Jaguar Land Rover cars to be available in electric or hybrid version from 2020

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 7 Sept, 2017) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – All new Jaguar Land Rover cars will be available in an electric or hybrid version from 2020, Britain’s biggest carmaker said on Thursday, as it speeds up plans to electrify its model range.

Last year, the company, owned by India’s Tata Motors, said it would offer greener versions of half of its new line-up by 2020, but it has now ramped up its plans.

Demand for electric models continues to rise sharply and in July Britain said it would ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to cut pollution, replicating plans by France and cities such as Madrid, Mexico City and Athens.

RELATED COVERAGE

Huawei challenge Apple and Samsung with claims of faster phone Chip

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Mon, 4 Sept 2017) London, UK —

BERLIN (Reuters) – Huawei [HWT.UL] aims to use artificial intelligence-powered features such as instant image recognition to take on rivals Samsung and Apple when it launches its new flagship phone next month, a top executive said on Saturday.

Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei’s consumer business, on Saturday revealed a powerful new mobile phone chip Huawei is betting on for its upcoming flagship Mate 10 and other high-end phones to deliver faster processing and lower power consumption.

Huawei will launch the Mate 10 and its sister phone, the Mate 10 Pro, in Munich on Oct. 16, Yu confirmed. He declined to detail new features, but the phones are expected to boast large, 6-inch-plus full-screen displays, tech blogs predict.

Artificial intelligence (AI) built into its new chips can help make phones more personalised, or anticipate the actions and interests of their users, Yu said.

As examples, he said AI can enable real-time language translation, heed voice commands, or take advantage of augmented reality, which overlays text, sounds, graphics and video on real-world images phone users see in front of them.

Yu believes the new Kirin 970 chip’s speed and low power can translate into features that will give its phones an edge over the Apple iPhone 8 series, set to be unveiled on Sept. 12, and Samsung’s range of top-line phones announced this year. Huawei is the world’s No. 3 smartphone maker behind Samsung and Apple.

“Compared with Samsung and Apple, we have advantages,” Yu said in an interview during the annual IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin. “Users are in for much faster (feature) performance, longer battery life and more compact design.”

The company asserts its newly announced Kirin 970 chip will preserve battery life on phones by up to 50 percent.

Huawei describes the new chip as the first Neural Processing Unit (NPU) for smartphones. It brings together classic computing, graphics, image and digital signal processing power that have typically required separate chips, taking up more space and slowing interaction between features within phones.

Most importantly, Huawei aims to use the Kirin chips to differentiate its phones from a vast sea of competitors, including Samsung, who overwhelming rely on rival Snapdragon chips from Qualcomm, the market leader in mobile chip design. Among major phone makers, only Apple and Huawei now rely on their own core processors.

The 970 is designed by Huawei’s HiSilicon chip design business and built using the most advanced 10 nanometre production lines of contract manufacturer TSMC.

Currency rate at airports plummets to new low for Uk travellers

Flickr

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Thur, 31 Aug 2017) London, Uk – –

Travellers buying their currencies at UK airports are being offered as little as 86 euro cents to the pound.

Foreign exchange broker FairFx, which carried out a survey for the BBC, said this rate, from Moneycorp at Southampton airport, was the worst at any airport bureau de change.

The average euro rate across 16 big UK airports was higher, at 95 euro cents to the pound.

Ten months ago the average at these outlets stood at 99 euro cents.

James Hickman, chief commercial officer at FairFX, said the fact that airport rates are so low – much worse even than at High Street banks – shows that the bureaux de change firms are taking advantage.

“In reality they are ripping off the customer, who is effectively captive as they have nowhere else to buy their money at an airport,” he said.

“At most airports and terminals individual companies have a monopoly.

“They should be regulated as there is simply no justification for charging someone 14% [the average margin between the tourist and money market rates] to change their pounds to euros,” he added.

 

That margin is as high as 26% at Moneycorp's Southampton airport outlet.

Pauline Maguire, Moneycorp's retail director, said: “The reason for our higher airport rates is the significant cost associated with operating there – from ground rent and additional security, to the cost of staffing the bureaux for customers on early and late flights.”

“An easy and more cost-effective way for customers to buy travel money is to pre-order online and collect at the airport,” she said.

