Automotive News

ISLAND GOES ELECTRIC
- 20 November 2020
ISLAND GOES ELECTRIC
The Volkswagen Group and Greece have agreed to establish a groundbreaking mobility system on the Mediterranean island of Astypalea. To that end, the current transport system on the island will transition to electric vehicles and renewable power generation. In the long run, Astypalea will become a model island for climate-neutral mobility. The project initially will run for six years. At the center of the project is an entirely new, cutting-edge transport system with digital mobility services, including an all-electric year-round ridesharing service designed to take the current very limited local bus service to a new level. Together with local partners, part of the traditional vehicle rental business will be transformed into a vehicle sharing service offering e-scooters from the Group's SEAT brand and e-bikes in addition to electric cars. This alone will help to significantly reduce the vehicle fleet on the island. In total, some 1,000 electric vehicles shall replace about 1,500 vehicles with combustion engines. Volkswagen has just started to roll out its electric ID. family to the market, with the introduction of several new models planned over the next few years, in addition to the compact car ID.31 and the SUV ID.42. Commercial vehicles from local businesses as well as utility vehicles on the island - such as police vehicles, emergency services transport and public sector fleets - will also be electrified. Volkswagen will install its Elli chargers across the island to ensure a comprehensive charging infrastructure offering about 230 private and several public charging points. Astypalea is an island in the southern Aegean Sea covering an area of some 100 square kilometers. It has a population of approx. 1,300 and is visited by some 72,000 tourists each year. Astypalea currently only has a very limited public transport service with two buses that only operate on a small area of the island. At present, energy demand is almost entirely met by fossil fuel sources. The island aspires to become a pioneer for sustainable tourism over the coming years and is therefore backing sustainable mobility.
ANOTHER THING CANCELLED - NOISE
- 20 November 2020
ANOTHER THING CANCELLED - NOISE
Israel-based Silentium, a tech innovation company specialising in creating personal in-car sound environments, has introduced advanced, broad-band active road noise cancellation to the auto industry for the first time. After several years in development, Jaguar and Land Rover are the first carmakers to integrate Silentium's 'Active Acoustics' software in three of their new vehicles, meaning the technology is now available for car buyers to experience. Active road noise cancellation removes 90% of unwanted noise across a broad band of frequencies - from 20Hz up to 1kHz - providing a quieter and more refined experience for occupants, and therefore preventing driver fatigue. In addition to wellbeing benefits, Silentium's Active Acoustics technology offers vehicle manufacturers a way to reduce their reliance on costly passive noise damping and insulation materials, and reduce vehicle weight - an increasingly important R&D factor as the industry enters a new era of electro-mobility. Silentium's industry-first technology is similar to that found in a pair of high-end noise-cancelling headphones, but more advanced as it manipulates a larger amount of air. Up to six strategically positioned accelerometers on a vehicle's chassis monitor unwanted road noise and send a signal to an on-board control unit with Silentium's software, which plays an equivalent anti-noise signal through the vehicle's speaker system. The pressure waves from both the unwanted exterior noise and manufactured anti-noise reach occupants' eardrums at exactly the same time and cancel each other out. Silentium's Active Acoustics software can reduce, cancel and enhance sound inside any vehicle, improving occupant comfort, safety and wellbeing, and creating a more enjoyable environment for all.
BRITISH CAR BUYERS STAY UNDAUNTED
- 20 November 2020
BRITISH CAR BUYERS STAY UNDAUNTED
Now that we're well into 'Lockdown 2.0', car buyers are taking a stand. According to Autotrader surveys, of those who are looking to buy in the next three months, over half of them (58%) said they will buy a car within the next two weeks. Autotrader surveyed 1,000 car buyers. When asked if the government's announcement had affected their decision to buy a car, 55% said it had made no impact, and 7% said it made them want to purchase a car even quicker. Just 14% said it had made them delay their purchase. Boris Johnson's latest action on beating the spread of coronavirus has meant car dealerships across England must close their forecourts, however they can still operate home delivery and click & collect services. Research by Auto Trader shows over 50% of car buyers are willing to buy via Click & Collect or a Home Delivery service during the lockdown period, signalling a clear intention to not let the pandemic halt their plans. This is a marked change in their behaviour, as buying a car fully online was not the norm before 2020. This comes as no surprise given Brits will want to see friends and family over Christmas and are looking at ways to travel whilst avoiding public transport. Car ownership is an obvious option to do so and has resulted in car buyers determined to go ahead with their purchases before Christmas.
UK DRIVER'S KEEN TO TAKE ON THIEVES
- 20 November 2020
UK DRIVERS KEEN TO TAKE ON THIEVES
According to a survey of 2000 UK drivers by InsuretheGap, over one in three (35%) UK drivers would challenge a thief trying to take their car (men 43% and women 27%). 17% also say they would love to be able to take drastic action to protect their car, such as putting an electric shock device on the door to stop thieves taking it (men 20% and women 14%). The survey also revealed that a third (35%) of drivers are concerned about car theft and are careful about where they park their car, and over 55s are much more careful about this. 9% of respondents said they weren't worried about car theft as they drove an old banger. At home, over one in ten (12%) check on their car regularly to ensure it is still there, 5% have installed CCTV to monitor their car, and 4% use an old-style wheel lock to stop thieves. However, one in five drivers (22%) admit to leaving their car unlocked by accident, a home goal for car thieves. If a car is stolen, or written off, the insurance company usually only pays out what the car was worth at the time of the incident. Because of depreciation, this can be significantly less than what was paid for it. Gap insurance bridges the gap between the value of the car when it was bought, and its value when written off or stolen. GAP insurance is available from standalone providers, like InsuretheGap.com, for usually significantly less than the insurance offered by car dealers.
