Category Archives: Motoring News

Car Infotainment: Two Thirds Of Drivers Are Being Distracted

Car Infotainment: Two Thirds Of Drivers Are Being Driven To Distraction

Up to two thirds of motorists believe their fellow drivers are increasingly being distracted by their infotainment systems…

Infotainment and Driver Distractions 

New research has revealed that most drivers believe their fellow motorists are being driven to distraction by infotainment systems. Conducted by Venson Automotive Solutions, it revealed that two-thirds (68%) believe drivers are failing to properly concentrate on the roads as a result of their in-car tech. Despite this, only 13% of the research’s respondents admitted to having being distracted themselves. The findings follow a Department for Transport (DfT) review of road policing. It’s called on police forces to provide evidence of how infotainment systems might affect the concentration and attention-span of drivers.

Simon Staton, client management director at Venson, believes there’s room for improvement when it comes to in-car distractions and road safety. He said, “we may have some of the safest roads in the world, but anything that can be done to reduce the number of casualties on our roads is to be welcomed. The advances made in in-car technology have moved on very quickly; and as they become standard in new vehicles, the scope for driver distraction also grows”. He added, “we look forward to the results and recommendations from the DfT review”.

An Appetite For In-Car Tech 

Part of the problem with in-car technology is that, ultimately, we like it. Whether it’s infotainment systems themselves, sat navs or mobile phones, the range of gadgets and gizmos available is vast. The demand is only increasing, too. For instance, 67% said they’d use a dashboard satnav if one was made available. 50% of drivers would also like an emergency call button in their car in case they were involved in a car accident. Some 48% of them would welcome more advanced tyre pressure monitoring apps; and 43% would use lane-keeping and cruise control features. Curiously enough, most drivers seem to only be interested in practical technologies. Just 26% of drivers said they’d be interested in lifestyle or entertainment-related features.

On the one hand, this appetite for more technology presents opportunities for distraction. On the other hand, most of the demand is actually for safety-related features. Ultimately, our cars are looking more more like ‘smart’ devices than just a means of transport. Because in-car technology is the car, there’s a risk that drivers see it as acceptable to use it whilst on the move; even though this can be just as distracting as using a mobile phone. Manufacturers, road authorities and government bodies need to do more to properly assess the risks that come with new in-car technologies. In the meantime, drivers need to exercise a little commonsense. You wouldn’t (we hope) text whilst behind the wheel, so why would you spend a minute tweaking your infotainment system’s settings?

Jaguar Land Rover Is Trialling Contactless Touchscreen Technology – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/jaguar-land-rover-is-trialling-contactless-touchscreen-technology/

Car Gadgets: Five You Should Always Have In Your Car – https://www.autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/car-gadgets-five-you-should-always-have-in-your-car/

With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. Call one of our professional Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 for more details.

The UK Is Getting Its First Gigafactory In 2023, With A Little Help From Italy

The UK Is Getting Its First Gigafactory In 2023, With A Little Help From Italy

If electric cars are the future of the automotive industry, so are gigafactories – the places where EV batteries are made. The UK’s now getting its first gigafactory in Wales…

Britain’s First Gigafactory 

Not too long ago, Tesla announced that it’d be building its first European gigafactory in Berlin. According to its CEO, Elon Musk, Britain didn’t make the grade due to uncertainties surrounding Brexit. Naturally, commentators of every description voiced their displeasure at the opportunities the country had lost out on. But all’s not lost. Britishvolt, a start-up battery manufacturer, has announced plans to create the country’s first gigafactory at the former RAF base of Bro Tathan, Wales. Even more impressively, it’ll be working with the Italian car design firm Pininfarina in launching the state-of-the-art facility.

The factory will cover 2.7-million-square-feet and is planned to have an annual production capacity of 35GWh. For perspective, that’d put it on equal ground with Tesla’s facility in Nevada. Britishvolt is pulling no punches in describing its ambitions. It wants to become a global leader in lithium ion battery production. Of the plant, it’s said it will “become one of the largest industrial investments in British history”. The Italian design house Pininfarina will also be working on the project. A spokesman from Britishvolt said its “revolutionary designs will ensure that Britishvolt’s gigaplant is both fit for purpose, and an elegant representation of the future of the UK’s automotive industry”.