The best euro rate for tourists detected in the airport survey was 1.05 euros, from Travelex at Newcastle airport.

Wide variation

The average tourist rate for the pound against the US dollar is also very low.

Currently the average is $1.12 to the pound at UK airports, ranging from $1.05 at ICE at Norwich airport to $1.15 from Travelex at Heathrow Terminal 3.

Koko Sarkari, chief executive of ICE, which runs bureaux de change at Belfast, Birmingham, Heathrow and Luton airports, dismissed the idea his firm was exploiting a captive market.

“We work hard to keep our prices fair and competitive around the world,” he said.

“However, due to differences in distribution, costs of operation, regional competition and other factors such as ongoing volatility in the market, as we are experiencing now, online prices may not be the same as our ICE branch prices and prices may also vary between branches because of these factors.”

‘Brexit uncertainty'

One reason for the poor rates on offer to tourists is the continued decline of the pound on the foreign exchange markets, in the wake of last year's Brexit vote.

The pound's money market rate – the one at which banks buy and sell to each other – has dropped from $1.31 to $1.29 in the past 12 months.

Against the euro it has dropped much more in that time, from 1.18 euros to 1.08 euros.

Continuing Brexit uncertainty is feeding into sterling weakness, said Simon Derrick, a managing director at BNY Mellon.

Traders are looking to see what will happen over the next two months, with the attempted incorporation of EU law into UK legislation through the Great Repeal Bill, and EU negotiator Michel Barnier reporting back to the European Parliament on Brexit talks.

Sterling also hasn't done that well in August after the Bank of England monetary policy committee voted to keep rates on hold – investors see no prospect of a rates rise any time soon, he said.

However, there are two sides to the story. The euro is also getting stronger because “the eurozone economy is really starting to show some signs of life,” Mr Derrick said.

Eurozone consumer confidence seems to be picking up, and investors think the ECB will start to tighten monetary policy as inflationary pressures build.

M&S in talks to offload Hong Kong and Macau Franchises

Simon D/Flickr.com

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Wed, 30 Aug 2017) London, Uk – –

Marks & Spencer is taking further steps to overhaul its overseas businesses by starting talks to sell its shops in Hong Kong and Macau to a Dubai-based conglomerate.

The British retailer has been in Hong Kong for almost three decades and now has 27 shops in the region and Macau.

Marks & Spencer said that the talks with Al-Futtaim follow its strategic review of its international businesses last year, which signalled a greater focus on franchise and joint ventures rather than wholly-owned stores.

Al-Futtaim, which already operates 43 M&S shops across seven markets in the Middle East, Singapore and Malaysia, is expected to purchase and enter into a franchise contract to continue running the Hong Kong and Macau stores.

The move follows Marks & Spencer's announcement last November that it would close 53 loss-making international stores and exit 10 markets, including mainland China, after boss Steve Rowe announced that he would be switching focus to a franchise overseas business.

Mr Rowe last year sought to soothe shoppers in Hong Kong, where there is a strong British expat community,who feared that shops in the region would be closed and commented on the regions “loyal” customer base. However, this year's annual report reveals that sales in Hong Kong were affected by its move to reduce the level of discounting while it had to invest heavily in refurbishing some stores .

 “In November we set out our plans to create a more sustainable, profitable and customer-centric international business for M&S by focussing on our established partnerships”, said Paul Friston, Marks & Spencer's international director.


M
r Friston said that Al-Futtaim was a “key partner to M&S”. In April the Dubai-based conglomerate which has retail, property, financial and automative investments, opened a giant flagship M&S store in Doha, which includes a table-waited cafe serving fish and chips and afternoon tea to Qatari customers.

“With significant scale and retail expertise in the region, we are looking forward to discussing the potential extension of our partnership to Hong Kong and Macau as we continue to grow and develop our business together”, he added.

Marks & Spencer currently has 454 international stores across 55 countries.

By Ashley Armstrong

Ford to Launch Car Scrappage Scheme in Britain

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 22 Aug 2016) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Ford on Tuesday became the latest carmaker to launch a car scrappage scheme in Britain, joining the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz, after months of procrastination from the government over whether to begin a national program.

The U.S. automaker is offering customers a 2,000 pound discount off a range of many Ford models when they trade in their vehicles registered until the end of 2009.

BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Vauxhall, the British version of the Opel brand sold on the continent, have all launched similar schemes in recent weeks to incentivize motorists to reduce emissions by replacing their gas-guzzling models with greener cars.

The plans come after Britain once again delayed in July a decision over whether to introduce a nationwide or targeted vehicle scrappage scheme, with a consultation due to take place later this year, despite worries over emissions levels.

“Ford shares society's concerns over air quality,” its managing director in Britain Andy Barratt said on Tuesday.

“Removing generations of the most polluting vehicles will have the most immediate positive effect on air quality.”

Ford, BMW, Vauxhall and Mercedes sell around 1 million cars in Britain, more than a third of all new car registrations.

The scrappage schemes will help support sales at a time when demand for new cars is beginning to slide substantially for the first time in around six years.

In July, new car registrations fell for the fourth consecutive month in a row, hit by a number of factors including uncertainty over Brexit and lack of clarity over future government plans around new levies on diesel models.

Britain's last government-backed scrappage scheme came in the wake of the financial crisis and ran for nearly a year from mid-2009, helping to support the car sector, which had been hit by nose-diving sales.

By Costas Pitas

China’s Great Wall Motor Company interested in bidding for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Alessio Costantini/Flickr

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Mon, 21 Aug 2017) London, Uk – –

China’s Great Wall Motor Company has said it is interested in bidding for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which owns brands including Jeep and the truck maker Ram.

A company official confirmed it was pursuing all or part of FCA after the US publication Automotive News reported that a “well-known Chinese automaker” had made an offer this month, triggering a jump in FCA’s Milan-listed shares.

“With respect to this case, we currently have an intention to acquire,” a statement from Great Wall said on Monday. “We are interested in [FCA].”

Sergio Marchionne, chief executive, is seeking a partner or buyer for the Italian-American group to help it manage rising costs, comply with emissions regulations and develop technology for electric and self-driving cars. An acquisition by Great Wall Motor would be audacious, and one of China’s highest profile manufacturing deals to date.

Earlier on Monday, two sources said Great Wall Motor had asked for a meeting with FCA, with the aim of making an offer for all or part of the world’s seventh-largest carmaker. Citing an email from Great Wall’s president, Wang Fengying, Automotive News reported that Great Wall had contacted FCA to express interest specifically in the Jeep brand.

The industry publication said the Chinese company had not made a formal offer or met FCA’s board. Automotive News quoted a spokesman as saying: “Our strategic goal is to become the world’s largest SUV [sport utility vehicle] maker.” “Acquiring Jeep, a global SUV brand, would enable us to achieve our goal sooner and better [than on our own].”

FCA shares rose 3.9% to €11.12 in early Milan trading, outperforming a flat market. Great Wall Motor shares were up almost 3% in Shanghai.

FCA was not immediately available to comment on interest in the group.

Yale Zhang, head of the Shanghai consultancy Automotive Foresight, commented: “Jeep is the most logical choice since (Great Wall) wants to be the largest SUV maker in the world.” Ram could be an option, he added, but “the Jeep brand is recognised globally. I think Great Wall Motor is eyeing a global strategy, not just the United States.”

A move for FCA or one of its main brands, if successful, would allow Great Wall Motor to accelerate a planned push into the U.S. market, the two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

They said Great Wall Motor had been making plans for some time to enter the U.S. market, mainly by upgrading some of its key products and improving branding.

The company this year launched its Wei brand of potentially US-market-ready vehicles. Wei is the surname of the Great Wall founder and chairman Wei Jianjun.

Asda Supermarket Suffers Sharp Fall in Sales and Profits in 2016

 

grassrootsgroundswell/Flickr

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 2 Aug 2017) London, Uk – –

Sales fall and lower profits at supermarket Asda in 2016 have been revealed in detail in newly-filed accounts.

The figures for the Walmart-owned supermarket, filed at Companies House, confirm a torrid spell for Asda as it faced stiff competition in the grocery sector.

Like-for-like sales were down 5.7% compared with the previous year.

Pre-tax profits dropped almost 19% to £791.7m at the Leeds-based company.

“The grocery market has continued to experience low growth throughout the year and competition in the sector has remained intense. Our sales performance, relative to the market, was behind our expectations,” the company said.

