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A round-up of the latest news from the world of motoring

Pay-by-phone parking ‘almost discriminatory’

■ Motorists are steering clear of pay-by-phone parking bays as cash remains the more popular method of payment, the AA says.

The motoring organisation’s survey of 16,239 members found 70 per cent of respondents would look to park somewhere else if faced with a spot that required a phone payment.

Administration fees and voice-controlled phone payment systems were cited by the AA as the main factors that deter people.

Close to 80 per cent of pensioners who took part in the survey also said they would avoid pay-by-phone parking bays, while the same proportion of motorists on low incomes said the same thing.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: ‘Not only can it be a struggle to find a space but now, when you do find one, you may be required to talk to an automated system to pay the charge — not ideal if you have an appointment or just want to get in and get out quickly.

‘All providers should make it easier to pay for parking. Not everyone has a smartphone to pay via an app and not everyone is keen to talk to a robot to pay for an hour’s stay. For the elderly and low-income drivers, pay-by-phone feels almost discriminatory.’

The future IS electric

■ The National Grid has hit back at claims the UK would need 10 new nuclear power plants to cope with the government’s 2040 petrol and diesel car ban.

It has been reported in the media that in order to cope with the energy requirements of a countrywide switch to electric vehicles, the UK would need to build as many as 10 nuclear power plants.

However, the energy company has said these claims are misleading and have been taken out of context.

In its Future Energy Scenarios (FES) analysis, which was published in July, the National Grid laid out a selection of energy-use scenarios based on consumer attitudes, economic prosperity, EV uptake and other factors.

Of the four scenarios published, Two Degrees was the one the National Grid thought most in line with the government’s 2040 announcement. This predicted most cars would be EVs and consumer demand for green technologies would be high, with particular focus on solar, wind and nuclear energy sources.

Under this scenario, it predicts additional peak-energy demand from EVs alone would be about 5 GW, which represents an 8 per cent increase on today’s peak-demand value.

The claims surrounding peak demand rising by as much as 30 GW are based on another scenario called High EV, which the National Grid says is far less likely to happen.

High EV looked at what would happen if all tailpipe emissions were banned by 2040 and if the price of EVs fell dramatically. It also predicted a scenario where there was little concern for environmental issues, and that society was prosperous enough that 85% of people who could charge their cars at peak times and at peak prices would do so.

However, in a ‘myth-buster’ published by the National Grid, the organisation states: ‘As we stress in FES, we see this [High EV] as an outlier that is possible but not one of our core scenarios.

‘The scenario which best fits the government’s statement is Two Degrees. The additional peak demand from EVs in that scenario is not 30 GW but more likely to be 5 GW.

‘The 30 GW often quoted is from our more extreme, but possible, sensitivity called High EV. In this sensitivity there are no nuclear power stations by 2050 – and certainly not 10 as often quoted. Nuclear power stations would not be the best option for meeting peak demand.’

Get £2,000 back for your diesel car

■ Buyers of low-emission BMWs and Minis can get £2,000 off when they trade in their old diesel model.

The BMW Group Lower Emissions Allowance will run until December 31, allowing owners of Euro 4 or older diesels to get money off a new car.

This applies to any diesel car made by any manufacturer before 2008, but can only be redeemed against BMW Group vehicles with CO2 emissions below 130g/km.

BMW says more than 80% of its range is below this limit, with nearly 70 per cent of Minis also eligible.

The allowance applies to fully electric, plug-in hybrid, petrol and diesel models as the company aims to encourage motorists to buy less-polluting Euro 6-compliant models. The £2,000 discount is in addition to any government grants that apply to low-emission vehicles.

Graeme Grieve, BMW Group UK chief executive, acknowledged that while the German manufacturer had pushed forward with green engine technology, it wasn’t always easy for buyers to make the switch.

He said: ‘We know in the early phases that people still need some incentive to make the jump to fully electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles and that is why we are delighted to announce this new allowance.’

Following the government’s recent announcement that the sale of pure petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned from 2040, many have questioned how drivers will be encouraged away from traditional fuels.

Alternatively fuelled vehicles have a market share of just 5.5% in the UK, but are seeing rapid growth as petrol and diesel registrations continue to drop.