London will have the UK’s first 24/7 zero emission street

The City of London Corporation has backed plans to launch the UK’s first 24/7 zero emission street in a bid to improve air quality in the Square Mile.

Beech Street, much of which runs under the Barbican Estate, is now expected to be restricted to zero emission vehicles*, cyclists and pedestrians by Spring 2020, pending final approval by Transport for London (TfL).

Exceptions will be provided for emergency vehicles, access to the car parks off Beech Street and for refuse collection and deliveries. Bus route 153, which is fully electric and runs down Beech Street, is unaffected by the changes.

The experimental traffic order will run for a maximum of 18 months, during which time the impact on air quality and traffic will be monitored.

Beech Street experiences high levels of air pollution as it is a busy, enclosed thoroughfare. A significant improvement in air quality is expected, resulting in health benefits for the many pedestrians and cyclists that use the street.

The scheme aims to bring nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels within air quality guidelines set out by the European Union and World Health Organisation.

The City Corporation also hopes to improve air quality in the vicinity of the street, particularly around the entrances to Richard Cloudesley School and Prior Weston Primary School. If deemed successful, the trial may be made permanent.

The City Corporation is encouraging the uptake of fully electric and compliant hybrid vehicles to improve air quality in the Square Mile in line with its Transport Strategy and Air Quality Strategy.

It will use the trial to consider whether similar measures are suitable for other streets in the City of London.

Streets and Walkways Sub (Planning and Transportation) Committee Chairman, Oliver Sells QC said:

“This is a groundbreaking scheme by the City of London Corporation.

“It will bring substantial health benefits to those who live and work in the Barbican area, and will also help reduce noise pollution.

“The experimental scheme will be enforced using the latest in smart camera technology and I hope it will be the first of many other schemes like this.”

Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Environment Committee, Jeremy Simons said:

“These measures are another important step towards cleaner air in the City.

“Drastically reducing air pollution requires radical actions, and these plans will help us eliminate toxic air on our streets.

“Nobody should have to breathe in dirty air, and we will continue to take bold and ambitious steps to ensure that the health of Londoners is protected.”

To improve awareness of the zero-emission restrictions on Beech Street, the City Corporation will provide clear street signage. An information campaign will take place before the restrictions come in, including social media, leafleting and direct discussions with City firms.

The Beech Street scheme is just one part of the City Corporation’s fightback against air pollution. The City Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee has backed proposals to turn parts of the Square Mile into zero-emissions zones by 2022 and cut the speed limit to 15mph as part of its new Transport Strategy.

It has already banned the purchase of diesel vehicles from its own vehicle fleet, where there is a clean market alternative.

As well as working with businesses through its CityAir Programme, the City Corporation is leading a London-wide crackdown on drivers who leave their engines idling – and its new procurement rules have brought in tight restrictions on harmful emissions from bulldozers and generators.

Its CityAir app provides over 27,000 Londoners with low pollution travel routes across the capital, with advice and alerts when air pollution is high.

In 2018 the City Corporation announced new emissions-based charges for on-street parking in the Square Mile, targeting high polluting transport with higher charges while rewarding drivers of low emission vehicles with lower tariffs.

Following approval by the relevant City Corporation committees, the implementation of the scheme is subject to final approval from TfL.

When will we have small sensible city cars again?

The Audi A1 concept is an exciting new vehicle. Small cars make sense in the city. Safe transit for kids without hauling 2 tons of metal can only be a good thing. Lets see the Audi A1 concept on the road soon.

Heres what Audi have to say about the vehicle.

With an exterior length of 4.30 metres and a width of 1,90 metres, the Audi AI:ME takes up no more road space than a present-day compact car. However, the wheelbase of 2.77 metres and the height of 1.52 metres indicate interior dimensions that are more likely to be found in the next higher class at least.

This is made possible by the architecture of the electric drive. It allows for short overhangs and a large-volume interior without a propeller shaft tunnel. The drive unit is positioned on the rear axle and mobilises 125 kW (170 metric hp).

For the occupants, the compact drive package offers a maximum amount of objectively available space, spatial comfort, and a great deal of variability. The Audi AI:ME is designed as a 2 plus-x-seater. Its layout relies on a variety of configurations for seat positions and stowage space. While only the individual seats at the front will be used during most journeys, the car offers space for up to four people in the front and on the rear bench if necessary.

