Motoring Newsbriefs

Ford Puma ST-Line X Vignale, 2021, side
Lamborghini Urus, 2021, front
Nissan Micra Kiiro, 2022, front
Volkswagen ID.3, 2021, side
Volkswagen Multivan, 2021, front
Jaguar I-PACE
Nissan Qashqai, 2021, front
Kia EV6, 2021, front
Lotus Emira, 2022, side
Lotus Emira, 2021, nose

MIDLANDS IS UK'S ELECTRIC CAR HOTSPOT

THE UK's journey to mainstream adoption of electric cars is accelerating fast, with annual EV sales almost tripling according to new data from one of the UK's leading automotive finance companies.

Research from Volkswagen Financial Services UK shows that annual finance cases for battery electric vehicles surged 160 per cent from 2020 to 2021.

This trend is all the more impressive considering the level of volatililty the automotive industry has faced in recent times, with EV sales increasing in spite of Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and the semiconductor shortage.

The data also highlights that demand for electric vehicles has rocketed since the pandemic, with annual EV finance cases soaring 436 per cent between 2019 and 2021.

Volkswagen Financial Services UK's data insights team suggest that the nation has become more invested in green and environmentally-friendly travel over the past two years, with many people changing their attitudes towards sustainable transport in lockdown.

This is backed up by recent research which shows that a third of Brits are living more sustainably - such as buying more plastic-free products and recycling more - since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, people are also now more likely to buy an EV (26 per cent) than use public transport (24 per cent), or buy a petrol or diesel car (19 per cent) compared to before the pandemic.

Swindon is named as the nation's top EV location, with more finance cases for electric cars activated in the Wiltshire town than anywhere else in the UK last year.

Regionally, however, the Midlands is the UK's EV hotspot, with Stratford-upon-Avon, Tamworth and Solihull all listed in the car finance provider's top five locations for EV finance activations in 2021. Guildford in Surrey completes the top five.

More finance cases were activated for the Volkswagen ID.3 than any other electric car in 2021, followed by the Porsche Taycan, Audi Q4 e-tron and Volkswagen ID.4.

SPECIAL MICRA JOINS NISSAN LINE-UP

HOT on the heels of the Juke Kiiro's promotionalpartnership to support the cinematic debut of The Batman film, Nissan has announced that a Micra Kiiro Special Edition will also be introduced.

This extends the Kiiro badge across Nissan's compact car line up, offering a design-focused special version which features eye-catching details.

Both Kiiro special versions are available to order with the Micra Kiiro starting at £18,375 for manual versions and £19,725 for the automatic CVT model.

The Juke Kiiro starts at £24,350 for the manual, rising to £25,850 for the automatic DCT version.

Just 250 units of the limited edition Micra Kiiro will be available to UK customers.

CV OUTPUT ON THE RISE

UKcommercial vehicle production grew 22.2 per cent in the first month of the year, with 6,860 vans, trucks, taxis, buses and coaches leaving factory lines, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Despite January's output being a significant improvement on the same period in 2021-when lockdowns affected demand at home and across Europe-it remained more than a quarter (minus 25.3 per cent) down on the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.

This January's growth was driven largely by an increase in overseas demand as international markets started to get back to business, with production for export up by a third.

More than half of all CVs built in the UK last month were shipped abroadwith the majority destined for the EU.

Meanwhile, output for UK customers also rose, up 10.9 per cent, reflecting the ongoing shift to online deliveries and broader economic recovery.

SMMT chief Mike Hawes said: "The UK's commercial vehicle sector has once again shown its resilience in the face of myriad challenges, most notably the global shortage of semiconductors.

"However, the challenges before the sector are immense; ongoing supply chain constraints, soaring energy costs, and highly ambitious zero emission targets require every measure be taken to secure the industry's global competitiveness.

"The industry is investing in new technologies, but this investment must be matched with infrastructural investment and a long-term plan to enable it to deliver on our shared decarbonisation goals."

SAFETY FIRST FOR ASTON MARTIN

BRITISH luxury car brand Aston Martin will continue to supply Official Safety and Medical cars to the FIA Formula OneWorld Championship during the upcoming 2022 season.

As F1prepares for the start of a new era with new technical regulations, Aston Martin is putting the final touches to the Vantage Safety Car and DBX Medical Car.

The Astons will support 12 of this year's F1races, starting with the return of Formula 1 to Albert Park in Melbourne.

Both the specially prepared Vantage and DBX will run in the new 2022 Racing Green that was showcased at the launch of the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula OneTeam's challenger, the AMR22.

The Aston Martin Vantage Safety Car of 2021 inspired the Vantage F1Edition, the fastest, most track-focused Vantage to date.

DRINK-DRIVE FIGURES WORSEN

THE decade of no improvement in drink-drive related deaths on UK roads continues, according to the latest Department for Transport figures.

Most worryingly, the rate of drink-drive related crashes actually went up as traffic fell during the first nine months of measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than one in six of all fatal crashes involved alcohol in 2020 compared to around one in seven in previous years.

Final estimates for 2020 of road casualties in Britain involving illegal alcohol levels revealed 220 people died in crashes where at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit compared to 230 in 2019.

Over the same period, the total number of crashes where at least one driver was over the alcohol limit was 4,620 in 2020, an average of 12 crashes a day.

Of these crashes, an estimated 1,070 were serious accidents, representing an average of around 26 serious accidents a week and only a minor fall from 1,390 in 2019.

Neil Greig,Director ofPolicy andResearch at IAMRoadSmart, said: "While there has been a small reduction in the number of drink-driving related deaths and injuries compared to 2019, when you factor in the reduction in traffic due to COVID-19, the role of alcohol in fatal crashes actually went up.

"There is no one simple answer to reducing these figures, but IAMRoadSmartbelieves a much smarter package of measures is needed from the Government including a lower drink-drive limit to reinforce goodbehaviour, fast-track ofevidential roadside testing machines to release police resources and tailored approaches to help drivers with alcohol problems."

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