Category Archives: Sales

Car tax to be scrapped for electric vehicles

Car tax is set to be overhauled this April, so what’s changing?

From 1 April 2017 the way car tax is figured out is set to change for any vehicles registered after this date. The change could be seen as good news for owners of electric or hybrid vehicles.

How will the new tax rates affect me?

While measures are being put in place to curb congestion and reduce air pollution with the investment of millions in congestion-cutting technology, could increasing the number of electric cars on the road be the solution?

The government seems to think so as it is introducing a change to the road tax system.

As it stands all vehicles, except for pedal bicycles, are subject to Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), also known as road tax. It is split into several bands, based on CO2 emissions but as of 1 April, all electric vehicles will move into band A, which means drivers of electric vehicles will no longer pay road tax.

If this news has you thinking electric cars could be for you but aren’t quite sure which kind to buy, it’s worth noting  plug-in hybrids are also exempt, but not pure hybrids. This is because they still produce emissions, and only vehicles that produce either no emissions or emissions less than 100g/km are exempt from VED.

Further changes to the vehicle tax rates will take effect in April. The tax payable on a new vehicle for the first twelve months will be calculated based on its emissions – the higher the emissions, the higher the tax. This only applies to new vehicles registered after 1 April 2017. All vehicles registered between March 2001 and April 2017 will pay tax based on the old rates.

How can I save money on an electric car?

Buying an electric car can be quite expensive – something which will hopefully change as their popularity increases – but the good news is the plug-in vehicle grant has been extended to March 2018. This gives motorists money towards the cost of an electric vehicle, up to 35% of the cost of the vehicle. The maximum amount given is £4,500.

What it means for owners of diesel and petrol vehicles

It may still be expensive to purchase an electric vehicle, but they are expected to become cheaper over time. According to predictions by analysts at Bloomsberg New Energy Finance, the drop in battery costs could result in them being cheaper overall than petrol or diesel models by as early as 2022. Being exempt from VED will certainly contribute to this.

If you’re looking to buy a petrol or diesel vehicle, you could start paying up to £450 per month in tax. New vehicles worth over £40,000 will be taxed at the new rates for the first twelve months, after which, petrol and diesel owners will have to pay an additional rate of up to £310 per month.

Expensive as electric vehicles can be, their owners could potentially save money in the long run. Not only will you no longer have to pay expensive fuel prices, but you may well pay absolutely nothing in road tax and could qualify for the plug-in vehicle grant.

Source: Admiral Insurance

Money Box Live: The Cost of Buying a Car

There was an interesting programme on Radio 4 yesterday, it was Money Box Live on the topic of ‘The Cost of Buying a Car’. It’s well worth a listen – there’s a link below, plus the programme summary below that.

It starts with the impressive statistic that 2.7 million cars were sold in the UK last year. It then explains and discusses the various options for financing a new car, particularly PCP and PCH (lease). Some interesting facts were that 70-80% of sales were on PCP, and that 80% of those who take a PCP give the car back at the end.

There are then brief items on used cars (from 18.5 minutes), and on the poor outlook for diesels.

Finally there is a discussion on electric cars (from 20 minutes), with a contributor from the Next Green Car website covering the benefits and savings of going electric – including the tax changes from 1st April.

Overall an interesting and pretty will balanced programme.

iPlayer Radio – Money Box Live

“Louise Cooper looks at the finances of buying a car. New or used? Finance or cash? Electric or hybrid? What do we really need to know about payment plans, motoring costs, and how to buy safely?

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported record sales of new cars in 2016, boosted they say by strong consumer confidence, low-interest finance deals and the launch of several new models. Fleet vehicles accounted for much of the increase with sales to consumers falling for three out of four quarters.

Consumer confidence might be boosting sales but around 86% of private buyers rely on finance agreements to make the purchase, over £18bn was advanced to consumers for new car purchases and a further £13bn for used cars last year say The Finance and Leasing Association. So how does car finance work and how easy is it to compare the actual price of a car with so many different offers, interest rates, deposits and final payments in the mix?

Could you be tempted by the grants and lower mileage costs of running an electric or a hybrid model? Sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles rose by 48.9% in February with 3,308 new registrations. If you’ve switched from petrol or diesel to a low emission car let us know how it compares.

