The Business Motoring Week May 182018
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New Touareg - blue side on profile
New generation Touareg – VW is aiming at premium SUV segment

Touareg edges VW towards the premium division

I can’t help but admire the new generation 3 Volkswagen Touareg: it looks mighty impressive. Previous gens have been OK, but this one looks to really set the big SUV on the road. Upwards.

Volkswagen reckons new Touareg goes straight into the premium class SUV segment. It lists such items as its design, the innovative cockpit, the convenience and safety systems, and the quality of the build and the materials used. I look forward to finding out.

But Chris Wright was able to drive the new car at its launch – and was suitably impressed. Although he does suggest you set aside a full weekend for the handover to get to grips with the car’s astonishing levels of technology. Read the VW Touareg review here.

5G fuel of the futureWhy 5G is the fuel of the future

I had an interesting dinner with Ericsson during the week, the company once famous for mobile phones but now for its communication enabling technology.

Juergen Daunis
Juergen Daunis, Ericsson

Jurgen Daunis (left), head of connected vehicles sales along with CEO of their Connected Vehicles division, Claes Herlitz, were our hosts in a very informal evening.

On my way to the event on the train – a mainline suburban route into London – I was musing how 5G might work with cars as the mobile phone conversation I was engaged in was, shall we say, intermittent at best. How is this going to work with cars if I can’t get a proper signal on 4G?

Jurgen was quick to point out it wasn’t the technology itself, but the infrastructure supporting my phone call that was the issue.

But Jurgen was clear about 5G and cars – 5G being an evolutionary step from 4G rather than a massive change in technology.

“5G is like having fuel in the tank. It’s not the driver of technology change but it is an enabler.”

And will become increasingly important as we have more connected and autonomous cars on the road. Jurgen explained that as anyone who operates leasing fleets or manages company cars, they will be looking to the greater use of mobility – and mobility can only work if cars are connected all the time.

So Ericsson is working on the ecosystem that will provide delivery of such service. Its most obvious automotive partner is Volvo.

“You can imagine the routing choices you will make, particularly in an autonomous car. So, you have a scheduled video conference call on the way to your destination, which you can take because the car is being driven autonomously.

“You can drive direct to a destination via the fastest route or via the best connectivity, even if it takes longer so occupants can continue their video call without dropouts. You route via the best connectivity.”

It’s all fascinating stuff. But the one thing that has always puzzled me about mobility is how are car manufacturers going to change? Because mobility means better usage of vehicles rather than more vehicles. And, as we know, the current car industry is fixated on car sales. More of them the better.

But Jurgen has this insight: “The industry is so focused on 100 years of producing product – connectivity offers a new way of thinking. And turns the need to produce more product on its head.”

It will be fascinating to see how manufacturers do cope.

Mercedes Sprinter heavy vanVED van consultation – why the government has got it wrong

Let me say first: I don’t disagree with the thrust of the government’s motives to clean up emissions. But where it falls down is trying to link van VED to CO2 emissions in the same way it has to cars.

It’s a nonsense. We have big heavy vans to carry big heavy goods around – and to do that they need some oomph. Which currently means diesel. The alternative is to split loads up into small vans which would then increase congestion and really wouldn’t be very efficient.

So more clear-headed thinking please government. See what the proposals are here: VED changes proposed to turn white van man into green van man.

Car undergoing MOTAre the MOT changes scrappage in disguise?

This weekend, the MOT rules change – and a car that could have passed today (Friday May 18) may no longer pass on Monday, May 21.

In particular, older diesels are in the firing line. Now, I have no truck with people who have deliberately taken out the DPF to make the car go quicker – it’s illegal anyway.

But this could be seen as a back door route to scrap older diesels without compensation. And it will impact business motoring drivers who have decided to opt out of the company car for a cheaper and older car.

Richard Lofthouse has been investigating the changes: MOT changes turn fails into passes and threaten older diesels.

Business Car Manager SME Business Motoring Stand at the London Motor ShowVisit our SME Company Car of the Year stand this weekend

Yesterday got off to a good start at the Confused.com London Motor Show (17-20 May) where we are displaying the SME Company Car of the Year winning Jaguar XF along with BMW’s 5 Series iPerformance Saloon, the MINI Countryman Plug-In Hybrid, and Nissan’s brand new all-electric Leaf model. There was high interest in the vehicles while Neva Consultants, who are providing leasing information to visitors, took plenty of leasing enquiries. More detail here.

 

 

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