Changes

Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons – the so-called big four UK supermarkets – also face competition from German discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Asda suffered more than most and, unlike others, has struggled to fight back. In May, it reported decreasing sales in the first quarter of 2017 – the 11th consecutive quarter of falls – as it continued to lose ground to its rivals.

However, Asda added that despite the disappointing results, there had been an improvement following “strategic changes” under new boss Sean Clarke.

Mr Clarke, who replaced previous chief executive Andy Clarke a year ago, has slashed the prices of everyday items as he attempts to arrest falling sales.

The chain reported a 2.8% fall in like-for-like sales in its first quarter of this year, a moderate improvement on the previous period, which saw sales fall 2.9%.

‘Focus on price'

Analysts have said that a major turnaround is required at Asda.

“Sainsbury's and Tesco have always had more opportunity for differentiation from the discounters, but Asda has chosen to focus on price rather than range and in-store experience, which has clearly been the wrong strategy,” said Tom Berry, retail analyst at GlobalData.

“Asda has been flailing without direction for too long, and a comprehensive plan is needed if it is to survive in the highly competitive UK grocery market.”

Phil Dorrell, of consultancy Retail Remedy, is a previous marketing chief at Asda. He said that it was a difficult market for Asda and it “had a lot of catching up to do”.

“It is not changing significantly or fast enough to pull around the results. It did not get its proposition right,” he said.

 

Car Makers Hold ‘Diesel Summit’ in Germany

 

 

German carmakers are meeting the government on Wednesday seeking solutions for the diesel sector damaged by scandals over emissions test cheating.

The aim is to find ways to cut emissions and head off moves by some large cities to ban diesel vehicles.

The government has been accused of not doing enough to crack down on pollution, and of being too close to the car industry.

Rolls-Royce interim results delivered a forecast-beating performance

Warren East Rolls-Royce chief executive

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Tue, 1 August 2017) London, Uk – –

Rolls-Royce chief executive Warren East has delivered a forecast-beating performance with the company's interim results as he continues to deliver a turnaround of the blue-chip engineering group.

Half-year results for the six months to the end of June showed reported revenue of £7.57bn, up from £6.46bn a year ago. Pre-tax profit soared to £1.94bn, reversing last year's loss of £2.15bn.

However, the company conceded that the improvement in profit was heavily influenced by currency movements. Rolls has a huge “hedge book” of foreign exchange deals aimed at protecting it from currency fluctuations and the strengthening of the pound since the start of the year meant these assets got a £1.4bn boost, compared with a £2.2bn charge last time round. Rolls noted that this was the “principal reason” for the strong results at a headline level.

On an underlying basis, Rolls's preferred measure and which strips out currency movements, revenue was £6.87bn, up 6pc. Pre-tax profit was £287m, a gain of 148pc. The weaker pound has inflated Rolls's figures, as the bulk of the aviation industry's deals are done in US dollars.

The news was welcomed by traders, with shares in the company up more than 6pc in early dealing, rising 54p to 947.5p.

City forecasts were much more downbeat. Analysts had been expecting the FTSE 100 business would report underlying revenue of £6.58bn and underlying pre-tax profit of £193m.

Free cash flow – the measure of how much money the company generates after expenses and a key figure for Mr East – was negative £339m, meaning the company is spending more than it is making. However, this was still an improvement on the figure a year ago, which was negative £414m.

Mr East has repeatedly said that he wants Rolls to be generating £1bn of positive free cash flow by 2020.

Rolls has tried to rein back expectations, describing the £1bn figure as an “ambition ” rather than a clear target.

“Rolls-Royce delivered encouraging year-on-year operational progress in the first six months,” said Mr East, who was appointed two years ago to turn around the business after it issued a series of profit warnings that saw its share price halve.

The chief executive said Rolls's plans to increase the number of jet engines it makes for airliners and at a lower cost were working, with deliveries up 27pc and “good further progress” improving the economics of making the engines.

Mr East added that cost savings from his “simplification” restructuring “were ahead of plan” and a better than expected boost from accounting measures meant the company had delivered “a good set of results, with financial performance ahead of our expectations for the first half”.

