Scrapping of paper tax discs leads to more unlicensed car on UK roads

Scrapping of paper tax discs leads to more unlicensed cars on UK roads

Scrapping of paper tax discs leads to more unlicensed car on UK roads

The number of untaxed cars on Britain’s roads has more than doubled since the paper tax disc was abolished, according to statistics released by the Department of Transport.

In 2013 the estimated number of unlicensed vehicles in use on UK streets was 210,000 (0.6%), but in 2015 this figure rose to 1.4%.

In total 560,000 of vehicles (1.5%) were unlicensed in 2015. This is the highest level for eight years and equates to £80 million worth of potential revenue that was lost.

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The rise demonstrates the consequence of the abolition of the paper tax disc, which came into force on 1 October 2014, according to the RAC.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “These are very worrying and disappointing statistics indeed. Sadly, the concerns we raised about the number of car tax evaders going up at the time the tax disc was confined to history have become a reality.

[bctt tweet=”These are very worrying and disappointing statistics indeed.” via=”no”]

“The RAC believes it is vital that this survey is repeated in 12 months’ time – if not sooner – rather than in the normal two-year period so we can establish once and for all whether the increase is simply a temporary result of the new system.”

The DVLA has responded by saying the new system makes it easier than ever for people to tax their cars.

DVLA Chief Executive Oliver Morley said: “Almost 99% of all vehicles on the road are correctly taxed: that’s around £6 billion in vehicle tax passed to the Treasury every year. We write to every registered vehicle keeper in the UK to remind them when their tax is due and we have introduced a range of measures to make vehicle tax easy to pay. At the same time we are taking action against those who are determined to break the law.”

George Osborne

Spending review 2015: diesel company car drivers will continue to be penalised

George Osborne

Chancellor George Osborne has announced that drivers of diesel company cars will continue to pay an extra 3% in tax following “the slower than expected introduction of more rigorous EU emissions testing”.

Osborne said the Government would continue to support the development of ultra-low emission vehicles, but the planned axe of a 3% diesel car supplement for company car drivers would be delayed until 2021.

RAC urges George Osborne to cut costs for motorists

Previously, plans were in place to drop the supplement – meaning drivers of diesel company cars would pay the same benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax as those with petrol cars emitting the same CO2.

Last night, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) president Gareth Jones urged the Government not to penalise the industry following the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

He said: “Create the conditions that allow us to develop the quality products for which we are world-renowned. Back us to create the jobs, economic growth and prosperity that Britain needs. We have shown we can deliver; work with us to make sure that success continues.”

The Chancellor today announced he’d be spending more than £5 billion on roads maintenance and was creating a £250 million pothole fund. A further £250 million would be invested in Kent’s motorway infrastructure in a bid to relieve some of the congestion caused by Operation Stack.

Osborne also confirmed he would bring forward reforms to the compensation culture around minor motor accident injuries.

He said: “This will remove over £1bn from the cost of providing motor insurance. We expect the industry to pass on this saving, so motorists see an average saving of £40-50 per year off their insurance bills.”

Ford Focus RS

UK to remain number 1 for new Focus RS

Ford Focus RSFord of Britain chairman and MD Andy Barratt expects the UK to remain the biggest market in the world for the new Focus RS, despite the £29,995, 350hp hot hatch now being a global Ford Performance car.

Speaking as he pulled the covers off the very first early-build production-spec car, Barrett said the UK will “without doubt take the lion’s share of production” – and confirmed that the firm already has almost 2,000 orders for the new five-door RS.

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“Without the UK, Ford wouldn’t have produced the Focus RS. We’re the dominant market for it – it was Britain that took two-thirds of volumes for the old five-cylinder RS, so it was much easier to make a business case for it.”

Barratt expects to sell around 4,000-4,500 new Focus RS in Britain during the car’s lifetime, and says it will be very hard to secure extra units for the UK, such is the expected global demand for the car. “We’re almost at daily production capacity already, and that’s before anyone’s seen or sat in a production-spec car.”

