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Revealed: the parking habits that annoy people most

parking habits

Parking in a Blue Badge bay without a disability is the parking habit that angers motorists the most. This is according to research conducted by

Twenty-three percent of the 500 people surveyed said misuse of a Blue Badge bay is the worst parking habit, followed by people who park too close to your car (22 percent).

On that point, why is it, when you park in an isolated parking bay, well away from the supermarket entrance, you always return to your car to find a ‘parking buddy’ parked alongside you?

Invariably, it’ll be a mid-range hatchback with a missing wheel trim and more pockmarks on its doors than a teenager’s face.

Hit and run parking

Anyway, back to the survey…

Taking up too much space when parking is another bad habit likely to wind people up (18 percent), followed by using a parent-and-child bay with no children (14 percent), parking on the pavement (13 percent), and not leaving contact details after denting a vehicle (10 percent).

Last year, the Department for Transport (Dft) announced plans to introduce a pavement parking ban, following the example set by London, where parking on the pavement has been illegal since 1974.

‘Parking can be a contentious issue’

Disabled Blue Badge holders only

Harrison Woods, managing director of, said: “It’s reassuring to see that parking in a Blue Badge bay without a disability is the parking habit that makes most people angry as it is totally unacceptable.

“Parking can be a contentious issue and the actions of other motorists can make some car drivers see red, whether that’s parking too close to another vehicle, taking up too much space or parking where it is not allowed.”

Yesterday, we listed the cheapest and most expensive airport car parking in the UK.

Car museum starts charging – but locals still get in free

Coventry Transport Museum

The Coventry Transport Museum is to introduce new admission charges – but city residents will still be able to get in free.

The new charges – which take effect from Sunday 30 June – mean adults will be charged £14 to enter the museum, which first opened in 1980.

Coventry is home to an eclectic collection of cars, commercial vehicles, motorcycles and cycles, including the ThrustSSC World Land Speed Record car, Queen Mary’s Daimler and the Daimler Fleetliner used for Coventry City’s FA Cup winning tour of the city.

As a result of the charges, the museum says visitors can expect to see some ‘fundamental differences’, including a new programme of temporary and touring shows from across the globe.

At present, the museum is funded through grants from Coventry City Council and Arts Council England, but the admission charges will supplement this alongside income generated through commercial activities.

Jaguars at Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry residents will get free access by using new GoCV discount and loyalty cards, launched by the City Council. These are free to all city residents.

Paul Breed, chief executive of Culture Coventry, said: “Last year we set a four-year business plan, which included several objectives and investigative streams to explore.

“One of the objectives was to look at ways to generate further income to ensure we are a sustainable and financially robust organisation, prepared for future challenges.

“But the carefully considered decision to implement admission charges goes beyond income generation – the additional revenue gives us the chance to bring an exciting range of innovative, exceptional and interactive activities and exhibitions to the museum which will attract visitors from all over the country and beyond.”

Coventry Transport Museum charges (from 30 June)

Adults: £14.00
Concessions (senior and student): £10.50
Junior (5-16 years): £7.00
4 or under: FREE
Essential carer: FREE
Family (2+2): £35.00
Small family (1+3): £28.00
GoCV card holders: FREE

For more information, see the Coventry Transport Museum website.

One in 10 now buy a used car without seeing it first

Sight unseen car buying

Sight-unseen used car purchases are on the up, according to new research. One in 10 (11 percent) of buyers are now taking the plunge without seeing their new vehicle first.

The data comes from an AA Cars poll of 19,350 drivers. Its theory is that online portals are yielding more consumer trust, as buyers put their faith in the transparency of used car listings.

It’s also worth noting that the average used car is getting younger and, as a result, more expensive. So there is potentially less risk, even if buyers are generally paying more.

How to sell a car online

Sight unseen car buying

What’s more, 52 percent of those who hadn’t bought a car ‘sight-unseen’, said they would consider it – if the car was examined by a pre-sale vehicle inspector from a trusted brand.

What else makes consumers more likely to buy cars online? Forty-eight percent said dealers being upfront and transparent, particularly regarding a buyer’s right to cancel. Predictably, discounted prices would get more fingers clicking (44 percent). And 44 percent also said an affiliation with a trusted body to verify the quality of a dealer’s stock would increase appeal.

