Britain gets ready to go Electric

It seems that the tide has finally turned. After years of being written off as either underpowered, a futile token of environmentalism or a silly gimmick, people are at last beginning to accept that the future of motoring might just turn out to be electric.

Whereas electric vehicles used to have very little credibility among the motoring public, with the vast majority deriding them for all of the above reasons, a recent survey by vehicle valuations company Glass’s has found that more than half of motorists are prepared to embrace electric cars, even branding them as the “vehicle of the future”.

Despite this news, resistance still remains, with 28% dismissing them as a marketing gimmick. And in a further sign of how far we still are from all going electric, only 9% say that they would consider an electric car as their next vehicle.

Contrary to popular belief, electric cars have existed in one form or another for over a century now. However, it is only now that they have begun to really take off.

Just this week it was revealed by the transport secretary that the government will be offering vehicle buyers a grant of up to £5,000 to subsidise the purchase of an electric car. It is hoped that the move will go some way to reducing emissions and improving overall air quality

In addition, plans were announced for hundreds of new electric vehicle charging points across the country.

It seems that car insurance companies need to ready themselves for the new breed of electric motorist.

Image © terren in Virginia via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence



£60 fine is snow joke for motorists

Some parts of the UK have been heavily disrupted by the recent snow (Scotland’s seeing its worst winter in 45 years), but in most areas life continues as normal, which has prompted police to issue a warning about snowy car roofs.

Motorists who drive with snow on their vehicle’s roof may be fined £60 and have three points put on their licence.

This warning should be paid attention to. That extra minute or so it would take to brush the snow off from the top of the car, probably isn’t worth £60 and three licence points.

As well as the potential cost, more importantly, it’s dangerous and that’s why police are prepared to fine people as a deterrent. Snow can fall into the road behind you, causing any vehicle following at the rear to have an accident, or, if you have to brake a little suddenly, you may find yourself with a sheet of snow on your windscreen, blocking your view ahead.

So, in summary:
  • Building a snowman on your car roof – fine.
  • Driving around with a snowman on your car roof – bad.

Have a safe Christmas everyone.

Image © retrospects via Flickr, under Creative Common Licence



Christmas time, mistletoe and… a non-alcoholic drink

It may be useful to be aware, as Christmas and New Year festivities commence, that the House of Commons Transport Select Committee has made calls for a reduction in the amount of alcohol motorists are allowed to have in their blood when driving.

At the moment, police can arrest people when they find more than 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, but if this new rule goes through the figure will reduce to 20 milligrams.

A large glass of white wine, for women, is enough to take them over the 80 milligram limit.

Even with a blood alcohol level just under the 80 milligram limit, statistics have shown that motorists are still twice as likely to have an accident as someone who has not had an alcoholic drink.

Anyone breaking the new law, should it come into force, will face a possible driving ban of at least 12 months.

Enjoy the festive season, have a great time when you go out, but please, don’t drink and drive - it’s just not worth it.

Image © Roberto Bouza via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence




Oh Christmas Tree

Hooray, it’s December and now all our Christmas decorations can go up, although shops have had them on display since mid-October.

Some of us might be rummaging around the garage or attic for the plastic fir tree, but others will be driving to the nearest Christmas tree farm to get the real deal.

Once you’ve found your tree, and the excitement has died down a little, you may remember that you now have to get the new, festive member of the family home – somehow.

Well, here are some tips to help you wrestle the bushy plant onto your car and get back to enjoying the rest of the holidays.

Christmas tree wrestling
  • Put on some thick gloves, preferably gardening ones, so that you don’t tear your hands up.
  • Put a jacket or coat on so that your arms are protected too.
  • Give your tree a shake to get rid of loose needles, insects and anything else you don’t want to bring into your home.
  • Cover the roof of your car with a plastic sheet so that paintwork doesn’t get scratched.
  • Lift the tree onto the roof, trunk end forwards to stop wind breaking branches.
  • Wind some rope or a bungee cord over and under the tree and roof-bars till the tree is secure – give it a tug to make sure.
  • Drive home.
  • Repeat all stages backwards, apart from this one and the one above.

Have fun decorating and beware of old or overheating fairy lights and candles. Stay safe and have a happy Christmas everyone. From duck2water

Image © wolfsavard via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence



Leaf at the top of the pile

Don’t you wish that for every mile you drove you only spent, say, 2.5p?

This is no longer a pipedream thanks to 2011 European Car of the Year winner, the Nissan Leaf.

It was in close competition with the Giulietta from Alfa Romeo, and Vauxhall’s Meriva, which finished a respectable 3rd place, but it came out on top.

It’s the only electric car to have ever won the award in the competition’s 47 years of existence and judges of the European Car of the Year Awards applauded the vehicle for being the first electric car powerful enough to compete with petrol fuelled automobiles.

Although the Leaf is built in Japan at the moment, in 2013, production of both the car and its batteries should move to Britain.

The Nissan Leaf will be available from 2011, and can be pre-ordered now by those of us who are eager to reduce our carbon footprint in style.

Image © kosabe via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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