The Ford chairman – who was launch manager on the original Focus RS – is also expecting very strong retained values for the new car. Used market experts have already seen the car, “and we pointed out to them that secondhand examples of the old one are still selling for almost list price…

“We’re thus expecting to offer extremely competitive lease deals on the new car to entrepreneurs and small business owners keen to run a fast family hatchback.”

Britain v Australia

Focus RS product boss David Calder does, however, expect newfound competition for the new car – from another right-hand drive market, Australia.

“It’s being officially sold there [in full production volume] for the first time and the Australians are already responding very positively to it. We haven’t had to fight for right-hand drive cars before, but if enthusiasts down under start to demand more cars, we may have a battle on our hands.”

However, despite it being sold globally, Calder added that the UK will remain the spiritual heartland for the Focus RS. “RS is very much a strong ‘asset’ brand in Britain that commands a huge following.

“We’re already seeing thousands of enthusiasts putting their orders in and this fantastic early response will ensure the UK will be the key market for the new car.”

Skoda Citigo Monte CarIo (2015) road test review


There’s something delightfully old school about the Skoda Monte Carlo. It’s a teeny tiny tearaway, complete with go-faster stripes, stick on badges, five-speed gearbox and 60hp 1.0-litre engine. On paper, it should be all show and no go, but on the road it’s anything but. Pound for pound, this is one of the most rewarding cars you can buy.

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo: what are its rivals?


To list a random selection of city cars would be to miss the point of the Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo. Sure, there are many city cars to choose from, most notably the Volkswagen Up, SEAT Mii, Hyundai i10, Fiat Panda and Kia Rio. But aside from the Renault Twingo SCe, few city cars offer quite the same level of fun and engagement. Fact is, the Citigo Monte Carlo looks great, especially in three-door guise.

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo: which engines does it use?


Curiously, the Citigo Monte Carlo uses the smaller 60hp version of the 1.0-litre engine and it’s fair to say you need to work really hard to get the best from it. The 0-62mph is completed in a sloth-like 14.4 seconds, but that only tells half the story. The characterful/irritating (delete as applicable) soundtrack from the three-cylinder engine only serves to encourage you to press on.

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo: what’s it like to drive?


In short, it’s brilliant. But it won’t appeal to all. Thanks to its lower and stiffer suspension, the Monte Carlo feels more chuckable than the standard Citigo and although the steering offers little in the way of feel, you’ll revel in the simple act of chucking it around corners. It’s all about momentum – maintain it and the Monte Carlo becomes a willing partner through a series of bends.

In fact, it only feels underpowered when overtaking or on motorways. Once cruising, it’s remarkably refined, but entry slip roads and hills will see you changing down, searching for a gear that isn’t normally associated with motorway driving. It can make the optional cruise control a tad redundant, as you really need to prepare for hills, with fourth and even third gear required for some climbs. But don’t let this put you off, because it’s wonderfully composed at speed, with very little in the way of wind and road noise.

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo: fuel economy and running costs


Skoda claims the Citigo Monte Carlo could return as much as 62.8mpg on a combined cycle, but only the restrained will see figures anything like this. And that’s because the Monte Carlo constantly encourages you to behave like a hooligan, working through its short-throw and snappy five-speed ‘box. Over the course of a week, which included a couple of ‘dawn raids’ and motorway driving, we achieved a respectable 48.0mpg.

The CO2 emissions of 105g/km translates to £20 a year in vehicle excise duty, although it’s free for the first year. The fixed service regime means the Citigo Monte Carlo will need to be serviced every 10,000 miles or 12 months.

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo: is it practical?


The more expensive five-door version will be more practical, but you’ll have to forgo one of the best side profiles in the business. There are a number of storage compartments throughout the cabin, including nets on the side of the front seats and cupholders at the base of the rear seats.

In a triumph of good packaging, there’s enough room inside for four adults, while the boot offers a generous 251 litres of space.