One of the most important things for an online advert is presentation. More pictures, more videos and exhaustive information about the car would make 37 percent of browsers more likely to buy. Ultimately, it’s about reassurance – that’s why we go to view cars in the first place. Get that across online and you’re on to a winner.

Sight unseen car buying

“A decade ago, the idea of buying a car without seeing it in person was highly unusual,” said James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars.

“These days, consumers are much more comfortable with buying valuable products they haven’t seen first – namely due to the sheer volume of listing information and all-angles pictorial evidence that is provided by respected portals online, making a prospective buyer feel like they have practically kicked the tyres themselves.

“Buyers can also increasingly feel at ease as they are sheltered by the Consumer Rights Act of 2015 which gives them a ‘right to return’ a car if it develops a fault in the first 30 days of ownership – or to ask for a repair in the first six months after it was bought.”

Van traffic has nearly DOUBLED in Britain since 1993

van traffic

Van traffic on British roads has increased by almost 100 percent since 1993, according to latest official government figures.

It means that van traffic has reached a record high of 51 billion vehicle miles. Vans now account for 16 percent of all motor vehicle traffic, compared to just 10 percent in 1993.

For context, traffic from cars and taxis is down from 82 percent to 78 percent. The distance covered by cars and taxis has risen by a more controlled 21.4 percent, albeit still to a record high of 255 billion miles.

However, although van traffic is significantly up, the rate of growth appears to be slowing down. 2018 statistics show a 0.9 percent increase from 2017. Car traffic was up just 0.2 percent.

Going further back, van traffic is up 1,143 percent since 1949, with lorries up ‘just’ 119 percent and buses and coaches actually down eight percent.

van traffic uk

Broadly speaking, vans have a similar daily travel pattern to cars, although the afternoon peak for van traffic is between 3pm and 5pm, an hour earlier than cars.

[Insert something here about van drivers clocking off an hour earlier…]

Predictably, the proportion of vans on the road at weekends is generally lower than weekdays, even at peak periods.

Rather than van drivers covering greater distances, the government says the increased traffic is due to growth in the number of licensed vans on the road.

The number rose 88 percent between 1994 and 2018, up from 2.1 to 4.0 million. Meanwhile, the average annual mileage per van has remained stable at around 13,000 miles per year.

‘Particularly worrying’

New Ford Transit

Commenting on the figures, RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “The number of miles travelled on our roads hardly changed in 2018 compared to the previous year, but interestingly, the forms of transport used has.

“Van traffic, despite experiencing slower growth in 2018, still saw a slight increase which sets a new record high.

“Cycling miles also rose and is now 34 percent above what it was 25 years ago, but there has been a continued decline in the number of miles travelled by buses and coaches which is particularly worrying in an age when, as a society, we are trying to get people to use public transport more.”

Revealed: the cheapest and most expensive airport car parking

Edinburgh Airport parking

Holidaymakers flying from London City Airport for a two-week break are paying nearly £200 just for their car parking, new research has revealed. 

London City has, by far and away, the most expensive airport parking in the country, with the cost nearly FOUR TIMES more than an equivalent two-week stay at Edinburgh Airport.

Travellers using Gatwick Airport might be interested to know that that a two-week stay in the South Terminal is £3 MORE EXPENSIVE than in the North Terminal. Talk about a North/South divide… 

Driiveme airport car parking

Even more surprising is the fact that Heathrow Airport isn’t one of the top five most expensive airport car parks. Southend, Manchester and Liverpool join London City and Gatwick above Heathrow on the list.

My Late Deals carried out the extensive survey. It sourced the costs from the official airport websites, with prices based on the official car parks. A two-week stay in August was used for the purposes of the research.

The least expensive airport parking was found in Edinburgh (£43.99), followed by East Midlands (£58.49) and Stansted (£59.99).

How to save money on airport parking

Tesla at Edinburgh Airport

You should arrange your airport parking as soon as you’ve booked your holiday, as pre-booking can shave up to 60 percent off the price you’d pay if you just turned up and paid at the airport.

James Lewis of Holiday Extras said: “Around 87 percent of bookings are booked within nine weeks of the departure date. However, it is those who booked earlier than nine weeks that actually get the better deal (by better deal, I mean cheaper price per night).

