James Ruppert: dealer or no dealer?

Audi A4 Avant 1.9 TDI - rear

A leggy but loved A4 Avant fits the Bangernomics bill

Put off by surly sales staff at your local dealership? Try buying privately instead

Is there anything worse than pushy used car sales staff? I suppose it depends what you call pushy. If they have lots of useful information, then surely it’s a good thing. Yet according to the AA, a reputation for pushy sales tactics would dissuade almost a fifth (19%) of motorists, while 18% of car buyers see negative online reviews of a dealer as a turn-off. Online reviews are especially decisive among younger drivers, with 37% of those aged 18-24 saying they would avoid a dealer if they had read about other motorists’ bad experiences on the internet first. 

The AA-Populus poll of 17,230 drivers found that other factors which would put motorists off buying include a dealer who is reluctant to allow a reasonable test drive (12%), stock that does not look as though it has been cleaned or moved for a long time (12%) and a dealer’s lack of familiarity with the cars for sale (11%). Well, we would never put up with any of that, which is why we are looking at some beauties being sold by tip-top private sellers. 

At the few-hundred-quid end of things, how about an Audi A4 Avant 1.9 TDI SE for £399? It’s a 1999 car with 150,000 miles, which sounds like trouble, but this seller has owned it for three years and has all the bills. Yes, it is scruffy and yes, it’s an old oil-burner, but you should get another year out of the cheapo lugger. 

Need a town centre assault vehicle? Best to get a one-owner Volkswagen Up. This 2014 example is the victim of a commuter having to get the train from now on. With a solid 38,000 miles, it hasn’t been parked up for long periods and has a full service history, so £5000 seems fair enough. 

When it comes to specialist performance cars, dealing directly with the (hopefully) caring owner is the best way to buy. They know the car’s history first-hand and, if they are in any way evasive, you simply move on. I rather liked the 2002 BMW M3 that was up for £12,495. It had a solid year of ownership and all the bills, plus a good reason for selling. Its value is never going down and this seemed like a pretty fair price for a car with just over 100,000 miles on the clock. 

I’d take the private buy to its logical conclusion with the uncompromising enthusiast’s car, the Caterham. I picked on a 1997 Supersport R with 30k miles and up for £17,495. The seller may have spannered it together themselves, but best of all there was a big £1500 bill for a pre-sale spruce-up. 

This is what we need more of: private sellers that we can actually talk to. That’s how you get around the irksome issue of partly comatose dealers who don’t care. 

What we almost bought this week

VW Golf 1.4 Match 5dr: Inspired by the Golf being named Autocar’s Used Car Hero, we found this: a 2003/03 Match with 105,000 miles. It has 12 stamps in the service book (nine of them main dealer) and all carried out at roughly 8500- mile intervals. The body and wheels appear to be relatively unmarked. The dealer wants £1500 for it. Now that’s value.

Tales from Ruppert’s garage

BMW 3 Series, mileage – 83,195: Have I told you all my cars are broken? Well, they are. A call from the garage about the Baby Shark brought the revelation that the fuel pump has stopped working, which may explain some of the less than enthusiastic starting behaviour. Trouble is, the nearest replacement is in Germany and 10 days away. Well, that was through their normal supplier. So I suggested they should go with a non-normal one, because so far the car has been away for two weeks. At least that meant I could build a nice new set of shelves.

Reader’s ride

Mini Cooper S: Here is David Robertshaw’s 2005 Mini Cooper S

“Autocar is responsible for the Mini,” he says. “You ran a buying guide on the R53 Cooper S just as I was replacing my Audi A4 Cabrio. I spotted one at a trader nearby, went for a look and broke my used car rule of buying the first I saw, paying £2900. The risk paid off as the Mini has been brilliant for the past two and a half years and 10,000 miles, only needing a new back box and a couple of minor bits for MOTs. It’s fast and handles brilliantly. I intend to keep it a while yet.”