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo: what about safety?


The Skoda Citigo is one of the safest cars in its class, achieving the maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. You’ll also find switchable Electronic Stability Control (much fun to be had), side airbags for the front seats and two ISOFIX mounts for the rear seats. City-Safe active braking and a passenger airbag switch-off come as part of the £275 safety pack.

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo: which version should I go for?


Your choice is limited to three- or five-door, plus a range of options and colours. We happen to think it looks best in Candy White – a bargain at £140. Granted, many of the Monte Carlo’s upgrades are merely cosmetic, but they combine to give it genuine standout qualities over the standard car.

The 15-inch black alloy wheels, black front and rear spoilers, chequered flag side decals, black grille and Monte Carlo badges complete the exterior. While inside, the red stitching, leather steering wheel, red and black upholstery and red centre console complete the effect.

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo: should I buy one?


At £10,670 for the three-door and £11,020 for the five-door, the Citigo Monte Carlo isn’t the cheapest city car you can buy. Nor is it the most well-equipped (you’ll need the Elegance for all the trimmings). But thanks to some well chosen exterior and interior enhancements, on top of what is already a cracking city car, the Monte Carlo becomes something greater than the sum of its parts.

It’s a car we’re all too happy to award the maximum five stars. The fact that, on two occasions, we got out of bed at silly o’clock, simply to go for a drive, gives a clue as to this car’s junior hot hatch credentials. We’re struggling to avoid requesting a finance package calculation…

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo: pub fact


The Monte Carlo trim level first appeared on the Skoda Fabia and was rolled out to celebrate 100 years of the famous rally, along with 110 years of Skoda motorsport. It was designed to offer the styling of the Fabia vRS, without the performance and associated running costs.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Vauxhall: we do NOT cheat emissions tests

Vauxhall Zafira TourerVauxhall has issued a strongly-worded statement insisting its cars do not have any emission test detection devices – despite the suggestion by BBC’s Panorama that they do.

Such ‘defeat device’ software as used by Volkswagen has been proven to detect test conditions and alter engine settings to produce fewer harmful NOx emissions than in real-world driving.

The Panorama test appeared to show a disparity between tailpipe emissions of a Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.6 diesel when strictly run under official test conditions and when a single parameter – the temperature of the engine – was changed.

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The engine ‘outside’ test cycle conditions produced three times the amount of NOx as the test cycle-compliant engine. This could indicate the presence of software that detects a vehicle is undergoing an emissions test.

Not so, says Vauxhall. Its products “comply with all regulatory requirements, including the in-service emissions testing program, according to EU rules. These requirements are periodically audited by the approval authority.”

Vauxhall: Panorama used a poorly-performing car

So what caused the difference in emissions found by Panorama? Either a test that wasn’t correctly set up, insists Vauxhall, or a vehicle that was not performing correctly.

“Panorama has refused to share information on the technical accuracy of the test prior to the broadcast.”

This lack of information is why Vauxhall believes the car was not performing as it should: when Panorama conducted the emissions test strictly by the book, NOx emissions were still twice as high as legislation permits.

Panorama also ran the Zafira Tourer through a regular real-world procedure, and found that NOx emissions went “off the scale” of the testing equipment.

A test engineer at the Czech Republic lab used by Panorama said that although emissions will increase in real-world driving, it should be by ‘tens of percent’.

“There is no reason for the emissions to be three times, five times, ten times higher.” Vauxhall did not respond to this observation in its statement.

Mercedes-Benz makes the best model cars

Mercedes-Benz makes the best model cars

Mercedes-Benz makes the best model cars

Readers of German model car magazine Modell Fahrzeug have voted Mercedes-Benz as the ‘top benchmark brand’ for miniature replicas of its cars.

Readers were also able to vote for a total of 162 model cars in 22 categories. Four miniatures based on Mercedes-Benz vehicles came first in their field. These include a 1/43 scale Mercedes-AMG GT and a remote control Unimog.

