Values of used electric cars show ‘unprecedented growth’

Electric car values

The latest figures from Auto Trader show  average values of used cars advertised by retailers are decreasing. Bucking the trend, however, are EVs, with ‘unprecedented growth’ in prices.

The average used car sold by a retailer was advertised for £13,001 in August 2019, compared with £13,115 in July. Like-for-like advertised prices are also down by 1.3 percent compared with a year ago.

By comparison, electric car values have risen by 30.4 percent. Alternative-fuel vehicle values are also up 5.7 percent year-on-year, which includes EV models.

Why have electric car values soared?

Electric car values

That’s an absolutely enormous jump in average value. It shouldn’t come as a surprise in what is still a fledgling market, however. Over recent years, a great deal of mid-level and premium electric vehicles have come to market. The Jaguar I-Pace, Audi E-Tron and Tesla Model 3 are just three heavy-hitters. 

Consider, for example, that these cars all cost around £50,000 new. The EV used market average value was previously dictated by sub-£30,000 cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe.

That’s not to mention the number of new electric cars that have been launched over the past 18 months. In short, there are more electric cars available, and most of them are fresh to market.

Used car value drop

Ford Fiesta ST - greatest cars of the decade

While the values of used cars previously rocketed due to the influx of nearly-new metal, that same influx has necessitated a market correction. With supply  catching up with demand, this mild drop is indicative of a stabilisation, says Auto Trader.

This is corroborated by an 0.8 percent year-on-year increase in value of cars aged between 10 and 15 years. Demand for second-hand cars remains strong, too. Searches for used and nearly new vehicles were up four percent in August 2019, compared with August 2018.

“Used car prices will naturally fluctuate,” said Karolina Edwards-Smadja, director of commercial products at Auto Trader.

“But over the last few months there’s been a variety of unprecedented factors affecting average prices, not least the realignment of market values over the summer, which resulted in some cars having up to £1,000 knocked off their sticker price. 

Electric car values

“Supply and demand is less of an issue, but we shouldn’t entirely dismiss the impact the spike in new car registrations three to four years ago has had.

“Add to the mix the ongoing economic uncertainty and there’s clearly been an unusual amount of pressure placed on second-hand car values. It will be interesting to see whether these factors have any further influence during the closing quarter of 2019.”

Jag queens: Jaguar teams up with drag acts for charity

Jag-racing drag racers

Jaguar has partnered up with Attitude magazine to launch an online mini-series with ‘the world’s most fabulous drag queens’. The aim is to raise funds for LGBTQ+ charities.

The ‘Jag Queens’ will be going head to head, racing Jaguar I-Pace SUVs. The first face-off, between Courtney Act, star of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and The Vivienne, has already taken place. 

The contestants are racing a quarter-mile for the top prize of £10,000 for their chosen charity. Everyone’s a winner, though – the runner-up will be get £6,000, while the remaining contestants will each receive £2,000.

Jag-racing drag racers

Not to spoil things too much, but the race doesn’t sound like a close one.

“I can’t tell you the exhilaration I felt when I zoomed across the finish line, but then I realised you hadn’t even started,” said Courtney to The Vivienne. “You didn’t even get to drive the car…do you even have a licence?”

“I think I misunderstood when they said it was an electric car,” said The Vivienne. “I thought you could just get in and it just went. I have a license for some things, but not driving.”

Jag-racing drag racers

Hosted by Channel 4’s Drag SOS star, Cheddar Gorgeous, the next heat is due out on October 3 at 9am UK time. Taking part are Peppermint, also a RuPaul veteran, and Miss Tickle, a contestant on BBC Three’s forthcoming North East Premier Show Girl series.

The winner will be facing off against Courtney Act in the final heat for the overall win, due for broadcast October 7 at 9am.

The chosen charities are the Albert Kennedy Trust, Stonewall Community Foundation, Sahir House and Angle Trust. Fans can donate, with money being split equally between the four charities.

Hyundai recruits boss of flying cars

Hyundai recruits boss of flying cars

Dr. Jaiwon Shin has landed at Hyundai to head up its newly established Urban Air Mobility Division.

The aeronautics engineer is a former associate administrator for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at NASA, as well as a co-chair of the White House National Science and Technology Council’s Aeronautics Science and Technology Subcommittee.

