Tuesday 21 August 2018

Fuel (and electric) bills; Volvo shift; Tesla tot; Polestar charge; Porsche's 'tea can'

BIG-SELLER: Tesla Model 3
BIG-SELLER: Tesla Model 3

The average price of a litre of petrol is now 147.6c (141c in May). A litre of diesel costs 137.8c (131c mid-May). The AA says prices were last this high in November 2015.

In a way we've been lulled a bit on fossil-fuel prices. They've crept up and the rise shows how vulnerable we are to swings on foreign markets.

I'm sure the electric car companies have their calculators out to demonstrate how much of a saving you can make by driving emissions-free and plugging in, but there is another side.

We all give out about the amount the Government takes on fossil fuel taxes, but have you looked at your electricity bill lately? Standing charges, PSO (public service obligation) levy, VAT at 13.5pc. You go fossil fuel, you're hit by the Government. Try EV charging, and you're hit too.

* Volvo is slipping the chains of tradition. As well as planning to 'sell' vehicles differently, the company is changing how it brings cars to market. It is to pick times and venues to show its vehicles rather than taking the traditional route of launching them at a motor show. For example, the manufacturer will not be at next year's Geneva show.

That's a big statement of intent - though Volvo is not ruling out a return - and a swing to what the firm calls bespoke activities to introduce their new cars. The plan is to build more than five million direct consumer relationships by the middle of next decade. The recent XC40 was first shown at the 2017 Milan Fashion Week, while the new V60 estate was 'launched' in the driveway of a Stockholm suburban home.

* You have to hand it to Elon Musk. His Tesla projects are never far from the public eye. He has revealed that his firm is planning to launch a compact car within the next five years, saying: "I think we'll do a compact car in less than five years." But that's it. No further details. It's called treat them mean and keep them keen. Analysts reckon it will be Volkswagen Golf-size .

Meanwhile, the Model Y SUV is to go into production in early 2020.

Musk also claims the current new Model 3 is outselling the BMW 3 series, Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4 and Lexus IS in the US, where wait times are three to four months.

That stretches to 15 months for right-hand-drive models, which means it will be late, late next year before we see it here.

* The Polestar 1 will make its first 'dynamic' appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which runs from July 12 to July 15. The prototype #004 of the 2dr electric performance hybrid will charge up (no pun intended) the famous hill climb.

* Porsche will name its first all-electric car - previously known as the Porsche Mission E in concept form - the Taycan. Sounds uncannily like what we used to call the can of tea ferried to us when cutting turf or making hay long ago. However, experts say the word roughly translates as 'lively young horse' from a Eurasian dialect.

* It's certainly all go at Jaguar Land Rover, which has announced an overhaul of its UK manufacturing operations while telling us of plans for a new family of Range Rovers.

Discovery production is going to its new facility in Nitra, Slovakia while Merseyside's Halewood plant is being geared up for next year's new Evoque.

Indo Motoring

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