Monday September 26th, 2011 10:58 Campaign for Uniform Electric Vehicle Charging Gathers Speed

It looks very much like the standardisation of charging plugs for electric cars will become more commonplace throughout Europe in the next few years.

A proposal put forward by ACEA, the automobile manufacturers’ trade association, recommended that the same charging equipment should be used in all countries, regardless of the make of the car, electricity provider or country.

The move towards standardised charging is seen as an important step in helping electric vehicles gain a more viable share of the market. The lack of universal charging equipment is seen as a potential barrier to prospective buyers of electric cars.

The ACEA report looked at a number of factors involving the charging of electric cars, such as the public charging infrastructure as well as the vehicle inlets themselves. The report also looked at the issue of both fast and slow charging.

Ivan Hodac, Secretary General of ACEA, said: “This is a major step towards the broader introduction of electrically-chargeable vehicles in Europe and paves the way for a harmonised solution around the globe.”

“Standardisation provides predictability to investors; it enables economy of scale and reduces costs. We have also ensured a solution that meets the highest safety standards and is easy to use.”

The ACEA hopes that its recommendations will be accepted by the European Commission, as well as standardisation bodies and infrastructure providers across Europe, as quickly as possible. This approval will allow the vehicle manufacturers to start integrating the uniform technology into production cars. The ACEA have set a goal of 2017 for full implementation for new electric vehicles.

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Sunday September 25th, 2011 02:20 Government Grant Fails to Encourage Car Buyers to go Electric


New data from the Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) suggests that sales of electric cars in the UK are progressing at a rate significantly lower than had been anticipated. To date, only 812 battery models have been bought in the UK in 2011. This is in spite of the incentive of a £5,000 government grant for each buyer of a fully electric or plug-in hybrid car.

Unsurprisingly, the most popular electric car is the Nissan Leaf, with 499 cars being sold. The figures from the SMMT are much bleaker for the other five electric car models currently available in the UK, with none of them managing to sell even a quarter of the Nissan Leaf’s figure.

At a cost of £230 million, the £5,000 subsidy for plug-in cars was initially conceived by the previous Labour government to try and cut the upfront cost of electric vehicles for buyers. Although cheaper to run than a conventional car, the upfront cost of an electric car is typically at least a third more.

The subsidy managed to survive the current coalition government’s swinging cuts, although its funding has only been guaranteed for the first year. With sales of electric cars at such a low rate, there is little chance that the £43 million set aside for this year – the equivalent of 8,600 cars being sold – will be reached.

The poor sales of electric cars in the UK stand in marked contrast to sales of new cars in general. SMMT’s figures show that registrations of new cars in August were up by over 7%.

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Saturday September 24th, 2011 18:14 Jaguar Land Rover Announce New Job-Creating Factory in West Midlands

There was some much needed good news for the UK car industry this week, as Jaguar Land Rover announced that they would be building an engine factory in Wolverhampton. The building of the factory will result in a total of 750 new jobs being created and will cost £355 million.

The engines that are to be manufactured at the new facility are expected to be all new, advanced technology, low-emission ones. With this in mind, you can expect to see V6 and V8 petrol engines built there, along with a V6 diesel unit.

Speaking at the announcement of the new factory, Jaguar Land Rover‘s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ralf Speth, said: “As part of our long-term strategy for the JLR business, we will design, engineer and manufacture a new family of advanced engines. This is a major commitment for our company and we will produce these advanced, highly-efficient engines for future Jaguar and Land Rover models at a new facility in the UK.”

He continued: “As we invest £1.5 billion a year for the next five years on new product developments, expanding our engine range will help us realise the full potential of the Jaguar and Land Rover brands. The all-new family of 4 cylinder engines will increase JLR’s capability to offer high performance engines with class-leading levels of refinement, whilst ensuring continued significant reductions in vehicle emissions.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg stopped looking sad for a moment to express his enthusiasm for the new factory: “Jaguar Land Rover’s decision to build its new engine plant in Wolverhamption is fantastic news. It means over 700 new jobs for local people, an investment of over £300 million in the West Midlands and recognition of the expertise in the British workforce and manufacturing sector.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable described the news as a “tremendous boost for manufacturing in the UK and the West Midlands in particular.”

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Wednesday September 21st, 2011 02:57 When to Change Your Oil

As a driver, you need to be especially careful about taking care of your car. One of the most important things you can do is change your oil regularly. How often is that?

When most of us got our first car at 16, our parents probably told us to change our oil every 3,000 miles. That was a great suggestion back then, but things change. Newer synthetic oil has fewer contaminants and is better for your vehicle. You won’t have to change you oil nearly as often if you go the synthetic route.

A New York Times article recently looked into the phenomenon. They interviewed Kristen Huff of Blackstone. Huff says her labs ran tests on people’s cars as they were taking them in. They found that people were changing their oil much too often. Many of these customers were still relying on feedback they got about 60 years ago when their parents were still driving 55’ Chevys.

