Vauxhall mechanic retires after clocking up 75 years of service

90-year-old started working for Vauxhall in 1946 as a mechanical apprentice and now retires having spent last 34 years as warranty administrator

Vauxhall has wished one of its longest-serving staff members a happy retirement, ending a 75-year association with the company.

Bryan Webb began working for Vauxhall in 1946, after walking into his local garage, Hough & Whitmore in Gloucester, and asking if they had any jobs.

Four years later he completed his mechanical apprenticeship and, by the age of 26, he was workshop foreman.

For the last 34 years, Bryan has worked as a warranty administrator at Baylis Gloucester and his career has seen him own a succession of Vauxhall models stretching across seven decades, beginning with a Vauxhall Velox in 1956.

While 90-year-old Bryan’s 75-year association with Vauxhall has come to an end, he still wears the watch that was handed to him in 1970 in recognition of 25 years of service.

Little did he know at the time, but he was only one-third of his way to retirement at the time.

Julian Bawdon, director at Baylis, said: “I have only known Bryan for 14 years of his long career with the company and he is a credit to both Baylis and Vauxhall.

“I would like to thank him for his incredible loyalty and hard work, as well as wish him a long and happy retirement.”

Paul Willcox, Vauxhall managing director said: “For anyone to enjoy a 75-year career is an impressive feat but to be involved with the same company for this length of time is remarkable.

“On behalf of all of us at Vauxhall Motors, we thank Bryan warmly for his dedication, hard work and long service and we wish him a very happy and healthy retirement – it’s no less than he deserves.”

Bryan Webb said: “I love to keep busy and have thoroughly enjoyed my 75 years with Baylis and Vauxhall.

“I will miss my colleagues and wish them every success in the future.

“The biggest change I’ve seen in my career is new technology coming in and I hope Vauxhall continues this trend with its growing range of all-electric cars and vans.”

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IGA urges Chancellor to clarify garage eligibility for new rates discount

New one year 50 per cent business rates discount for retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors

The Independent Garage Association (IGA) is calling for the Chancellor to confirm that independent garages are eligible for the new one year 50 per cent business rates discount for retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors announced in today’s Budget statement.

Stuart James, IGA Chief Executive said: “Last year, independent garages struggled to claim business rate relief despite being retail outlets, as they were not specifically included on the list of eligible businesses for local authorities.

“This caused garages much confusion and distress, and left them with little support.

“Garages businesses are in need of financial aid, as they are still recouping from financial losses incurred throughout the COVID-19 lockdowns, and are experiencing reduced incomes due to ongoing fluctuations in demand for MOTs caused by last year’s six-month MOT extension.

“It is vital that garages can claim this new discount to help them to stay afloat and retain their staff, so they can continue their vital work keeping vehicles safe and roadworthy.

“We urge the Chancellor to ensure that independent garages are specifically included on the list of businesses eligible for the new business rates discount.”

For further details, please click here.

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Yuasa Issue Start-Stop Battery Reminder

Battery giant issues advice on the importance of fitting the correct battery to start-stop vehicles

According to leading battery manufacturer GS Yuasa, whilst most technicians understand the need to fit the correct battery on Start-Stop vehicles, there’s still a risk some will choose to fit a traditional lead acid battery.  They’re keen to stress the importance of choosing the correct battery for Start-Stop vehicles.

It’s well known that more and more vehicles are now equipped with Start-Stop technology in a bid to reduce global vehicle CO2 emissions. This technology, which temporarily cuts the engine while the car is at a standstill, puts an additional strain on the battery. It’s the reason why vehicles with Start-Stop technology require a specific type of battery.

“With a traditional lead acid battery, its requirement is to supply a single large current to the starter motor to crank the engine over at the beginning of the journey. Whereas a vehicle with Start-Stop technology will require an enhanced cyclic performance battery to discharge and charge multiple times throughout the journey,” explains Ian Newham, Training Manager from GS Yuasa.  “It’s also required to sustain other electrical drains such as lights, air conditioning and in-car entertainment systems when the engine is off while stationary.”

To put into perspective the difference in the amount of work that these two types of batteries are required to perform, a standard lead acid battery fitted to a car without Start-Stop will typically perform 20,000 and 50,000 start events over its lifetime dependent on the specification of the product fitted. In contrast a battery fitted on a high specification vehicle equipped with Start-Stop technology and additional systems such as brake regeneration and battery management can expect to endure up to 360,000 start events in its lifetime which can be over seven times that expected from a high specification standard product.