Fans can currently buy a total of 350 Mercedes-Benz model cars in various scales.

Which Mercedes-Benz would you like to see a model of?

6 ways Audi is fighting back after dieselgate

6 ways Audi is fighting back after dieselgate

6 ways Audi is fighting back after dieselgate

You may have heard – Volkswagen Group is currently in the doghouse thanks to the dieselgate emissions scandal, which saw share prices plummet and caused senior executives to walk out. Out of the 11 million VW Group cars worldwide believed to have been sold with the ‘defeat device’, 2.1 million of these were Audis.

  • Audi Q7 e-tron: Two-Minute Road Test

Confidence in Audi, as with all Volkswagen brands, will undoubtedly have taken a knock. As a firefighting measure, VW last month announced that it would be prioritising development of plug-in hybrid models – and the range-topping Phaeton would be an all-electric ‘halo’ car, showing off the manufacturer’s future technology.

But what about Audi? How will Volkswagen Group’s premium marque move forward after taking a bit of a beating from dieselgate? We visited one of its ‘future performance days’ to drive the new Audi Q7 e-tron and find out what exactly it’s doing to prove its eco-credentials in the future. Here are six key findings we discovered – will they be enough to save Audi’s reputation?

Developing batteries

Developing batteries

There’s one stand-out feature that makes a particular electric or hybrid model more competitive than its rival: the battery. Manufacturers are constantly developing their batteries – making them smaller and more efficient. Audi has opened a competence centre for high-voltage battery technology at Gaimersheim, close to its main Ingolstadt plant.

Here, Audi specialists are working on batteries for a wide range of future models. The company says that, without exception, its battery structure follows a uniform modular concept. So, just as the majority of Volkswagen Group cars are based on the same modular platform, in the future they will all share the same batteries.

Audi’s battery module, a cuboid aluminium housing slightly smaller than a shoe box, weighs just 13kg. It can accommodate different shapes and sizes of cells: including the round cells found in the R8 e-tron 2.0, prismatic cells (each about the size of a paperback book) or long, flat pouch cells.

While round cells are capable of storing a high amount of energy, they’re not as versatile as prismatic or pouch cells. These are more adaptable to the way they’re configured – so, while round cells are more suitable for electric-only vehicles, prismatic and pouch cells can provide maximum energy (and a longer range) or maximum power, or a combination of both. This makes them ideal for plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Over the last three years, Audi says, it has increased the capacity of prismatic cells by 50% – from 25 Ah to 37 Ah. That makes them more efficient and – over the same period – battery costs have also fallen dramatically. That means electric and hybrid vehicles are becoming an increasingly sensible proposition.

Added convenience

Added convenience

One of the main reasons many of us are cautious about new technology is the concern that it just isn’t convenient. How many chargers are there? How long does it take? How far can I go? We’re used to being able to stop at a fuel station, fill up with petrol or diesel within a matter of minutes and not have to return for at least another 400 miles.

But Audi is demonstrating ways that electric-powered cars could be even more convenient than the combustion-engined motors we’re used to. The next step, says Audi, is faster charging times.

Using 150 kW direct current charging, due to be rolled out from 2017, Audi’s e-tron quattro concept would be able to charge its 95 kWh battery to 80% capacity in less than half an hour – providing a range of around 250 miles. A full charge, meanwhile, would take 50 minutes – and would provide enough power to cover more than 310 miles.

When you think that you only have to charge your car for 50 minutes every 310 miles, it starts to make a little more sense. But Audi admits there are limitations – saying direct current charging is ‘virtually impossible’ in the private infrastructure due to the limited grid power. Essentially, you won’t be able to charge your car this quickly at home without the plug overheating.

So what does it propose instead? Within two years it’ll be launching Audi wireless charging (AWC). Here, the car charges directly from the grid using a floor charging plate. When you drive your Audi e-tron within a few metres of the electric charging plate, it will establish radio contact with the car and, with Audi’s piloted parking systems, will even be able to manoeuvre itself into place.