Readers’ questions

Question: I’m leaving a company car scheme and have up to £25,000 to spend on a new or used car. Bear in mind that insurance could be an issue. What do you advise? Bill Smith, via email

Answer: Some insurers, such as Co-op, allow drivers to transfer a company car no-claims discount to a private car. Buy nearly new or older to reduce your exposure to depreciation. Your last car was a Lexus hybrid, so why not go for something equally premium but better to drive, such as the BMW 330e M Sport plug-in hybrid? A new one cost £39,000, but 2017/17-reg examples with less than 20,000 miles are £24,000. John Evans

Question: I have noticed how larger wheels impact on economy. Why? I’d have thought a larger wheel covered more ground in a rotation, so would improve economy. Greg Clarke, Northampton

Answer: The wheel may get larger but the tyre must remain at the original diameter to ensure the car’s gearing isn’t affected, to maintain speedo accuracy and to ensure the wheel fits within its wheel arch. To do this, the tyre’s sidewall becomes shallower, while the tyre becomes wider and heavier, as does the wheel. The result is higher fuel consumption. Ride quality and noise levels can also suffer when wheels larger than the standard items are fitted. John Evans

Read more

Are bigger wheels really ruining ride quality?​

UK new car sales: what is each region buying?​

How to buy a used car – expert top tips​



Source: Autocar Online

Autocar confidential: BMW's secret window, Ssangyong's pleasant surprises, and more

Hyundai Kona Electric

Want a Kona Electric? Join Hyundai’s waiting list

Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up a week in gossip from across the automotive industry

This week, as we hold an inverted glass up to the motoring industry’s staff room door, we hear about Hyundai’s most in-demand model, why Volvo won’t shun the showroom, and more. 

Amping up EV sales

New Hyundai UK boss Ashley Andrew says securing more production allocation of the Kona Electric is one of his priorities. “The Kona Electric was our dealer network’s most in-demand model – when you’ve got demand exceeding supply, I think you’ll always have that,” said Andrew. He proposes offering customers stuck on the long waiting list the “interim solution” of a flexible lease on an Ioniq EV. 

And a rear opening window, to boot

The engineers of the new BMW 3 Series Touring had to fight to retain the model’s separately opening rear window, because not enough owners know about it, according to product manager Stefan Horn. Urging Autocar to write about the feature, he said: “It’s a bit of a hidden thing. We argued we should keep it – but we need customers to know about it, or it will die.”

Shock tactics

The word new Ssangyong customers use the most? ‘Surprising’, according to new UK boss Nick Laird: “When I joined, they bought Ssangyong for highly rational reasons – it was excellent value for money. Now when people get in the car, they’re going: ‘I wasn’t expecting that. This is a lot nicer, a lot more modern and contemporary.’” 

Dealer or no dealer

“People outside the retail world don’t understand just what a good job dealers do,” said Volvo UK operations director David Baddeley, following the brand’s recent online sales model roll-out. “We put them at the centre of it; it’s a retailer-based model. We are absolutely convinced the future is very strong for them.”

Read more

Ssangyong Tivoli review

Volvo launches ‘UK’s most comprehensive’ online car sales service

New BMW 3 Series Touring launched with focus on sharp handling



Source: Autocar Online

Ford to resurrect Mondeo as global mid-sized crossover

Ford Mondeo crossover 2021 rendering

All-new Fusion badged crossover-style large estate is due in 2021

Ford’s stalwart large family car and S-Max and Galaxy MPVs axed in Euro shake-up

Ford of Europe is preparing a radical re-invention of its European large family car line-up by replacing the Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy with a single crossover-style estate model. 

The new vehicle, whose name is not yet known, will mark Ford’s exit from both the classic large hatchback market and the MPV sector. Although there’s no news on a definitive launch date, the car is expected to arrive in early 2021. 

Unlike some of Ford’s bespoke European models, the model will be sold in North America and beyond. In the US it is being compared by insiders to the Subaru Outback, itself a high-riding estate car. 

Although a niche model in Europe, the Outback has been a significant success in the US since it was launched two decades ago, with recent sales above 200,000 units annually. 

Last July Jim Farley, Ford’s president of new business, technology and strategy, hinted at the move away from conventional road cars towards what he called ‘utility’ body styles. He said the thinking behind the move into medium-rise crossovers was that customers would get “utility benefits without the penalty of poorer fuel economy”. 