As executive vice president and head of Hyundai’s air mobility division, Dr. Shin will lead the company into a “new era of developing smart mobility products within the aviation industry”.

Hyundai will leverage his expertise in airframe, engine, safety and air traffic management technologies to develop solutions for safe and efficient airborne travel.

Commenting on his appointment, Dr. Shin said: “Having worked on cutting-edge aviation research and development at NASA for 30 years, I am very excited and humbled by the opportunity to now shape urban air mobility strategy at Hyundai Motor Group.

“The new team at Hyundai will develop core technologies that will establish the company as a driving force in urban air mobility, a sector that is expected to grow into a market worth $1.5 trillion (£1.2 trillion) within the next 20 years.”

Last-mile parcels and air metros

Hyundai recruits boss of Urban Air Mobility

Urban Air Mobility is expected to become a critically important part of a range of solutions designed to reduce traffic problems in the world’s mega cities.

Aerospace giant Airbus established an Urban Air Mobility division last year to “co-create an entire industry from scratch”.

Harini Kulatunga, head of unmanned aerial mobility solutions at Airbus, said: “By 2030, 60 percent of the world’s population will be urban. To help cities cope with this massive population growth, transport solutions need to safely and sustainably improve the way people get from A to B.

“Urban air mobility enhances the coverage and reach of the transportation system with minimal land impact [and] sustainable city development becomes possible.”

In November 2018, a report published by NASA found that a commercially viable market for last-mile parcel delivery and air metro could be in place by 2030.

However, the market for air taxis is likely to be limited to concentrated areas of high net worth individuals and businesses. An example would be an air taxi from Manhattan to the suburbs.

At the Global Urban Air Summit in Farnborough, Tim Johnson, policy director for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), argued that society has a “low tolerance [for risk] and high expectation of safety standards for air travel”.

Investment in the sector is expected to top $318 billion (£259 billion) from 2020 to 2040.

London’s Direct Vision Standard: everything you need to know

Direct Vision Standard for London

From 26 October 2020, HGVs over 12 tonnes will be BANNED from entering or operating in Greater London unless they pass a new Direct Vision Standard (DVS).

The date coincides with the new London-wide Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards for heavy goods vehicles.

The Direct Vision Standard is being rolled out to protect and improve the safety of all road users, particularly pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. It includes a new star rating based on how much a lorry driver can see through their cab windows.

Lorries are rated from 0 to 5, with any 0-star vehicles over 12 tonnes banned unless they incorporate a series of safety measures (Safe System) to reduce the risk to vulnerable road users. The Safe System includes the following:

  • Blind spot elimination and minimisation, i.e. a fully operational camera, Class V and VI mirrors and a sensor with driver alerts.
  • Warning of intended manoeuvres, i.e. audible left-turning warning system and pictorial stickers.
  • Physical impact minimisation, i.e. side-underrun protection.

Operators and drivers are also advised to take part in appropriate training, although this is not a requirement for the Safe System permit.

Fitting a Safe System will not change a vehicle’s Direct Vision Standard star rating, but will bring the safety standard of the vehicle up to a level required for a permit.

The Direct Vision Standard will affect 188,000 HGVs operating in London, with some 35,000 expected to be banned in 2020 and 94,000 by 2024 if standards aren’t improved.

From 26 October 2024, all 0 to 2-star HGVs will be banned unless they prove a Progressive Safe System. Transport for London (TfL) will review the system in 2022, taking into account new technology not currently available.

HGVs account for just 4 percent of London’s traffic but are disproportionately represented in fatal collisions. From 2015 to 2017, HGVs were involved in 63 percent of cyclist fatalities and 25 percent of pedestrians.

‘Vital for saving lives’

Direct Vision Standard information

Christina Calderato, head of transport strategy and planning at TfL, said: “Our Direct Vision Standard and its associated HGV Safety Permit is vital for saving lives on London’s streets and achieving Vision Zero.

“We thank the freight industry for their input and support throughout the stages of development. We are just three months away from the first permits being issued and encourage all operators to check the star rating of their vehicle, so they are prepared and compliant.”