Fuel cell development

Fuel cell development

Hydrogen-powered cars are tipped by many to be ‘the next thing’ in alternatively-fuelled vehicles. Audi has been developing them for years – we first saw the A2 H2 in 2004, and then followed the first- and second-generation fuel cell Q5s.

Its latest fuel cell car is the Audi A7 h-tron. Despite other manufacturers, including Hyundai and Toyota, already having hydrogen cars on the market, Audi is insisting that the h-tron is definitely nothing more than a prototype demonstrator. An engineer told us, “we won’t launch a fuel cell car until there’s the infrastructure.”

Currently there are just four hydrogen fuelling stations in the UK – all of which are in the South East.

We took the A7 h-tron for a brief drive and found it to be eminently likeable. It’s almost silent – apart from a few whirring noises that would be abolished if it made it as a production car, engineers assured us. But it’s as easy to drive as a conventional car (if not easier), providing the levels of comfort you’d expect from a premium car without the noise and vibrations traditionally associated with turbodiesels.

In fact, it seems almost production-ready. Engineers would tell us whether hydrogen is now a priority following the emissions scandal, but it does beg the question, why would they invest so much money into the development of fuel cell cars if they weren’t expecting them to go into production in the near future?

Turning water and CO2 into diesel

Turning water and CO2 into diesel

Imagine if you could make your own diesel out of water and carbon dioxide, rather than relying on fossil fuels? That’s exactly what Audi is able to do – with its Dresden e-diesel production plant opening in 2014. Earlier this year, Germany’s federal minister for education and research, Johanna Wanka, put some of Audi’s synthetic diesel in her official car, a 3.0-litre diesel A8.

She said: “This synthetic diesel, made using CO2, is a huge success for our sustainability research. If we can make widespread use of CO2 as a raw material, we will make a crucial contribution to climate protection and the efficient use of resources, and put the fundamentals of the ‘green economy’ in place.”

The fuel uses CO2 provided by a biogas facility, as well as a portion extracted from the ambient air through direct air capturing.

This reacts with hydrogen, extracted from water by means of high-temperature electrolysis. The result is a liquid known as ‘blue crude’, which is similar to fossil crude oil. It can then be turned into Audi’s e-diesel and can be mixed with regular diesel, or used as a fuel in its own right.

And it’s not just diesel that Audi’s creating. Its range of e-fuels, including e-gas, e-gasoline and e-ethanol all bind as much CO2 during production as they emit during combustion.

E-gas is created at Audi’s plant in Werlte. It creates a synthetic methane gas from water and carbon dioxide, with the help of wind power. As part of the process, it creates hydrogen that can be used to power fuel-cell cars such as the Audi A7 h-tron.

Energy recuperation

Energy recuperation

Manufacturers are getting increasingly clever when it comes to recuperating wasted energy. Most hybrid and electric vehicles, for example, will capture any energy being lost through braking and use it to charge up their batteries – meaning you don’t have to coast everywhere for it to be as efficient as possible.

But how else can energy be recuperated? One area in which carmakers have largely failed to make energy gains is through the suspension. But Audi is working on a clever rotary damper system that captures the kinetic energy usually converted into (and lost through) heat when it absorbs bumps in the road. This system would work particularly well on the UK’s bumpy roads. Essentially, when you hit a pothole, that energy is being converted into fuel. Clever or what?

Recycling used batteries

Recycling used batteries

It’s no secret that batteries have a limited lifespan. The majority of us now own smartphones – and we all know that, after just a year, we have to charge them up more often.

The same is true of the batteries used to power electric cars. Audi designs these to last at least 90,000 miles or eight years, after which owners can replace them to enjoy the length of range their car was capable of when they bought it.