And is it better to buy online, from a dealer or privately? How can you check the history of the car you want to buy?”

Is 2017 THE year of the Electric Car?

Electric Car Sales Boom As UK Vehicle Sales Hit a 12-Year High

The popularity of the electric car has increased exponentially in recent years, with projections of 2 million electric cars shortly on the world’s roads (Guardian, 2016). This in turn has seen many adaptations such as charging points at service stations and even fast-food chains – benefiting those already owning an electric car, as well as attracting those thinking about making the switch. Further evidence of this rise is the news of the record sales of vehicles and a 12 year high in car registrations – which was aided by the surge of purchases in electric vehicles.

January 2017 saw 174,564 cars being registered across the UK, up 2.9 per cent when compared with the previous year, and the highest monthly level since 2005 (Guardian, 2017). The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) also announced that electric vehicles took a record share in the sales market. Looking at the underlying figures, it is clear to see how alternative fuel cars are helping with this surge, especially electric cars like the new Nissan Leaf. This increased by a fifth and reached its greatest share of new vehicles registrations at 4.2 per cent, passing its previous 3.6 per cent high of November last year (Guardian, 2017).

“With the fluctuating cost of fuel, it is clear to see why motorists are opting for alternative fuel vehicles, where electricity prices are more stable”

There are a multitude of reasons why electric vehicles are leading the charge and steadily growing in the overall sales market. One of the main reasons, and alluded to earlier with the Nissan Leaf, is that no longer are electric cars a simplistic eyesore, but instead have increased in both style and scope. Drivers are now more attracted to alternative fuel cars as their appearance has evolved to be more like that of standard cars, as well as being cleaner and cheaper to run.

Almost mirroring the persistent rise in the cost of fuel is a further advantage to those thinking about purchasing an electric car: battery costs are down by 65 per cent from prices 5 years ago (CityAM).

As well as being cheaper, cleaner and more environmentally friendly, electric cars outclass internal combustion vehicles on a multitude of levels. Electric cars run more smoothly and have improved acceleration over their fuelled counterparts, as well as having significantly lower maintenance needs, and the scope for manufacturer modifications to be completed via software updates.

With four major world cities now actively moving to ban diesel vehicles by 2025 (BBC, 2016), and London looking increasingly likely to join this, alternative fuel vehicles will certainly continue to grow their share in the market. Major car companies are already altering their strategies to put electric vehicles at the center of their ranges, with Volkswagen planning to invest $11.2 billion over the course of the next decade to make electric cars 25 per cent of its total sales (CityAM, 2016). These latest trends and figures suggest that the sales of electric cars will continue to rise, with Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) forecasting that the sales of electric vehicles will account for 35 per cent of all new car sales by 2040.

Source: TryMyEV

Electric cars are set to arrive far more speedily than anticipated

Carmakers face short-term pain and long term gain

THE high-pitched whirr of an electric car may not stir the soul like the bellow and growl of an internal combustion engine (ICE). But to compensate, electric motors give even the humblest cars explosive acceleration. Electric cars are similarly set for rapid forward thrust.

Improving technology and tightening regulations on emissions from ICEs is about to propel electric vehicles (EVs) from a niche to the mainstream. After more than a century of reliance on fossil fuels, however, the route from petrol power to volts will be a tough one for carmakers to navigate.

The change of gear is recent. One car in a hundred sold today is powered by electricity. The proportion of EVs on the world’s roads is still well below 1%. Most forecasters had reckoned that by 2025 that would rise to around 4%. Those estimates are undergoing a big overhaul as carmakers announce huge expansions in their production of EVs.

Morgan Stanley, a bank, now says that by 2025 EV sales will hit 7m a year and make up 7% of vehicles on the road. Exane BNP Paribas, another bank, reckons that it could be more like 11% (see chart). But as carmakers plan for ever more battery power, even these figures could quickly seem too low.

Ford’s boss is bolder still. In January Mark Fields announced that the

“era of the electric vehicle is dawning”

and he reckons that the number of models of EVs will exceed pure ICE-powered cars within 15 years. Ford has promised 13 new electrified cars in the next five years. Others are making bigger commitments. Volkswagen, the world’s biggest carmaker, said last year that it would begin a product blitz in 2020 and launch 30 new battery-powered models by 2025, when EVs will account for up to a quarter of its sales. Daimler, a German rival, also recently set an ambitious target of up to a fifth of sales by the same date.