The new car will be built on Ford’s super-flexible C2 platform, which underpins the new Focus and, in time, should be able to stretch from accommodating the next Fiesta to the future seven-seat Edge SUV. The front section of the architecture will also be used by Ford’s future Transit and Tourneo family. 

The model will be offered with petrol and diesel engines plus a 48V mild-hybrid petrol option. The base engine is expected to be Ford’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol unit, which will have a belt-driven electric motor and small battery in mild-hybrid form. 

Insiders says that new Euro 6d-compliant diesel engines are, in pollution terms, as clean as petrol engines in real-world use. It is understood that these new oil-burners are still more economical than even mild-hybrid petrol engines, as well as being less expensive. 

Ford’s move to medium-height crossovers in Europe is also partly a recognition that meeting future EU fuel economy regulations would have been very difficult with a line-up of conventional SUVs. 

For a similar reason, it’s not yet known whether the car will be offered with fuel-sapping all-wheel drive in Europe. Instead, some kind of electronic traction control system for navigating loose surfaces is possible. 

Ford will be hoping that the model will appeal to today’s mainstream market of ‘adventurous families’ who will be attracted by running costs lower than those of an SUV, allied to what’s said to be a particularly capacious load bay and a comfortable raised driving position. 

Although the car will replace three very different vehicles, it is likely to outsell the Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy combined. Last year Ford Europe sold around 50,000 Mondeos, 24,000 S-Max models and 12,000 Galaxys – figures which are too low to be profitable enough. 

By the time the model is launched, Ford will have discontinued four MPV model lines. The MPV market has been hit hard in recent years, and as a result Ford will end production of the C-Max and Grand C-Max by late summer, as well as the Romanian-built B-Max compact MPV. The Galaxy and S-Max will likely follow next year. 

The B-Max will in effect be replaced by the upcoming Puma, and the company will look to steer existing C-Max owners into the new Kuga compact SUV. Mondeo and S-Max buyers will be targeted by the Fusion, and Galaxy users moved towards the smaller Transit Edge seven-seat SUV.

Read more

Top 10 best seven-seat MPVs 2019

Ford to launch three new model names by 2024 in Europe​

Ford Edge axed from UK sale just months after facelift​



Source: Autocar Online

Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder 2019 review

Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder 2019 first drive review - hero front

Removing the roof from the Cayman GT4 might seem like sacrilege, but the result is sublime

If you know the new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4, you know the new Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder.One may get top billing as the trackday star while the other plays second fiddle as its road-ready counterpart (you can guess which is which), but in mechanical terms, these are the very same sports car.That’s exciting, because for all its exoticism, never in two previous iterations has the Spyder been engineered by Porsche’s GT division at the Motorsportzentrum in Weissach. It’s a marriage of style and substance the likes of which we don’t often see at sub-six-figure prices, and you might even think of it as a junior 911 Speedster – the GT3-based, slope-backed road-racer that costs more than £200,000.Because the Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder weigh the same 1420kg (admittedly, rather a lot more than the old Spyder, which was 1315kg) they really are identical beneath the bodywork, even down to the suspension tuning, which is adjustable for toe, camber and anti-roll bar stiffness. Each car uses a double-wishbone front axle borrowed from the 911 GT3 and inverted dampers – a GT division calling card. Carbon-ceramic brakes are an option, but our test car had the sizeable cast-iron standard items, which sit within a new design of 20in wheels wearing Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres said to offer better wet-weather performance than ever before.There’s also six-speed manual gearbox carried over from the old Cayman GT4. It uses a dual-mass flywheel from the GT3 and sends power through a mechanical limited-slip differential at the rear axle, where you also get brake-based torque vectoring but no steering capability. A modified version of the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic ’box from the basic 718 Boxster is being developed, but it won’t arrive for at least another year, because the next-generation 911 GT3 has priority on Porsche’s to-do list.There’s also the not-so-small matter of the Spyder’s all-new engine – an upsized flat six with atmospheric induction. We’ll come onto that shortly, but the 4.0-litre 9A2 Evo is pretty special.Inside, there are no surprises. The 360mm steering wheel is smaller than that of a standard Boxster and there’s the option of the deep-sided carbonfibre bucket seats first seen on the 918 Spyder. They cost £3788, but without a roll cage, you can’t get the harnesses from the Cayman GT4. Not that you’d want those in a car like the Spyder anyway.Elsewhere, you’ll find this is a useful place. There’s wireless smartphone charging beneath the central armrest, a good level of storage in the door cards and Porsche’s 4.6in PCM infotainment system, though you can omit that to save 4.5kg. Again, you might do so on the GT4 to imbue the cabin with a certain level of seriousness, but on the Spyder it’s overkill. There’s also 150 litres of luggage space split betweent the front and rear comparments – not a lot but enough for a weekend away. 