Permits will be issued from 28 October 2019, with enforcement beginning on 26 October 2020. The Direct Vision Standard will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will be enforced on ALL ROADS within the Greater London Boundary.

Non-compliant HGVs will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) of £550 per day, which will be reduced by 50 percent if paid within 14 days.

Direct Vision Standard ratings for Euro IV, V and VI vehicles are available from vehicle manufacturers. The contact details for each manufacturer can be found here.

Brigade Electronics has provided this handy infographic, which provides a useful overview for HGV drivers and operators. For more detailed information, download TfL’s guide, which includes details of how to obtain a Safe System permit.

Direct Vision Standard: summary

  • Star rating system for HGVs over 12 tonnes.
  • Based on how much a driver can see directly through their cab windows.
  • Zero rated vehicles will need to be improved by fitting Safe System measures.
  • Free Safety Permit available from 28 October 2019.
  • Direct Vehicle Standard enforcement begins 26 October 2020.
  • Minimum star rating increases from 1 to 3 from October 2024.
Maserati plans new electric models

Maserati commits to new models with electrification and autonomous tech

Maserati plans new electric models

Luxury vehicle manufacturer Maserati has announced plans to release new models featuring electrification in the near future.

The company, part of the multinational Fiat Chrysler Automobiles corporation, has stated that 100% of all vehicles will continue to be made in its multiple Italian factories

Following the fall of global sales volumes in 2018, Maserati has been keen to return to profitability. A total of 10 new or updated models is set to be released between 2020 and 2023. 

Sparking the Italian Renaissance 

Maserati plans new electric modelsKey to the future will be electrification, with the Ghibli saloon set to receive a hybrid drivetrain in 2020. Initially launched in 2013, the Ghibli is currently offered with a choice of turbocharged V6 petrol or diesel engines. 

Set to be produced in the company’s Turin factory, the Ghibli will play an important role in revitalising the firm. European sales of the executive four-door have declined from a peak of 4,600 in 2015, to just 2,500 in 2018.

Maserati also promises that updated models will also gain enhanced autonomous driving technology. This will begin with Level 2 highway-assisted capabilities, progressing to Level 3 that allows the driver to take their hands off the steering wheel.

Turning the clock back

Also included in the announcement is news of the previously postponed Alfieri sports car concept. 

After being displayed at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, production of the 2+2 coupe was initially slated to begin in 2016. This was subsequently postponed to allow the company time to focus on the Levante SUV.

Now a launch is expected in 2020, with plug-in hybrid and full electric versions of the new sports car expected from the Modena factory. 

Investment in customisation

Maserati plans new electric modelsMaserati will also add a new SUV to the range, with the first vehicles set to roll off the production line in 2021. This will follow a planned $800 million investment at the facility in Cassino.

Also due to be replaced are the longstanding GranTurismo and GranCabrio models, with the coupe version having been on sale since 2007. Maserati promises that both versions will be replaced with all-new creations, and will be part of the electrification efforts.

Finally, the company has also invested in a new paint shop and customisation programme, mimicking that now offered by Italian rival Lamborghini. Customers visiting the Modena factory will be able to watch their new car being painted.

Petersen Ford GT Charity Auction

Build slot for Ford GT supercar to be sold in charity auction

Petersen Ford GT Charity AuctionThe Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is set to auction the opportunity to purchase a Ford GT supercar.

Ford has been notably selective about who it has allowed to buy the mid-engined GT, with customers having to submit an application form to even request the chance to buy one. 

However, a charity auction to be held as part of the Petersen Museum’s 25th anniversary celebrations could help sidestep those allocation issues. 

Silver anniversary celebrations

Petersen Ford GT Charity AuctionAs part of the special 25th anniversary gala event, set to be held on Saturday, October 5th 2019, one of the last public build slots for the Ford GT will be auctioned. 

The winning bidder will then have the opportunity to purchase a new Ford GT, built exactly to their personal specification. This includes the choice of 2020, ‘21, or ‘22 model years, along with special versions like the Heritage Edition or Carbon Series. 

Described as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity, the auction will raise money for the Petersen Automotive Museum Foundation. The Foundation provides education programs to more than 100,000 each year, and also helps preserve the museum’s collection of vehicles.

