Car scrapyard

Electric car scrappage scheme ‘rejected’ by government

Car scrapyard

A new car scrappage scheme that would have given motorists up to £6,000 off the price of a new electric car has reportedly been ruled out by the government.

The car industry had been calling for support to give sales a boost after the fall-out from the coronavirus crisis.

Similar schemes have already been launched in France and Germany.

The Times reports it has seen a letter from Rachel Maclean, junior minister for transport and the environment, stating “the government has no plans at this stage to introduce a scrappage scheme”.

Ms Maclean instead outlined the government’s £2.5 billion investment in ultra-low emissions vehicle grants, and funding to increase electric car charging point provision at homes, workplaces, residential streets and the wider road network.

She admitted “a number of media articles have suggested that the government is considering a scrappage scheme” that could have given motorists £6,000 to swap older petrol and diesel cars for a pure electric car – on top of the existing £3,000 Plug-in Car Grant (which was cut by £500 in March).

The letter seen by The Times ruled this out – after the government did the same in 2018 when it stated a scrappage scheme was “difficult to deliver [and] potentially open to abuse”.

Academics, reports The Times, wrote to the Department for Transport in June, asking for clarity on the possible scrappage scheme.

Dr Steve Melia, a lecturer in transport and planning at the University of the West of England, led the approach. He described existing reforms to encourage zero-emissions vehicles as “clearly inadequate”.

Since launching a range of new car sales incentives including an electric car scrappage scheme, registrations in France have recovered almost to normal levels.


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Land Rover Defender 110 Hard Top

Land Rover Defender Hard Top van version revealed

Land Rover Defender 110 Hard Top

Land Rover has revived a name from the past for the commercial vehicle version of the new Defender: Hard Top.

Offered in both 90 and 110 guise, the new Defender Hard Top will go on sale later in 2020.

Land Rover suggests prices will begin from £35,500 + VAT.

Land Rover Defender 110 Hard Top

The Hard Top name was first used in 1950 when Series Land Rovers gained a removable hard top. The new version, adds the firm, is a fixed metal roof.

It is being developed by the firm’s Special Vehicle Operations division to deliver “unrivalled durability, practicality and toughness”.

Land Rover Defender 110 Hard Top

MD Michael van der Sande said: “We will maximise the functionality and usability of new Defender’s cargo area, with tough materials and clever storage solutions to ensure it surpasses the capability of any previous Defender Hard Top.”

A payload of up to 3,500kg will be available, with coil spring suspension as standard. Defender Hard Top 110s will offer optional air suspension.

Land Rover Defender 110 Hard Top

Inside, there are no second or third row seats but the Defender’s clever optional front-row ‘jump seat’ in the middle means it can seat up to three – just like a real van.

Unlike a back-to-basics van, Land Rover Pivi Pro infotainment will be available, complete with software-over-the-air updates. Good news for businesses, says Land Rover, as it will minimise downtime.

Full details of the new Defender Hard Top will follow later this year, adds the firm: ordering will open before 2020 is out.


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How Dacia Bi-Fuel LPG cars will save you money

Dacia Logan Bi-Fuel LPG gauge

How Dacia Bi-Fuel LPG cars will save you money

Dacia Duster Bi-Fuel

Dacia has become the only new car brand in the UK to sell cars able to run on LPG petroleum gas – and the firm claims its new Bi-Fuel range could save the average motorist more than £400 a year.

This is because LPG is so much cheaper than petrol – 62p a litre, at the time of writing, rather than an average 109p per litre.

Offered across the Dacia range of Sandero, Duster and Logan MCV, the 1.0 TCe Bi-Fuel cars are priced at £400 more than an equivalent 1.0 TCe petrol engine.

This means that if you drive 12,000 miles annually, the Bi-Fuel cars will pay for themselves within a year.

Head of Dacia UK, Luke Broad, says that even with today’s low petrol prices, a Bi-Fuel Dacia will save more than £1,000 over the average four-year PCP deal.

Once fuel prices begin to rise again, the savings will compound. When petrol prices return to around 120p a litre, Dacia Bi-Fuel models could save as much as £2,000 over four years.

What is Dacia Bi-Fuel LPG?

Dacia Sandero Bi-Fuel

LPG, or liquid petroleum gas, is sold at over 1,200 filling stations in the UK.

Most petrol cars can also run on LPG with some simple conversions – but Dacia designed its TCe petrol engine with LPG in mind, making the conversion easier still.

It is carried out on the production line in the factory, rather than once the car has been built. This is how Dacia can offer the same three-year warranty and impose the same service intervals as a normal petrol model.