DRIVERS WARNED TO BE WARY OF HOME DRINKING
- 20 November 2020
DRIVERS WARNED TO BE WARY OF HOME DRINKING
A LEADING motoring solicitor is warning of a spike in drink driving convictions during the second coronavirus pandemic lockdown. Paul Loughlin at Stephensons Solicitors LLP warns the closure of pubs and bars will result in more people drinking at home and lead to an increased risk of people inadvertently being over the drink drive limit the following morning. The call comes as the national law firm reports a 154% increase in people contacting them about drink driving related enquiries in the height of the first lockdown, between April and June this year. While Stephensons experienced an initial drop in enquiries when the Government's strict measures were introduced in March, these then steadily grew over the course of the lockdown as people ventured back onto the roads and consumed more alcohol at home. The fear is that the second lockdown, taking place closer to Christmas festivities and during the colder winter months, could result in a higher number of drink driving offences being committed. Alcohol consumption increased during the first national lockdown when pubs and restaurants were forced to close, and people flocked to the supermarket to purchase alcohol. An extra £160 million was spent on alcohol during this period and, according to a King's College study, a third of people (29%) reported they drank more alcohol than they would normally. Police forces across the UK also experienced an increase in driving offences during the first national lockdown. Despite Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, Ayrshire Police Division recorded an increase of 54 per cent of cases between April 1 and June 30 - a rise from 99 in the same period in 2019 to 153 in 2020. Between March 23 to July 31 2020, South Wales Police saw drink driving arrests increase by almost 9% compared to arrests made during the same period in 2019.
EASTERN DRIVERS ARE SPEEDIER
- 20 November 2020
EASTERN DRIVERS ARE SPEEDIER
Motorists in England face a big regional variation in average 'A' road speed reports trackdays.co.uk, a leading driving experience provider. Its analysis of the latest figures from the Department for Transport for regions in England reveal that the average 'A' road speed in the East of England tops 30mph, 30.9mph to be precise, making it the only English region to do so. However, it was closely followed by the North East of England with an average 'A' road speed of 29.3mph and the East Midlands with 29.1mph. Dan Jones, operations manager at TrackDays.co.uk, said: "Official data suggests the drivers in the East of England have some of the fastest journey times on the A roads in their region. "In fact, it is regions in eastern England overall, including the North East and East Midlands, where drivers appear to have A roads with a faster average speed." Unsurprisingly it is beleaguered motorists in London that appear to normally have the slowest car journeys, with an average 'A' road speed of 14.7mph. Away from London and motorists in the North West of England appear to face a slower daily road journey, with an average 'A' road speed at 23mph. Dan added: "The average 'A' road speed in England is quite contrasting, being more than double in difference at its most extreme. "For those motorists who face a daily grind on the roads, particularly Londoners, then there is an alternative to relieve some of that pent-up stress, taking a supercar for a spin on a race circuit. "Many of these prestige marques are capable of reaching around 200mph, but most importantly these driving experiences take place in a safe and controlled environment."
THE TANK OF MUM & DAD
- 10 November 2020
THE TANK OF MUM & DAD
Nearly two thirds of (63%) drivers between the ages of 17-24 say they have relied on financial support from their parents to cover the cost of running a car in the last 12 months - receiving up to £750 - according to new research from comparethemarket Over a third of parents (39%) said that they paid some or all of the costs for the duration of their child's first year driving. 14% contributed for the first two years in which their child was on the road, and 6% kept up the contributions for three years. The average amount spent by parents who contributed to motoring costs and know what they spent on insurance, petrol, repairs and tax costs is up to £750 combined*. Parents contribute the most money towards the cost of their child's motor insurance - paying out an average of £289 towards insurance policies. The average annual premium for 17-24-year-old drivers reached £1,182 according to comparethemarket's latest Young Drivers report, meaning parents are paying for nearly a quarter (24%) of this annual expense. Over a third (34%) of parents who had contributed, gave over £450 a year for insurance alone. Petrol is the second most common financial contribution required costing parents £155 a year, followed by vehicle repairs (£185) and vehicle tax (£120). In addition, 36% of parents said that they helped their children purchase their first car - contributing an average of £2,273 to the cost of the car. The research shows that, without parental support, it would be impossible for many young people to hold down a job. Nearly half (41%) of young people say that their work life or job would suffer if their parents did not contribute towards the cost of running a car. There is also a widespread view that salaries of those entering the world of work are not adequate to enable them to run a car independently; 71% of 17-24-year olds said that their pay cheque is not high enough to cover the cost of driving. Concerningly, if motoring costs continue to rise, 61% of young people say that they will no longer be able to afford to run a car. The reliance of their children on the "tank of mum and dad" is also difficult for many parents. Nearly half (48%) of parents agree that having to support their child with costs associated with their car is a "financial burden" on them. Young people are equally reluctant to receive the support in the first place, with half (49%) saying that they are embarrassed that they have to ask their parents for financial support to run a car.
DON'T DRIVE TIRED
- 10 November 2020
DONT DRIVE TIRED
Getting a good night's sleep is essential for our health, emotional wellbeing, and even our safety. We all know that driving while under the influence is incredibly dangerous, but what about driving while tired? Getting behind the wheel when you're very tired can be just as dangerous as driving after drinking alcohol. In fact, after 18 hours awake, your driving is comparable to that of a person with a blood alcohol concentration of .05. At this blood alcohol concentration, you are likely to experience impaired coordination and judgement, lowered response times, and your vision may become blurry. Under UK law, if you are in an accident after falling asleep at the wheel, you can be charged with dangerous driving, and depending on the circumstances and the severity of the accident, you could face fines, penalty points, driving bans, and even prison time. To see just how much of a problem sleepy driving is, we took a look at the official data from 2019 to find out which parts of the UK have the sleepiest drivers and just how prevalent fatigue-induced accidents are: 1. Monmouthshire - 3.42% of accidents caused by fatigue 2. Highland - 3.23% of accidents caused by fatigue 3. Rutland - 3.06% of accidents caused by fatigue 4. Perth & Kinross - 2.82% of accidents caused by fatigue 5. West Berkshire - 2.74% of accidents caused by fatigue 6. Ceredigion - 2.60% of accidents caused by fatigue 7. Bracknell Forest - 2.60% of accidents caused by fatigue 8. Moray - 2.54% of accidents caused by fatigue 9. Scottish Borders - 2.50% of accidents caused by fatigue 10. Neath & Port Talbot - 2.47% of accidents caused by fatigue In 2019 alone, 1,506 road accidents in Great Britain were caused by fatigue, but these can often be prevented by taking a few steps to ensure that your driving is never impaired by tiredness. Take regular breaks during long drives. You should plan ahead to stop at specific service stations to ensure that you can stop safely when driving long distances. Think about what you're eating before setting off on journeys. Eating a heavy meal just before starting your drive is likely to make you feel more tired. Don't drive for more than eight hours in one day. If you need to drive a longer distance, you should plan for an overnight stay during your journey. Make sure you get a good night's sleep before long journeys. It may seem like an obvious tip, but there really is no replacement for good quality sleep!