“Price and availability go hand in hand – if availability is low, suppliers will increase their prices in order to slow demand. So booking earlier, perhaps at the point of booking the holiday, will guarantee availability and the lowest prices.”

Vehicles in a closely-packed car park

Closely-packed car park

Shopping around for the best deal can also save you money. There are a number of price comparison websites to consider, while most car park operators will run promotions and special offers.

The proximity to the terminal will also play a part in how much you’ll pay for parking. In short, the closer you park, the more you’ll pay, while valet parking will cost considerably more.

Remember to check the reviews and use a trusted operator. Saving a few quid might seem like a good idea, but if your car is left in a muddy field while you sun yourself on a beach, it might take the shine off your holiday experience.

The most expensive airport parking

1. London City £196.50
2. Gatwick (South Terminal) £115.00
3. Gatwick (North Terminal) £112.00
4. Southend £104.99
5. Manchester £101.99
6. Liverpool £97.99
7. Heathrow £97.40
8. Luton £93.99
9. Cardiff £91.00
10. Bristol £90.99

The least expensive airport parking

1. Edinburgh £43.99
2. East Midlands £58.49
3. Stansted £59.99
4. Doncaster Sheffield £62.49
5. Belfast International £62.99
6. Belfast City £65.99
7. Leeds Bradford £66.00
8. Glasgow £66.87
9. Southampton £69.00
10. Birmingham £69.99

All costs based on a two-week stay and correct as of 2 May 2019. Prices for for illustrative purposes only – visit the official airport parking operators for up-to-date quotes.

Audi drivers may never stop at a red traffic light again

Audi traffic light information Europe

Audi drivers may never stop at a set of traffic lights again thanks to new technology being rolled out in Europe.

From July, Audi will network new models with the traffic lights in Ingolstadt, Germany, with drivers told what speed is required to catch the next set of lights on green. In theory, it should mean no more red lights and a smoother flow of traffic… assuming you drive an Audi.

Audi traffic light information Europe

Audi says further European cities will follow from next year, although drivers in the U.S. have been using the service since late 2016. The ‘Traffic Light Information’ is available at more than 5,000 American intersections, including 1,000 in the U.S. capital alone.

The system uses Audi’s ‘virtual cockpit’ to relay information to the driver. If they will reach the lights on red, a countdown will count the seconds to the next green phase. Used correctly, an Audi driver could travel through an entire city without seeing a red light.

Audi traffic light service

All European A4, A6, A7, A8, Q3, Q7, Q8 and e-tron models produced from mid-July will feature the function, but customers must opt for the required navigation and infotainment package, along with the camera-based traffic sign recognition.

Greater challenges in Europe

Audi traffic light information Europe

Commenting on why the service is arriving in Europe two years later than in North America, Andre Hainzlmaier, head of development of apps, connected services and smart city at Audi, said: “The challenges for the serial introduction of the service are much greater here than, for example, in the USA, where urban traffic light systems were planned over a large area and uniformly.

“In Europe, by contrast, the traffic infrastructure has developed more locally and decentrally – with a great variety of traffic technology.

Audi traffic light information Europe

“How quickly other cities are connected to this technology depends above all on whether data standards and interfaces get established and cities digitalize their traffic lights.”

Audi says the so-called ‘green wave’ technology might be incorporated into the sat-nav to plot the smoothest and most efficient route through an urban area, while it’s conceivable that e-tron models could make increased use of braking energy to charge the batteries.

For non-Audi drivers, the message is simple: follow a suitably-equipped Audi through an urban area if you’re hoping to avoid delays.

Young people don’t know how to look after their cars, research suggests

young people car maintenance

New research suggests that half of young people don’t know how to perform the most basic checks on their car.

A study of 2,000 drivers, commissioned by Continental Tyres, revealed that half of 18-24 year-olds wouldn’t know how to check oil levels or tyre pressures on their car. Similarly, just 56 percent of young drivers in this bracket said they would be comfortable topping up their screen wash. To cap it off, just 19 percent of 18-24 year-olds said they would be happy to tackle swapping out a puncture for a spare.

Worryingly, if not surprisingly, just one in ten 18-24 year-old drivers that responded, said they’d be confident in their use of a traditional paper map.