Orral Nadjari, Britishvolt’s CEO, commented on the future plant. He said, “Britishvolt’s aim to become the world’s first zero-carbon battery manufacturer aligns perfectly with Pininfarina’s expertise in creating green, high-tech and innovative environments. With carefully selected sustainable materials that take into account the entire building’s lifecycle, Pininfarina’s appreciation of social impact is what drew us to this partnership.”

The Future Of Britain’s Car Industry

Ralf Speth, the former chief of Jaguar Land Rover, has spoken frankly about the future of Britain’s car industry. He said, “if batteries go out of the UK, then automotive production will go out of the UK”. Unsurprisingly, then, the government (and the opposition) has been vocal about investing in gigafactories. Electric cars, after all, are a vital component in realising carbon neutrality by 2050.

The news will be particularly well-received by the Welsh government. The country’s recent history with the automotive industry has been a roller coaster. Ford’s Bridgend plant, which produces engines for export, will be closing in September; causing some 1,700 people to lose their jobs. Ineos Automotive, Jim Ratcliffe’s latest project, was meant to produce its upcoming off-road Grenadier model in the country. Recently, however, the company has suggested it’s now eyeing-up France instead. Conversely, Aston Martin will be producing the DBX SUV in St Athan. The model is arguably the company’s most important model yet. Throw the country’s first gigafactory into the mix and you’ve got a real drama.

Regardless, Britishvolt’s plans are probably some of the best news the automotive industry has had in the UK for some time. Let’s hope the company’s ambitions don’t prove to be too great…

Mitsubishi Is Exiting British And European Markets – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/mitsubishi-is-exiting-british-and-european-markets/

Ineos Automotive Considers Abandoning Welsh Factory Plans – https://www.autoservefleet.co.uk/latest-news/ineos-automotive-considers-abandoning-welsh-factory-plans/

With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. Call one of our professional Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 for more details.

Tyres Are A 'Major Source' Of Ocean Microplastics, Claims Study

Tyres Are A ‘Major Source’ Of Ocean Microplastics, Claims Study

Wind-born microplastics produced by tyres are a bigger source of ocean pollution than rivers, according to new research…

Tyres And Microplastics 

New research has revealed that 200,000 tonnes of plastic are blown from British roads into the world’s oceans each year. The tiny particles are produced by tyres and brake pads and, according to scientists, are a bigger source of ocean pollution than the rivers that flow into them. It’s estimated that around 550,000 tonnes of microplastic particles are released into the atmosphere each year, with half of them ending up in oceans. Over 80,000 tonnes fall on remote and ice-covered areas, where they encourage melting after absording heat from the sun.

Microplastics have polluted environments all over the world, and are known to be harmful to marine creatures. It’s also thought that they can pose risks to humans when they contaminate food and water or when they’re inhaled; although the true impact isn’t fully understood. Andreas Stohl, from the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, led the research. He said, “roads are a very significant source of microplastics to remote areas, including the oceans”. Tyres, he explained, produce 4kg of microplastics over a lifetime. He said, “it’s such a huge amount of plastic compared to, say, clothes. You will not lose kilograms of plastic from your clothing”.

What’s The Answer? 

When we think of the pollution caused by cars, we tend to think of exhaust-related emissions. As a consequence, electric cars are seen as the definitive answer. However, all cars (electric or not) use tyres and these, over time, produce microplastic particles. EVs themselves are often heavier than petrol or diesel equivalents, because of the large batteries they house. This increased weight causes tyres to degrade and pollute more quickly. Stohl believes the situation will deteriorate before it improves. He explained, “electric cars are normally heavier than internal combustion engine cars. That means more wear on tyres and brakes”. He added, “the manufacturers will have to respond somehow, if this really becomes a matter of concern”.

In the UK, it was recently determined that pollution caused by tyres can be up to 1,000 times worse than exhaust emissions. Given that many EVs are following the SUV mania craze (see Tesla’s Model Y) the future looks pretty bleak. Not only are electric cars not ‘zero-emission’ they, as of yet, have not found a way of addressing microplastic pollution. But how can manufacturers respond? They’d need to develop, let’s face it, an alternative to rubber-based tyres and one that’s sustainable and just as functional. Given the industry’s current state, that’s probably within the realm of fantasy.