Blue Oval bonanza

Petersen Ford GT Charity AuctionThe charity auction will form the centerpiece of the anniversary gala, which will also honor the Ford Motor Company. Bill Ford, executive chairman of the company, and great-grandson of Henry Ford, will be attending the event. 

RM Sotheby’s have been appointed to organize the Ford GT auction, with a variety of bidding options. Those interested can place bids in person at the gala, or via telephone with prior arrangement. 

Prices for the 647 horsepower Ford GT begin at $500,000, meaning the lucky bidder will need to be prepared to dig even deeper to purchase their finished vehicle.

Politicians want 30 Clean Air Zones across the UK

30 low emission zones proposed by leaders

Politicians across England have called for the government to support the establishment of 30 new Clean Air Zones.

This cross-party group has members from London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds and other cities. It wants to see charges for most polluting vehicles entering the Clean Air Zones. 

An assessment from The Royal College of Physicians determined that pollution-related health problems cost £20 billion annually. Air pollution is thought to contribute to 36,000 deaths a year.

It’s also predicted by UK100, a network of local leaders, that areas adopting such zones could, short term, make £6.5 billion in revenue. 

30 low emission zones proposed by leaders

At present, six local authorities have plans to introduce Clean Air Zones. Some of the money raised would go towards supporting vehicle renewal schemes, to help poorer people and small businesses into low- and zero-emission vehicles.

“Cleaning up the air in our towns and cities makes sound economic sense and this study demonstrates that,” said Polly Billington, director of UK100.

“It will boost the health of our communities and save the NHS money. Sensible investment by national government is needed to support local authorities to take the most polluting vehicles off our roads while ensuring that the poorest in our towns and cities are not the hardest hit by pollution and measures to tackle it.”

London ULEZ: the results so far

30 low emission zones proposed by leaders

To predict how these zones might make a difference, we can look to London’s ULEZ. The Ultra Low Emission Zone was introduced in April this year. Results indicate a 25 percent reduction in the most polluting vehicles within the first four weeks of the ULEZ coming into effect.

“Air pollution is a national health crisis which is responsible for tens of thousands of premature deaths around the country and costs over £20 billion a year,” said Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London.

30 low emission zones proposed by leaders

“I have taken bold action to tackle lethal air in the capital with the Ultra Low Emission Zone, the first of the UK’s Clean Air Zones, which is already having a positive impact on reducing harmful emissions. But cities including London cannot deliver further Clean Air Zones without urgent government funding. This funding must include a new national vehicle renewal scheme, which would help businesses and residents prepare for London’s ULEZ expansion in 2021. 

“Everyone deserves the right to breathe clean air and the Chancellor simply cannot afford to delay immediate action on this invisible killer.”

Smart motorways in Yorkshire to get safety improvements

Smart motorway emergency area upgrades

Emergency areas on smart motorways in Yorkshire will get a makeover to improve safety. The upgrades will involve extra signs to show drivers the distance to the next emergency area. Each area will also get a marked-out box showing where it’s best to stop.

The aim is to make things clearer for drivers and help recovery teams sent to help those using the emergency areas.

Highways England also wants to ensure drivers are discouraged from using these areas when the situation doesn’t call for it.

Smart motorway emergency area upgrades

These changes are due to roll out on the M1 between junctions 28 (Alfreton, Derbyshire) and 35a (Stocksbridge bypass), plus 39 and 42 (Denby Dale).

They will also be seen on the M62 between junctions 25 (Rothwell) and 30 (Brighouse). There are 56 emergency areas within these sections of road that will receive the upgrades. 

Overall, Highways England plans to enhance 347 emergency areas, with 150 upgraded so far. Future emergency areas will be closer together, too. At present, they come every mile and a half. Those constructed from 2020 will have no more than a mile of road between them. 

“We recognise that as well as being safe, drivers want to feel safe and we have and will continue to make some changes to the design of motorways,” said Paul Unwin of Highways England.

Smart motorway emergency area upgrades

“This includes making emergency areas more visible by making them bright orange which should also discourage drivers from using them in non-emergency situations.”

Explained: Smart motorway emergency areas

Smart motorways effectively turn hard shoulder lanes into active lanes when they’re not needed for emergencies. Emergency areas are a partial layby even further out to the left.