The best place to start is your owner’s manual. This will give you some basic recommendations on doing oil changes.
As a general rule of thumb, expect to do an oil change about once every 5,000 miles. However, you shouldn’t just rely on your driving manual or the words of a few radio talk hosts. You need to consider how the oil has actually corroded and whether it is still useful.

One technique is to use a maintenance minder. This will let you know when your oil has 15% of its life remaining. This is generally a good time to take it in for a change.

Also, you should check your oil levels every few hundred miles. Add oil when it is running low, but don’t add too much. Adding too much oil can lead to catastrophic engine problems later on.

You must also remember to change the oil filter whenever you change the oil. If you don’t, a lot of the same contaminants will make their way into the new oil. This won’t do you any good.

Finally, don’t be too concerned about alternating between different brands of oil. Many people seem to think that if they use a new oil source they will ruin their car. This is an old wives’ tale. There is no need to be that consistent. The important thing is to make sure that you stick with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Changing your oil regularly is certainly important. If you don’t you can have reduced performance, engine breakdown problems and reduced engine life. However, changing your oil can easily cost over $30. There is no sense changing it more often than necessary. Ignore the rules of thumb you grew up with and understand your engine. Your driver’s manual and your oil levels will give you a rough estimate of how often you need to take your car in for an oil change.

Kalen Smith writes about Mis-Sold PPI claims and bank charges at a UK based mis sold PPI reclaim website in the financial claims sector. Kalen also writes about personal finances, mis-sold mortgages, unfair loan agreements and credit rating advice.

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Wednesday September 14th, 2011 12:20 Options When Purchasing Your Next New Car

Once upon a time buying a car used to be a fairly boring and dull procedure, one that required an enormous amount of patience as you’d have to deal with car salesmen and a showroom full of vehicles you weren’t interested in. With the rise of internet shopping and services such transactions have become a thing of the past – sites like have made buying a new car easier than ever.

Not only is it a lot simpler to just browse online, it cuts down on time-wasting and means you can get everything done as fast as possible. On the other hand if you want to take your time and soak up all of the information available, then you can do that without the pressure associated with salesmen.

Another advantage to buying a car using the internet is the fact that (because so many models are available in this current financial climate) dealerships are more willing to offer deals and discounts on many of their prices.

It’s massively convenient to be able to request quotes and arrange test drives online. It makes the whole process simple and swift. If you decide to acquire a quote through a site like – then you’ll be impressed with the speed at which everything happens. Dealerships will get back to you within 24 hours, making life a whole lot easier.

The flexibility when buying online is brilliant as well, there’s a wide range of purchase options and finance deals available to the customer willing to look into these choices. When entering into a deal such as Hire Purchase or Personal Contract Purchase it’s absolutely vital to understand the contract you’re agreeing to.

Make sure you have appreciated all the details and intricacies, as it’s easy to quickly jump into these decisions when you know exactly what manufacturers and models (that were previously out of your reach financially) are available to you now.

Usually however, leasing deals will be straightforward and simple to grasp. To avoid getting a bad deal though, make sure to research your options. Ensure that you can afford the contract through the whole of the term, and don’t be afraid to negotiate prices. It can’t hurt.

Good luck with your search, browse however fast or slow you want. Most of all though, be certain you’re getting the perfect car for you, at the perfect price for your wallet!

In: Car news, Tips and TricksNo Comments

Monday September 12th, 2011 21:12 Electric vs hybrid – which is better?

Electric Car

For some years now, electric vehicles have offered a green alternative way to drive around town. Running on electric power means they are one of the lowest emission vehicles on the road, and so benefit from low road tax as well. There’s no need to worry about petrol or diesel prices and you can recharge your car overnight at home.
The main drawback for going electric until recently has been the limited range that electric vehicles have before they need recharging. This is becoming less of an issue as newer models have improved range and a greater number of charging points are being made available. In London in May 2011, for example, a citywide charging and membership scheme was launched. For an annual £100 membership fee electric vehicle owners will be able to plug in at charge points on residential streets, in supermarket and public car parks and at leisure centres. In fact there should be 1,300 publicly accessible points by 2013, in which case they will outnumber petrol stations in the capital.
However, in spite of these developments for electric vehicle owners, electric family cars are still not a common sight across the nation. It’s more likely that a greener family car choice would be a hybrid, as being able to quickly top up on fuel at any petrol station offers a greater level of practicality. You can travel without restriction, without having to worry that you might run out of charge on your way somewhere. There’s no need to wait for the charge as you do for an electric car, and hybrids can travel at the same speeds as other vehicles. Electric vehicles are slower, another reason they have been confined to urban use thus far.
Hybrid cars in the UK are available in a large number of different models, offering more flexibility than electric vehicles. Finally, although you produce more emissions driving a hybrid than an electric car, they will generate 25% less than a conventional car during their lifetime, so it’s still a considerable contribution to helping protect the environment.