Young people aren’t ignorant to the gaps in their knowledge, though. Just under a two-thirds (62 percent) acknowledged that they could save money by mastering routine maintenance. Similarly, over 80 percent conceded that their parents were more able than they were when it came to car maintenance.

A declining mechanical acumen isn’t a trend that starts with today’s 18-24 year-olds, either. Over half of the over-55s said their parents would be more capable around maintaining a car than they are.

Is older better?

So how does the older generation fare where the youngsters fall down? Fairly well, but it’s not a walkover. Older motorists, by comparison to the younger generation, are three times as likely to tackle replacing a blown bulb, and twice as likely to attempt swapping wiper blades.

Predictably, 55 percent of older drivers said they could confidently use a map, compared to just one in ten youngsters.

Nevertheless, the numbers of those willing to change a tyre, while greater than the younger generation’s 19 percent figure, isn’t that impressive, at 45 percent.

young people car maintenance

“All age groups pointed to people becoming more tech-savvy and less mechanically-minded, with younger people having an advantage,” said Mark Griffiths of Continental Tyres.

“The more knowledge and insight we all have, the better our driving experience and the safer the environment for all.”

Bring a Trailer 25 car auction May 2019

Time is running out to bid on this eclectic collection of 25 vehicles

Bring a Trailer 25 car auction May 2019American auction website Bring a Trailer is currently playing host to the sale of a rather intriguing collection of cars and trucks.

The seller has acquired many of the cars through the site previously, but has decided to liquidate his assets in one fell swoop.

With all cars being sold with no reserve, this really is a case of everything must go.

Bring a Trailer 25 car auction May 2019Almost every category of popular and niche automotive collecting trends are represented, with the variety of vehicles ranging from the 1940s right through to the modern age.

Station wagons have clearly been a particular pleasure of the anonymous collector, with estate models accounting for five of the vehicles on sale. Trucks, SUVs, and classic sports cars are also part of the mix.

We’ve taken a look at just some of the cars up for grabs before the digital hammer falls on Thursday May 16th.

1991 Ferrari 348 TB

Bring a Trailer 25 car auction May 2019Don’t be fooled into thinking this is some Pontiac Fiero-derived replica. No, there is a genuine mid-engined V-8 Ferrari up for grabs in this auction.

Although often overshadowed by the F355 which replaced it, the 348 does at least have the claim to being one of the final cars developed under the scrutiny of company founder Enzo Ferrari.

Originally delivered to Switzerland, this car made it to the USA in 2016, after a Canadian detour. All service records are present, and it even has an aftermarket Tubi exhaust to help the 300 horsepower engine sound even sweeter.

1957 Chevrolet 3100 Custom Pickup

Bring a Trailer 25 car auction May 2019Even more eye catching than the Ferrari is this extensively modified Chevrolet pickup truck, finished in bright orange.

The truck underwent major changes between 2000 and 2005, with the frame powder coated and a 302-cubic inch V-8 engine from a 1969 Camaro Z/28 added under the hood.

With orange highlights throughout the interior, and even matching wheels, you’ll certainly need to be bold for this tangerine dream.

2005 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Wagon

Bring a Trailer 25 car auction May 2019From a time when performance Mercedes-Benz products still retained a substantial degree of subtlety is this rapid load-lugger.

According to Bring a Trailer, this is just one of 193 examples of the W211 E55 wagon sold in the United States. Power comes from a 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 engine, producing 469 horsepower and 516lb-ft of torque. Top speed is limited to 155mph, with the 0-60mph sprint taking less than 4.5 seconds.

The standard air suspension was serviced in 2018, with new rear shocks fitted and the ride height recalibrated. Folding third-row rear seats mean you can easily justify buying this E55 as a practical family station wagon.

1953 Jaguar XK120 Roadster

Bring a Trailer 25 car auction May 2019Male supermodel David Gandy has recently taken delivery of a Jaguar XK120, which was custom built to his exacting specifications. However, if you happen not to be a millionaire underwear model, then this Jag may be more attainable.

This particular car is said to have been owned by the same family from new, all the way until being acquired by the current owner in 2007. The car underwent a full body-off restoration in the 1980s, with substantial maintenance also performed in 2017.