“Fitting a standard car battery to a vehicle fitted with Start-Stop technology will result in premature failure of the battery after a very short period,” advises Ian, “As vehicles equipped with Start-Stop technology find their way into garages for replacement batteries, an occurrence that’s set to increase, it’s critical the correct battery is fitted, so the vehicle can continue operating as intended by the OE manufacturer.”

AGM batteries (Absorbed Glass Mat) are developed for vehicles with the most severe requirement for reducing emissions, such as vehicles with Start-Stop, regenerative braking systems, and high levels of electrical specification. The Yuasa range of batteries that feature this technology is the YBX9000 Series

EFB batteries (Enhanced Flooded Battery) and are designed for vehicles with an intermediate requirement for reducing emissions. This type of battery is found in the Yuasa YBX7000 range.

The Parts Alliance are the UK’s largest distributor of Yuasa batteries. In terms of identifying the correct battery reference, their parts advisors use an industry leading parts catalogue. Alternatively, technicians can use the Battery Finder tool on the Yuasa website using vehicle registration, vehicle type, VIN number or part cross reference.

Technicians keen to learn more about start-stop batteries are recommend by Yuasa to visit their online training academy. “After registering on the academy technicians have access to a multitude of courses, including one dedicated to next generation batteries. Our academy is IMI approved and is completely free to access,” said Ian.

The GS Yuasa Academy can be found at https://academy.gs-yuasa.eu/

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Delphi Technologies invests in ‘smart mobility venture’

Firm aims to support workshops looking to maximize their revenue opportunities well into the future

Delphi Technologies Aftermarket has joined forces with NEXUS Automotive International and Mobilion Ventures in investing in high-tech start-ups that are focused on developing aftermarket solutions for smart mobility technologies.

The three-year investment in the venture capital fund called Mobilion provides Delphi Technologies with unique access to aftermarket products, services, tools and training under development by entrepreneurs around the world in areas that include advanced control and safety systems, fleet management & navigation, electric vehicles solutions and communication & connectivity systems.

Neil Fryer, Delphi Technologies Aftermarket VP global marketing, product, and strategy said: “Smart mobility around the 4 key areas of connectivity, autonomy, sharing, and electrification (CASE) is already changing our world for the better.

“We will remain at the forefront of these exciting developments as the fund accelerates our access to the brightest minds with the most cutting-edge ideas, allowing us to influence the development of those ideas and how they are brought to market.”

This first-of-its-kind initiative is expected to accelerate new product and service time-to-market by up to 60 per cent which can make all the difference to a market needing to respond promptly to global CASE demands and also sustainability initiatives.

The speed and agility that’s been proven through Mobilion’s accelerated approach, which can trim the standard 5- to 6-year development process down to 2 or 3, can help Delphi Technologies diversify its portfolio and give its customers a significant competitive edge in the rapidly shifting mobility marketplace.

From Mobilion’s perspective, Delphi Technologies contributes with a strategic insight in selecting the best start-ups to invest in.

Avi Feldman, Co-Founding and Managing Partner at Mobilion Ventures said: “We are fortunate to have Delphi Technologies as a partner in the Fund as it provides us with unique market benefits.

“We’re better able to validate specific developments before making the investment and plan with our partners on the right market approach that will result in the best technologies and innovations.”

For further information, please click here.

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Supermarkets add 1,000 EV charge points since early 2020

Rapid chargers at supermarkets more than double in less than two years

Nearly 1,000 new electric vehicle (EV) charge points have been installed at supermarkets in the last 21 months, according to data analysed by Zap-Map and the RAC.

The total number of EV charger units on their sites to 2,059, up 85 per cent from 1,112 in January 2020.

It means nearly eight per cent of all the UK’s 26,000 publicly accessible charge points are located at supermarkets – up from 6.5 per cent in early 2020.

The total number of stores now offering charging facilities for battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles has also more than doubled from 607 in early 2020 to 1,300 in 2021.

Tesco has added more EV chargers than any other supermarket by installing 641 devices, giving it a total of 922 across its 4,008 stores – 676 more than its nearest EV charging rival Asda which has 246 chargers.

The supermarket giant now has charging facilities at 514 of its sites – 372 more than at the start of last year.

However, due to the size of its portfolio it means only 13 per cent of its stores have the capability to charge an EV.

Morrisons installed chargers at 112 stores over the 21 months studied by Zap-Map and the RAC giving it a total of 201 sites with EV facilities– and means 40 per cent of its estate now offers EV charging, the greatest proportion of any supermarket.