Read more: The Economist

2017 set to be landmark year for electric cars

The future is bright for electric cars in 2017, as new figures released recently indicate that more than 100,000 plug-in cars could be on UK roads by the middle of this year.

This prediction is fuelled by record numbers of electric car registrations in 2016, with volumes rising 29% on the previous 12 months. In fact, every quarter of 2016 produced year-on-year growth, with the total number of EVs on UK roads now at more than 87,000.

More and more UK drivers are becoming switched on to the cost-saving benefits and convenience of electric motoring, which resulted in 36,907 electric vehicles being registered between January and December last year, a number that’s set to grow this year.

The ever-increasing selection of electric cars available in the UK is another factor aiding the rise in the market. More than 35 plug-in models are available at the moment, which is four times the number on the market just five years ago.

Plug-in hybrids were particularly popular in 2016, as registrations rose by over 40%. Models such as the BMW 330e, Volkswagen Golf GTE and Audi A3 Sportback e-tron proved to be among the most in-demand.

Source: Go Ultra Low

Kia Soul EV on charge on a London street (Image: M. Willis/Getty/Go Ultra Low)

The Guardian view of the car industry: an electric future

The world is moving faster than we think towards more automated vehicles powered by renewable energy

Gone are the days when cars made in Britain were British. Monday’s sale of Vauxhall/Opel to Peugeot meant only the transfer of two large English factories from the German subsidiary of an American firm to a French company, accompanied by the ritual promises that jobs would be safe. These seem insubstantial, given that the new management plans to save €1.7bn a year from the old Opel operation, while the Vauxhall factories made a heavy loss after the pound’s post-referendum slide. Yet the contortions of government policy which once accompanied threats to the car industry went quite unseen this time. But there is one small aspect of the deal in which it appears that Mrs May’s industrial strategy might be an intelligent deployment of very limited resources. The future of the car industry is clearly electric, and the development of battery technology – something the government plans to support – will be vital.

Kia Soul EV on charge on a London street (Image: M. Willis/Getty/Go Ultra Low)
Kia Soul EV on charge on a London street (Image: M. Willis/Getty/Go Ultra Low)

Against the protectionism practised by the Chinese government, which is determined to dominate the world market, and to supplant the Japanese and Korean firms which now provide most of the world’s batteries, any effort by the British government is likely to prove inadequate. Especially a British government which has ended its own participation in the single market; but at least it is playing in the right game.

At the moment, wholly electric cars are still a tiny minority of those on the road, but their number is growing very fast as they become more affordable and more practical. Their advantages to society are obvious: they pollute far less than internal combustion engines, and use less energy too. A city of electric cars will be cleaner and quieter than our present stinking streets. And at some stage in the next decade, their advantages to private drivers will become overwhelming. The electric car will become a mainstream status symbol and it is the buyers of internal combustion vehicles who will feel like weird outsiders. The Dutch parliament has considered a measure which would make all cars sold there electric by 2025. A recent thinktank report suggests that 10 years after that a third of all the vehicles sold in the world will be electric.

New electric cars must travel further and need less time to recover from their journeys than those that can be bought today, when long journeys are still fraught with anxiety. This means lighter batteries that hold more charge and can be charged more quickly; they are appearing already and the huge amounts of global investment make it likely that progress will continue and technology will supply what the market needs.

Stepping back for a moment, the rise of electric and largely automated cars might change the world around us almost as profoundly as the internal combustion engine did. Part of this is their obvious role in transportation. All-electric traffic will be faster, reversing the trend of the last century. Lighter cars will accelerate and brake more quickly, while increasing automation will mean traffic moves more freely. If those trends continue, the private car might disappear altogether, replaced by a network of hired autonomous vehicles, at least within cities. The beginnings of this development are already visible in the reluctance of young people to learn to drive.

Less obvious, but just as important, are all the symbolic values of cars. It’s not just for Bruce Springsteen that they embody freedom, autonomy and power. The car that you own says almost as much about your social position and your aspirations as the clothes you wear. Car ownership was for much of the world a mark of status in the way that owning a horse made you a knight. The coming revolution threatens far more than the vehicle manufacturing industry. If cars do come to be valued for their usefulness, not as means of ostentation, the motor car would become only a status symbol for the rich, as useless, if still as loved, as the private horse now is.