However, Mr East cautioned analysts and investors not to get ahead of themselves, holding guidance at previous levels and warning that “execution and delivery of a number of important milestones across our businesses will be key to achieving our full-year expectations”.

Analysts have said that as Mr East has deliberately been downbeat about the company's performance to mange expectations.

“Warren is being smart by under-promising and over delivering,” said one.

The order book at the end of the six months stood at £82.7bn, up from £79.5bn at the same point a year ago.

The dividend was held at 4.6p.

By Alan Tovey

New Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square

 

Originally built in 1922 as the former headquarters of the Port of London Authority, Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square is a luxurious landmark of sophistication reborn in the City's historic heart. The Grade-II* listed building has been carefully restored to create a 100-room hotel along with 41 private residences and a private members club. Within steps of the Tower of London (home to the Crown Jewels), Tower Bridge and the River Thames, this is one of the capitals most remarkable central locations.

2018 ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM

The New Phantom will be the first of a new generation of Rolls-Royces to benefit from the creation of the Architecture of Luxury. This new architecture serves as the foundation on which this eighth generation of Phantom reaffirms its position as ‘The Best Car in the World’ by taking the best fundamentals and making them better.

Sir Richard Branson sells 31pc stake of Virgin Atlantic airline for £220m

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Fri, 28 July 2017) London, Uk – –

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group is to receive a major windfall by selling down part of its stake in Virgin Atlantic in a major joint venture deal set to include Air France-KLM and existing investor Delta Air Lines.

Air France-KLM is to buy a 31pc stake in Virgin Atlantic for £220m.

Virgin will hold on to a 20pc stake in the trans-Atlantic airline, and hold onto the chairmanship, as a result of the deal which will see a closer union between the four airlines.

Delta, which bought a 49pc stake in Virgin Atlantic from Singapore Airlines in 2013, will at the same time buy a 10pc stake in Air-France KLM for €375m, gaining a seat on the board of its European counterpart.

Alitalia’s involvement is through its existing partnerships with Air France-KLM and Delta, but the deal will not see the Italian carrier gain any equity interest in the joint venture or have a seat atop the entity.

Shai Weiss, chief commercial officer for Virgin Atlantic, said the deal was not linked to the UK’s impending exit from the EU.

“I can say really definitively this has nothing to do with Brexit,” he said, adding the rationale was entirely commercial. Mr Weiss said the airline did not fly intra-Europe and so the joint venture was not a way to secure such flying rights post-Brexit.

He said the success of its existing joint venture with Delta, which had helped provide so-called feed traffic – passengers who take a short haul flight to a hub airport before travelling on a long haul flight – could now be replicated with passengers from Europe.

If the UK endures a hard Brexit, rules which says airlines have to be majority domestic owned could be enforced. This deal means Virgin Atlantic is only 20pc British owned but Mr Weiss said it would overcome such problems if they transpired. If the Brexit deal is more amicable, the airline's majority European ownership will mean it complies with similar rules on the Continent.

Sir Richard sent a letter to the airline's staff outlining the details of the deal, in which he said he would remain the largest individual investor.

The billionaire entrepreneur said the airline industry had consolidated since he launched Atlantic in 1984, going on to say “it’s now our turn to put ourselves at the heart of an important alliance”.

“With these three partners in place and with me – and one day, the wider Branson family – still very much involved, we have the foundations to make sure this is so,” Sir Richard added.

The deal, set to last for at least 15 years once it gains regulatory approval, will, subject to regulatory approval, see the carriers combine their transatlantic routes.

The joint venture will offer more than 300 daily non-stop transatlantic flights from 12 hubs including from Amsterdam, Atlanta, Heathrow, New York’s JFK and Los Angeles.

Sir Richard said “one of the best moves” his company made was tying up with Delta Air Lines five years ago, partly to compete with the British Airways and American Airlines alliance.

By Bradley Gerrard

Uk to ban sales of all diesel and petrol cars from 2040

 

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Wed, 26 July 2017) London, Uk – –

Plans follow French commitment to take polluting vehicles off the road owing to effect of poor air quality on people’s health

Britain is to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health.

The commitment, which follows a similar pledge in France, is part of the government’s much-anticipated clean air plan, which has been at the heart of a protracted high court legal battle.