CLUNK CLICK ON EVERY NIGHT TRIP
- 10 November 2020
CLUNK CLICK ON EVERY NIGHT TRIP
koda is aiming to eliminate the hassle and faff of trying to belt up at night with the innovation of illuminated smart seat belt buckles. The Czech firm has been granted a worldwide patent for the ingenious new system that has been under development at the brand's Simply Clever labs. The new koda smart buckles feature a clear transparent button in place of the traditional red eject button. The new button features a pair of multicolour RGB LEDs that operate in two modes. In standard mode with nobody in the seat, the LEDs glow white to show the passenger where the buckle is located at night. A koda-style crystalline pattern on the clear plastic button spreads the light to make the whole button glow. The buckles can also be programmed to have an animated welcome sequence to make them even more noticeable in dark environments. When a passenger sits in the seat, a weight sensor in the seat base recognises the presence of a person and the LED changes to red - indicating that the occupant should put their seat belt on. This is a particularly useful feature for parents who can see immediately if their children have either forgotten to fasten their belt or have not engaged the buckle correctly. Once the buckle is engaged, the LED changes to green to signal a successful engagement and then back to white. The smart illuminated seat belt buckle is just one of many features devised, designed and engineered in-house at koda. Every year, the brand files numerous patent applications for ideas and systems to make life easier, safer and more enjoyable for owners and drivers. In 2019, koda Auto filed 94 individual patent applications - more than any other company in the Czech Republic. The number of patent applications has been continuously increasing for years, with many already integrated into the current range and many more set to appear in future models. The list of protected innovations also includes carpet mats made of hollow fibre fabric, which are particularly easy to clean and on which dirt is hardly visible. Another patented koda invention is a flexible cargo snake that allows boxes, crates and other objects to be positioned more securely in the boot alongside luggage. And it's not just creature comforts that keep the koda design team busy. The brand has also successfully patented a production line camera system that can precisely align parts of the car body before welding. The system allows the car body to be optimally positioned right from the start, making the welding process faster and more accurate. Four cameras determine the position of the car body and allow the path of the welding robots to be quickly adjusted as they operate.
WATCH OUT FOR DEER
- 10 November 2020
WATCH OUT FOR DEER
With many people now spending more time at home due to COVID-19 restrictions, the volume of traffic on the road will likely decrease. But, for those still travelling to and from work, or making other essential trips, some key road safety dangers remain. It's a little-known fact that incidents involving deer don't just happen on country roads, for example. In fact, more than half (52%) of deer and vehicle collisions in the UK occur on motorways. Wherever you are travelling, a collision with wildlife of any species is something you'll want to avoid - not only to protect yourself, your passengers, your vehicle and the other road users around you, but also our lovely British animals. Neil Greig, Policy & Research Director at IAM RoadSmart, has these useful tips to help you avoid colliding with wildlife when you are driving or motorcycle riding, and to know what steps to take if you do. Keep an eye out for road signs: If there's a high volume of animals in a particular area there will usually be road signs alerting motorists. These signs are there for a reason: animals tend to use the same tracks every year, so areas of high risk are known. Take care as the seasons change: Autumn is the time of highest risk of animals venturing unexpectedly into roads, as for many of them it is the time of year when they have their minds on other things! Beware the pack: Many larger animals move in herds so, if you see one, expect a few others to turn up behind it. Get to know your local wildlife patterns so you get fewer surprises. Use your lights: If you're driving at night, make sure you are making full use of your lights, particularly if you're travelling through the countryside. Using full beam when safe and legal to do so will increase visibility of any animals on the road; it can also warn animals that a vehicle is approaching. Stick to the speed limits: With the majority of speed limits on rural roads set to 60mph it's important to remember that speed limits aren't a target. Winding and narrow single-carriageway country roads can challenge even confident drivers, so slow down when warned of animals to give yourself time to react. Also remember that travelling at a speed that you feel comfortable at - and at which you know you can stop safely in the distance you can see to be clear - is the safest way to travel. What to do if you hit an animal: Just as you would in any collision involving another vehicle, if you hit an animal you should stop. Check that you, your passengers and your vehicle are all safe before approaching any animal. The Road Traffic Act states that legally you must report hitting dogs, horses, cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, donkeys and mules to the police within 24 hours. Helping injured animals on the road: If you are involved in a collision with an animal and it is injured, or if you see an injured animal on the road, stop when it is safe to do so. Make sure your vehicle is parked up in a safe place. If the animal is still on the carriageway, try to warn and divert traffic around it and wait until the coast is clear to assess the situation. Try to assess how badly it is hurt. If the animal isn't too badly injured, wear gloves or use a cloth to touch it and try to move it to safety in the most pain-free way possible. It is important to keep the animal away from your face at all times, as the animal could try to attack or get away from you. If the animal is in a lot of distress, you may need to call the local vet or wildlife rehabilitator. With farm animals you should try to contact the local farmer if you can, as well as the police.
HOW CLEAN IS YOUR CAR'S CABIN?
- 10 November 2020
HOW CLEAN IS YOUR CARS CABIN?
It's easy to get swept up in the current day-to-day chaos. Maintaining order in our lives can be taxing and so keeping up with the mess that accumulates in our car is often not a priority. This inspired EOT Cleaning to ask the question; what are some of the grossest things people have kept in their car? They surveyed 3,230 people from across globe, asking them 'What are some of the grossest things you have had in your car that you may have forgotten about? EOT Cleaning also wanted to look at owners with specific car colours to see which colour cars are the dirtiest inside. Shockingly, 39.1% of people admitted to having tissues lying around in their car. Perhaps the most dangerous things to have sedentary in your car during the COVID-19 era. EOT Cleaning found that in second place is old take-away food with 38.6% of people saying they have had this in their car. We've all been guilty of leaving McDonalds remnants in the car from time to time, but with most people (41.7%) only cleaning their car every six months, it begs the question; how long has that food been sitting there? Shockingly, in third place, 32.2% of people have shockingly admitted to keeping pee bottles in their car. With 11.7% of people never cleaning their car; how many pee bottles are there out there? In fourth and fifth place are receipts and chocolate wrappers with 29.5% and 27.4% of the votes respectively. Among the shocking items in the list, repulsively, 10.3% of people have left used condoms in their car and 7.9% of people have left sanitary items in their car. EOT Cleaning also found that of the 3,230 people surveyed, 11.7% said they have NEVER cleaned their car.
