Fleet demand for plug-in cars set to rise with WLTP regime

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Fleet and company car driver demand for plug-in hybrid and zero emission electric vehicles is expected to increase with the arrival of the all-new Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) due to being the least affected by potential increases in motoring taxes.

This is according to a new white paper ‘Real World Driving Emissions’ published by Puddy Vehicle Solutions (PVS) to provide fleet decision-makers with insight into how WLTP and the related Real Driving Emissions test procedure will impact on car CO2 emissions and thus company car benefit-in-kind tax, Vehicle Excise Duty and capital allowances, which are all based on CO2 figures, as well as fuel economy. Vehicles are on average around 20% more inefficient under WLTP testing.

PVS founder Marcus Puddy, who has a 30-year fleet industry career behind him, believes many fleet managers - and consequently company car drivers - remain in the dark about the potential impact of WLTP and RDE on vehicle choice lists.
As a result, making the ‘wrong’ car choice could land employers and employees with tax bills significantly higher than currently.

Simple checks could prevent motorway tyre failures

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Almost three quarters of motorway incidents related to tyre failure could be prevented if drivers carried out simple checks, according to new research unveiled by Highways England and tyre company Bridgestone.

More than 30 people were killed or seriously injured in motorway crashes in 2016 due to illegal or faulty tyres. But an 18-month study says commuters, commercial drivers and other road users could do a lot more to help reduce crashes through regular tyre checking.

Richard Leonard, Highways England’s head of road safety, said: “England’s motorways are the safest in the world but we’re determined to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on them. Road users must play a bigger role and get into the habit of checking tyre pressures and tread depths and looking out for nails and other debris stuck in tyres before setting out on journeys. These simple checks could save lives.”

The research revealed that almost 75% of tyre failure samples analysed by Bridgestone involved poor inflation or debris penetration issues - problems which could be potentially avoided with better tyre husbandry.

RAC pothole related breakdowns third highest on record

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The proportion of breakdowns caused by potholes in the first quarter of 2018 was the third highest on record (since 2006), according to the RAC. 

An analysis of RAC breakdown data has revealed motorists are still suffering the effects of the harsh winter weather seen in February and March due to the resulting deterioration of road surfaces right across the UK.

The percentage of RAC breakdowns likely to be attributed to damage caused by potholes and poor quality road surfaces, such as damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs or distorted wheels:
• doubled to 2.3% from 1.2% in the last quarter of 2017 – only the first quarters of 2015 (2.6%) and 2017 (2.7%) were higher.
• That equated to 5,540 call-outs for those faults from a total of more than 244,000 RAC breakdowns over the same period - up from 2,841 in Q4 2017.

While the sheer volume of ‘pothole breakdowns’ may not have been as high as might have been expected considering the severity of the cold weather, the RAC said it expected the second quarter of this year to be a better indicator of the true state of the country’s roads. That’s because the weather hit relatively late in the quarter and, as a result, more vehicles are expected to suffer pothole damage in the second quarter of 2018 compared with recent years.