Driving the rear wheels through a four-speed manual gearbox, the 4.2-liter inline-six engine is fed by triple Weber carburettors. When new, the XK120 was responsible for setting a number of speed records, although it looks just as good being driven at a sensible pace.

1967 Chrysler New Yorker

Bring a Trailer 25 car auction May 2019In terms of price per square foot, this giant ‘67 New Yorker could well be the best value piece of real estate for sale in this collection.

The four-door hardtop New Yorker, with its 124-inch wheelbase, is still vast even by modern standards. Even bigger is the 440-cubic inch RB V-8 engine, connected to a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission.

Beneath the Haze Green paintwork, the frame of this New Yorker does show evidence of corrosion. However, the car has undergone regular maintenance in recent years, and appears to be a well-preserved example of how it originally left the factory.

1972 Porsche 911S

Bring a Trailer 25 car auction May 2019No collector car auction in 2019 would be complete without a Porsche 911, and this particular sale does not disappoint.

Both interior and exterior of this 911S have undergone updating in recent years, with the Metallic Silver paintwork renewed in 2016. Seats, door cards and other trim items were refreshed in 2017, with a range of mechanical work also performed.

This 2.4-liter flat-six machine is currently the car with the highest bids from the collection of 25 vehicles, and causing some debate amongst commentators about the origins of the 915 five-speed manual gearbox.

With no reserve this Porsche, and all the other 24 vehicles, will sell come Thursday. We will just have to wait and see which one sparks the biggest bidding war.

The 10 cheapest cars to insure in 2019

Every new car on the market is given an insurance group ranging from one to 50. Although insurers can use their own system to assess risk, the lower the insurance group, the less you’ll pay for cover. Thanks to Vantage Leasing, we can reveal the cheapest cars to insure in April 2019. The results are presented in reverse order, highest to lowest.

10. Hyundai i10 1.0 S – £567.65

The following factors influence a car’s insurance group rating: performance, cost of repair, the value of the car, security and safety. By definition, a 1.0-litre city car will be far cheaper to insurance than a 2.0-litre compact executive. According to Vantage Leasing, you can expect to pay £567.65 to insure a Hyundai i10 in base-spec S trim.

Helpfully, Hyundai lists the insurance group ratings on its website. If you’re looking to pay the least amount for cover, avoid the 1.2-litre engine and opt for the 1.0-litre. The i10 1.0 S and SE slots into group 2, while Premium and Premium SE versions of the 1.2-litre fall into group 7.

9. Ford Ka+ 1.2 Studio – £523.01

While it’s possible to order a Ford Ka+ in many different flavours, only the Ka+ 1.2 Studio gets a group one insurance group rating. More powerful versions with a superior level of spec might be more desirable, but you’ll pay more for the insurance.

As part of its study, Vantage Leasing selected the 10 most common jobs according to the Office for National Statistics and ranked them from one to 10. Predictably, your occupation plays a part in how much you’ll pay for your insurance, with as much as £100 separating the most expensive and cheapest premiums.

8. Smart Forfour Pure – £512.14

For example, while a computer programmer will pay an average of £553.37 a year, a care worker or a catering employee at a food store will pay more than £650. Meanwhile, a Smart Forfour Pure should cost around £512 to insure.

Of course, there are many variables at play here, so these figures should be used for illustrative purposes only. Your age will influence how much you pay, along with where your car is parked overnight and during the day, any previous convictions and how many miles you drive in a year.

7. Kia Rio 2 1.2 – £491.19

Like Hyundai, Kia lists the different insurance groups on its website, which should provide a handy reference point for those looking to pay as little as possible for car insurance. In the case of the Rio supermini, the groups range from four to 10.

Don’t be too quick to buy the entry-level Kia Rio 1 1.2 in an effort to secure the cheapest insurance quote, because it slots into group six, whereas the Rio 2 1.2 is in group four. That said, the savings you make could be wiped out by the £2,240 difference in the purchase price.

6. Chevrolet Spark 1.0 LS – £489.41

This is a bit of an anomaly because the Chevrolet Spark isn’t available to buy new and hasn’t been on sale for a while. Still, at least you’ll know that it will be cheap to insure should you buy a used example.

In a separate study, Vantage Leasing found that a policy for a driver who leaves their car on the road is almost 10 percent cheaper than for someone who parks in a garage. The reason: because drivers are statistically more likely to have an accident when manoeuvring into a garage.