We’ll probably end up with a tyre variant that claims to be of a higher quality, coupled with campaigns centred around proper maintenance and correct air-pressures. Whether this would make any real difference remains to be seen. But you’d be forgiven for being a tad cynical.

The Popularity Of SUVs Is Making A ‘Mockery’ Of Emission Legislation – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/the-popularity-of-suvs-is-making-a-mockery-of-emission-legislation/

10 Ways You Can Decisively Reduce Your Car’s Emissions – https://www.autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/reduce-cars-emissions/

With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. Call one of our professional Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 for more details.

Mitsubishi Is Exiting British And European Markets

Mitsubishi Is Exiting British And European Markets

Mitsubishi has announced that it’ll be exiting British and European markets in the near-future. The announcement follows a massive £1.29 billion loss…

Farewell To Mitsubishi 

Mitsubishi has announced plans to withdraw from British and European markets in the near-future. The announcement follows a massive £1.29 billion loss during the first quarter of the year. As a result, it won’t be releasing any new-generation vehicles for European markets. That said, it has confirmed that the sale of its current model range will continue for as long as residual stock levels and emissions legislation will allow. Its British dealerships, run by the Colt Car Company, will continue to offer parts, servicing and after sales support.

The future of the Japanese company lies in South-East Asia, according to executives. There it intends to increase its market-share from 6.4% to 11% over the coming years. That said, the region has also proven to be a tough nut to crack. Sales fell by 68% in the region during the first quarter of 2020; making it the worst theatre of operations for the company as a whole. The company intends to launch a replacement for the Outlander SUV in 2021. It also plans on releasing an all-electric SUV in the Chinese market.

The Road To Recovery

Mitsubishi’s enormous losses in 2020 have forced it to revise its entire financial strategy. Now dubbed the ‘Small but Beautiful’ model, the company’s strategy involves down-scaling and cost-cutting. Over three years, the automaker hopes to reduce its fixed costs by 20%. It also intends to restructure its production teams, reduce R&D expenses and close its Pajero factory in Sakahogi by 2021. Operations at the factory will be moved to the firms Okazaki facility in order to improve efficiency.

Takao Kato, Mitsubishi’s chief executive officer, has described the strategy as a move from growth to consolidation. He said, “we will shift our strategy from all-round expansion to selection and concentration. First of all, we will complete our structural reforms and further strengthen our competitive areas – ultimately to build a corporate structure that can surely generate profits during this mid-term period”.

An Unexpected Departure 

Despite Mitsubishi’s woes, its departure seems to have taken some by surprise. Its car dealers, for instance, simply didn’t see it coming. The Colt Car Company itself said in a letter to its franchised partners that it “did not, at any point, anticipate receiving this news”. There are some 103 dealer operators under the Mitsubishi brand in the UK. Many were actually planning on updating their corporate identities, following a showcase of brand updates back in 2018.

Speaking to AM Online, one unnamed dealer speculated on the move. He said,” it is a question I’d asked in the past, whether the Alliance would dictate that Mitsubishi became the brand for America, Renault for Europe and Nissan for Asia. It remains to be seen if that plan materialises, but today’s development does indicate a significant restructure”. They stressed how devastating the news would be for smaller dealers, “the real issue is for those smaller dealers who only trade in Mitsubishi. Today’s news is going to be a massive blow for them and effectively ends their franchised business”.

Ford Has Received A £500 Million Loan Guarantee From The Government – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/ford-has-received-a-500-million-loan-guarantee-from-the-government/

Ineos Automotive Considers Abandoning Welsh Factory Plans – https://www.autoservefleet.co.uk/latest-news/ineos-automotive-considers-abandoning-welsh-factory-plans/

With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. Call one of our professional Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 for more details.

Drivers Are More Tolerant Of Cyclists Post-Lockdown

Cyclists: Drivers Are More Tolerant Post-Lockdown

New research has suggested that drivers have become more tolerant of cyclists in the aftermath of lockdown. This is despite there being more of them on the roads…

Peace Between Cyclists And Motorists?