TESTING TIMES
- 10 November 2020
TESTING TIMES
After putting in all of those hours into driving lessons and practising as much as you can, you want to ensure that you have the best possible chance of passing your driving test first time. And unfortunately, some elements of the test are somewhat out of your control, such as who you're going to bump into on the roads. However, could the time of day or day of the week that you choose to take the test have an impact on your chances of success? Recent research from Allcarleasing found that out of all the available time slots on each day of the week, the one which saw the highest pass rate overall was between 14:00 and 14:59 on a Sunday, with 55.8% of those taking their test at this time passing, with the roads relatively quiet on a Sunday afternoon, when fewer people are commuting. Generally speaking, later time slots proved to be the most successful times to take the test, with those around the morning rush hour and lunchtime having the lowest pass rates. On the other hand, it was tests earlier in the day that tended to have the lowest pass rate, with the lowest of all being 12:00-12:59 on a Sunday, with just 33.8% of candidates passing at this time. Looking at which days of the week could be most advantageous for passing your test, it seems that Monday is your best shot at success, with a 46.9% pass rate. On the other hand, despite having the individual time slot with the highest pass rate, Sunday was actually the day which saw the least passes overall, with 43.28%. Again, this seems to go against the common wisdom that doing your test at a quieter time gives you more chance of a pass.
GLAMPERVANNING TREND TAKES HOLD
- 04 November 2020
GLAMPERVANNING TREND TAKES HOLD
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 has revealed that 71% of Brits who are thinking about taking a holiday this winter would consider staying in a luxury caravan or motorhome. The data also reveals a 156% year on year rise in advert views for top end models - motorhomes and caravans costing between £50,001-£100,000 - that have more advanced technology and features. Caravan and motorhome holidays are proving to be good options for holidaymakers amidst the ongoing pandemic. Surprisingly, of those who are considering a holiday this winter, it is the younger generations - adults aged 18-44 - who are most likely to consider a caravan or motorhome holiday (95%) with almost 1 in 3 of these (32%) saying they would be willing to spend more than £1,000 to rent a luxury caravan or motorhome for a holiday this winter. Nearly 1 in 5 of this group (18%) agree that taking a trip in a caravan or motorhome would be a great way to have a holiday whilst adhering to lockdown restrictions and more than 1 in 10 (13%) say it would be safer than a hotel or Airbnb this year. However, gone are the days of trying to keep warm in a beat up, poorly-insulated old caravan or motorhome - the younger generation is all about 'glampervanning' this winter and has a list of requirements that need to be met before they will consider this kind of trip. Topping the list of must-haves is a Smart TV with integrated Netflix, followed by a full cooking suite and a spacious sofa for relaxing. High-speed in-built Wi-Fi was the fourth most important feature and completing the top five was a decent pressure shower. More than 1 in 10 (13%) even said they would love an onboard jacuzzi bath to allow them to truly relax. The trend for luxury caravan and motorhome stays, which has already been taken up by an array of well-known celebs including Gwyneth Paltrow, Coleen Rooney, Jamie Oliver and Chris and Rosie Ramsay, is also thought to be driving demand for part-exchanging as owners look for cost-effective ways of upgrading their vehicles for more advanced models to see them through the pandemic this winter.
DATA FROM YOUR MOBILE COULD CREATE BETTER ROADS
- 04 November 2020
DATA FROM YOUR MOBILE COULD CREATE BETTER ROADS
Motorists with smartphones could help highway chiefs maintain road quality by sending 'crowdsourced' data from their mobiles that would allow engineers to assess when carriageway repairs are needed, according to a new study. Road roughness is an important measure of condition and ride quality, but many agencies around the world with large road networks lack the resources to regularly check the state of their highways and make informed maintenance decisions. Using high resolution three-axis accelerometers and GPS tracking already built into smartphones - together with a low-cost app - to record how a vehicle moves vertically in relation to the carriageway can provide a useful measure of road roughness for civil engineers. Researchers at the University of Birmingham have studied the feasibility of using smartphones in this way, publishing their findings in Journal of Infrastructure Systems. On most road networks, road roughness is usually used as the measure of functional condition because it can be related readily to road use costs and measurement can be automated. Co-author Dr. Michael Burrow, Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, commented: "The most accurate automated methods of assessing road roughness use vehicles fitted with lasers, but even assessing the roughness of a reasonably sized network can be costly. An attractive solution is to use acceleration sensors built into most smartphones - because smartphone ownership and use are widespread, we can foresee an approach where the condition of road networks is assessed using crowdsourced data from these mobile devices." Maintaining roads at an appropriate standard encourages economic development and minimises road use costs such as travel time, fuel efficiency, vehicle repairs and accidents. It also provides social benefit and reduces the environmental impact of transport.