They’re designed as a refuge for cars that need to stop, offering the instant protection that an active hard shoulder can’t.

Smart motorway emergency area upgrades

Each area has an SOS phone that drivers must use to speak with a Highways England employee, before re-joining the motorway if they’re able. Traffic officers can be dispatched to help them get back on the road.

“Smart motorways are as safe as traditional motorways, which are already among the safest roads in the world,” Unwin continues. 

“These redesigned emergency areas support our drive to improve awareness of smart motorway driving as part of our planned programme of work, including what to do in an emergency and when to use an emergency area.”

£50,000 Ford Escort Cosworth stars in modern classics auction

Bonhams MPH sale

Bonhams’ new MPH division held its first auction at Bicester Heritage yesterday (September 26). It’s aimed at more affordable and modern classic cars – a strong market at present. That’s reflected in the results, with 82 percent of the cars selling for more than their reserve price.

The star was a 1993 Ford Escort RS Cosworth, which sold for £49,500 in the MPH sale. With 38,000 miles on the clock, the vendor had owned it for over 20 years.

Another highlight, more than 10 years the Cosworth’s junior, was a Renault Clio V6. Being a 2006 model, it was one of the latest examples of Renault’s mid-engined hot hatch. It sold for an impressive £37,125

Barmy Land Rover army

Bonhams MPH sale

Three ex-military Land Rovers also sold well. Sold as the ‘Elite’ collection, two Defender 110 V8s and a Series 2a from 1968 collectively topped £140,000 in the MPH sale. Not that you’d recognise them as Defenders, given they’re covered head-to-toe in heavy-duty military gear.

One of the Defenders, a 1993 model, was ex-SAS. It sold for £49,500, while the other, a 1985 car, managed £48,375. The 1968 Series 2a 109 went for £47,250.

“Today’s sale proves that there is an increasing appetite for ‘youngtimers’ in the market,” said Rob Hubbard, head of Bonhams MPH.

Bonhams MPH sale

“Drivers who remember such ‘poster’ cars from their childhood are now coming of age and have the means to buy their youthful ‘dream cars’. They also offer more driver engagement and character, compared with brand new cars, but are more reliable than older classic cars.

“We are delighted that we have had such a positive reaction to our new venture. We are pleased to be able to offer the traditional Bonhams values to a wider audience and are already looking forward to our next sale.”

The next MPH sale will take place on 26 November, with cars being consigned now. The next valuation day will take place on 25 October, when sellers can present their cars to the MPH team.

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‘Laura’ will tell Skoda drivers where to go

Skoda Laura in-car assistant

At the rate things are going, in-car digital assistants will require their own union or WhatsApp group. Laura is the latest virtual PA to hit the road, and ‘she’ is coming to a Skoda near you soon.

Skoda says Laura has mastered six languages, is quite comfortable with natural voice and doesn’t mind being interrupted. Ask nicely and she’ll even turn on the TV and put out the trash. Probably.

For now, Kamiq and Scala models equipped with the top-of-the-range Amundsen infotainment system will come with added Laura, but other models will follow.

Say “Okay, Laura” to activate the voice control system and Laura will spring into life. There’s no need to press a button or to use a set of predetermined commands or phrases.

Think of Laura

Laura Skoda digital assistant

As well as six languages, Laura is also comfortable with accents and dialects, which should come in handy for Skoda customers in some of the UK’s rural outposts.

Digital assistants are nothing new – many people use them at home or in the car – but Skoda’s decision to use a girl’s name is a little different. Mercedes, for example, uses the company name for its MBUX system.

Why Laura? It’s a name Skoda has used before, with the second-generation Octavia rebadged Laura for India

Laura-equipped models will come with an on-board eSIM card included as standard, meaning cars are always online. Skoda says the transition between online and offline services is “so seamless that occupants are never aware of it”.

Tell Laura I love her

Skoda Laura digital assistant

You can interrupt Laura at any time, with the radio or media player volume lowered rather than muted completely to give a “sense of having a natural, relaxed conversation”.

Thanks to Laura, lonely motorway commutes will be a thing of past – Skoda says that Laura will evolve to engage in a “kind of digital small talk”.

Much will depend on how Laura performs in ‘person’. We will report back once we’ve tested the system in the real world.