There are more cyclists on the nation’s roads than ever before (well, at least in modernity). You would be forgiven in thinking this would cause some consternation amongst motorists. New research, however, has suggested that tensions between road-users have declined following the nation’s lockdown measures. A Green Flag survey of 1,000 drivers and 1,000 cyclists has shown that 32% of drivers have become more tolerant of their two-wheeled counterparts. This figure rises to an impressive 51% in London. This hasn’t gone unacknowledged, with 36% of bicycle-users noticing an overall improvement in their treatment.

According to the survey, 64% of drivers admitted to often feeling frustrated with people who choose to cycle. Some 76% of road-users on bicycles felt the same towards drivers. However, many have noted that large numbers of drivers continue to drive too closely to them; and show little courtesy when taking a left turn. Meanwhile, drivers feel frustrated that their traditional rivals often jump red lights and travel in large groups.

Learning To Share

Mark Newberry, commercial director at Green Flag, has noted that declining tensions on the road actually follow increasing enthusiasm for bicycles. He said, “while this research does show that there is still some existing tension amongst both, it is promising that with cycling gaining such popularity during the lockdown period, there is an increased understanding between them”. He added, “despite friction amongst the motorists, it is important to remember that the safety of each group relies on the actions of the other. At Green Flag, we conducted this research to raise awareness of this, to ensure that drivers recognise that there will likely be more cyclists on the streets and to be conscious of that, and for the increasing numbers of cyclists to be conscious of their role in sharing the roads safely with motorists”.

Newberry has advised all road-users to be on their guard as people get used to the ‘new normal’. Road-users of all varieties are having to adapt to commuting, travel and the rules of the road after months of staying at home. Regardless, increased understanding between motorists and cyclists can only be a good thing for everyone. Only time will tell if this newfound sense of understanding will last. Here’s hoping…

Over Half Of All Drivers See Cyclists As ‘Sub-Human Cockroaches’ – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/cyclists-sub-human/

How To Drive Safely Around Cyclists – https://www.autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/how-to-drive-safely-around-cyclists/

With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. Call one of our professional Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 for more details.

Ford Has Received A £500 Million Loan Guarantee From The Government

Ford Has Received A £500 Million Loan Guarantee From The Government

The British government has given Ford a £500 million loan guarantee in order to boost exports, safeguard jobs and encourage investments in EV technology…

A £500 Million Loan Guarantee 

The UK government has granted Ford of Britain a loan guarantee worth £500 million. It supplements another £625 million loan provided by commercial banks. Both are designed to help the company maintain its exports, protect jobs and encourage investment in EV technologies.

Liz Truss, international trade secretary, has claimed that the guarantee will secure Ford’s place in the country. She said, “this deal firmly puts the UK at the heart of Ford’s plans to grow its export business, reduce emissions and support skilled manufacturing jobs”. She added, “a thriving automotive industry is vital to the success of the UK economy. It brings prosperity and security to manufacturers across the country. That’s why we are putting its needs at the heart of our strategy to remove barriers to trade when negotiating free-trade deals”.

Ford of Britain is one of the UK’s largest exporters; exporting around 85% of the engines and 100% of the transmissions it manufacturers domestically. These are received by around 15 countries on six continents. That said, it’ll be closing its Bridgend plant in Wales in September; with 1,700 people losing their jobs as a result.

To Support, Or Not To Support?

The support offered to Ford of Britain is identical to that provided to Jaguar Land Rover last year. It also received a loan guarantee worth £500 million. However, lobbyists for the automotive industry want targeted, industry-wide measures designed to prop-up car manufacturers post-coronavirus crisis. As it stands, it’s thought that up to one in six automotive-related jobs are at risk.

In particular, lobbyists have suggested that the government reduce taxes and introduce a scrappage-scheme to encourage the take-up of new cars. Similar schemes have been employed in Europe and with some success. Figures like Mike Hawes, from the SMMT, argue that the contributions the sector makes to the economy justifies a support package. In 2019, for instance, the industry was worth around £100 billion in trade for the UK.

However, the question also has to be asked what role the government has in essentially propping up private businesses; and what responsibilities it has, if any, in assisting them when economic hardship presents itself. After all, a small SME with ten employees is unlikely to be bailed out when it faces financial hardship (furlough schemes not withstanding). This is even more significant when we consider the financial incentives offered to automotive executives. Former Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer was receiving in excess of £4 million a year before, rather unceremoniously, being given the boot.