CONNERY'S CLASSY TOYOTA
- 04 November 2020
CONNERYS CLASSY TOYOTA
Few cars can claim to be genuinely iconic, but Toyota's beautiful 1960s 2000GT sports car certainly is. Now a rare example has gone under the hammer for more than $900,000. Very few 2000GT come up for sale, never mind one originally bought and owned by legendary American racing driver Otto Linton (1917-2018), so this 1967 model attracted fierce bidding when it arrived on the auction platform at RM Sotheby's in the US. Bidding exceeded the car's upper estimate, closing at $912,500, or approximately £696,000 at the end of October. The anonymous buyer certainly has one of the finest examples of the car to come up for sale in recent times. The Solar Red example in question was built in 1967 and wears chassis number MF10-10100, which means it was the one-hundredth car in the total of 351 units made during the model's short, three-year production run. But more than that, it is one of only 62 cars made in left-hand drive for the important United States export market. The 2000GT was born from motorsport. Following the success of the first and second Japanese Grand Prix events in 1963 and 1964, enthusiasm for all forms of motorsport was on the increase in Japan and motorists began asking for manufacturers to produce truly high-performance road cars. In response to this ambitious change in car-buying tastes, Toyota began to develop a range-topping grand touring model to showcase the technologies and manufacturing know-how it had accumulated since the 1930s. The aim was to create a practical, high-performance coupe that was comfortable for everyday use, yet with only minor modifications could be just as effective on the race track. The climax of these efforts was Toyota's incredibly successful entry in the gruelling Speed Trials held at the Yatabe High Speed Testing Course in 1966. By the end of the 72-hour event, the yellow-and-green Tosco (now TRD) tuned 2000GT had endured a tropical storm and averaged a pace of 128.76mph around the circuit's banked oval. It smashed three world records and set 13 new international records for speed and endurance, proving beyond doubt the effectiveness and reliability of the advanced technologies within the car. And if that wasn't enough to send the car in to legend, the creation of two special open-top versions (Toyota never formally made a convertible) to accommodate the large frame of actor Sean Connery as secret agent 007 in the movie You Only Live Twice did the rest.
CAR HIRERS WANT PEACE OF MIND
- 04 November 2020
CAR HIRERS WANT PEACE OF MIND
The difference in the price charged by car rental companies can differ by hundreds of pounds, yet more than half (56%) of car hirers will only rent through international car hire brands, with nearly two-thirds (63%) believing they are better protected legally, as well as with support on the ground, if they use a recognised international company, and a fifth (22%) say they always use the same company. The research of over 1,000 car hirers, by Opinium, for iCarhireinsurance.com, a leading provider of car hire excess insurance, found that price is important to two-fifths though, who say they always book the cheapest hire car possible (39%), but finding the best deal can be a challenge, with two fifths (39%) saying it can be difficult to find the price of the extras they need. A quarter (24%) of car hirers want to know their vehicle has been deep-cleaned before they use it, and nearly a fifth (18%) say they would choose one company over another if they knew they were more thoroughly cleaned, and 16% say they will research a rental company's cleaning policy. In addition to this, 17% like the idea of a breakable tamper seal reassuring them the car has not been used since it was last cleaned and 11% would like to receive the keys for a vehicle in a sanitised pouch. One in ten (10%) say the option to hire is now more important than even to minimise contact with others due to Covid-19. Ernesto Suarez, Founder and CEO of iCarhireinsurance.com said: "Renting through a major international brand may make you feel that you are more protected if something goes wrong, but the reality is that if you don't have the right insurance, you will still be charged if your hire car is damaged or stolen. Buying excess insurance from a standalone provider, like iCarhireinsurance.com, is not only considerably cheaper than the cover sold by the rental companies, but means that it does not matter which company you hire from."
DON'T GET OUT OF YOUR DEPTH WITH JUDGE TREAD
- 04 November 2020
DONT GET OUT OF YOUR DEPTH WITH JUDGE TREAD
A leading road safety charity is reminding drivers to check their tyre tread regularly using advice provided in a brand-new film-based production from TyreFlix, called Judge Tread. TyreSafe is the UK's only charity dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of tyre safety and regular tyre maintenance checks. Its annual campaign is focussing on encouraging drivers to ensure their tyres are Ready for ACTion by checking Air pressure, Condition and Tread. In a UK-wide survey of tyre's tread depth when they were being replaced, 27% of tyres were already illegal. That's potentially 10 million vehicle owners vulnerable to a £2,500 fine and three-penalty points on their licence. Another major concern raised by the survey was more than 70% of tyres were below 2mm when replaced. While 1.6mm is the minimum legal requirement, 2mm should be a call to action for owners as there is just 0.4mm left (which is half the thickness of a bank card) before they become illegal. With one-in-five drivers admitting they have never checked their tyre's tread depth, millions of the UK's drivers are potentially avoiding major penalties more by luck than judgement. Checking a tyre's tread depth need not be complicated. If a vehicle owner does not have a tread depth gauge, a 20-pence piece can be used as a guide. The border of a 20p is 2.6mm, so when inserted into a tyre's grooves, owners can easily assess if their tyre is close to the limit by checking if that border remains visible. If they can see it at various points across the tyre's circumference, then they should have the tread depth checked by a professional. Stuart Jackson, Chair of TyreSafe said: "Checking your tread takes moments but can save lives. The tread clears water from in-between the tyre and the road surface in the wet, ensuring the vehicle remains in contact with the road. If the tread can't clear the water, no matter what the driver tries to do to adjust the direction or braking, the vehicle will not be responsive, essentially making it out of control. "Take the 20 pence test at least once a month and before long journeys to avoid the potential to be judged and ensure your tyres are ready for ACTion."
INTEREST IN LEARNING TO DRIVE DOUBLES
- 04 November 2020
INTEREST IN LEARNING TO DRIVE DOUBLES
Interest in learning to drive has more than doubled since the beginning of lockdown restrictions in March as many people look to get out on the road and seek some independence. However, it's clear that interest and demand has spiked dramatically in different areas of the UK, but where are the nations lockdown learners? Topping the leader board was Middlesbrough, which saw the biggest rise in interest, with stats suggesting interest in learning to drive rose by 554% throughout March to June. There were also significant spikes in searches from residents of Chester (310%), Cheltenham (248%) and Norwich (236%). So why has this happened. Learner driver Lewis Barlow, 28, from Nottingham is clear about his reasons why lockdown reignited his driving ambitions. "Prior to lockdown I had to get two buses each way to work and as lockdown persisted and the severity of the current situation became clear, I realised that getting back on public transport to that extent was not a desirable option for me." "Driving had always been something I'd been meaning to pick back up and this seemed like as good a reason as any. I'm definitely looking forward to being more autonomous and able to return to the office when that's deemed appropriate." Lockdown has encouraged many people to re-evaluate their personal aspirations, with many using it as an opportunity to set new goals and targets for the coming months including career changes, health and fitness ambitions, as well as many using the extra time at home to hone a new skill such as driving. Of course there is more to learning to drive than just learning a new skill. For many people, learning to drive is the first step of real independence and offers the chance to escape the house without the reliance on a friend, family member or public transport. And after being cooped at home during the strictest periods of lockdown, it's no wonder that many people have been desperate to explore new places and really embrace the chance of seeing new places when they can.
