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First MoT test to remain at 3 years to protect road safety
Ministers put road safety first as they today (18 January 2017) decided to maintain the period before a car’s first MoT test at 3 years. The move comes after a Department for Transport consultation last year to consider changing the wait before the first test to 4 years. Most of those responding to the consultation were against the proposals on safety grounds, arguing that the savings to motorists were outweighed by the risk to road users and the test often highlights upcoming issues affecting the vehicle. A public survey for DfT by Populus also showed fewer than half of people were in favour of the change.
Travel disruption as high winds and snow hit UK
Severe gales have been causing disruption to much of the UK – with gusts of up to 70 mph (113 kph). Police in several areas, including Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Gloucestershire, have reported fallen trees on or near roads. Damage to overhead electric wires is causing problems for train services in the Midlands, and drivers are being warned to take extra care on the roads. In Essex, 13,000 homes are without power, UK Power Distribution said.
Peugeot owner PSA to offer electric options for all cars by 2025
Peugeot owner PSA will offer all of its models with an electric option by 2025, its chief executive has announced. The company, which also owns Citroen, Opel and Vauxhall brands, will launch 40 new “electrified models”, chief executive Carlos Tavares told an audience in Detroit on the fringes of the Detroit Motor Show. He also detailed plans to return to the US market after an absence of more than two decades. Many car makers have pledged to sell a high proportion of cars with electric motors through hybrid technology or full battery electrification, at least in part to meet increasingly stringent emissions regulation in Europe, China and around the world. PSA had been perceived as being behind most of its European rivals in developing electric cars.
Focus on electric cars lights up lithium
In the aftermath of recent car emission scandals, governments in countries such as France are strongly encouraging carmakers to go electric. Paris wants to banish petrol and diesel cars by 2030. Elsewhere, such as the UK, diesel car demand has slowed. In turn this shift has refocused attention on low or zero emission electric vehicles. Those EVs require batteries, and prices of their key inputs — lithium, cobalt, lead and nickel — have soared.
Volkswagen boosts deliveries to another record in 2017
Volkswagen, the world’s largest carmaker by sales, increased deliveries to another record in 2017, indicating that the reputational damage from the diesel emissions scandal exposed in late 2015 has had little impact on car sales. The German group, which comprises 12 brands including VW, Porsche and Audi, says 2017 sales rose 4.3 per cent to 10.74m units last year. In December alone sales rose 8.5 per cent to almost 1m units. Matthias Müller, chief executive, told the Financial Times that the group achieved its targets while juggling the diesel scandal and setting out plans to release 50 pure-electric cars by 2025.
Bristol could get underground railway to beat road congestion
Bristol could become the fifth city in Britain to get an underground rail system under plans to ease crippling congestion. The council is investigating plans to build three lines, including one linking the city’s airport to the south, at a cost of about £4 billion. Marvin Rees, Bristol’s Labour mayor, travelled to China last month to drum up investment for the project. Cambridge is also considering an underground rail system in an attempt to tackle its congestion problems. The Times reported in November that Cambridgeshire’s Conservative mayor wanted to put trams in four miles of tunnels beneath the city by the middle of the next decade. Only four British cities — London, Glasgow, Liverpool and Newcastle — have rail networks that run at least partly underground.
Microwaves in Britain generate as much carbon dioxide as 1.3 million cars, study shows
Microwaves in Britain generate as much carbon dioxide as more than one million cars, scientists have concluded as they call on people to use the ovens more efficiently. Scientists arrived at the figure after studying the broad environmental impact of microwaves, taking account of their manufacture, use, and end-of-life disposal. There are around 23 million microwaves in homes across the UK, but despite their huge popularity, little is known about the effect of the devices on the environment, said the researchers. The University of Manchester team found that the ovens generate around 1.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, the equivalent to 1.3 million cars.
Volkswagen diesel compensation fight for British owners ‘to start in March’ – here’s how you can make a claim
The battle to secure compensation for Brits over Volkswagen’s cheating diesels is set to begin in March. More than 50,000 claimants have signed up for the class action in a bid to get a pay-out for their dodgy diesels. Volkswagen was found to be cooking the books on emissions testing over two years ago – and has faced billion dollar pay-outs in the US since. Some top level bosses have even been jailed for fraud in the States. But Brits have been denied any compensation despite claims the fix to remove the cheat devices had made cars sluggish. And thousands of owners are furious their cars are far more polluting than they believed when they bought them.