An extra bonus is the 1.0 TCe LPG engine produces 10 percent more power than the regular car – 100hp instead of 90hp. 

The LPG fuel tank is located in the spare wheel well, so boot space is identical to normal models.

Dacia Sandero Bi-Fuel LPG and petrol filler

The LPG fuel filler is also located within the regular fuel filler flap, rather than an ugly plastic cut-out in the rear bumper.

How do Dacia Bi-Fuel models work?

Dacia Logan Bi-Fuel LPG gauge

Dacia Bi-Fuel models start off running on petrol, and automatically switch to LPG. There is also a controller on the dashboard, complete with LPG fuel gauge.

Because the petrol tank remains, Dacia Bi-Fuel cars have a much bigger range than regular cars – up to almost 750 miles when using both petrol and LPG, claims the firm.  

Overall, it costs around 30 percent less to run a Dacia on LPG than it does on petrol – and LPG also emits more than 10 percent less CO2 than a petrol car, plus fewer particulates.

Dacia Bi-Fuel new car range

Dacia Logan Bi-Fuel

Every Dacia model offers a Bi-Fuel version: that’s Sandero (and Sandero Stepway), Logan MCV (and Logan MCV Stepway), and Duster. 

The cheapest Dacia LPG model is the Sandero Essential 1.0 TCe 100 Bi-Fuel, which costs £9,145. A regular Sandero Essential 1.0 TCe 90 costs £8,795. 

The popular Duster is offered as an Essential 1.0 TCe 100 Bi-Fuel from £13,195. 

Because Dacia Bi-Fuel cars are classed as alternative fuel vehicles, they even benefit from a £10 saving on VED road fund licence. 

FordPass smartphone app

FordPass connected car smartphone app is now FREE

FordPass smartphone app

Charges for the FordPass smartphone app have been lifted meaning all new Ford owners will now be able to monitor and control their vehicle remotely free of charge.

Previously, FordPass connected vehicle services required owners to pay for a subscription.

Fees have now been waived which Ford says could potentially save users of the FordPass app hundreds of pounds.

The app, which works through the onboard modem fitted to all new Ford vehicles, works on both Apple and Android devices. It can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple App and Google Play stores.

It allows owners to check fuel levels and remaining range remotely, and lock and unlock the vehicle.

The latter function is useful for owners who worry whether they locked their car – or those who need to give temporary access to someone who doesn’t have the car key.

Find your Ford

The app can show the precise location of the vehicle in a packed car park, and will send push notifications of items that need attention such as low tyre pressure.

For owners of electrified plug-in Fords such as the Ford Kuga Plug-in Hybrid, the app has some extra functionality.

It displays battery levels and EV driving range, allows owners to schedule charging to take advantage of off-peak electricity, and lets them cool or heat the cabin while the vehicle is plugged in.

FordPass director Richard Bunn said making the app free is “an important part of delivering on our promise to make smart vehicles for a smart world”.

Earlier this week, BMW and Apple announced the world’s first integration of a digital key into Apple iPhone and Apple Watch devices.


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Transport for London Congestion Charge

London Congestion Charge prices rise, hours extended

Transport for London Congestion Charge

Transport for London has announced an increase in the cost of the London Congestion Charge to £15 a day.

It previously cost £11.50.

The operating hours have also been extended to 10pm in the evening: previously, charges were lifted from 6pm.

The Congestion Charge still begins at 7am in the morning.

TfL has also confirmed the Congestion Charge will operate during the weekends, too. Until now, it has only operated during weekdays.

Christmas Day is now the only day on which charges are lifted. 

The changes are described as temporary and TfL says they could see car journeys fall by a third and pollutants reduced by up to 11 percent.

Although many people are still working from home, latest data suggests there are now as many cars within the Congestion Charge zone as before lockdown.

Without changes, TfL argues traffic levels in central London could double.

The residents’ discount will also be closed to new applications from 1 August, to act as a deterrent to car ownership in central London.

Only 1 in 4 central London residents actually owns a car.

“The temporary changes will be kept under review to ensure they remain effective in light of the transport challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic,” adds TfL.

TfL also reminds motorists they still need to pay the London ULEZ charge on top of the Congestion Charge, if their vehicle is not a September 2015-on diesel or 2005-on petrol. 

London Congestion Charge from 22 June 2020

  • Price increased from £11.50 to £15 (+30 percent)
  • Evening hours extended from 6pm to 10pm
  • Now operates during weekends
  • Residents’ discount closed to new applications on 1 August 2020

Congestion Charge reinbursements

An extension to the Congestion Charge reimbursement schemes has also been confirmed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan. 