CHECK YOUR TYRES - KEEP SAFE
- 30 October 2020
CHECK YOUR TYRES - KEEP SAFE
With over 50% of tyres driven on Britain's roads being below the vehicle manufacturers' recommendation, TyreSafe is urging drivers to get into the habit of carrying out regular checks this Tyre Safety Month. Correct air pressure is essential to ensure safety on the road. If the tyres are under- or over- inflated they have less contact than when they're properly inflated and can cause handling problems while driving. Incorrect air pressure will also add to the vehicle's running costs and reduce tyre life. In fact, TyreSafe research shows up to £1billion could be being wasted by UK motorists in unnecessary fuel bills purely because of underinflated tyres. To correctly inflate a tyre, owners should first check their tyre size. This can be found on the sidewall of each tyre and will be a sequence of numbers and letters such as 195/55 R16. On modern cars, the front and rear size maybe different, and if that is the case both have to be taken into account. The appropriate pressure will be found in a chart in the handbook, fuel filler cap or one of the front door pillars. An accurate pressure gauge should be used to check each tyre's pressure and inflated to the correct level. This will need adjusting should the vehicle be driven fully loaded rather than with just a light load. To help owners, TyreSafe has a new app available through Google Play and the Apple App Store which will help guide them through the process. The app also allows them to store the tyre size and pressure information, and if they allow notifications, they will receive a monthly reminder to check their tyres again.
INCONSIDERATE PARKING OFFENCES STACK UP
- 30 October 2020
INCONSIDERATE PARKING OFFENCES STACK UP
New research reveals inconsiderate motorists are stopping millions of drivers parking in designated priority spaces. In the last 12 months alone, recent Churchill Motor Insurance research suggests that 7.8 million parents (64 per cent) have been prevented from parking in 'parent and child' bays by motorists without kids that wanted to take advantage of the convenience of these spaces. The research reveals 3.9 million parents had to find an alternative space further away, while two million simply gave up and went home. Blue Badge holders are also finding it increasingly difficult to find a parking space, with almost two million (77 per cent) unable to leave their car in a designated bay because it was filled by a thoughtless driver that didn't qualify to park there. 1.11 million Blue Badge users have had to park further away from their destination than anticipated because someone was parked in a designated disabled bay. A further 700,000 had to give up and go home as a result of someone without a Blue Badge parking in a designated space. One in six (17 per cent) drivers have been caught parking in a space they shouldn't use. Some of the methods in which people were caught included a note on their windscreen, Penalty Charge Notice, being approached by a member of the public or a car park employee. Anyone caught parking in a disabled bay without a Blue Badge or misusing one could get a £1,000 fine and have the Blue Badge confiscated. Despite the issues that parking in a disabled or parent and child bay causes those in need of them, a large proportion of Brits think it is acceptable to park in these spaces. A third (33 per cent) of people think it is acceptable to park in a parent and child spot despite not having a young child with them at the time and 23 per cent believe a disabled bay is fair game even if they don't have a Blue Badge. A further 32 per cent feel it is acceptable to park in restricted parking areas such as on double yellow or crossed and zig-zag lines. The most common locations motorists park in using spaces not dedicated for them are on residential streets, in supermarket car parks or other retail shops (24 per cent), at a bar, or restaurant (21 per cent), hotel or on the high street (20 per cent) or even in a hospital car park (18 per cent).
FIGHTING FOR A SPACE
- 30 October 2020
FIGHTING FOR A SPACE
Nearly a third (29 per cent) of UK motorists - over 14 million drivers - get nervous when driving in the dark, according to new research by SEAT UK. With the days getting shorter, the lack of daylight hours means most drivers will have to make more trips in the dark. The survey of 2,000 motorists also revealed that 31 per cent of drivers actively avoid driving in the dark if possible. Of those who said driving in the dark makes them nervous, over two thirds (68 per cent) said this is because they do not like having lower visibility. Perhaps surprisingly, 18-24-year olds (37 per cent) are most likely to feel nervous about driving in the dark, while experience counts, as only 25 per cent of over 55s have concerns. London drivers (40 per cent) are significantly more likely to get nervous when driving in the dark, and are more likely to avoid getting behind the wheel when it is dark (43 per cent), followed by motorists from the West Midlands (34 per cent). However, drivers in the South East are the most comfortable taking to wheel when the night has drawn in, with only 25 per cent saying they would avoid driving when it is dark. Lighting technology has advanced greatly recently, with auto-dip functionality and LED light systems being adopted by SEAT. However, traditional halogen lights are still present in the majority of the UK's car parc. The luminous efficiency of SEAT's latest LED bulbs mean they provide almost double the luminosity (900 lumens versus 550 lumens) of standard LEDs and even more so than halogen bulbs. The white light of an LED also allows drivers to see further into the distance.
CASH FOR YOUR DRIVEWAY
- 30 October 2020
CASH FOR YOUR DRIVEWAY
New data released by online parking portal YourParkingSpace.co.uk reveals how rented driveway income provides long-term economic stability, even in uncertain times. Analysis of its top 50 performing towns and cities, where homeowners are renting out their empty driveways, show that average annual income is almost identical over previous years. From 2017 to 2020, the average annual driveway income has only changed from £1,130 to £1,106, with minimal variance in the intervening years. Harrison Woods, managing director at YourParkingSpace.co.uk, said: "Additional income for homeowners by renting out their empty driveways to motorists needing somewhere to park is as safe as houses, if you pardon the pun. "The amount made by homeowners has remained incredibly stable over the years, providing reassurance of a steady stream of income, even when we face difficult times." Further research by YourParkingSpace.co.uk is also encouraging for empty driveway owners, as bookings have rocketed post-lockdown, even outperforming pre-lockdown figures as commuters chose to drive back to work rather than taking public transport. In the last three months alone, new booking customers have increased by 70 per cent. Areas in particular demand include those in town and city centre locations near to offices. Harrison added: "Rented driveway parking is growing in popularity as the way we travel changes. Anyone who has an empty driveway, possibly one that they don't use throughout the day, is encouraged to list it for free on YourParkingSpace.co.uk so they can start making money from this valuable asset."