The government warned that the move, which will also take in hybrid vehicles, was needed because of the unnecessary and avoidable impact that poor air quality was having on people’s health. Ministers believe it poses the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK, costing up to £2.7bn in lost productivity in one recent year.

Ministers have been urged to introduce charges for vehicles to enter a series of “clean air zones” (CAZ). However, the government only wants taxes to be considered as a last resort, fearing a backlash against any move that punishes motorists.

“Poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK and this government is determined to take strong action in the shortest time possible,” a government spokesman said.

“That is why we are providing councils with new funding to accelerate development of local plans, as part of an ambitious £3bn programme to clean up dirty air around our roads.”

The final plan, which was due by the end of July, comes after a draft report that environmental lawyers described as “much weaker than hoped for”.

The environment secretary, Michael Gove, will be hoping for a better reception when he publishes the final document on Wednesday following months of legal wrangling.

A briefing on parts of the plan, seen by the Guardian, repeats the heavy focus on the steps that can be taken to help councils improve air quality in specific areas where emissions have breached EU thresholds.

Measures to be urgently brought in by local authorities that have repeatedly breached EU rules include retrofitting buses and other public transport, changing road layouts and altering features such as roundabouts and speed humps.

Reprogramming traffic lights will also be included in local plans, with councils being given £255m to accelerate their efforts. Local emissions hotspots will be required to layout their plans by March 2018 and finalise them by the end of the year. A targeted scrappage scheme is also expected to be included.

Some want the countrywide initiative to follow in the footsteps of London, which is introducing a £10 toxic “T-charge” that will be levied on up to 10,000 of the oldest, most polluting vehicles every weekday.

Sources insisted that while the idea of charges were on the table, there was no plan to force councils to introduce them, and that other measures would be exhausted first.

They hope the centrepiece of Wednesday’s strategywill be the plan to ban diesel and petrol sales completely by 2040, in line with Emmanuel Macron’s efforts across the Channel.

The French president took the steps to help his country meet its targets under the Paris climate accord, in an announcement that came a day after Volvo said it would only make fully electric or hybrid cars from 2019 onwards.

That decision was hailed as the beginning of the end for the internal combustion engine’s dominance of motor transport after more than a century.

Prof David Bailey, an automotive industry expert at Aston University, said: “The timescale involved here is sufficiently long-term to be taken seriously. If enacted it would send a very clear signal to manufacturers and consumers of the direction of travel and may accelerate a transition to electric cars.”

Britain’s air quality package also includes £1bn in ultra-low emissions vehicles including investing nearly £100m in the UK’s charging infrastructure and funding the ”plug-in car” and “plug-in grant” schemes.

There will also be £290m for the national productivity investment fund, which will go towards the retrofitting, and money towards low-emission taxis.

The report will also include an air quality grant for councils, a green bus fund for low carbon vehicles, £1.2bn for cycling and walking and £100m to help air quality on the roads.

The strategy comes amid warnings that the UK’s high level of air pollution could be be responsible for 40,000 premature deaths a year.

A judge had said the government’s original plans on tackling the issue, which included five clean air zones, were so poor as to be unlawful. The government was asked to present a new draft policy to tackle air pollution from diesel traffic before the election.

It was then called to court to explain why it had made a last-minute application to delay publication of its draft policy until after the election.

James Eadie QC, representing the government, said the policy was ready to be published but it would be controversial and should therefore be withheld until after the election.

“If you publish a draft plan, it drops all the issues of controversy into the election … like dropping a controversial bomb,” he said, adding that it could risk breaching rules about civil service neutrality and lead to the policy being labelled a Tory plan.

However, judges said the government did have to publish a draft plan with the final version needed by the end of July.

May’s draft contained few concrete proposals and did not specify the cities and towns where polluting vehicles might face charges, the level of any charges or the scope or value of any scrappage scheme.

Instead, the plan put the onus for action on local authorities: “Local authorities are already responsible for improving air quality in their area, but will now be expected to develop new and creative solutions to reduce emissions as quickly as possible, while avoiding undue impact on the motorist.”

Analysis in the documents showed increasing the number of CAZs from the current six planned to 27 would make by far the greatest impact in cutting pollution and provide cost benefits of over £1bn. The CAZ policy would cut more than 1,000 times more NO2 than a scrappage scheme, even if that scheme required old diesels to be replaced by electric cars.