The Necessity Of Competition

When the government bails out a business, it does so with the money of tax payers. In addition, it can be argued that it’s interfering with free-enterprise and competition which, as far as the automotive industry is concerned, should produce better cars. If the automotive industry is the asset its lobbyists claim it to be, it arguably needs to learn to stand on its own two feet. Moreover, we shouldn’t grow too attached to legacy automakers or their brands (who still laments Rover?). Should they collapse, an alternative will emerge to exploit the market they once dominated. If not, and demand simply evaporates, the business case doesn’t exist in the first instance.

Britain’s automotive industry has a rich history and certainly does make significant economic contributions. But if it’s to survive some commentators have argued that it needs a serious wake-up call; that it needs to streamline manufacturing processes, pursue sustainability and invest in the future; not the bloated pay packages afforded to executives. The government no doubt can help in some instances. But too eager a helping hand will create dependence and, in the long-term, stagnation. If automakers want to survive, they need to innovate and give up on old ways. If they do that, everyone will benefit – from workers on assembly lines to drivers themselves. That, after all, is how markets work.

The Chancellor’s Financial Statement Has ‘Disappointed’ Fleets – https://www.autoservefleet.co.uk/latest-news/the-chancellor-s-financial-statement-has-disappointed-fleets/

Car Industry Says Government Support Is Now ‘Critical’ – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/car-industry-says-government-support-is-now-critical/

With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. Call one of our professional Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 for more details.

Car Infotainment: Two Thirds Of Drivers Are Being Distracted

Jaguar Land Rover Is Trialling Contactless Touchscreen Technology

The entire point of touchscreens is, well, to touch them. But in an age of coronavirus, they’re far from ideal. Which is why Jaguar Land Rover is trialling new contactless technology…

Contactless Touchscreen Technology

Jaguar Land Rover has decided to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic by developing new contactless touchscreen technology. The patented ‘preventative touch’ tech has been developed in collaboration with engineers from the University of Cambridge. Using sensors, it aims to prevent the transmission of viruses. In addition to saving everyone from a 21st century plague, JLR claims the technology can reduce touchscreen usage time by up to 50%. Given that research has suggested touchscreens are worse for reaction times than alcohol, that’s a key bit of safety innovation.

Preventative touch works by tracking a user’s movements via radio or vision-based sensors, eye-gaze tracking and interface design to infer which buttons are going to be pressed. Whilst some car infotainment systems, like Volkswagen’s, respond to gestures JLR’s is far more advanced.

Lee Skrypchuk, a JLR tech specialist, said “predictive touch technology eliminates the need to touch an interactive display; and could therefore reduce the risk of spreading bacteria or viruses on surfaces”. He added, “the technology also offers us the chance to make vehicles safer by reducing the cognitive load on drivers and increasing the amount of time they can spend focused on the road ahead. This is a key part of our Destination Zero journey”. Destination Zero refers to the company’s plan to reach a future point in which its vehicles cause no fatalities or serious injuries.

Motion-Friendly Improvements

Simon Godsill, an engineering professor at the University of Cambridge, claims the preventative touch technology improves on touchscreen features in general. He said, “touchscreens and other interactive displays are something most people use multiple times per day. But they can be difficult to use while in motion. Whether that’s driving a car or changing the music on your phone while you’re running. We also know that certain pathogens can be transmitted via surfaces. So this technology could help reduce the risk for that type of transmission”.

JLR’s technology, then, can help reduce the spread of coronavirus within vehicles and improve driving safety by cutting down on how distracting infotainment systems can be. That said, it doesn’t quite solve the problem of shared door handles and other facilities. In addition, there are no concrete plans to include the technology in JRL vehicles; although the company claims it’s compatible with current hardware.

Frankly, the case for preventing communicable viruses is probably going to be of less interest to drivers and commercial fleets than the safety improvements. Reducing distraction times by 50%, after all, is a great way of reducing accident rates overall.

Car Touchscreens Are ‘Worse For Reaction Times Than Drink-Driving’ – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/car-touchscreens-are-worse-for-reaction-times-than-drink-driving/

The In-Car Technology That Should Come As Standard – https://www.autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/the-in-car-technology-that-should-come-as-standard/

With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. Call one of our professional Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 for more details.