Source: The Guardian

Vauxhall Ampera EREV

UK budget announcement on electric vehicles doesn’t go far enough

Specialist management consultancy Baringa Partners has responded to the UK Chancellor’s Budget announcement of support for electric vehicles (EVs) saying the support doesn’t go far enough.

Policies should be designed to support the roll-out of rapid charging access across the UK, according to Baringa. While the Chancellor’s announcement of support for the development of batteries for electric cars will go some way to alleviating customers’ fears about range, more work is needed to change the perception that electric vehicles are not as reliable as their petrol and diesel peers.

Vauxhall Ampera EREV
Vauxhall Ampera EREV

“The Chancellor’s announcement of funding for research into batteries for electric vehicles is a positive first step, but it doesn’t go far enough” said Natalie Bird, Senior Consultant at Baringa. ““The transport sector trails the energy and industrial sectors on decarbonisation. Despite significant uptake in electric cars since 2011, the rate of eligible vehicle registrations slowed substantially last year. Although the UK’s 2050 Greenhouse Gas target theoretically allows for later action, the combination of pressing air quality issues, consumer interest in electric vehicles and advances in self-driving technology provides a real opportunity today to kick-start the decarbonisation of the transport sector, which will reap long-term benefits.”

Ms Bird added that in these early stages, bolder policies that reduce costs and influence public perception are needed if the Government wants to see more people get behind the electric wheel. This means providing more certainty to investors, producers and consumers about the vision for the future of the market. In the longer run, the Government may need to shift the balance of policy away from direct subsidies and towards more technology neutral mechanisms such as a wider carbon tax for the transport sector, to discourage the use of conventional vehicles.

The Government should also recognise the ongoing evolution of the wider transport landscape and the potential shift away from private vehicle ownership towards greater use of ‘on-demand’ flexible modes of travel such as car sharing schemes, and ensure policies take this into account. This may be accelerated by self-driving technology, which in turn could dramatically transform road transport demand patterns, and it would be good to recognise that link in the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Source: Renewable Energy Magazine

Government to invest in developing batteries for electric vehicles

Spring Budget 2017: The government will invest in the development, design and manufacture of batteries to power the next generation of electric vehicles.

The investment will form part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), which will receive an initial investment of £270 million in 2017-2018.

In his Spring Budget 2017 speech, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the £270 million investment will be used to develop disruptive technologies, such as robotic systems and driverless vehicles.

The ISCF forms part of the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF), which was announced in the Autumn Statement 2016. This includes an investment of £390 million in ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV), renewable fuels, and connected and autonomous vehicles by 2020-21. This funding also includes an £80 million investment in ULEV charging infrastructure.

Claire Evans, head of fleet consultancy at Zenith, said:

“We saw £270 million allocated to keep the UK at the forefront of disruptive technologies that will include funding for the development, design and manufacture of batteries to power the next generation of electric vehicles. Increased range on new battery technology will speed their adoption by fleets.

“The £16 million made available for a new 5G mobile technology hub will also support the move toward driverless vehicles. A £690 million competition for local authorities to tackle urban congestion and get local transport networks moving again is a welcome addition.”

Source: Employee Benefits

New autonomous vehicle insurance and electric vehicle infrastructure

Self-driving car insurance and electric vehicle charge point measures introduced in Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill.

New insurance rules for self-driving cars and measures to improve provision of electric vehicle charge points will be introduced today (22 February 2017), as part of the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill.

It is hoped these measures will help the UK to become a world leader in these technologies by breaking down some of the barriers that could limit companies from testing them here.

Measures around insurance for self-driving cars will ensure better protection – a single insurance product for automated vehicles will now be able to cover both the motorist when they are driving, as well as the car when it is in automated mode. This will mean innocent victims involved in a collision with an automated vehicle will have quick and easy access to compensation.

Self-driving vehicles will allow the driver to hand full control and responsibility to the vehicle when technologies are turned on.