Disposing of electric vehicle batteries responsibly represents a challenge. But, after this period, Audi says there is still a lot of life left in their batteries – and as such, it’d be a waste to simply chuck them away. Under the banner of ‘from road to grid’, Audi is working on a concept of converting old batteries into stationary energy stores.

Essentially, used batteries will be piled up and used to store energy captured from the sun via solar panels. This power can then be pumped back into the grid when needed. Although Audi’s trial setup near Ingolstadt uses solar panels, there’s no reason why the batteries couldn’t be used to store energy from various forms of renewable energy sources, such as wind turbines.

Audi Q7 e-tron: what is it?

Audi Q7 e-tron (2015) road test review

Audi Q7 e-tron: what is it?

Audi Q7 e-tron: what is it?

First it was Mitsubishi, now everyone wants in. Plug-in hybrid SUVs are all the rage, apparently – with the Volvo XC90 and the BMW X5 both being available with electric motors, not forgetting Porsche’s upmarket Cayenne S E-Hybrid.

But Audi is doing it slightly differently. Rather than going down the conventional petrol/electric hybrid route, it’s combining its 3.0-litre turbodiesel with an electric motor. Is it enough to convince the environmentally-conscious to drive a diesel Audi SUV?

Audi Q7 e-tron: what are its rivals?

Audi Q7 e-tron: what are its rivals?

Traditionally, you’d consider the BMW X5 to be one of the Q7’s closest rivals. But most people who’ll buy the Q7 e-tron will do so for tax reasons – and for reasons we’ll come to shortly, the X5 just doesn’t cut it.

Its closest rival, on paper at least, is the Volvo XC90. If you’re scoffing at the thought, it can only be because you haven’t heard just how impressive the new XC90 is. With its flagship T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain, the XC90 starts at £59,955 in Momentum trim (not including the Government’s plug-in car grant). Prices of the Audi Q7 e-tron are yet to be confirmed, but expect it to be marginally more expensive than the XC90.

Audi Q7 e-tron: which engines does it use?

The Q7 e-tron is powered by Audi’s 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine, which produces 258hp and 442lb ft of torque. Combine this with an electric motor and an eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox and it’ll hit 62mph in 6.0 seconds flat – topping out at 140mph.

Audi Q7 e-tron: what's it like to drive?

Audi Q7 e-tron: what’s it like to drive?

If a relaxing drive is what you’re after, the Q7 e-tron is up there with the best. When you set off, it’ll initially start in silent electric mode – only starting the diesel motor when you push the accelerator pedal beyond a certain point. When the diesel does kick in, it’s practically seamless – there’s not the vibration or the lurch you may expect.

It uses clever autonomous technology to work out the best driving mode for you. Set the sat-nav and it’ll alternate between using pure EV, hybrid and diesel-only modes depending on what’s best for the situation. So, for motorway cruising, it’ll use the diesel engine to charge the battery, while around town it’ll switch to electric mode to provide silent, emissions-free driving. Cleverly, it’ll make sure the battery is practically empty by the end of the journey, so the journey has been as efficient as possible.

Audi Q7 e-tron: fuel economy and running costs

The Audi Q7 e-tron boasts an official electric-only range of 34.8 miles. This equates to an MPG figure of 166mpg in the European NEDC tests. Of course, you’re unlikely to see this in real life, as part of the tests are done under electric power alone. But over a 60-mile test route, we managed a more-than-respectable 67.3mpg.

Crucially, the Q7 e-tron emits 46g/km CO2, putting it into the lowest bracket for company car tax. At 77g/km, that’s something that the BMW X5 plug-in hybrid misses out on.

Audi Q7 e-tron: is it practical?

Audi Q7 e-tron: is it practical?

While the Q7 e-tron’s battery pack doesn’t particularly eat into boot space (650 litres compared to 770), it does mean it’s not available with seven seats or a full-size spare wheel. If five seats are enough, the e-tron is about as practical as, well, a regular Q7. At just over five metres in length, the Q7 is a big car, and the interior offers Range Rover levels of comfort.