Mitsubishi Is Exiting British And European Markets

Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin May Produce Two Million Cars Annually

New reports have suggested that Tesla has high expectations for its new Gigafactory Berlin. It’s expected to produce two million cars annually…

Great Expectations for Gigafactory Berlin

A German media magazine, Focus.de, has suggested that Tesla’s upcoming Gigafactory Berlin is expected to produce two million cars annually. It cites sources that are, allegedly, familiar with the American company’s plans. For perspective, Volkswagen’s famous Wolfsburg factory (one of the largest in the world) doesn’t even produce one million cars a year. Nevertheless, the figure makes perfect sense. In choosing Berlin as the site of its latest Gigafactory, Tesla is looking to take on legacy automakers in their own territory; not to mention tapping into Germany’s famous reserves of engineers and automotive experts.

Until recently, Tesla exclusively assembled its cars in Fremont, California. It’s now rapidly expanding its manufacturing capacity, launching a gigafactory in Shanghai, China. It covers a 86 hectare plot and is expected to produce 500,000 cars a year. The Berlin facility is still under construction. As it stands, the market share of all-electric cars in Europe is expected to reach 12 million cars annually within a few years. With two million vehicles produced annually, Tesla would bag 16% of the market share for itself; still relatively modest, but nevertheless impressive given the relative youth of the company.

But Can It Be Done?

Tesla has something of a track record when it comes to over-promising – admittedly via the words of its CEO, Elon Musk. He’s repeatedly promised the rollout of fully driverless cars, only for his time frames to be proven unrealistic. For instance, he’s continually pledged to produce a million ‘robotaxis’ by the end of 2020. In addition, Tesla has sometimes struggled to meet demand in the past. It infamously had to set up a production line in an open-air tent last year, after it ran out of manufacturing capacity. With the creation of gigafactories in Berlin and China, this is something it hopes to avoid in the future.

Regardless, it would be extremely ambitious for an automaker to hope to produce a million ICE vehicles at a single facility, let alone two million all-electric models. Whilst the winds of electrification are blowing over the automotive industry, the cars remain relatively niche for now. But perhaps that’s just the point. Tesla is thinking long-term. In setting up shop in Germany and China, it’s entrenching itself in some of the most lucrative markets in the world. It believes that electric cars are the future of the industry. When consumer interest is sufficient, it wants to be first in line to meet their demand for low-emission mobility. Precisely how legacy automakers will respond remains to be seen. But competition, no doubt, will be fierce.

Tesla Is Now Offering A Model S With A 400-Mile Range – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/tesla-is-now-offering-a-model-s-with-a-400-mile-range/

British Gas Has Made The UK’s Largest Electric Van Order – https://www.autoservefleet.co.uk/latest-news/british-gas-has-made-the-uk-s-largest-electric-van-order/

With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. Call one of our professional Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 for more details.

Councils Will Face Legal Action Over Road Closures

Councils Will Face Legal Action Over Road Closures

Councils throughout the country could face legal action from motorists for closing roads without consultation processes…

Councils Under Fire

The Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) is launching legal action against a number of councils for closing roads without the usual consultation processes; something the group considers to be illegal. It’s looking to challenge authorities that have widened roads in order to create cycle lanes; or that have closed them to drivers outright. The changes follow the Department for Transport making £250 million in funding available; specifically for councils to bid for in order to promote walking and cycling.

Whilst speaking to Auto Express Roger Lawson, campaign director at the ABD, argued that local authorities are abusing their powers. He said, “temporary Traffic Orders, historically, have been used for emergency purposes, like the road’s caved in or there’s a burst water main. They’re not supposed to be used for longer-term purposes and, clearly, the intention of many of these councils is to introduce schemes that they had planned months ago”.

The ABD claims that cars are the best transport option for social distancing; and that narrow roads make it difficult for emergency vehicles to traverse them. They also claim that closures and narrowing discriminate against the elderly, who often have no alternative to their cars. Moreover, the group claims that the road closures have caused significant disruption. Lawson explained, “there are some people whose journey times have been increased by an hour within a small local area. Which is absolutely ridiculous”.