Its nearest rival Lidl has chargers at a quarter (24 per cent) of its stores after adding EV facilities at 141 locations to give it 203 sites in total.

The data shows few supermarkets other than Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and Lidl have, to date, decided to invest heavily in EV chargers for their customers.

Some 280 more rapid charge points have been installed at supermarkets from the start of 2020 to September 2021, meaning there are now 454 of the devices for EV driving shoppers to use.

Morrisons is leading the way with rapid devices at 40 per cent (197 locations) of its 497 stores compared to nearest rival Lidl which has 150 rapid charging locations, representing 17 per cent of its 860 stores.

RAC director of EVs Sarah Winward-Kotecha said: “While the majority of drivers going electric will be fortunate enough to be able to charge easily on their driveways at home, for the remainder it won’t be so easy so having access to free, or affordable, charging facilities at supermarkets is very important, and could even help accelerate EV take-up in the first place.

“Rapid charge points, in particular, make it possible to run an EV easily without access to a home charger as drivers can get their cars topped up in the time it takes them to do their weekly shop.

“At the RAC, we’re doing everything we can to encourage drivers to ‘go electric’ including launching a free EV Experts helpline so they can have any of their questions answered, including those related to charging away from home.”

Melanie Shufflebotham, co-founder of the UK’s leading charging point platform Zap-Map, said: “Over the past 12 months there has been more than 130,000 new drivers of 100 per cent electric cars on UK roads and usage of public charging has surged since the lockdown has eased.

“To support the increased demand, more charge points will be needed in the future, so it is encouraging to see the progress made by the supermarkets.

“These facilities will be good both for ‘top-up’ charging and as a replacement for home charging.

“As we move towards 2030, it will be important for supermarkets not only to accelerate this roll-out but also to ensure that the consumer experience is as good as possible by providing ‘open access’ and simple payment options.”

The RAC is helping make the switch to a zero-emission electric vehicle as easy as possible for drivers.

For EVs that can’t be fixed at the roadside the RAC has also developed the All-Wheels-Up recovery system which is deployed from the back of a standard patrol van to provide the equivalent of flatbed recovery, thereby enabling patrols to tow broken-down EVs safely with all four wheels off the ground.

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Customer questions why garage refused MOT over lack of cleanliness

Cigarette ends, discarded rolling papers and rubbish left throughout car when presented for testing

Technicians refused to carry out an MOT on a vehicle because of the poor state of its interior.

Paisley Autocare MOT shared two pictures of car showing hundreds of cigarette ends and discarded rolling papers strewn over the floor.

There were also lighters and various other pieces of rubbish left lying around the footwells of the car.

The garage captioned the Facebook photos with: “All we ask when you have your MOT booked is that your vehicle is fairly clean inside.

“We refused to MOT this vehicle this week. The customer then replied ‘what’s wrong with it?”

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Petrol prices hit new record high

Price of unleaded has rocketed by 28p a litre in a year

The average price of petrol hit a new record high of 142.94p on Sunday (24 October), exceeding the 142.48p a litre all-time peak reached on 16 April 2012.

RAC Fuel Watch data shows the price of unleaded has rocketed by 28p a litre in a year from 114.5p in October 2020, adding £15 to the cost of filling up a 55-litre family car (£63 to £78.61).

Diesel is also closing in on a new record with the average now standing at 146.50p, just 1.5p off the high of 147.93p, also from April 2012.

The dramatic hike has been driven primarily by the oil price doubling from around $40 a barrel a year ago to $85 now – but some analysts predict it could hit $90 by the end of the year.

While the jump in the price of oil is main reason for the new record pump price it is not the only factor.

September’s switch to greener E10 petrol has also played a part, as has the margin retailers are taking on every litre sold which is now greater than it was prior to the start of the pandemic.

On 1 September the bio content of unleaded increased from five per cent ethanol to ten per cent, and as ethanol is more expensive than petrol, it added around a penny a litre to the cost on the forecourt.

The bio element of a litre now accounts for 8.5p of the cost prior to VAT in comparison to the pure petrol cost which equates to around 41p.

This could easily rise still further as the price of ethanol has gone up by 52 per cent since E10 was introduced.

Duty at 57.95p a litre still exceeds the combined bio and petrol components which amount to around 50p.

VAT currently equates to nearly 24p, but this is applied on top of all other elements of the petrol price including duty and retailer margin.

