Daily Archives: April 14, 2017

Uk Aims To Be “World Number One” In Driverless Cars

With a new “Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Hub”, the UK government is streamlining its efforts to become the leading nation in driverless mobility. The administration’s bold vision will intensify international competition.

The day before petitioning for divorce from the EU, the UK government outlined its vision for a national autonomous vehicle testing infrastructure, offering to reconcile flag-waving with openness to inward investment.

The new Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Hub, or ‘CAV Hub’, was introduced at a launch event in London on 28 March at Loughborough University’s Olympic Park campus. It will oversee an ‘ecosystem’ for autonomous vehicle testing made up of permanent facilities, initially part-supported by public funds but intended to be economically viable in the long term.

Mapping the progress: the UK is heavily investing into driverless cars. (Photo: Tim Watt)

The coordinating CAV Hub will be funded from a £100 million fund for new connected and autonomous vehicle testing infrastructure announced by the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond last year. Jim Campbell, formerly of BMW, Land Rover and Worldwide Marketing Director of Bentley Motor Cars, introduced the new body at the launch, highlighting its mission to help enable the UK,

“to be the world number one for connected and autonomous vehicles.”

The CAV Hub is looking to build upon existing test centres and continue previous work on a (testing) code of practice, as well as in other regulatory frameworks such as insurance, cyber-security and data management. Campbell asserted that,

“government support is a big part of why people will want to come and work with our community in the UK – and it is getting noticed.”

With trials underway involving on-road real-life demonstrations in London by Nissan and by Volvo, plus research involving a nascent UK autonomous vehicle industry, including Jaguar Land Rover and several new entrants supported by earlier rounds of funding, Mr Campbell emphasised that non-UK operators are welcome to get involved so long as public money is used to support UK-based research.

Nissan is testing their autonomous cars on public London roads. (Photo: Nissan)

A related announcement also made at the event was outline details of a funding competition to support the test facilities themselves, for which the UK government will offer up to £55 million to support three sites. These will be located in easy reach of Oxford, within the UK’s ‘automotive and technology heartland’.

Read more: 2025AD

Thousands of British children exposed to illegal levels of air pollution

Exclusive: More than 2,000 schools and nurseries close to roads with damaging levels of diesel fumes, joint investigation by Guardian and Greenpeace reveals

Hundreds of thousands of children are being exposed to illegal levels of damaging air pollution from diesel vehicles at schools and nurseries across England and Wales, a joint investigation by the Guardian and Greenpeace’s investigations unit has revealed.

The analysis of the most recent government data exposes how dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution from diesel traffic are not limited to large metropolitan centres, but threaten the health of children and young people in towns and cities from Newcastle to Plymouth.

The research shows more than 1,000 nurseries which look after 47,000 babies and children are in close proximity to roads where the level of nitrogen dioxide from diesel traffic exceeds the legal limit of 40µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre of air).

The findings come as the government is under pressure to dramatically improve its strategy to clean up the nation’s air, after the high court said its plans to reduce illegal levels of harmful emissions were so poor as to be unlawful. Ministers have to produce new draft measures to tackle air pollution by 24 April.

Chris Griffiths, professor of primary care and public health at Bart’s and the London School of Medicine, said the findings were very important and called for a dramatic change in attitudes within society and from government.

“The research on exposure to traffic fumes and children’s lung growth is pretty consistent. It shows that such exposure reduces lung growth, produces long term ill health and can cause premature death. We should be outraged that we are exposing our developing children to these obvious problems.”

Read More: The Guardian

Renault Zoe vs rivals – cost analysis

We’re all pretty clued-up about the benefits to zero-emission driving these days. Not only do electric cars help to improve air quality, lower your SMR costs and bring a reduction in BIK tax bills, they also deliver huge savings by not relying on fuel.

According to many experts, we are now getting very close to mass adoption of electric cars here in the UK. But they’re still a niche choice for many fleets because higher P11D prices and anxieties over range remain key stumbling blocks.