The measures follow a consultation by the Department for Transport on the issue of insurance for self-driving cars that closed in September 2016. The Secretary of State will be given the power to classify which vehicles are ‘automated’ and subject to the new insurance requirement.

Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, said:

Automated vehicles have the potential to transform our roads in the future and make them even safer and easier to use, as well as promising new mobility for those who cannot drive.

But we must ensure the public is protected in the event of an incident and today we are introducing the framework to allow insurance for these new technologies.

David Williams, Head of Underwriting, at AXA UK, said:

This is a positive step forward that provides clarity to insurers to ensure we design our products appropriately. It keeps protection of the general public at its heart which we hope will encourage early adoption of some really impressive technology.

The vast majority of accidents are caused by human error and we see automated vehicles having a massive impact, reducing the number and severity of accidents. As well as making our roads safer, insurance premiums are based on the cost of claims and therefore we expect substantially reduced premiums to follow.

Other measures set out in the Bill will mean easier access to infrastructure for electric vehicles. They could also ensure the right infrastructure is in place for the growing market for electric vehicles.

Motorway services and large fuel retailers could be made to provide electric charge points and hydrogen refuelling stations under planned new laws.

The measures could also make sure data about the location and availability of charging stations is openly available, and make it easier to use the different networks which are available. They follow a public consultation on measures to improve charging infrastructure.

John Hayes, Minister of State for Transport said:

If we are to accelerate the use of electric vehicles we must take action now and be ready to take more action later. I recognise that to encourage more drivers to go electric, the infrastructure needs to become even more widespread than the 11,000 charging points already in place and more straightforward. We are determined to do all we can to make electric vehicles work for everyone and these new laws will help make this a reality.


A Mini comes off the assembly line at its factory in Cowley, near Oxford (Image: L. Neal/AFP/Getty)

BMW considers making electric Mini outside UK due to Brexit worries

Suggestion that carmaker could produce vehicle in Germany instead of Oxford comes amid fears over Vauxhall’s future

The new electric Mini could be made in Germany rather than the UK because of the uncertainty caused by Brexit.

Most Minis are manufactured at its plant in Oxford, one of the biggest factories in the country, but BMW, the owner of the brand, is considering making the electric version of the car in Germany.

A Mini comes off the assembly line at its factory in Cowley, near Oxford (Image: L. Neal/AFP/Getty)
A Mini comes off the assembly line at its factory in Cowley, near Oxford (Image: L. Neal/AFP/Getty)

If BMW decides to make the Mini outside of Britain then it would be a major blow to the government. Greg Clark, the business secretary, wants to put electric vehicles and battery technology at the heart of the UK’s industrial strategy, describing the sector as an “emblematic area of focus”.

The doubts about where the electric Mini will be built is one of a number of issues threatening to derail the revival of Britain’s car industry. The government persuaded Nissan to commit more investment for its plant in Sunderland but there are fears that jobs could be lost at Vauxhall’s factories in Ellesmere Port and Luton if PSA Group, the owner of Peugeot, completes a deal to buy General Motors’ European business, which includes Vauxhall and Opel.

BMW announced the launch of the battery-powered Mini last year and it is scheduled to go on sale in 2019. The German company says it will make a decision this year about where to produce the car. However, the German newspaper Handelsblatt has reported that BMW is considering building the Mini at its plants in Regensburg and Leipzig rather than Oxford. Another option for BMW is to produce the car in the Netherlands, where roughly one in three Minis are already made.

The German carmaker is likely to hold talks with the British government before making a decision but is concerned about the prospect of the UK leaving the single market and being charged tariffs on imports and exports.

The company insisted it was business as usual at its four sites in the UK. In a statement, it said:

“The decision on where to build the full-electric Mini will be taken this year.

“As formal negotiations between the UK and the EU have not even begun yet it is too early to comment on what Brexit will mean for our business.

“The BMW group has always made clear that we believe integration of the UK into the EU single market, maintaining free movement of goods, services, capital and talent, would be best for business. What’s important for us is that the UK’s negotiations with the EU result in uncomplicated, tariff-free access to the EU single market in future.

“As a major investor and employer in the UK, the BMW group urges the government to take the concerns of international business into account. Not only free trade but also cross-border employment opportunities and unified, internationally applied regulations are of proven benefit to business, the economy and individuals.”

Source: The Guardian