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Brexit: UK divorce bill offer worth up to 50bn euros
The UK has offered a larger potential “divorce bill” to the EU – which could be worth up to 50bn euros (£44bn), the BBC understands. There has been no final agreement on a number but the offer was given a “broad welcome” by Brussels, BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said. No 10 has played down reports the final figure could be up to 55bn euros (£49bn). The offer was communicated to Brussels after last week’s cabinet meeting. The amount of money the UK will pay as part of Brexit has been one of the main sticking points in the first round of negotiations with the EU. In September Theresa May suggested the UK was willing to pay about 20bn euros, and the EU has been calling for its offer to be increased.
Free ATMs ‘must be available across UK’
The network that oversees free-to-use cash machines across the UK must ensure there is an even spread of ATMs across the country, an influential MP says. Nicky Morgan, who chairs the Commons Treasury Committee, said any big fall in the number of ATMs would “clearly be of concern”. She has written to the head of the Link network amid debate over an overhaul of the system. There are fears of “ATM deserts” but Link said such worries were misplaced.
Ministers ‘hell bent on destroying’ UK car industry’s reputation
The UK government is “hell bent on destroying” the reputation of Britain’s car industry by repeatedly penalising diesel technology, the head of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has said. Mike Hawes, chief executive of the trade body, said diesel is being “demonised” by higher taxes, which are driving motorists into petrol cars that emit higher levels of carbon dioxide. “We introduce taxes, charges and Budget measures which ignore technological development, which undermine our industrial capability and which demonise one technology, diesel, despite the benefits it delivers consumers,” he said in a speech on Tuesday evening. “UK automotive is great at technology, and we are damn good at internal combustion engines in particular — just look at Formula One for proof,” he said. “Yet we seem to be hell bent on destroying that reputation.” Ministers unveiled plans in July to ban conventionally powered cars by 2040. The government later clarified that the complicated policy would exclude hybrid technology.
Car industry faces £4.5bn bill without Brexit deal
Britain’s car industry faces a £4.5bn bill if the UK leaves the EU without a trade deal, according to latest estimates from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. The trade body said the costs would come from paying “devastating” tariffs on cars and parts, such as engines that are made in the UK and exported to the EU. More than half of the cars exported from the UK are sold in the EU, while more than half of the 2.5m engines made in Britain each year are assembled into vehicles in plants on the continent.
Smart lights will warn cyclists of potholes ahead
Cyclists will be given warnings of potholes from smart lights that detect imperfections in the road ahead and send out an alert. Trials are being run in Manchester and Dublin using motion sensors that pick up any bumps as well as any evidence of fellow cyclists avoiding particular spots in the road, suggesting a pothole. The information is relayed via Bluetooth to cyclists’ phones and collected in a hub where artificial intelligence is used to create a virtual map of a city’s road conditions. It also monitors surfaces and predicts where potholes will form before they become visible.
Shell petrol stations to charge up electric cars in just five minutes
Royal Dutch Shell has accelerated its drive into the electric vehicle market by teaming up with Europe’s fastest charging network. The collaboration with Ionity, which is backed by major carmakers, will roll out across 80 of Shell’s biggest European petrol stations to allow drivers of the latest generation of electric cars to charge up in as little as five to 10 minutes. The Ionity joint venture was formed in recent weeks by BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen with Audi and Porsche to create a network of 350kW chargers next to major highways in Europe.
BMW looking for partners to develop electric small cars
Germany’s BMW AG is talking with other automakers “around the world” to try to find partners to lower the cost of electrifying its future Mini small cars, management board member Peter Schwarzenbauer told Reuters.
“We are talking to many OEMs (manufacturers) around the world, not only in China, (about) how to electrify smaller cars,” Schwarzenbauer said. “There’s no final conclusion on it.” Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor Co said last month it was discussing a possible venture to build Mini vehicles in China. BMW currently does not build Mini vehicles outside Europe. Schwarzenbauer declined to discuss the Great Wall situation, saying “this was speculation.”