Source: Autocar Online

Cupra concept set for Frankfurt hints at hot Leon

Cupra teaser

Short video shows a car closely resembling the previously revealed e-Racer

Cupra has released a video hinting at a forthcoming concept, to be shown at the Frankfurt motor show, expected to be the forthcoming Cupra Leon.

While not confirmed, the concept has a strong resemblance to the Leon-based Cupra e-Racer revealed last year.

While the electric e-Racer is based on a heavily modified version of the current-generation Leon TCR race car, the road-going Cupra Leon is set to arrive on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform.

Unlike the current Seat Leon Cupra, the forthcoming hot Leon will only carry Cupra badging.

In the video posted to the company’s Instagram page, a silhouette of the upcoming car’s front end can be seen, highlighting the daytime-running lights and flashing close-up images of its alloy wheels. An illuminated Cupra logo also hints at some kind of electrified powertrain.

Seat boss Luca de Meo previously told Autocar that the Cupra brand would be used “as a gate to bring technology that will cascade to the rest of the Seat range”, with plug-in hybrid technology potentially appearing on Cupra-badged models before it does on the standard car.

Since being turned into a stand-alone brand last year, Seat’s performance division has released one car, the Cupra Ateca SUV. It more recently gave a debut to its first stand-alone model, the Formentor, and is set to expand its range to seven models in 2020.

Seat had a record year in 2018, posting the best results in its 68-year history. Cupra sold more than 14,000 cars in its first year of independence.

Read more

Cupra Leon ditches Seat badge and goes hybrid for 2020

New Cupra Formentor coupé-crossover revealed

Cupra confirms specs of 670bhp e-Racer electric racing car



Source: Autocar Online

Cupra to expand range with Frankfurt-bound concept

Cupra teaser

Short video shows a car closely resembling the previously revealed e-Racer

Cupra has released a video hinting at a forthcoming concept, to be shown at the Frankfurt motor show.

In the video posted to the company’s Instagram page, a silhouette of the upcoming car’s front end can be seen, highlighting the daytime-running lights and flashing close-up images of its alloy wheels. An illuminated Cupra logo also hints at some kind of electrified powertrain, while more aggressive lines suggest an evolution in Cupra’s existing design language.

Seat boss Luca de Meo previously told Autocar that the Cupra brand would be used “as a gate to bring technology that will cascade to the rest of the Seat range”, with plug-in hybrid technology potentially appearing on Cupra-badged models before it does on the standard car.

If the concept is pure electric, it is likely to be based on the VW Group’s MEB platform, created solely for EVs, and on which Seat’s first EV, the El-born is based.

While the video suggests some similarities to the Leon-based Cupra e-Racer revealed last year, it’s not thought to be the hot hatchback, given the fourth-generation standard model has not yet been revealed.

Since being turned into a stand-alone brand last year, Seat’s performance division has released one car, the Cupra Ateca SUV. It more recently gave a debut to its first stand-alone model, the Formentor, and is set to expand its range to seven models in 2020.

Seat had a record year in 2018, posting the best results in its 68-year history. Cupra sold more than 14,000 cars in its first year of independence.