5. Volkswagen Up 1.0 Take Up – £473.37

Unsurprisingly, Volkswagen’s smallest car is also the cheapest to insure, with the entry-level Take Up falling into the lowest insurance group. Upgrading to the Move Up doesn’t affect the insurance group, but the Up GTI sits in group 17.

It’s worth keeping an eye open for free insurance offers, as some manufacturers roll out different promotions from time to time. Peugeot’s ‘Just Add Fuel’ offer is a good example, with free insurance available to drivers aged 18 and over.

4. Skoda Citigo 1.0 S – £464.94

The Skoda Citigo is cheaper to buy and insure than the Volkswagen Up, although for many buyers, the prestige of the VW badge and the stronger residual values will be worth the additional outlay.

Last year, we ran a feature on how to get cheaper car insurance. Our advice included buying the right car (choosing one of the cars listed in this gallery would be a good start), along with shopping around for the best quote. Use a price comparison site, but also contact companies who aren’t listed on such websites.

3. Seat Mii 1.0 S – £459.03

You should also consider how much excess you want to pay and the type of policy required. For example, if you drive a car worth £500, it might be more cost effective to take out a third-party, fire and theft policy.

Interestingly, of the Up-Mii-Citigo trio of city cars, the Seat Mii is the cheapest to insure, assuming you opt for the entry-level 1.0 S. Unfortunately, the S is no longer available to buy new, with just the Design Mii (insurance group three) and FR-Line (group four) on sale.

2. Nissan Micra 1.0 Visia – £417.25

Even the entry-level Nissan Micra Visia gets intelligent emergency braking with pedestrian recognition, which keeps the cost of insurance down to a minimum. You’ll pay £12,880 for the basic Micra, plus the cost of a can of deodorant, because the Visia doesn’t feature air conditioning.

Earlier this month, we revealed that having nine points on your licence can result in cheaper car insurance than starting from scratch with your no-claims bonus. Quote results comparing the variables demonstrated that having nine points instead of zero no-claims discount resulted in quotes that were 10 percent cheaper.

1. Skoda Fabia 1.0 SE – £413.67

Ask yourself: when was the last time you saw a badly-driven Fabia? Skoda’s popular supermini tends to be driven by careful and considerate drivers, which means insurance companies will see it as a low-risk vehicle.

As a result, the Skoda Fabia in 1.0-litre SE guise should cost around £415 to insure for a typical UK driver. Remember to shop around for the best quote and NEVER accept the renewal quote from your existing provider. In the insurance business, there’s very little reward for loyalty.

Why Volkswagen is already planning the second life for its electric car batteries

vw electric car batteries

The battery is one of the most expensive parts on an electric car, but what do you do with it when the vehicle reaches the end of its life? Volkswagen has the answer.

Doing nothing is not a solution, but Volkswagen will adopt a two-pronged strategy: re-use and recycle.

While an older lithium-ion battery that’s been in use for a decade may not be suitable for powering a vehicle, it could still have its uses. Amazingly, the battery pack in the 2019 e-Golf can store as much energy as a typical household consumes in one day.

Which is why Volkswagen intends to use the battery packs from its electric vehicles in a network of portable recharging stations. Designed to hold up to 360 kilowatt-hours of energy, these stations can charge up to four vehicles at a time.

And because they’re portable enough to be used in hard-to-charge locations, they can ‘pop-up’ at music festivals, public events and car shows. Clever stuff.

At some point, a battery will lose its ability to store energy, which is where Volkswagen’s component plant in Salzgitter, Germany, will be called into action. From next year, the facility will have the capacity to recycle approximately 1,200 tons of EV batteries every year – that’s around 3,000 vehicles.

The company wants to recycle 97 percent of the raw materials in the battery packs, up from the present 53 percent and more than the 72 percent expected at the Salzgitter plant.

Shredded batteries

electric car batteries shredded

A special shredder will separate the components into a black powder containing the valuable raw materials cobalt, lithium, manganese and nickel. Mining these materials is both bad for the environment and hugely expensive, so using them again is a win-win.

Such strategies are required to cope with the expected rise in demand for electric vehicles. Volkswagen expects to be building a million EVs by 2025, each one with an expected lifespan of 10 to 15 years.