Audi Q7 e-tron: what about safety?

If you’re going to have a crash, the Audi Q7 is probably a good car to be in. Not only is there plenty of mass to absorb an impact, it’s also piled high with clever systems to help prevent an accident in the first place. These include collision assist, turn assist and cross traffic assist rear. Adaptive cruise control includes traffic jam assist, which takes over the braking, acceleration and steering from the driver at speeds of up to 40mph.

Audi Q7 e-tron: which version should I go for?

Audi Q7 e-tron: which version should I go for?

Specifications for the Audi Q7 e-tron are yet to be confirmed, but buyers are likely to get little choice. It should be loaded with kit, however.

Audi Q7 e-tron: should I buy one?

If you want a big, comfortable SUV that’ll provide exceptional fuel economy then the Audi Q7 e-tron is a worthy contender. It’s pricey to buy, but so are its rivals, and it offers little in the way of driving pleasure in the traditional sense. But it’s brilliantly relaxing to drive, and darting around town (as much as you can in a huge cumbersome SUV) is surprisingly fun. You’ll be doing it in exceptional comfort, too.

Audi Q7 e-tron: pub fact

Audi Q7 e-tron: pub fact

The Q7 e-tron uses information from sensors, as well as data from cameras and its navigation system, to generate a detailed image of the route ahead for up to 1.9 miles. It will then pulse the accelerator pedal to tell you when to lift off in a bid to encourage economical progress. It’s a step towards autonomous driving.

Son accidentally buys Saab sold by his dad 43 years ago

Son accidentally buys Saab sold by his dad 43 years earlier

Son accidentally buys Saab sold by his dad 43 years ago

Saab fan and garage owner James Edwards couldn’t resist buying a Saab 96 at a classic car auction in October.

When he got the car home he discovered that his father had sold the car, registration number BAW 77IL, when it was new 43 years earlier.

  • 1960 Saab 96: new arrival

John Edwards, 81, who retired from running Westbury Garage in 1996, fell in love with the Saab in 1972. He was so taken with it that he photographed it and hung its picture on the garage wall for many years.

He sold it for £1,023 and hadn’t seen it again until James brought it home from the Richard Edmonds’ Chippenham auction on 25 October.

Former garage employee, Doris Williams, now aged 86, was also reunited with the car, which she had washed while it was up for sale.

James Edwards said: “I was amazed to discover Dad had sold the car all that time ago. I knew there was a local connection, but had no idea it was such a strong one.”

Auctioneer Richard Edmonds added: “When James told us the story about the car and his father, we were blown away. I feel like we’ve played matchmaker in this story, which is wonderful for us and our team.”

James will display the car at Westbury Garage and use it occasionally. He is researching the car’s history, and would like any previous owners to contact him by email

Ferrari to auction V12 LAF number plate for charity

Ferrari to auction V12 LAF number plate for charity

Ferrari to auction V12 LAF number plate for charity

Bought a La Ferrari but yet to find the perfect private number plate? Ferrari is taking bids for its V12 LAF plate – with proceeds going to the Henry Surtees Trust.

The brand’s flagship model is powered by an 800hp V12 engine and a 163hp KERS hybrid system.

  • Justin Bieber buys a LaFerrari

If you want the plate you’ll have to find the cash pretty quickly though, as it is up for grabs in a sealed bid auction that ends on 30 November.

The money it raises will be donated to the charity set up by former F1 champion, John Surtees OBE, in memory of his late son Henry.

Surtees said: “We are honoured that Ferrari has chosen to donate the proceeds of this auction to the Henry Surtees Trust. The work we are doing is absolutely critical to help save the lives and provide emergency support for people who sustain serious head injuries.

“Henry would have been very proud of Ferrari’s continued association with the Surtees family, more than 50 years after I drove for Il Commendatore.”

Bids for the number plate should be sent to Ferrari’s head office in Slough, in a sealed envelope marked HSF Charity Auction.