A whole-life cost approach is essential and, as discussed in the previous pages, they have to be fit for purpose to provide enough savings to outweigh the initial cost. But technology is improving at a considerable rate and battery ranges are increasing with every update.

The Renault Zoe

Refreshed in 2016, now offers an official 250-mile range – the best the sector has to offer, Tesla aside.

According to the French carmaker, if you use the most efficient means possible, like charging at night, running a Zoe could cost as little as 2p per mile in warmer weather, rising to 3ppm when the nights draw in. As well as offering the best range of our four cars here, the Zoe is also the cheapest to buy with P11D prices starting as low as £18,440. Despite some disappointing residual values, which are a common theme for most electric cars currently, the Zoe is the cheapest per mile too, costing 52.9p.

Renault Zoe Dynamique Nav 41kWh R90 – 52.2p CPM
P11D: £27,890
CO2 (tax): 0g/km (7%)
BIK 20/40% per month: £33/£65
Official range: 250 miles
National Insurance: £1,116
Boot space: 338 litres
Battery size/power: 41kW/92hp
0-62mph: 13.5 seconds
Residual value: 18.7%/£5,225
Fuel costs: £600
SMR: £890

Nissan Leaf

The biggest-selling electric car here in the UK by some margin, the Nissan Leaf also had a battery upgrade in 2016, which saw its range increase up to 155 miles.

Not only is the Leaf the most popular of our models here, it’s also the most practical, offering a 355-litre boot and the most interior space. The Nissan is also easy to drive and comfortable over longer distances.

Nissan Leaf Acenta 30kWh
P11D: £30,235
CO2 (tax): 0g/km (7%)
BIK 20/40% per month: £35/£71
Official range: 153 miles
National Insurance: £1,210
Boot space: 355 litres
Battery size/power: 30kW/111hp
0-62mph: 11.5 seconds
Residual value: 16.9%/£5,100
Fuel costs: £980
SMR: £1,029

BMW i3

First launched in 2013, the i3 not only marked the start of BMW’s EV model range, it also moved the game forwards considerably for electric car technology as a whole. It was a game-changer in every sense, and although it’s struggled to gain momentum in sales against its rivals, the i3 has remained one of the most desirable and technologically advanced electric cars on the market.

A battery update in 2016 doubled the car’s range to 195 miles officially on one charge, although the carmaker believes 125 miles is more realistic in real-world conditions, plus the i3 is also fitted with a new charging system that is 50% faster.

BMW i3 94ah eDrive
P11D: £32,485
CO2 (tax): 0g/km (7%)
BIK 20/40% per month: £38/£76
Official range: 195 miles
National Insurance: £1,300
Boot space: 260 litres
Battery size/power: 33kW/170hp
0-62mph: 7.3 seconds
Residual value: 30.2%/£9,825
Fuel costs: £1,200
SMR: £1,216

Hyundai IONIQ

The first car to be available in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric forms, the Ioniq moved Hyundai into new territory when the car was launched last year. It’s all part of the firm’s plans to have as many as 28 eco-friendly models on sale by 2020.

Arguably the most eye-catching of the four cars, the Ioniq also has one of the biggest boots, and its official 174-mile range is one of the best on offer here too. RVs, as we explained earlier, leave a lot to be desired for EVs in general; however, the Ioniq still manages to better both the Zoe and Leaf at 20.3%, and only the Renault is cheaper per mile for whole-life costs.

Hyundai Ioniq Premium
P11D: £28,940
CO2 (tax): 0g/km (7%)
BIK 20/40% per month: £34/£68
Official range: 174 miles
National Insurance: £1,158
Boot space: 350 litres
Battery size/power: 28kW/120hp
0-62mph: 10.2 seconds
Residual value: 20.3%/£5,875
Fuel costs: £862
SMR: £1,222

Read more: Business Car