Read more

Cupra Leon ditches Seat badge and goes hybrid for 2020

New Cupra Formentor coupé-crossover revealed

Cupra confirms specs of 670bhp e-Racer electric racing car



Source: Autocar Online

First drive: Citroen 19_19 concept review

Citroen 19_19 concept prototype drive - hero front

Radical long-distance comfort cruiser driven in prototype form to see if something like it could ever make production

People used to describe travelling in the 1955 Citroen DS19 as ‘other worldly’. And when you set that self-levitating, space-age shaped, hydraulically suspended car in the context of the crude, steel sprung, clumsily crafted cars of the day, it’s easy to see why. Approaching the 19_19 for a drive is similarly other-worldly. 

It’s a car that looks like no other, its pod-like cabin slung between enormous wheels capped with old school mudguards, its body part-blue, part-black, its headlights mere strips and its glass nose recessed beneath them. A pair of slender pod-like objects burst from the rear of the roof to lend it the aura of a moon buggy, and it has the ground clearance of one of Citroen’s old, Hydropneumatically-sprung models riding at maximum height.

It’s fully electric, of course, and fully autonomous too, those pods being LIDAR sensors – although the driver can drive if desired. Sizeable doors open onto a large cabin free of obstructive pillars and largely upholstered in purple, its centre consoles and steering wheel in marble-like white. The front passenger’s generous recliner is trimmed in white too, to create a more soothing ambience.

The 19_19’s black sill is high enough that you almost step up into the car, before sinking into the bucket-like cluster of cushions that is the lower portion of the driver’s seat. Those cushions look supremely comfortable, but, because this is the stylish but undeveloped chair of a concept, they’re a little lumpier than you might expect. Never mind – there’s a rectangular steering wheel to divert your interest, its trad-Citroen single spoke hosting a not-very-readable sequence of colour displays. 

Beyond it you stare through a shallow windscreen bounded by fat, curving pillars. This vista combines with the equally shallow glazing of the doors to recall the view out from a fat-pillared saloon from the 1940s, which isn’t inappropriate given the 19_19’s mudguards. In every other way, though, this Citroen bounds effortlessly into the future.

The slender black Chevron-sculpted black dashboard is bereft of instruments and buttons, instead a head-up display provides vital information. This clean, uncluttered look signposts Citroen’s quest to simplify car interiors, with the aim of creating a more restful environment decluttered of knobs, switches and controls. Mounted within the dashboard is a large black cylinder that is your so-called personal assistant; it rises periscope-style as the steering wheel and pedals retract when it’s called upon to do the driving. 

There’ll be no AI driving in this prototype: right now that future is something to be imagined. The 19_19 does drive, though, and electrically too. The main noises of progress are the low hum of the motor and the squeal of the giant Goodyear tyres on the painted hangar floor, the 19_19 confined to the inside because its show-car bodywork doesn’t like the English summer sun. You soon discover that a resolutely rectangular steering wheel is not the ideal piece of direction-changing kit, but hey, this is fantasy and it looks good.

Rather more ergonomically effective are the subtle start button in the marble-look centre console (it’s actually a composite) and the black ring that surrounds it, half of which juts beyond the brick-like console itself. That’s your gear selector, and it’s among the more pleasingly weird of its type.

Citroen design chief Pierre Leclerq says that ‘a suspended passenger cell was the first idea for this car, a cloud upon wheels,’ and, while it’s hard to imagine that when trundling at 15mph in hangar, its sumptuous seating, highly advanced suspension (anti-roll systems, road-reading via tyre sensors and Citroen’s Progressive Hydraulic cushions aid the suspending) and the lounge-like airiness of its cabin make wandering like a cloud easier to picture. It’s certainly easy to see how you’d doze off in that airline-style recliner of a front passenger seat, the 19_19’s personal assistant doubtless waking you on arrival with some soft-spoken words.

Soft-spoken words are not what you’d expect to hear if you took this beautifully outlandish machine on the road, this confidently wheeled, curvaceously-shaped cocoon is likely to inspire utterances more emphatic. And so it should – this is the concept designed to embody not only Citroen’s future, but also the glories of its past. There have been many of those, the best of which came as the product of bold imagination unfettered by convention.

That’s just like the 19_19, whose shape, ideas, propulsion, proportions, communication, colour, texture and design are a more than worthy symbol of Citroen’s creative century. May the hints within it turn real.