Since April 2020 retailers have increased their average margin on a litre by 2p from around 5.5p to 7.5p a litre.

With volumes sold at the pumps plummeting during the first UK lockdown and remaining lower subsequently retailers, particularly the smaller independent ones, are trying to balance the books.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “This is truly a dark day for drivers, and one which we hoped we wouldn’t see again after the high prices of April 2012.

“This will hurt many household budgets and no doubt have knock-on implications for the wider economy.

“The big question now is: where will it stop and what price will petrol hit? If oil gets to $100 a barrel, we could very easily see the average price climb to 150p a litre.

“We urge the Government to help ease the burden at the pumps by temporarily reducing VAT and for the biggest retailers to bring the amount they make on every litre of petrol back down to the level it was prior to the pandemic.”

While the price of petrol at the pumps may be the same now as in 2012, there are several major differences in their make-up.

In 2012 oil was $117 while now it is 28 per cent less at around $85.

The exchange rate, which is important as fuel – like oil – is traded in dollars, is 13 per cent lower today at $1.38 than it was in 2012 at $1.58 which means fuel is more expensive to buy on the wholesale market.

The price of ethanol is also 80 per cent higher than nine and a half years ago at £606 a tonne compared to just £304 in 2012 – and, of course, up to 10 per cent of petrol is now made up of the biofuel, in contrast to five per cent in 2012.

Retailer margin was also lower in 2012 at around 3.5p compared to 8p now.

Fortunately, duty remains the same at 57.95p a litre and VAT is also still charged at 20 per cent on the final transaction at the forecourt.

Simon Williams added: “We’re lucky the oil price isn’t as high as 2012 as we’d be paying even more at the pumps if it was, as the exchange rate is 13% lower which means wholesale fuel costs more for retailers to buy in.

“On the other side of the coin, unleaded now includes 5% more bio content and ethanol is far more expensive than petrol.

“But, even taking that into account, the petrol element of the price is still around 5p a litre cheaper than it was nine and a half years ago which points to the increased retailer margin now being taken.”

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Ring enters EV market with new product launch

New EV cable range now available

Ring Automotive has entered the electric vehicle (EV) market with the launch of its new EV and PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) cables range to give motorists the power to drive their future.

Ring has identified the need for charging cable products to offer motorists more options and choice when it comes to charging their electric vehicles.

Ring’s new EV cables connect to all Type 2 charge points which are standard across UK and Europe. The range includes both Type 1 and Type 2 sockets to charge those vehicles with Type 1 or Type 2 plug sockets, ensuring complete coverage across the market (except for Tesla models).

The market is changing, and Ring’s mission is to adapt its product portfolio to meet the needs of the ever-growing changes in demand.

2030 signals the end of internal combustion engine (ICE) sales in line with legislation – this is 2035 for hybrid vehicle sales.

And with the government investing £1.8 billion into infrastructure to create the ‘green revolution’, brands and motorists need to get on board with these changes – and fast.

In 2020 the market saw a 53 per cent increase in hybrid and electric vehicle sales, which led to an additional 164,000 electric cars on UK roads.

These figures are set to increase, as EVs become more and more affordable.

It’s not only passenger cars that are getting the EV makeover, as trade and fleets are getting on board too. For example, British Gas has recently announced all its vehicles will be electric by 2025.

Ring’s new EV cables range is made up of five products including RCC11605, RCC13205, for Type 1 EVs and RCC21605, RCC23205, RCC23P05, for Type 2 EVs.

In the Type 1 cable category, Ring offers 16A and 32A charging cables.

A 16A set of cables are considered slow charge, while the 32A set of cables will charge at a much faster rate.

In the Type 2 cable category, Ring again offers 16A and 32A cables for slow and fast charging. However, the RCC23P05 is designed to work with three-phase power supply for rapid charging.

The maximum charging speed of electric cars vary, and therefore, before purchasing a three-phase charging cable, the car’s highest possible charging speed capacity needs to be checked.

If the EV has a Type 1 charging connection, it will only work with single phase power supply.

All the cables in the range are five metres in length to reach any charge position on the vehicle from the charge station.

They come with a dust cap to prevent dirt and water ingress and have IP65 waterproof rating, meaning they are fully protected from splashing.

The cables also meet IK10 impact resistance, meaning they can be driven over and will withstand day-to-day rough use, such as being walked over or dragged along the floor.

All the cables come with a protective storage case to make tidying away easy, but also prevent damage from being left on the boot of a car.