Garage finder for servicing Electric Cars. An excellent idea!

The Motor Ombudsman plugs in new Garage Finder feature to show businesses offering electric vehicle servicing  

The latest upgrade to the online tool follows the body’s YouGov poll of 1,903 UK driving licence holders, which revealed that 84% of people would not know of a local business to get their electric vehicle serviced if they owned one!

The study also found that only around one in ten respondents (12%) were familiar with how an annual service for a battery-powered vehicle differs from one that has a petrol or diesel engine 

With an increasing number of people turning to zero emission car ownership in the UK, The Motor Ombudsman, the automotive dispute resolution provider, has announced the introduction of a new search facility and dedicated symbol on its Garage Finder to make it easier and quicker for drivers to find and identify a local accredited business that is able to service and repair electric vehicles (EVs). 

The latest upgrade (TheMotorOmbudsman.org/garage-finder) comes in response to the findings of The Motor Ombudsman’s recently commissioned YouGov survey of 1,903 UK driving licence holders. The study found that, if they were to own an electric vehicle, 84% of people would not know of a local independent garage or car dealership where they could take it for its annual service. Those living in Northern Ireland, and individuals over the age of 45, would be the least familiar as to where to go, with 94% and 85% of people stating respectively that this would be the case. Conversely, male drivers (one in five), and those aged between 18 to 24 years (17%), were the most conversant as to which local businesses could accommodate this type of car. 

In addition, when it came to understanding how an annual service for a battery-powered vehicle differs to the yearly review for a car powered by an engine, only around one in ten survey participants (12%) indicated that they would be able to distinguish between the two. Out of all regions in the UK, licence holders residing in London (16%) and Wales (15%), were the most able to recognise that servicing for zero emission cars had fundamental differences to that for a car running on petrol or diesel fuel.     

Of the 1,903 adults with a driving licence who took part in the study, two thirds were able to correctly identify that brakes and tyres (67% and 66% of individuals respectively) would be checked during an annual service for an EV. Furthermore, over 60% of those polled rightly indicated that the condition of the suspension (61%) and windscreen wipers (63%) would also be looked at. In contrast, 40% incorrectly said that the air filter would need to be examined during the routine maintenance of a battery-powered car. Similarly, just under a third of those surveyed stated that they thought there would be an oil change (30%), whilst the car’s timing belt (29%), emissions (26%) and spark plugs (26%) would equally be inspected when on the ramp, checks that actually wouldn’t happen during an EV service. 

Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director at The Motor Ombudsman, said: “Sales of electric vehicles are fast gathering pace, and they all need to be serviced and maintained in accordance with recommended manufacturer guidelines. Our research showed that there was an inherent need to make it quicker and easier for repairers to make motorists aware that they can service electric vehicles, and for owners to be able to easily find a business where they can take their car in. The new facility on our Garage Finder responds to both of these requirements, and therefore we expect it to be an extremely popular addition.” 

To access The Motor Ombudsman’s Garage Finder, visit www.TheMotorOmbudsman.org/Garage-Finder.   

Some ideas for EV adoption by customers…

Using Australian research, to kick the automotive industry into gear three issues must be resolved:

  1. Education and awareness – With only 16% of people believing that they are adequately informed about electric vehicles there is a real opportunity for the automotive industry to educate them regarding the unique benefits of electric vehicles. There are mixed results when it comes to awareness of brands offering electric cars – 16 % of respondents called out Tesla, 11% Toyota, and 5% BMW, Nissan and Hyundai. Interestingly, when asked to select a brand they thought sold electric vehicles in Australia, 23% selected brands which don’t and 12% reported no manufacturers sell these types of cars in Australia.
  2. Perceived value – 79% of Australians said price was the key factor to entice them to purchase an electric vehicle. As many as 50% said they would pay only $20-$30K. This is a major barrier to sales considering vehicles at the lower end, such as a Hyundai IONIQ retail from $45K plus on road costs, while a Nissan Leaf costs around $50K. It is, therefore, no surprise that luxury car buyers are driving electric vehicle sales as they can afford to pay the premium.
  3. Vehicle range and infrastructure – As many as 47% of people believe electric vehicles can only travel 100-300 kms before recharging. Yet, despite most people claiming to drive less than 80kms a day, the dangers of running out of charge on long road trips is a major deterrent to purchase. Furthermore, 77% of Australians say the lack of public infrastructure is another key deterrent. This is demonstrated by the fact that there are only 800 charging stations in Australia, compared to over 6,000 petrol stations.