But it required local authorities to exhaust all other options before introducing CAZ charging for diesel vehicles, such as removing speed bumps and retrofitting buses.

The coalition government had already set out a vision for almost every car and van to be ultra-low emission by 2050 – a move which the government acknowledged would require “almost all new cars and vans sold to be near-zero emission at the tailpipe by 2040”. So it is unclear to what extent the new pledge will further boost Britain’s ability to achieve air quality requirements.

ClientEarth, the campaign group that has successfully pursued the government through the courts over the UK’s air pollution crisis, gave a cautious welcome to the announcement but said ministers must take immediate action to tackle the UK’s air pollution crisis.

“The government has trumpeted some promising measures with its air quality plans, but we need to see the detail,” said CEO James Thornton. “A clear policy to move people towards cleaner vehicles by banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans after 2040 is welcome, as is more funding for local authorities.

“However, the law says ministers must bring down illegal levels of air pollution as soon as possible, so any measures announced in this plan must be focused on doing that.”

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has been calling for tougher measures to tackle air pollution, which kills 9,000 people a year in the capital.

A City Hall source was sceptical about the government’s announcement. “We need to look at the full details but what Londoners suffering from the terrible health impacts of air pollution desperately need is a fully-funded diesel scrappage fund – and they need it right now.”

Areeba Hamid, clean air campaigner at Greenpeace, said: “The high court was clear that the government must bring down toxic air pollution in the UK in the shortest possible time. This plan is still miles away from that.

“The government cannot shy away any longer from the issue of diesel cars clogging up and polluting our cities, and must now provide real solutions, not just gimmicks. That means proper clean air zones and funding to support local authorities to tackle illegal and unsafe pollution.”

By Anushka Asthana and Matthew Taylor

QLM Business News and Market Analyses Now Available Digitally

 

QLM Business News Digital Media Channel for offering the latest business news as well as market analyses. Thanks to the fast-paced life people lead, most busy business people prefer to browse the Net on the go in order to keep up with the latest business news.

www.qlmbusinessnews.com

Volvo signal the end of internal combustion engines with electric motors cars from 2019

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 5 July 2017) London, Uk – –

Carmaker Volvo has said all new models will have an electric motor from 2019.

The Chinese-owned firm, best known for its emphasis on driver safety, has become the first traditional carmaker to signal the end of the internal combustion engine.

It plans to launch five fully electric models between 2019 and 2021 and a range of hybrid models.

But it will still be manufacturing earlier models that have pure combustion engines.

Geely, Volvo's Chinese owner, has been quietly pushing ahead with electric car development for more than a decade.

It now aims to sell one million electric cars by 2025.
‘PR coup'

“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” said Hakan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo's carmaking division.

“People increasingly demand electrified cars, and we want to respond to our customers' current and future needs,” he said.

Tim Urquhart, principal analyst at IHS Automotive, said the move was a “clever sort of PR coup – it is a headline grabber”.

“It is not something that moves the goalposts hugely,” he said.

“Cars launched before that date [of 2019] will still have traditional combustion engines.

“The announcement is significant, and quite impressive, but only in a small way. The hybrids they are promising to make might be mild hybrids, anything as basic as a stop-start system.”

A stop-start system is one where electricity from batteries restart a car's petrol engine, after it has shut down when the car has come to rest at a junction, or in stationary traffic.

“However, Volvo are probably looking at something more sophisticated than that, but we don't know what as yet.”

Tesla targets
It comes after US-based electric car firm Tesla announced on Sunday that it will start deliveries of its first mass-market car, the Model 3, at the end of the month.

Elon Musk, Tesla's founder, said the company was on track to make 20,000 Model 3 cars a month by December.
His company's rise has upset the traditional power balance of the US car industry.

Tesla, which makes no profits, now has a stock market value of $58bn, nearly one-quarter higher than that of Ford, one of the Detroit giants that has dominated the automotive scene for more than a century.

Take an exclusive look at Life onboard a private jet

 

Take an exclusive look at Life onboard a private jet

Flying aboard your own jet means one thing – luxury. From fine china to restaurant quality food, anything is possible. So just what can you expect if you fly on a PJ soon? CNBC's Phil Han steps onboard a Global 6000 to find out.