£5 million available for Local Authorities to green their fleets

The Government is making £5 million available to local authorities and other public bodies to convert their vehicles to run on cleaner fuels or fit pollution-busting technology to treat exhaust fumes. The Clean Vehicle Technology Fund aims to improve air quality in towns and cities across England. Each authority can apply for up to a maximum of £500,000 for vehicles that are used predominantly on local roads with poor air quality. Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “This is our latest step in a major programme of measures to make our air cleaner. “We are raising the bar and making sure that the ongoing trend of improving air quality continues. “This £5 million will mean less harmful exhaust fumes from buses, and other vehicles, in some of our most polluted urban areas. “This funding will also secure jobs and growth in the industries delivering the…

GM pulls Chevrolet out of Europe

General Motors has announced that it is to withdraw its Chevrolet brand from Europe from 2016, citing a ‘challenging business model and the difficult economic situation in Europe’. Instead GM will focus its efforts more on the Opel and Vauxhall brands whilst tailoring the Chevrolet its presence to offering select ‘iconic’ vehicles – such as the Corvette – in Western and Eastern Europe. Chevrolet will also continue to have a broad presence in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States where GM said the three brands are clearly defined and distinguished and, as a result, are more competitive within their respective segments. GM also announced that Cadillac, which is finalising plans for expanding in the European market, will enhance and expand its distribution network over the next three years as it prepares for numerous product introductions. ‘Europe is a key region for GM that…

Get SMART about repairs to reduce fleet costs

Fleet managers could be saving tens of thousands of pounds in end-of-life de-fleeting costs by opting for ongoing SMART repair work throughout the life of the lease. So says bodyshop distribution network ACIS after carrying out bodyshop data analysis. So-called SMART – Small to Medium Area Repair– technology is now being increasingly used mid-lease when cars go in for servicing. According to ACIS, a typical BMW rear bumper with slight damage would cost around £300 to repair at the end of contract based upon the menu price, but a SMART repair mid-lease would be two-thirds lower. Across a fleet of 500 vehicles, this type of repair would save £120,000. Research by ACIS suggested that dealerships, on average, service 20 cars a day and sell a further 20 used cars a month. Of the cars serviced: 40% will have alloy wheel damage 30% will have…

Price-Drop Confirmed for Vauxhall Ampera

Vauxhall has confirmed that the OTR starting price of the Ampera extended-range electric vehicle is to fall by £3,500 in a move to make electric mobility more accessible. The price drop, which follows a similar price reduction for the Opel model in Germany, means that the model now bears a starting price of £28,750 OTR, inclusive of the Government’s £5,000 grant. ‘Ampera’s new price position brings the cost of electric motoring much nearer to that of a conventional vehicle,’ said Duncan Aldred, Vauxhall’s chairman and managing director. ‘It also reinforces the multi award-winning Ampera’s position as the only solution to electric vehicle ownership that can be the sole family car.’ The Ampera offers a real-world battery range of between 25-50 miles, after which a small range-extending generator, powered by a 1.4-litre petrol engine, intervenes to provide up to an additional 300-plus mile range. At all times, the Ampera’s…

EST demonstrates Electric Vehicle technology in Scotland

Whether you’re a large business with a whole fleet of vehicles or a small business with just one or two company cars, it’s worth finding out more about electric vehicles (EVs), says the Energy Saving Trust (EST). With the rising price of fuel and uncertainty in the economy, EST suggests it has never been more important to take action to reduce your organisation’s fuel costs. It says that EVs can help you do just that, with a cost as low as 2p per mile. And with increasing emphasis put on corporate and social responsibility, businesses are finding they can stand out from the crowd by demonstrating their environmental credentials to a range of stakeholders. EST is holding free morning events in five locations across Scotland for Scottish businesses who want to: • learn about the business benefits of EVs • understand the range of…

Could a BMW X5 be your next company car?

BMW has released the first official pictures of its new X5 and revealed that it will be available with a four-cylinder diesel engine and two-wheel drive, reducing running costs compared with the current model. The X5 will be on sale in the UK from November 16 and the 2.0-litre 218bhp rear-wheel drive model is expected later in the year, and will achieve 50.4mpg and emit 149g/km CO2 with prices starting at £42,590. The move to offer a four-cylinder diesel unit comes after Mercedes offered a similar engine in its M-Class last year. All models will come with an eight-speed automatic transmission which has an Eco Pro mode that adapts the engine management, accelerator response and transmission characteristics to support a fuel-efficient driving style, and programmes the climate control and heated seats and mirrors for the most efficient use of energy. Auto Start-Stop, Brake Energy…

DVLA changes could mean longer wait for company cars

Government plans that will result in the closure of 39 DVLA regional offices could result in fleets having to wait longer for vehicles to be delivered. Effectively, the dealer controls the tax disc process, but has to wait for permission from the leasing company to register the car at which point the disc is ordered. But with regional offices being shut, the dealer will no longer be able to issue the tax disc on site and collect from its nearest centre. Instead, it will be issued centrally by the DVLA which could result in it taking up to three weeks to receive the disc. It creates a dilemma. Do you want it sent to the dealership or sent to the customer, but then who is the customer? The leasing company won’t want it because of the cost of administering the service and the associated…

10 minute company car check could save you £1,000s

Fleet managers could save thousands of pounds per year by taking 10 minutes to check the external condition of leased vehicles before they are due to be returned. The cosmetic vehicle repair specialist advises developing an internal lease return inspection protocol. This should involve inspecting bumpers, alloys and paintwork for scuffs, bumps and scratches a few weeks before the official end of lease inspection is due. According to industry figures, 27% of returned vehicles incur a fair wear and tear recharge. This is generally because damage has been left untouched or not repaired to a high enough standard. Large fleets could quickly realise significant savings by checking vehicles and organising appropriate repairs themselves through accredited SMART repairers or bodyshops. Revive advises fleet managers to follow these five ‘10-minute check-up’ tips: Ensure the vehicle is clean and dry: dirt and wet can mask scratches and…

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