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Friday HeadlinesBack


EU Referendum campaigns remain suspended after Jo Cox attack jo cox image

EU referendum campaigning remains suspended, less than a week before polling day, following the fatal attack on Labour MP Jo Cox. Speeches by Leave campaigners Michael Gove and Nigel Farage are among events to have been postponed.

An International Monetary Fund review of the UK economy will now be published on Saturday and there have been calls for Parliament to be recalled. Mother-of-two Mrs Cox died after being shot and stabbed in her constituency. A 52-year-old man has been arrested following the attack in Birstall, West Yorkshire on Thursday. Both official EU referendum campaigns were suspended as a mark of respect shortly after the attack.


VW plans huge investment to become electric cars leader

Volkswagen plans to launch 30 all-electric models to reposition itself as a leader in “green” transport. Matthias Mueller, chief executive of Europe’s biggest carmaker, said huge investments would be needed as the firm moves beyond the “dieselgate” scandal. He hopes that by 2025, all-electric cars would account for about 20-25% of the German carmaker’s annual sales. Latest figures show that sales growth of Volkswagen-branded cars continues to fall behind European rivals.



The Times


Brake on motor insurance profits

A two-year run of profits in the motor insurance market has come to an end after claims payouts continued to mount despite a government-led crackdown on fraud. According to the accounting consultancy EY, motor insurers reported a marginal loss last year after notching up annual profits in each of the previous two years. EY’s report found that motor insurers had registered a net combined ratio — a measure of an insurer’s profitability that sets out premiums sold against claims paid out — of 100.5 per cent in 2015 (a combined ratio of more than 100 per cent is seen as a loss).


Driving is cheaper for commuters priced out by trains

The cost of running a car has fallen by a fifth since the 1980s amid claims that commuters are being forced off public transport because of high fares. Bus and rail fares have increased by about two thirds while motoring costs, including buying a car and fuel, have dropped in real terms over the past 35 years, according to Department for Transport figures. Successive governments are accused of prioritising the motorist by cutting vehicle taxes for fuel-efficient models and spending billions on road building.



The Independent


Bank of England warns Brexit could cause pound to fall sharply brexit image

A vote to leave the EU could cause the value of the pound to fall sharply, the Bank of England has warned. The UK’s central bank made the warning as it announced that interest rates would be kept on hold at 0.5 per cent. It said that recent market behaviour showed that if the UK voted to leave the EU, the value of the pound would fall further, “perhaps sharply”, while households would delay spending causing lower demand and rising unemployment.



The Daily Mail


Rolls-Royce unveils its driverless car of the future

The world of autonomous vehicles just got a more luxurious, after Rolls-Royce unveiled a driverless super car of the future. It has dubbed its futuristic car, which looks like it could have come straight out of Batman’s cave, the Rolls-Royce 103EX. The vehicle will be six metres long, with a canopy roof, covered wheels and a curved body.


Friday Feature:

Are electric cars ready to go mainstream?


Volkswagen have now released plans to launch 30 all-electric models. VW have said they hope that by 2025, their all-electric cars will account for up to 25% of their annual sales. This follows latest figures that show VW car sales fall behind rivals.

Matthias Mueller, chief executive of Europe’s biggest carmaker outlined “key building blocks in the new group strategy”, Mr Mueller said VW aimed to “transform its core automotive business or, to put it another way, make a fundamental realignment in readiness for the new age of mobility”. VW image


To add to that, with the launch of the Tesla 3 on schedule for 2017 and a waiting list of 373,000, has the electric car really landed as a globally viable alternative to petrol/diesel cars?

The model S and Model X have received excellent reviews and are praised for changing attitudes within the motor industry to electric cars.

However, there is a but, with the state of Tesla’s finances in the red by around £618m and the construction of a ‘Gigafactory’ being taken on in preparation to build the Model 3 further losses could continue to spiral.

Tesla and its investors are hoping that the sales of the Model 3 will bring the company’s figures into a more healthy state. tesla 3 image

Customers have been queuing outside Tesla dealerships to pre-order their cars, only time will tell if the company can keep that momentum going by quickening their build process compared to its previous models.

Assuming that all goes smoothly for Tesla 3 production, there are still some hurdles that go to the heart of electric vehicles to confront- namely the cost and charging.

The cost of batteries is falling and the range increasing but the battery management systems won’t get an awful lot cheaper.

Also, The UK now has some 1,500 public car charging points, some areas still awaiting theirs. The government’s input of £30 million to set up 8 pilot regions will then provide a further 8,500 charging points over the coming years.

With the average electric cars taking 10-20 hours to recharge, home charging is the most obvious way forward- which then adds to the cost of installing home charge points.

In the US, the Chevrolet Bolt is already in production and is set to be delivered for sales by the end of 2016, a full 12 months before the Tesla 3.

Here in the UK, we have one quarter of Europe’s electric vehicle production and one fifth of sales. The Nissan Leaf, at around £25,000 and a range of about 100 miles being the forerunner at the moment.

However, it is Norway that is leading the world on sheer numbers on the road, with around 100,000 cars. Norway has been considering a ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2025 and has implemented huge financial incentives for consumers to go electric including free charging.

Ultimately, it may well be practical usage which will dictate whether electric vehicles can compete and perhaps win out over the petrol and diesel engines. However, this will need large investment in charging points both public and private along with improvements in charging time.

Posted by Paul Carpenter on 17/06/2016