TURNING THE CLOCK BACK
- 30 October 2020
TURNING THE CLOCK BACK
Road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist is urging the UK government to look again at ending what it calls the 'pointless practice' of putting the clocks back in late October, in favour of adopting a year-round Single/Double British Summertime (SDST). This would not only save lives but would also deliver huge economic savings to the NHS through reducing the number of road collisions. GEM chief executive Neil Worth comments: "There are so many compelling reasons for making the change, and no relevant arguments at all for retaining the present arrangement. "An experiment to use year-round British Summer Time for three years from 1968 led to an 11 per cent reduction in road casualties in England and Wales, as well as a 17 percent drop in Scotland. "Experts now estimate 80 deaths and more than 200 serious injuries would be prevented on the UK's roads each year. According to the Home Office, there would also be a three per cent reduction in crime." GEM sets out the simple but indisputable benefits of ending the current practice of using GMT between late October and late March: Fewer people would die on the roads of the UK. With ongoing cuts to road safety across the country, and no appreciable fall in the annual road death toll for several years, this has to be a welcome result. More light in the evening rush hour is needed to cut casualties. There are approximately 50 per cent more fatal and serious injury collisions at this time than in the morning. In particular three times more children are injured on the way home from school than on the way to school. Here are our tips for staying safe in the dark when driving: Remove steam, mist condensation, dirt and ice from lights, windows and mirrors. In foggy or wet conditions, slow down and used dipped headlights. Be ready for the effects of glare from low winter sun, which can reduce visibility. In some circumstances, especially in the late afternoon, glare can leave you with no forward vision at all. Reflected glare from wet roads can also seriously compromise what you're able to see. Don't delay switching on your lights. Even if your view of the road ahead is good, you may be much less visible to other road users, especially if you drive a dark-coloured vehicle.
MOT TESTS - WINNERS & LOSERS
- 30 October 2020
MOT TESTS - WINNERS & LOSERS
You might remember that the government extended MOT expiry dates by six months in March, due to the country being in lockdown. Based on the number of tests done in the equivalent period last year, there could be around 20 million MOTs now due, without including any new cars that will need testing for the first time. The latest data from the Department for Transport has revealed the UK postcodes where cars are most likely to pass and fail their MOT tests, with Scotland and Devon home to numerous failure hotspots. The analysis reveals that when it comes to the areas where cars are most likely to fail their MOT, the KY postcode (Kirkcaldy, Scotland) tops the list, with more than a quarter of cars (28%) having failed their MOT test between October 2019 and January 2020, 8% more than the UK average (20%) for the same time period. Scottish postcodes don't fare well when it comes to MOT tests, with numerous failure hotspots across the country. Following Kirkcaldy, the DD postcode (Dundee) came in second (27% MOT fails), with AB (Aberdeen) and PH (Perth) in joint fifth place (24%). When it comes to the cars most likely to fail their MOT, nearly a quarter (23%) of all Vauxhall cars, such as Corsas and Astras, tested between October 2019 and January 2020 failed, making it the least reliable out of the 10 most common car brands in the UK. The research also revealed the most common reasons why cars fail their MOTs, with lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment the biggest culprits. Such faults are accountable for over a quarter (27%) of all failures. On the other end of the scale, looking at the locations most likely to pass their MOT, London postcodes perform well, with nine postcodes from the capital achieving over 76% pass rates. Overall, 37 UK postcodes achieved a pass-rate that was higher than the national average of 74%.
DON'T VEER FOR DEER
- 19 October 2020
DONT VEER FOR DEER
Road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist is urging drivers to take extra care in areas where deer are common. The rutting (or breeding) season means deer are more mobile than usual, bringing them onto roads and increasing the risk of collisions. Experts believe the UK deer population numbers more than two million, and research from the RSPCA shows around 75,000 deer are involved in vehicle collisions each year, with 10,000 killed instantly. The human death toll from deer collisions ranges between 10 and 20 annually, while industry estimates put the cost of damage to vehicles alone to be at least £11 million. But it's not only deer drivers should be looking out for. In some regions, such as the Forest of Dean, collisions with wild boar have exceeded those involving deer. Although wild boar became extinct in the UK nearly 400 years ago, they are now back in some parts of the country. The UK is home to an estimated wild boar population of 2,600 or more. Around 500 die in the Forest of Dean each year, either through culling by marksmen or as a result of a road collision. Wild boar can reach 150kg in weight, meaning a collision could have severe consequences both for boar and vehicle. The animals can be seen in daylight hours, but they usually come out after dark, adding to the collision risk. GEM offers five simple tips for drivers to reduce risk from deer collisions: Take note of deer warning signs. These are placed in locations where wild animal crossings are likely, so keep your speed down and be ready to encounter a deer at very short notice. Be particularly watchful at dawn and dusk, when deer are most active. If you spot one animal, it's likely there may be others following, so don't speed up and assume the danger has passed. Remember the importance of always being able to stop - on your side of the road - in the distance you can see to be clear ahead. But also be ready to react if a deer leaps out right in front of you Ideally we want to avoid any sort of collision, but swerving to avoid a deer could prove a very dangerous action if it leads to a collision with another vehicle.
EV HOLIDAY HIRE
- 19 October 2020
EV HOLIDAY HIRE
Hiring an electric car on holiday is a good opportunity to try one out say almost a quarter (23%) of car hire drivers (25% men and 21% women). According to a new Opinium survey of 2000 UK holidaymakers, on behalf of iCarhireinsurance.com, a leading provider of car hire excess insurance, almost one in seven car hirers (14%) would choose to hire an electric car rather than a petrol or diesel car; and 18% say they would choose an electric vehicle on holiday to "do their bit" for the environment. Almost one in ten (9%) say they are willing to pay a little bit extra to hire an electric car. Car hirers, however, did have concerns about electric vehicles, including charging the vehicle (35%), the driving range (26%) and almost a fifth (22%) are put off as they have never driven one before. "We know the future is electric and it look likes drivers are increasingly trying to embrace this, albeit in a cautious way," said Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of iCarhireinsurance.com. "Hiring a car is a great way to try out this new technology, compared to a 30-minute test drive at a dealership. Drivers have a chance to really spend some time learning about about electric vehicles and see if one might fit into their lifestyle. "However, we should say that there are only limited electric cars available to hire in the UK at the moment, and mostly hybrids rather than pure electric. Europe and the US have a greater selection of electric cars, but some of the big brands have said they're working on getting a fleet operating in the UK, so watch this space," said Ernesto Suarez.