This is based on research by Nielson on Australian Consumers

Real-time image creation: A new wave of experiences for car buyers

Shots magazine have produced an excellent article about where creative is heading to entice the car buyer into the new car;

With the landscape changing for the automotive industry, how are car brands using creative technology to entice potential customers? Chris Christodoulou explains… 

The automotive industry landscape is changing. Rather than a shiny new state-of-the-art car, we’re much more likely to buy a second, third or even sixth-hand vehicle online. 

Audi White City

In fact, new car registrations were down 6.8% in 2018. The result? A sharp decline in dealership visits. That’s why automotive brands have been amongst the most innovative in going beyond traditional advertising.

Brands are going a step further when it comes to personalising the retail experience… into richer, more engaging experiences built with real-time technology.

Over the last decade, automotive brands have been personalising online experiences using CGI. London’s first all-digital showroom, Audi City, is perhaps the most high profile example. Visitors can research, build and interact with their ‘dream car’ via large screens, showing life-size cars in every conceivable design. This approach created greater dealership visits and increased that showroom’s sales because the experience was so rich. You can read the rest of this excellent article here

We’ve been producing high end content for Audi, Toyota and GKN in both the immersive and CG space for many years. Contact us to find out more

Cross Shopping for EV buyers

There’s some interesting facts on whatcar.com about EV buyer habits. At the start of the research process almost 25% are considering the Hyundai Kona Electric. That figure drops to 16.2% by the time they’re ready to buy. The Nissan Leaf, by contrast, starts as the second most considered rival at 15.5% and strengthens to 17.3% by the end of the process to become the strongest challenger. We wonder why this could be. Is it perhaps that the Leaf was first to market and EV adopters feel more comfortable with a more established vehicle?

Carmakers plan VR for boredom free Autonomous Car journeys.

Audi and Nissan are planning to use in vehicle VR for long driverless journeys.

Holoride, an Audi subsidiary, has demonstrated how it wants to turn road trips into virtual reality experiences. Passengers can swim with Whales or through sunken ships in the deep sea while on a drive. As the car accelerates or steers sideways, movements are logged by a computer installed in the cars boot which adjusts the passengers view in the VR goggles. This will reduce the possibility of motion sickness.

Nissan have showcased a set of goggles for drivers and passengers that could deliver real time information and project a talking cartoon character that communicates with the wearer. “We want to fulfill peoples emotional needs” said Tetsuro Ueda, expert leader at the Nissan Research Centre.

Virtual experiences will be deployed when the industry reaches Level 4, or fully autonomous standards. At this stage, the vehicle will be able to handle all aspects of driving in most circumstances with no human intervention.

Video of Audi and Holoride at CES 2019

Mercedes Benz branded short film causing a stir

Mercedes have produced a 5 minute short film on You Tube (the worlds 2nd biggest search engine.) It’s a lovely piece of branded content that is gaining great exposure. As sited in a recent Nielson Auto report…”Over the years, Benz has benefited from the highest paid visibility against model keywords and the highest visibility for nonbranded luxury keywords, but it fell five spots from last year’s digital ranking. One reason behind this could be the changing of the times. Energy efficiency has come to the forefront, as brands like Volkswagen commit to offering electric versions of all models by 2030 and 29% of customers prefer alternatives to traditional internal combustion engines, up from 20% the previous year. Meanwhile, the fully electric Tesla Model 3 is soaring in popularity across the nation, according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Auto.”

Carmakers could now be considering long form content in their planning. We have access to some of the best writers and filmmakers working in this field. Contact us to find out more.

Thinking of shifting to an Electric Car?

Then we would like to talk to you. If you are one of the many drivers seriously considering moving over to an EV, but are concerned with making the leap, you could be part of a research study we are undertaking. We are looking for those brave drivers who would be happy to be filmed about their experiences of shifting from the internal combustion engine. Please complete the form under the contact section of this website using the word “buyer” and we will be in touch.