READ MORE

Radical Citroen 19_19 concept makes first UK appearance

Slideshow: 100 years of Citroën

Citroen Ami One concept makes UK debut



Source: Autocar Online

Opinion: Why Formula E is succeeding in New York City

Formula E 2019 season decider in New York - racing

An exciting season finale proves the electric race series is maturing quickly, and that manufacturers are firmly on board

Even in its third season on the calendar, there’s something surreal – and a little incongruous – about the ABB Formula E Championship racing in New York City.

Partly it’s watching racing cars battle against the stunning backdrop of the Hudson River, Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline: hosting an event near New York has been the dream of major motorsport championships for decades (Formula 1’s most recent attempt, a planned street race in New Jersey, collapsed in 2015). 

Partly it’s the venue, on a tight 1.475-mile street circuit based at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in the Red Hook area of the borough. While you might be able to see Manhattan’s gleaming skyscrapers from the track, the immediate surroundings of the circuit are rundown warehouses, slightly shabby housing and plenty of graffiti.

Still, staging the race around the cruise terminal gives space to construct a fairly decent street circuit by Formula E standards. And, being realistic, it’s not like New York is going to shut Times Square or Broadway to stage an electric car race.

But as with other major cities such as Paris, Rome and, from next season, London, New York wanted to host a Formula E race to promote ‘green mobility’. And for the growing number of manufacturers involved, it’s an opportunity to showcase their ever-expanding electrification programmes to an American audience. While Tesla has helped open the car-buying public in that country to electric cars, the US is still the land of big pick-ups and SUVs – it’s going to take time to get them to consider plug-in cars.

In the main spectator area, the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Jaguar all had sizeable stands featuring both their Formula E machines and a growing range of electric cars – US consumers could check out the new Mini Electric, the Mercedes EQC, Audi E-tron, Jaguar I-Pace and even some electric Harley-Davidsons. Just outside the circuit entrance, Nissan had taken over a warehouse with a mini exhibition.

It showed how car firms can use their Formula E programmes to spread the word about electric cars, even simply by building awareness.

Of course, if you’re using motorsport to showcase your products, it helps if the racing is good as well, and at the end of its fifth season, Formula E is definitely moving in the right direction. The new Gen2 car introduced this season has a far larger battery, allowing the cars to complete the 45-minutes-plus-one-lap races in one go (previously, drivers had to swap cars mid-race). 

The new car is also substantially quicker than the old one. The lack of engine noise is still a little jarring for those used to combustion-engined racing cars, but being able to hear the cars hit each other as they battle for positions in a tight hairpin is quite entertaining.

The races in New York were both dramatic and incident-packed, doubtless helped by the championship being up for grabs. Jean-Éric Vergne eventually retained his title, but he had to fight to the wire after two difficult races.

That said, the tight circuit made overtaking difficult, leading to a high number of incidents. That’s a problem on most of Formula E’s street tracks, and something the championship needs to look at going forward.

Over the season the field proved relatively even, with nine drivers from eight teams taking wins in the 13 races. That’s a good sign, since ensuring the ever-growing number of manufacturers involved all have a chance of succeeding will be key.

When Formula E was launched, the prospect of an electric racing championship succeeding long term seemed as likely as staging a major motor race within sight of the Statue of Liberty. The fact both the championship and the race are now well established is encouraging – if still a little surreal.

Read more

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Formula E to return to UK with partly indoor track

New Extreme E electric SUV racer launched at Goodwood



Source: Autocar Online

Electric chargers should offer card payment by 2020

Chargemaster Ultracharger charge point

Government says new rapid charge points should allow contactless credit or debit card payment

All new public charging points should offer contactless payment via credit or debit card by spring next year, the government has said, as it seeks to address a key issue surrounding electric-vehicle usage.

While the requirement is not mandatory, the government announced today that it “expects industry to develop a roaming solution across the charging network, allowing electric vehicle drivers to use any public charge point through a single payment method without needing multiple smartphone apps or membership cards”.

It added that if the market is too slow to deliver improvements across the [charging point] network, it is “prepared to intervene to ensure a good deal for consumers by using powers in the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act”.