FIGHTING FOR A SPACE
- 19 October 2020
FIGHTING FOR A SPACE
With seemingly more cars on the road every year, finding a decent parking spot in town and city centres around the UK becomes more and more of a fight. But where in the UK is it the hardest, and easiest, to find a decent car parking space for residents and visitors? To find out, All Car Leasing compared the number of public car parking spaces in some of the UK's biggest towns and cities with the number of registered cars on the road, to show where it's easiest to secure a spot. The city where motorists find it the easiest to find a place to park is Norwich, with just 6.2 registered cars for every available space in the city, with two car parks with over 1,000 spaces each. This was followed by Reading (7.5 cars per space) and Southampton (9.1 cars per space), although some bigger cities also made the top ten, such as Glasgow (11.4 cars per space) and Manchester (12.6 cars per space). But which are the towns and cities where drivers have the biggest headaches when it comes to parking? Despite having over 12,000 parking spaces, Birmingham came out as the hardest place to grab a spot, with over 600,000 registered cars in the city, meaning that there are 51.5 cars for every space. This was followed by Edinburgh (39.8 cars per space) and Bradford (38.8 cars per space).
PREMIUM PREFERENCES AND GALLIC CHARM
- 19 October 2020
PREMIUM PREFERENCES AND GALLIC CHARM
Despite the challenges of 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic, new research by DS Automobiles has revealed almost a quarter of the UK public (24%) are still likely to make a premium purchase over the next twelve months. According to the poll, respondents plan to invest over £3,500 on average to procure items including jewellery, technology, designer clothing and holidays; while over a quarter of those surveyed (28.3%) are looking to purchase a new car. When making a premium purchase decision, 60% of respondents cited the price point as the most important factor, in addition to other aspects including the materials used (42%), the brand name (39%) and the reputation of the brand product or service (39%). And it seems provenance is also important to us when purchasing luxury goods, Parisian brands topped the table in the survey of 2,000 people conducted by OnePoll; with a quarter of respondents associating the French capital with luxury goods. One third of the UK public also believe Paris is the most stylish capital in the world (33%)* beating the likes of Milan (23%), London (19%) and New York (9%). When asked about making a premium car purchase specifically, nearly half of those surveyed stated high levels of interior technology and features as the main qualities they look for when making a decision, with standout design (35%) coming in second on the list. Other desirable qualities included high performance powertrains and the use of fine interior materials such as leather and crystal glass. Head of Product at DS Automobiles, Vince Clisham said: "It's no surprise that Paris has been voted the most stylish capital by the UK public as it is well known for producing the very best in premium goods, be it cars, fashion, cosmetics or jewellery."
AUTOMOTIVE SAFETY DISTRACTIONS - A FACT OF LIFE?
- 19 October 2020
AUTOMOTIVE SAFETY DISTRACTIONS - A FACT OF LIFE?
The rise of smartphones and touchscreens inside cars has sparked a growing debate around the dangers of distraction behind the wheel. But Volvo Cars safety experts say that distraction is a fact of life, and that technology should be used to support people in their daily commute. The company's own safety research and behavioural science work suggests that when used correctly, modern technology inside the car can actively reduce distraction, boost road safety and help people to be better and more focused drivers. "It is easy to think that phones and screens are the only scourge of the modern driver, but life as a whole is distracting," said Malin Ekholm, Head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre. "We know people do not get distracted on purpose, but it happens. You could be late for daycare and somewhat stressed, or you get behind the wheel after a bad day at work - all this affects you as a driver." Some would say that from a distraction point of view, a car from the 1940s is safer than today's cars - after all, it does not contain a screen, phone connectivity or even a radio. But that is not how today's drivers and society operate. "The reality is that people want to engage with friends, family, work and entertainment, and everyone responds differently to distraction," said Malin Ekholm. "So we want to meet our customers where they are, not where we want them to be. That is why our focus is on using technology in the right way, so we can use it to help you stay safe behind the wheel." Volvo Cars actively uses technology to combat the dangers of distraction and build some of the safest cars on the road. For example, its active safety systems with autobrake and steer assist are designed to be on guard to help drivers if they lose concentration or are distracted for a split-second. Inside the cabin of the new XC40 Recharge Pure Electric, an advanced voice control on Volvo Cars' new Android-powered infotainment system allows drivers to control the temperature, set a destination, play their favourite music and podcasts or call their mum on her birthday - all while keeping their hands on the wheel. "Being able to control key features on your Volvo by voice allows you to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road," said Malin Ekholm. "Active safety systems such as City Safety, Run-off Road Mitigation and Oncoming Lane Mitigation with Steer Assist can act as an extra pair of eyes watching over you.
SAFETY TIPS FOR OLDER DRIVERS
- 19 October 2020
SAFETY TIPS FOR OLDER DRIVERS
Road Safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist says older drivers can stay safer for longer by reflecting on their driving, and by knowing where they can get expert safety advice. The statement follows the recent release of road casualty figures for 2019, showing a nine per cent increase in the number of people aged 60 and over killed in road collisions (from 588 in 2018 to 638 in 2019). "We are committed to playing our part in reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on the UK's roads, regardless of how old they may be or how they use the roads," said GEM's chief executive Neil Worth. "Today two thirds of people aged 70 and over still hold a driving licence, compared with less than 40 per cent in the mid 1990s2. So with more people staying mobile for longer, it's vital we take the time to understand better their vulnerabilities and the situations where they may be at higher risk. GEM has assembled the following seven key tips to help seniors stay safe behind the wheel: Get fit and stay fit. If possible, do some exercise for 15 to 20 minutes each day. Get a regular eye test. This allows early detection of possible problems. Make sure the car you drive best suits your current needs. Adapt your driving to avoid journeys that cause you stress or discomfort. Reflect on your driving, learn from your mistakes and near misses. Don't pretend they're not happening. Plan your journeys to avoid using the roads at really busy times, and build in plenty of breaks on longer journeys. Listen to the thoughts of family members and friends. If they express concern about your driving, it's because they care about you staying safe.