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Jaguar self-drive car revealed in New York
The first self-styled “premium” autonomous car has been unveiled in New York – and it’s a Jaguar. The vehicle, made in conjunction with Google’s self-driving unit Waymo, will be tested on public roads this year. By 2020, the firms say 20,000 self-driving Jaguar sport utility vehicles (SUVs) will be part of Waymo’s public fleet. Waymo has committed to launching the first fully-driverless taxi fleet – without a human safety driver – in Arizona by the end of 2018.
Tesla and Nvidia shares fall amid driverless car doubts
Shares in Tesla and California chipmaker Nvidia dived on Tuesday amid fresh worries about the promise of self-driving car technology. The concerns added to a wider technology sell-off that saw US markets reverse gains notched on Monday as fears of a global trade war receded. The tech rich Nasdaq index plunged more than 200 points or nearly 2.9%. The S&P 500 lost 1.73% to 2,612.6 points, while the Dow Jones shed 1.43% to 23,857.7. Nvidia – a supplier of autonomous driving technology – was among the biggest losers after the company said it had halted self-driving tests on public roads. Shares, which rose precipitously last year, closed down almost 7.8%
Brexit: UK firms ‘fearful’ for future migration system
UK employers are “fearful” about what a future migration system will be like after Britain leaves the European Union, according to a new report. The Migration Advisory Committee said businesses were concerned about their ability to recruit workers from the EU after Britain leaves the EU. UK employers also see EU workers as “more reliable” and eager than their British counterparts, the report said. The Home Office said it was committed to “sustainable migration”.
Drivers of eco-friendly cars hit with road tax increases
Eight out of ten owners of new cars will be forced to pay more road tax after the Treasury abolished discounts for many eco-friendly vehicles. Motorists driving new cars will be required to pay up to £140 extra a year from next month, with the highest increases for those driving the cleanest hybrid vehicles. An analysis of official figures shows that 14 per cent of new owners will face the biggest increases from April 1 and just over 50 per cent are facing bills of at least £100 more than previously. It has been estimated that as many as 3.2 million drivers will be “sucked into” higher tax bands under the reforms, raising about £450 million extra for the Treasury each year. The government said that all cash raised would go into an upgrade of the road network, with a dedicated fund for motorways and major carriageways. It will be the first time since 1937 that car tax has been ringfenced for roads.
Trade partners could hit UK with tariffs next year
Dozens of the European Union’s trading partners from South Africa to South Korea could impose tariffs on British exports next year, experts have warned. About 70 countries holding EU free-trade agreements may refuse to recognise the UK as a member state from next March, according to lawyers. The EU pledged to “notify” trading partners that Britain should be treated as a member during the 21-month transition period after it leaves the EU, but it cannot force such countries to do so. As Britain will remain inside the EU customs union until December 2020, it is obliged to maintain duty-free trade on imports from the EU’s free-trade agreement partners. City lawyers believe that the same countries may decline to treat Britain as an EU member after next March, ending the duty-free access enjoyed by British exporters.
VW drivers seek dieselgate damages
Volkswagen is fighting 60,000 of its own customers in the High Court over whether British motorists have been left out of pocket in the so-called dieselgate scandal, in which the German motor group cheated emissions tests. Europe’s largest motor manufacturer, which also owns the Audi, Skoda, Seat, Porsche and Bentley brands, has been at the centre of the biggest automotive scandal on record after it was caught in the United States using software in laboratory testing to mask the true level of nitrogen-based NOx pollution emitted by its vehicles’ diesel engines. Last year it agreed a $4.3 billion settlement in the US. More than a dozen law firms claiming to speak for 60,000 motorists in Britain have begun a legal challenge to gain compensation for the impact on vehicles that they bought between 2009 and 2015.
Brussels to propose €56bn raid on ECB profits
Brussels is considering a €56bn raid on European Central Bank profits to plug a hole in the EU’s long-term budget after Brexit. The European Commission will discuss the plan at its weekly meeting on Wednesday, where it is due to consider a range of new revenue sources as it tries to maintain its financial firepower once the EU’s second-biggest net budget contributor leaves the bloc in 2019. The ECB proposal would divert profits made by the eurozone’s 19 national central banks from printing banknotes straight into EU coffers. The commission estimates the revenue stream could generate €56bn during the seven-year span of the next EU budget. More than 90 per cent of the so-called seigniorage profits are distributed by the ECB to the eurozone’s 19 central banks that often pass a portion on to their national treasuries.
‘Ban new petrol and diesel cars ten years earlier’ says National Grid boss
A senior executive at National Grid yesterday urged ministers to bring a ban on new petrol and diesel cars at least ten years forward. The Government has said the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines should be outlawed by 2040. But Graeme Cooper, the official in charge of electric cars at National Grid, told MPs that the UK should aim to match or beat targets set by other countries in Europe for the switch to electric vehicles. Although Mr Cooper did not specify a new deadline, one MP on the business, energy and industrial strategy committee pointed out that Norway has declared plans to ban sales of new diesel and petrol cars in 2025.