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News RoundupBack

Bank of England sharply raises 2017 growth outlook

uk growthThe Bank of England has made another dramatic rise in its growth forecast for this year.

It expects the economy to grow 2% in 2017, up from a November forecast of 1.4%, which was itself an upgrade from the 0.8% forecast made in August. The Bank said the improved forecast was partly the result of higher spending and investment contained in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement.

As expected the Bank kept interest rates on hold at 0.25%. The Bank has been criticised for being too gloomy when it drastically cut its growth forecast after June’s vote in favour of Brexit. Since then the Bank has been forced to upgrade its forecasts for growth.

BBC

Andrew Selous MP: Ultra-low emission vehicles will be a massive growth industry for the UK

electric carsLeading the way on ultra-low emission vehicles will be good for both the UK economy and the environment says Conservative Andrew Selous MP.

“The United Kingdom has much to be proud of in having the largest market in the European Union for ultra-low emission vehicles. These new energy vehicles will be a massive growth industry of the future which the United Kingdom needs to be right at the heart of. While our record is good, we only have 87,000 ultra-low emission vehicles currently on our roads out of a total of over 31 million cars on our roads. In Norway a quarter of all vehicles are electric or hybrid electric vehicles already and China currently has over 550,000 electric vehicles. China expects to produce 2 million new energy vehicles a year by 2020 and is installing 800,000 charging points this year.

I want the United Kingdom to have a similar level of ambition and a similar growth trajectory for this market. This issue matters not just for the health of the United Kingdom economy but in order to cut carbon, help the UK respond to the challenge of energy security, reduce the cost of motoring for our constituents and of vital importance as well it is a major part of our response to improving our air quality which 40% of the local authorities across the United Kingdom are in breach of. A quarter of the school children in London are breathing in illegal polluted air and last week London’s air was worse than Beijing. These are all reasons why the development of the UK’s ultra-low emission vehicle industry is so important.”

Andrew Selous is the Conservative Member of Parliament for South West Bedfordshire

Politics Home

70% of drivers put off electric and hybrid cars by high insurance cost

CarInsuranceHigher insurance premiums for electric and hybrid cars is the biggest factor putting off most drivers from making the switch from diesel to low emission vehicles, according to a research conducted on behalf of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI).

The research shows that while 40% of the public have grave concerns about air pollution and see Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) as a solution, they are unwilling or unable to pay the increased insurance premiums currently levied on these cars. As a result, they won’t consider buying or leasing one in the near future. Insurers charge up to 50%* more to cover electric and hybrid cars because of the higher purchase price and the current lack of skilled technicians available to repair them. The public are similarly concerned with the lack of charging points available to service electric and hybrid cars, according to the IMI research.

The IMI has called on Ministers to help with a £30 million investment in training from its £600 million fund created to promote emission free vehicles. IMI CEO Steve Nash said, “The government has recognised the most obvious barrier to consumers buying electric cars, which is the charging infrastructure, and it is taking direct steps to address this. However, it needs to recognise that this is the biggest change in the automotive industry for over 100 years and there are other barriers that must be addressed too, not least the skills gap.”

The IMI

Brexit plan published in government White Paper

brexit image 9The government has published an official policy document setting out its Brexit plans. The White Paper lays out the government’s 12 “principles” including migration control and “taking control of our own laws”. Brexit Secretary David Davis said the UK’s “best days are still to come”, outside the EU. Labour said the document “says nothing” and had been produced too late for “meaningful” scrutiny.

The White Paper’s publication comes after pressure from MPs across the House of Commons. It sets out the themes of the government’s goals for its negotiations with the EU, as announced by Prime Minister Theresa May last month.

BBC

Volkswagen overtakes Toyota as the world’s biggest carmaker

vwVolkswagen has overtaken Toyota to become the world’s best-selling carmaker, the first time the German company has held the position. Japan’s Toyota, which had topped sales for the past four years, sold 10.175 million vehicles globally in 2016. That fell short of the 10.31 million sales which VW reported last week. The milestone comes despite VW’s scandal over emissions tests cheating, which sparked a global backlash and multiple lawsuits. Volkswagen, which makes the Audi, Porsche and Skoda brands, saw a 3.8% increase in sales buoyed by demand in China.