NHS staff are already eligible for reinbursements: these have now been extended to staff at NHS Trusts, ambulance staff and those who work in care homes located within the zone. 

The NHS patient reimbursement scheme has been extended to include patients vulnerable to coronavirus. 

Local authorities and charities within the zone who are providing coronavirus-related support services can apply to the reimbursement scheme too. 

Click here to pay the London Congestion Charge


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BMW iPhone Digital Key

BMW and Apple announce car keys on iPhones

BMW iPhone Digital Key

BMW is to become the world’s first carmaker to allow Apple iPhone users to use their smartphone as a car key.

The new BMW Digital Key will lock and unlock the car – and also start the vehicle.

Owners can even electronically share the car key with up to five people.

It will also be compatible with the Apple Watch.

The technology will roll out later this year and all BMWs built from 1 July 2020 will be compatible.

All iPhones from the iPhone XR and iPhone XS and newer will be compatible, as will the Apple Watch Series 5 or newer.

BMW Digital Car Key: how does it work?

BMW iPhone Digital Key

The BMW Digital Key is set up through BMW’s smartphone app. Once configured, owners can tap to lock and unlock.

To start the vehicle, owners place the iPhone into the smartphone tray, and press the ‘start’ button.

It can be accessed through Apple Wallet too.

Owners can share the car key with five others through iMessage. They can also deliver a pre-configured car key that restricts power, top speed, audio volume and others.

BMW has thought ahead in case an owner’s iPhone goes flat, too: the car key will still function for up to five hours after an iPhone with a flat battery shuts down.


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Lotus marks 20 years of Exige with £79,900 special edition

The Lotus Exige is 20 years old in 2020 and the Norfolk sports car firm is marking this with a special edition called Exige Sport 410 20th Anniversary.

The cars are offered in three special colours originally offered on the 2000 Exige Series 1: Chrome Orange, Laser Blue and Calypso Red.

Lotus says another colour, Saffron Yellow, is reminiscent of the original Norfolk Mustard Yellow.

Lotsu Exige Sport 410 20th Anniversary rear

All cars have a painted body-colour roof, side air intake pods and rear wing, just like on the original Exige.

There’s also a period-style shark fin stone chip protector ahead of the rear wheel.

Lotus has designed on a ‘20th Anniversary’ black silhouette logo of the original Series 1 Exige.

It has stuck this on the front wings and rear bumper, and added another ‘20’ logo on the rear wing end plates.

Inside, a range of Alcantara trim colours is available, and Lotus has given the seats panelled stitching, again, just like the original.

Lotsu Exige Sport 410 20th Anniversary interior

The ‘20th Anniversary’ logo is stitched into the seat backs and embossed into the dashboard build plaque.

Although the list price is a heady £79,900, Lotus says this represents almost £5,500 of added value compared to the standard Sport 410.

Deliveries begin later in 2020.


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Nissan Motor UK Covid-secure car production

Car industry calls for support as 1 in 6 jobs at risk

Nissan Motor UK Covid-secure car production

Up to 1 in 6 people jobs in the UK automotive industry are at risk of redundancy if a dedicated support package is not forthcoming, the sector’s trade body has warned.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has called for cuts in VAT, unfettered access to emergency funding and a permanent part-time furlough scheme.

The organisation also wants policies that would boost consumer confidence – but has stopped short of specifying a new car scrappage scheme.

“UK automotive is fundamentally strong,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

“However, the prolonged shutdown has squeezed liquidity and the pressures are becoming more acute.”

A third of the UK automotive industry is still on furlough, said Mr Hawes – “we want those staff coming back to work, not into redundancy”.

The organisation is asking for a government support package similar to that seen in other countries.

In its 2020 Summit held today, the SMMT will reveal that 6,000 automotive jobs have already been lost in June alone.

Brexit is back

UK Automotive Manufacturing Jobs by region

Brexit is another concern for the SMMT. The coronavirus crisis is dominating and “the industry has not the resource, the time nor the clarity to prepare for a further shock of a hard Brexit,” said Mr Hawes.

The organisation wants the government to “turbocharge the negotiations to secure a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU”.

A no-deal Brexit could see UK new car production falling to 850,000 vehicles a year by 2025 – a low not seen since 1953.

This would cost the economy £40 billion.

In contrast, securing a Free Trade Agreement would boost production back to 1.35 million vehicles by 2025 – taking it back to pre-crisis levels.