Image supplied by Alan Trotter

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Sunday September 4th, 2011 11:19 Choosing the Right Winter Tires

For obvious reasons, winter is the most dangerous time to drive. In some areas, 10% of all car accidents are caused by icy roads. It is very important to drive with the right tires.

There are a few things to take into consideration when you look for the right tires:

1. Check your owner’s manual. You can’t put tires on your vehicle without knowing which ones are compatible. The manual will tell you what size and type of tires to use.

2. Consider metal studs. In some really cold climates, tires with metal studs may be necessary. In other areas, metal studs are illegal. Make sure you understand the laws and what you need before you purchase them. Alternatively, you can consider just putting chains over your regular tires. Just make sure they are attached properly and aren’t damaging the tread.

3. Use the same tires. The last thing you want to do is install different tires on different parts of the vehicle. Some people will put more durable tires on the rear of the vehicle, where they think they need the best traction. Installing different tires on your vehicle can cause any number of alignment issues. This can not only make driving more difficult, it can cause a stress imbalance which damages the vehicle.

Driving with the right tires is essential to staying safe in the winter. You also need to make sure you practice safe driving habits. Tires won’t guarantee your safety on icy roads, but they can drastically increase your chances of driving over them safely.

Auto dealers will help you if you have any questions or need advice. However, you will need to do your research first. Show that you’ve read the owner’s manual and understand what you are looking for. Afterwards, they can help you narrow the type of tires you need.

About the author: Kalen Smith writes about car accident claims and whiplash compensation. Kalen also writes about personal injuries , sports injuries, work related claims and asbestos related illnesses as well as medical negligence.

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Friday September 2nd, 2011 12:21 918 Spyder: Porsche’s Speed Demon yet Ecofriendly

Porsche 918 Spyder

German automotive company, Porsche, is ready to stun the world with its new mid-engine concept sports car, ‘Porsche 918 Spyder’. The car is striking for its mega-efficient, low-emission drive technology and high performance. It also has the distinction of being the company’s first plug-in hybrid car. Porsche 918 Spyder had its world debut at the 80th edition of the Geneva Motor Show in March 2010.

A super-speed car with no compromise on eco-friendliness

The prototype of the 918 Spyder is unique for the excellent blend of ultra-modern racing features and electro-mobility. An enthralling variety of qualities are offered through this exceptional combination. The 918 Spyder marks an extremely low emission level. Its high-tech green technology enables it to release 70 grams of CO2 per kilometer. This is excellent when you realize that it is achieved on a fuel use of a meager three liters per 100 kilometers. The car flaunts the performance of a high-end sports car and can achieve a speed up to 100 km per hour in just below 3.2 seconds from an idle stance.

The 918 is crafted to demonstrate the pioneering authority of Porsche as an authentic innovator in hybrid drive. Besides Porsche’s Intelligent Performance technology and state-of-the-art motorsport features, the 918 flaunts classic yet modern design. It is engineered to achieve a maximum speed of 9,200 rpm, power-driven by a high-speed V8. Ultimate performance on the race track is ensured with its 3.4-liter power unit and first-rate balance.

The seven-speed Porsche-Doppel-kupplungsgetriebe powers the wheels, the rear axle and the electric drive system. The energy source for the 918 Spyder is a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery which is placed behind the passenger cell. Additional energy is provided through the transformation of kinetic energy into electrical energy whenever brakes are applied.

Drivers can comfortably choose from four different running modes by pressing the button located on the steering wheel. The four modes are Hybrid mode, E-Drive mode, Race Hybrid mode and Sport Hybrid mode.

Thanks to its lightweight body structure, the 918 also proves its high efficiency as a motorsport. Weight level of less than 1,490 kg is achieved due to the use of a monocoque body shell for the construction of its body.

The unique dimensions of this car give it authoritative road grip. The interior architecture is, of course, futuristic as both the driver and passenger are inserted into well-defined sports bucket seats. Porsche’s exclusive idea of driver orientation is clearly displayed in the interior design.

Range Manager is another innovative function integrated into the ultra-modern sports car. It informs the driver about the residual range the car is capable of covering. This allows a person to manipulate range according to the available levels of power and performance. In high-traffic cities, Range Manager will inform drivers about the possibility of driving on electric power only.

Flaunting Porsche’s design DNA, the new concept car is a perfect combination of well thought-out design, flawlessly balanced exterior and innovative technology. It displays design and dynamics in a unique and synthesized fashion.


About the author: Amanda Kidd is an avid blogger who likes updating herself with new technological innovations like 3d projector. She recently bought a cool thumb drive for herself. These days she is busy in writing on Urban Design in fashion and she always provide tech help to her readers with her write-ups.

In: Green Cars, Sports carsNo Comments