With more than 50 charging point providers in the UK, the variety of payment methods required to use a range of charging points has become a major source of frustration for EV drivers.

The announcement comes as BP Chargemaster, operator of one of the UK’s largest public charging networks, published plans to introduce contactless card payment to all new 50kW and 150kW chargers. It will also retrofit existing rapid chargers over the next 12 months.

However, the firm stated that contactless payment would be for “occasional users” to its charging points, and added that it will “continue to lead with its Polar Plus subscription” service. 

A BP Chargemaster spokesman told Autocar: “The benefit of contactless payment will mostly be realised by those charging infrequently, who may not have used our network before. Today, the majority of usage on our network is from subscribers, and that market will grow with higher utilisation from fleets and businesses, particularly with the introduction of the BP Fuel & Charge card – the UK’s first combined fuel card for liquid fuels and EV charging.”

When asked about the comparative costs of contactless payment versus a subscription, he said: “The Polar Plus subscription costs £7.85 per month (with three months free for new users), with the benefits being a usage tariff that is half the price of using contactless, as well as RFID card access, which remains the quickest way to activate a charge point on our network.”

The government’s announcement did not mention pricing or its expectations regarding contactless payments costing the same as existing offerings.

Future of mobility minister, Michael Ellis, commented: “It is crucial there are easy payment methods available to improve electric vehicle drivers’ experiences and give drivers choice. This will help even more people enjoy the benefits electric vehicles bring and speed up our journey to a zero-emission future.”

Read more

Behind the scenes of Britain’s battery revolution

Unreliable charging infrastructure preventing EV roll-out

Bentley boss: ‘We’re in a rush to build an EV’

 

 



Source: Autocar Online

Electric vehicle chargepoints should offer card payment by 2020

Chargemaster Ultracharger charging point

The Government says, by spring next year, users of all new rapid chargepoints should have the option of using contactless credit or debit card payment

All new public charging points should offer contactless payment via credit or debit card by spring next year, the Government has stipulated, as it seeks to address a key issue surrounding electric-vehicle usage.

While the requirement is not mandatory, the Government announced today that it “expects industry to develop a roaming solution across the charging network, allowing electric vehicle drivers to use any public chargepoint through a single payment method without needing multiple smartphone apps or membership cards”.

It added that if the market is too slow to deliver improvements across the [charging point] network, it is “prepared to intervene to ensure a good deal for consumers by using powers in the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act”.

With more than 50 charging point providers in the UK, the variety of payment methods required to be able to use a range of charging points has become a major source of frustration for EV drivers.

The announcement comes as BP Chargemaster, operator of one of the UK’s largest public charging networks, published plans to introduce contactless card payment to all new 50kW and 150kW chargers. It will also retrofit existing rapid chargers over the next 12 months.

However, the firm stated that contactless payment would be for “occasional users” to its charging points, and added that it will “continue to lead with its Polar Plus subscription” service. 

A BP Chargemaster spokesman told Autocar: “The benefit of contactless payment will mostly be realised by those charging infrequently, who may not have used our network before. Today, the majority of usage on our network is from subscribers, and that market will grow with higher utilisation from fleets and businesses, particularly with the introduction of the BP Fuel & Charge card – the UK’s first combined fuel card for liquid fuels and EV charging.”

When asked about the comparative costs of contactless payment versus a subscription, he said: “The Polar Plus subscription costs £7.85 per month (with three months free for new users), with the benefits being a usage tariff that is half the price of using contactless, as well as RFID card access, which remains the quickest way to activate a charge point on our network.”

The Government’s announcement did not mention pricing or its expectations regarding contactless payments costing the same as existing offerings.

Future of Mobility Minister, Michael Ellis, commented: “It is crucial there are easy payment methods available to improve electric vehicle drivers’ experiences and give drivers choice. This will help even more people enjoy the benefits electric vehicles bring and speed up our journey to a zero-emission future.”

Read more

Behind the scenes of Britain’s battery revolution

Unreliable charging infrastructure preventing EV rollout

Bentley boss: ‘We’re in a rush to build an EV’

 

 



Source: Autocar Online

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