Each cable is TUV CE and UKCA certified.

For further information, please click here.

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NGK to exhibit at Saltex 2021

Brand to exhibit on Stand K055 at the NEC, Birmingham on 3 – 4 November

Ignition and sensor specialist NGK will make its first appearance at a UK show since before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year when it exhibits at Saltex 2021 next month.

It will take centre stage at the two-day show, which is the leading turf management event for grounds care volunteers, professionals and manufacturers, when it exhibits on Stand K055 at the NEC, Birmingham on November 3 & 4.

The company’s stand will feature MO70 which at Santa Pod Santa Pod Raceway in Northamptonshire in October 2019 became the fastest lawnmower over 1/4 mile by completing the course in just 9.49 seconds, achieving a top speed of 115.53mph and also becoming the fastest accelerating lawnmower by reaching 102.64mph in 5.44 seconds.

NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd is well known for its expertise in the horticultural arena where its spark plugs are renowned for their fast heating which makes them ideal for engines that often work in harsh conditions.

Visitors to the stand will have the opportunity to obtain a copy of NGK’s new 2021/2022 Horticultural, Agricultural and Industrial Applications catalogue – featuring MO70 on the cover – which is packed with all the information they require and will also have the chance to win a prize in a crazy golf competition.

Mark Hallam, Marketing Manager, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “We are looking forward to attending Saltex 2021 and meeting our customers face-to-face for the first time since before last year’s first national lockdown.

“Visitors will be able to take away our new catalogue and also meet our staff to discuss our specialist products for the horticultural sector.”

For further details, please click here.

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“Dark day for drivers” as London’s ULEZ becomes 18 times bigger

Zone significantly expanded to cover all areas within the North and South Circular roads to boost air quality

London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has this week been expanded to create a single larger zone up to, but not including, the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205).

Cars, motorcycles, vans and other specialist vehicles (up to and including 3.5 tonnes), and minibuses (up to and including 5 tonnes) either need to meet the ULEZ emissions standards, or pay a £12.50 daily charge when driving within the expanded ULEZ zone.

The ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year except Christmas day.

Motorists can find out if their vehicle meets the emissions standard and the charges that may apply online.

Bath introduced the first emissions tax outside of London on 15 March 2021 but does not charge car drivers.
Birmingham Daily charge for drivers of older petrol and diesel cars to enter the limits of the city ring road on 1 June 2021 with £8 daily charge if a diesel car isn’t Euro 6 or petrol isn’t at least Euro 4.

UK list of clean air zones

Bath was the city outside of London to introduce an emissions tax. Its clean air zone came into force on 15 March 2021 but does not charge car drivers.

Birmingham started charging drivers of older petrol and diesel on 1 June 2021.

Others due to be enforced in the coming weeks and months include Portsmouth from 29 November, Bradford from January 2022 and Oxford from February 2022.

Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow are set to introduce zones in spring 2022, Manchester from 30 May 2022 and Newcastle from July 2022.

Bristol also has plans for a clean air zone in summer 2022, Sheffield’s is due late 2022 and Liverpool before 2023.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “This is truly a dark day for drivers, and one which we hoped we wouldn’t see again after the high prices of April 2012. This will hurt many household budgets and no doubt have knock-on implications for the wider economy.

“Strict emissions standards mean that, as a general rule of thumb, anyone with a diesel car registered prior to September 2015 needs to check to see if their vehicle is liable for the daily charge.

“However there may even be some slightly newer diesels that could be impacted.

“Most petrol cars registered prior to January 2006 will similarly have to pay.

“Blue Badge holders also need to pay the charge unless their vehicle meets the ULEZ emission standards or is registered with the DVLA with a ‘disabled’ or ‘disabled passenger vehicle’ tax class.”

The Ulez has operated since April 2019, but previously only covered the same area of central London as the Congestion Charge.

Transport for London (TfL) said four out of five vehicles registered within the new, larger zone are compliant, but an estimated 130,000 are not.

Nicholas added: “We understand there is a need to clean up London’s air quality, but the ULEZ’s expansion couldn’t come at a worse time for drivers that depend on their vehicles, with fuel prices approaching record highs and continued concern about using public transport during the pandemic.

“In addition, the nature of targeting older vehicles means those drivers from lower income backgrounds are likely to be disproportionately impacted.”

Drivers who fail to pay face being handed a Penalty Charge Notice of £160, reduced to £80 if paid within a fortnight.

Are worried about how such zones might impact your garage business? Share your comments below.

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