of operational guides covering some of the key areas which have been of particular concern to members.

NFDA’s primary objective is to understand some of the issues members are facing and to produce simple and easy-to-digest guides, offering fundamental and relevant information about the legal requirements in the motor industry.

The first guide focuses on ‘Distance Selling’, an issue which is currently of particular relevance to dealers as showrooms must remain shut during the lockdown. Over the coming months, NFDA members will have access to a series of ‘Hands-On Guides’ covering key areas such as General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) as well as HR issues.

The guides are broken down into the following sections:

  • What the issue is
  • What businesses need to do
  • What happens if businesses do not follow the guidance
  • Summary and conclusions
  • Helpful terms
  • Links to additional guidance available online

Sue Roinson, NFDA Chief Executive, added,“NFDA understands that not all franchised dealers may have the time or the trained staff to follow the extensive legal updates in the automotive retail sector, as a result, we are breaking down the information available, offering the most significant parts to our members in a simple, user-friendly format.

“Whilst the guides are designed for the easy access of dealers, NFDA will continue to offer additional, detailed guidance and case studies through our dedicated member area on the website as well as regular, member bulletins.”

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Brake wear highlighted as common company car issue https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/brake-wear-highlighted-as-common-company-car-issue/ Wed, 11 Nov 2020 11:00:34 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42640 Brake pads and discs are the most common reason UK fleet vehicles enter workshops according to an “authoritative” new UK service, maintenance and repair (SMR) Top 20 released by epyx. The table is based on information from the company’s 1link Service Network platform, used by fleets totalling four million cars, vans and trucks to buy and […]]]>

Brake pads and discs are the most common reason UK fleet vehicles enter workshops according to an “authoritative” new UK service, maintenance and repair (SMR) Top 20 released by epyx.

The table is based on information from the company’s 1link Service Network platform, used by fleets totalling four million cars, vans and trucks to buy and manage SMR from nearly 9,000 franchise dealers, independent garages and fast-fits.

The data shows the percentage of invoice line items for a range of SMR actions for a 12 month period from the start of September 2019 to the end of August 2020.

Brakes discs and pads are by far the most common job, accounting for 16.3% of all SMR carried out. Completing the top five are windscreen wiper blades (5.6%), pollen filters (4.4%), fuel filters (2.2%) and batteries (2.0%).

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Tradelines 11 November https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/tradelines-11-november/ Wed, 11 Nov 2020 08:00:23 +0000 https://www.wheelswithinwales.uk/?p=42718

Fourteen Tory MPs are among signatories to a FairFuelUK open letter to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps calling for an end to the road narrowing, blockages and dedicated cycle lanes eating into urban roadspace.

Others who have added their names represent hauliers, drivers’ group and motorcyclists who say the policies have become a war on the motorist, who contribute billions of pounds to the state in various taxes and duties.

The celebrities car of choice is the Tesla Model S, says Moneybeach insurance specialists.

More drive that than any other model but its closely followed by the Bentley Continental GT and then the Mercedes G-Wagon.

There were 11,729 recorded incidents of contents theft from vans/light commercial vehicles in the first six months of 2020, according to Logistics UK’s Van Security Report. 

On average, organisations surveyed by Logistics UK have had items stolen from their vans four times in the past 12 months, costing each business around £4,250 in total. 
Motor charity BEN is making an urgent ‘rallying cry’ to automotive industry leaders as it faces a 50% increase in demand for services against a £1m income shortfall, following the cancellation of fundraising events including Ben Ball.
Without additional funding, Ben may be forced to make difficult decisions about which cases to support as Covid-19 is having an unprecedented impact on the health and wellbeing of the automotive workforce. 
The October motorcycle market showed a significant 24.3% increase over this time last year, testament to the robustness and ability of dealers to react to the increasing demand, said Paddy O’Connell, Head of the National Motorcycle Dealers Association.

Sales rose from 7,126 units to 8,856 scooters and mopeds saw an increase in registrations from last year, as new and old riders alike continue to take to  them, possibly led by a jump in home deliveries of foods and commuters.

The Government wants to trial longer trailer units on UK main roads and with the blessing of Logistics UK.

The current 44-tonnes limit will be raised by 4-tonnes for six axle trailers allowed for journeys of up to 50miles in a bid to cut down on individual HGV trips while improving efficiency and reducing pollution, but it will mean certain routes with weight-constrained bridges will not be included.

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