Volkswagen, which makes the Audi, Porsche and Skoda brands, saw a 3.8% increase in sales buoyed by demand in China. Toyota’s sales grew by 0.2% – though it appears to have suffered from a slowdown in the US car industry.
BBC

Shell to install chargers for electric cars on European forecourts

electric charging pointRoyal Dutch Shell is preparing to introduce battery charging points at some European petrol stations and Total is working on a similar move as the region’s biggest oil groups react to rising sales of electric vehicles.

A selection of Shell’s filling stations in Britain and the Netherlands — the Anglo-Dutch group’s home markets — will be the first to offer the service later this year, according to John Abbott, its director of downstream business. Total of France said it was “studying the viability” of installing charging points at some domestic filling stations. Italy’s Eni already has the facilities at some of its domestic and central European outlets. Electric vehicles are often portrayed as a mortal threat to the oil industry because of their potential to displace the biggest source of demand for petroleum, but Mr Abbott said the transition would take decades.

The Financial Times

Green is the new black as cabs go electric

electric cabBritain’s latest car plant — and the country’s first factory exclusively building electric vehicles — is to open in Coventry in the spring as the China-backed London Taxi Company rises from the ashes and begins production on new battery-driven black cabs. The new redesigned black cabs will go on sale by the end of the year as all new taxis aiming to ply for trade in London will need to abide by strict low-emissions rules from January 1, 2018.

The new plug-in hybrid electric cab — capable of running at least 70 miles on a single electric charge but which will have a back-up petrol engine — is aimed at replacing the 22,500-strong fleet of diesel cabs on the capital’s roads.

The Times

GM and Honda to expand alliance in green car technology

General Motors and Honda will jointly manufacture key components to power fuel cell vehicles in the US, expanding their alliance in green car technology. The two companies, which joined forces in 2013 to develop hydrogen-powered cars, will invest a total of $85m in the 50-50 joint venture as they try to bring down the high costs of producing fuel cell systems through scale and sharing of components. Honda said its decision to shift production of the fuel cell system from Japan to GM’s existing battery assembly plant in Brownstown, Michigan, was not affected by Donald Trump’s pressures on carmakers to bring manufacturing to the US.

GM, which has invested more than $2.5bn in hydrogen fuel cell technology, has yet to launch a mass-production vehicle, but Honda has sold 118 units of its Clarity hydrogen car worldwide since its release last year. Honda is aiming to generate 15 per cent of its global sales from battery-powered electric vehicles and FCVs by 2030.

The Financial Times

Car insurer launches pay-as-you-go policy for ‘occasional’ drivers – and it promises to save you thousands on premiums

A new car insurance app has unveiled the UK’s first pay-as-you-go policy for motorists who drive only occasionally.
Pay-as-you-drive service Cuvva , which was inspired by Deliveroo and Uber, promises to offer drivers greater control over their insurance by charging them only when their car is in use, from £1.20 an hour, and a rolling £10-£30 monthly fee to protect their vehicle when off the road. The Edinburgh-based insurer said the cover is aimed at young city dwellers who pay high insurance premiums – an estimated £2,122 a year – for cars that are driven for fewer than 4,000 miles a year – although anyone can sign up to the service. The firm already offers by-the-hour insurance cover for those that want to drive friends-and-family-owned vehicles – however its latest scheme hopes to tackle the six million motorists in the UK that the DVLA says drive ‘very infrequently.

The Daily Mirror

Driverless cars could be widespread on British roads under new laws to be unveiled next month

Britain could soon become a hotbed for driverless car testing, according to UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. New laws set to be rolled out next month will rule who is to blame if an autonomous vehicle crashes.
New laws, which will be rolled out next month, will rule who is to blame if an autonomous vehicle crashes. It is hoped that the move will allow the UK to become a ‘world leader’ in driverless cars and allow it to get an early share of the lucrative market.

The Daily Mail

Posted by Sue Robinson on 03/02/2017