Keeping Everyone Happy

Edmund King, president of the AA, commented on the controversy. Based on the AA’s own research, he’s suggested that motorists are increasingly open to cycling themselves. He said, “a recent AA survey shows that drivers want to cycle more and the emergency funding to create more space for safe cycling is welcome”. However, he acknowledged that councils need to do to more to engage with the public before making changes. He said, “as local authorities rush to get their schemes in place, some have created unintended consequences such as increased congestion and delivery restrictions on local businesses who are desperate to bounce back and aid the economic recovery”.

Increasingly, the government and local authorities are committing to alternative means of transport to motor vehicles. The reasons are multifaceted, but largely stem from environmental concerns (especially air quality), the desire to reduce congestion and to promote healthier lifestyles. Whilst all of these things are admirable goals, millions of people rely on their cars on a day-to-day basis. Whether it’s commuting to work, taking children to school or visiting shops. Which is why any shift away from them, on whatever scale, needs to be gradual and open to public scrutiny.

Consulting the public would also help optimise the changes councils want to make in the first place. As King explained, “while schemes are being constantly reviewed, should a pop-up cycle lane cause more trouble than it is worth, councils should not be afraid to act. Making adjustments to the initial plans might benefit everyone and they should not be afraid to remove the lane completely if it simply isn’t working.”

A Just Transition

Today, the phrase ‘just transition’ is popular when talking about the phasing out of a particular industry. For instance, politicians often speak of creating a just transition away from fossil fuels; allowing workers in unsustainable industries to re-skill and find work elsewhere. A ‘just transition’ towards cycling and walking, then, would potentially involve making gradual changes; engaging with local communities and, just maybe, giving local councils more time and flexibility in using their funds. The result would be better roads for everyone – including motorists.

Speed Cameras: Locations Are Based On Earnings Potential –https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/speed-cameras-locations-are-based-on-earnings-potential/

Motorists Are Being Warned Of Obscured Road Signs – https://www.autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/motorists-are-being-warned-of-obscured-road-signs/

With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. Call one of our professional Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 for more details.

The German Government Is Giving Away Free Electric Cars

The German Government Is Giving Away Free Electric Cars

The German government takes electric cars seriously. Which is why it’s now offering them for free, via generous government incentives…

Generous Incentives In Germany

As the UK government is slammed for failing to support the automotive industry post-coronavirus, the German government has opted for a different approach. It’s offering drivers the opportunity to bag a brand new Renault Zoe without having to fork out a single Euro. To encourage the adoption of EVs, and to stimulate the economy, authorities in the country are providing drivers with €6,000 towards zero-emission cars. And, unlike the UK’s £3,000 plug-in grant, Germans can spread out  their grants across monthly leasing repayments.

Autohaus Koenig, a dealer group in Germany with over 50 showrooms, has a particularly attractive offering. It’s advertising Renault Zoes on a two-year lease; for a total cost of just €6,000 over the period of the contract. The monthly fees are entirely picked up by German taxpayers. The company has claimed that it’s receiving around 150 enquiries a day since going live with the generous offer. Wolfgang Huber, a spokesman for the company, said he’d been taken aback by the level of interest expressed. He said, “if we had more sales staff, we would have sold even more. We did expect an increase in sales with the subsidies, but this run really struck us”.

Vexing Times For British Manufacturers 

The success of the EV offer in Germany, combined with other extensive government programmes on the continent, will no doubt vex the British automotive industry. It’s repeatedly called on the government to offer support in the form of grants, tax cuts and scrappage schemes; none of which, as of yet, have been forthcoming. Given that the government is, according to its own statements, committed to the electrification of motor vehicles and carbon neutrality, its silence is difficult to comprehend.

All-electric vehicles make up less than 3% of the market share in the UK. Consider that the government intends to ban the sale of new diesel, petrol and hybrid cars by 2035 (perhaps earlier). It also aims for carbon neutrality by 2050. More immediately, car manufacturers throughout the country are cutting jobs – with one in six being at risk. Only time will tell whether success stories in Europe will encourage action in the UK.

Tesla’s Autopilot Is “Especially Misleading”, According To Safety Experts – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/teslas-autopilot-is-especially-misleading-according-to-safety-experts/

The In-Car Technology That Should Come As Standard – https://www.autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/the-in-car-technology-that-should-come-as-standard/

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