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Jaguar I-Pace 21MY exterior charging Portofino Blue

Jaguar I-Pace updated with new infotainment, faster charging

Jaguar I-Pace 21MY exterior charging Portofino Blue

The Jaguar I-Pace electric SUV has received a new infotainment system and faster onboard charging in a package of 2021 model year changes.

The new infotainment system, called Pivi Pro, has already been launched on the new Land Rover Defender.

The I-Pace becomes the first Jaguar to feature it.

Jaguar I-Pace 21MY interior

Said to be inspired by smartphones, the new system has a flat menu structure and is simpler to use.

It is also a lot faster than the old system – Jaguar promises fast start-up means the system “is ready to go by the time you’re in the driving seat”.

Pivi Pro can also receive updates via software-over-the-air functionality – and show owners which public charging stations are free, in real time.  

A 4G SIM with data plan is standard, Spotify is embedded, and standard Bluetooth can connect two phones at the same time.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available too. 

Faster charging

Jaguar I-Pace 21MY Indus Silver charging

Jaguar has fitted a more powerful 11kW onboard charger as standard to the 2021 I-Pace. Those with three-phase electricity can add 33 miles of range per hour – charging from flat to empty in 8.6 hours.

Those with 7kW wall boxes get 22 miles of charge per hour.

The Jaguar I-Pace is compatible with public fast chargers as well: a 50kW unit adds 39 miles in 15 minutes; a 100kW charger adds 78 miles in 15 minutes.

It keeps the same 90kWh battery, and driving range of up to 292 miles.

This was previously increased by 12.5 miles using learning from the Jaguar I-Pace e-Trophy racing series

Jaguar I-Pace 21MY Indus Silver

Other updates include an improved cabin air ionisation feature that can filter out ultra-fine PM2.5 particles and allergens.

Owners can pre-set a process to filter the cabin air before a journey.

There are new colours, new alloy wheel options and an eye-catching ‘Bright Pack’ exterior finish.

Jaguar I-Pace 21MY Portofino Blue

The Clearsight rear view mirror first seen in the Range Rover Evoque is now available in the I-Pace.  A powerful Meridian 3D surround sound system with 16 speakers and a subwoofer is also offered.

The 2021 model year Jaguar I-Pace is on sale now with prices from £65,195.

It is the latest update for a car that scored an unprecedented triple in the 2019 World Car Awards, including being voted overall World Car of the Year.


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Ford Focus now available with mild hybrid tech

2020 Ford Focus Ecoboost Hybrid in blue

Ford Focus now available with mild hybrid tech

2020 Ford Focus Ecoboost Hybrid in blue pulling out of a car park

A new Ford Focus featuring mild hybrid technology is now available, replacing the outgoing 1.5-litre Ecoboost 150 version.

The new 1.0-litre Ecoboost Hybrid produces up to 155hp, and is 17 percent more efficient than the larger engine it replaces.

It achieves this through a combination of 48-volt mild hybrid technology (also known as MHEV) and cylinder deactivation.

When full engine capacity is not needed, for example when cruising on the motorway, one of the engine’s three cylinders is automatically switched off.

Ford says it is totally imperceptible and the process happens in 14 milliseconds.

2020 Ford Focus Ecoboost Hybrid in blue

The mild hybrid tech extends the engine-off period when coasting to a stop: the engine will turn off at speeds of up to 16mph.

Restart takes 350 milliseconds.

The boost from the powerful 48-volt mild hybrid system also gives an increase in pulling power at lower revs, so the car feels more responsive.

The result is WLTP average fuel economy of 51.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 116g/km.

A cheaper 1.0-litre Ecoboost Hybrid 125 is also available.

2020 Focus updates

2020 Ford Focus interior with new digital cluster

Other updates to the Focus range for summer 2020 include the availability of a new full-width 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster.

This is fully configurable and uses 24-bit ‘true colour’ tech so it is more detailed and easier on the eye.

Later in the year, local hazard information will be displayed on it – such as obstacles or accidents on the road ahead.

It uses connected car information beamed from other vehicles on the road via the FordPass Connect modem.

Ford has also introduced a new entry-level Focus Zetec Edition variant. This includes standard wireless smartphone charging, front and rear parking sensors and Sync 3 infotainment with sat-nav.

Prices for the Zetec Edition start from £22,210 for the 1.0 Ecoboost 125.

The Ecoboost Hybrid variant is priced from £23,610 for a 1.0-litre Ecoboost Hybrid 125.  


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