Category Archives: Motoring News

Diesel cars in decline: How might this affect the used car dealer?

Motorists appear to be turning their backs on diesel as they look to more eco-friendly vehicles, industry figures suggest. We look at how this might affect the used car dealer.

When it comes to buying a new car, there’s always a question you ask yourself: “petrol or diesel?” Both engine types have their pros and cons we usually we decide based on the cost of fuel, or the type of driving we adopt such as urban or motorway driving.

The kind of questions we ask ourselves are: ‘What is the cost of unleaded at the moment? Will I mostly drive motorway miles? Will I just pootle around the city centre?’

When it comes to choosing the fuel type for a new car we usually stick to petrol or diesel because it’s what we know. However, as figures suggest, there is now a third element to this dilemma. One that has taken its seat at the table, and is asking for equal helpings of the motoring market.

What about eco-friendly?

No longer just a buzz word. No longer just a fad that over-promised on a vintage episode of Tomorrows World. No longer shrugged off with a ‘yeah right’ around the pub table. Eco-friendly… green… hybrid… electric… However you refer to it, the eco-friendly ‘green’ option has clawed its way into our age-old motoring conundrum, and is satisfying a bigger portion of drivers demands each month.

Choosing the right engine that is going to drive your new car is an important decision. Not only because of the build-costs involved and the price of gas and fuel efficiency, but also the impact the engine will have on the environment. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that 78,778 diesel cars were sold in January, a drop of 4.3% on the same month in 2016.

Now here’s the eyebrow raising part. Over the same period of sales, electric cars and other alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) leaped by 19.9%.

For the first time ever – AFVs now account for more than 4% of the market. Okay okay, I know you’re going to say: ‘But it’s only 4%.’ However, just consider that January’s total vehicle sales were 174,564 – and of that 7,270 were eco-friendly cars.

Every single month a greater proportion of green cars are purchased, whilst traditionally fuelled vehicles like diesels decline. Some 3,536 less diesel cars were bought compared to the same month last year.

Let me put it another way. More people bought AVFs in January than the total number of people who bought a Ford Focus.

So what’s going on at the petrol pumps? Well. Sales of diesel cars have actually been dropping for several months. In fact, 7 of the last 8 months have seen a drop!

Steady media attention. Public outcry and political focus on pollution. Health issues.  The negative revelations that Volkswagen and possibly other manufacturers were fiddling emissions data, are souring our taste for diesel cars.

In December 2016, sales of diesel cars were down by 6.8% on the same month a year earlier.

Diesel cars: So are they that bad?

To sprinkle some positivity over this article, diesel cars as we know are more fuel efficient than petrol. You get more bang for your buck at the pumps, and they also produce less CO2 meaning, at present, you pay less road tax because UK road tax is based on how much CO2 a car emits.

However.

CO2 emissions don’t paint the entire pollution picture.

Diesel Cars in Decline

Diesel engines produce more nasty pollutants like nitrous oxides, hydrocarbons, and other heavy particulates that constitute that thick toxic smog you see hanging over big cities. These are not only harmful to the environment, but have been linked to respiratory conditions such as asthma.

So are the headlines over diesel cars finally hitting sales? Recent figures for January seem to confirm the trend. One year ago, new diesel car sales were out outnumbering those of petrol cars. Now? The situation has reversed.

Big City Influence

Several major capitals around the world have voiced their desire to ban diesel cars within 10 – 25 years because of the pollution they cause. The Mayors of Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens say they are implementing the ban to help improve air quality, and are also going to give incentives for alternative vehicle use and promote walking and cycling.

Pollution in London 2017 - photo by Leon Neal
Pollution in London 2017 – photo by Leon Neal

This is a huge statement of intent and a welcoming hand to eco-friendly vehicles. In recent weeks we have seen a feed of troubling media and new research spill into the news.

The poor quality of London air is fuelling demand for more direct action and harsher tolls against ‘dirty cars’, and diesels are the ones to be dragged through the streets.

For instance, as of April 2017, Westminster will hit some diesel drivers with extra parking charges. It is also believed a diesel scrappage scheme could be implemented soon to encourage motorists to ditch cars which are the heaviest polluters.

London T-Charge?

From the 23rd October 2017, a brand new ‘toxicity charge’ will take effect in central London. The so-called T-Charge will see the owners of older, more polluting cars face an extra £10 fee for entering the congestion charge zone. City Hall estimate that up to 10,000 vehicles every weekday will be liable for the new emissions levy.

How could this affect the used car dealer?

You’d think that with a decline in demand for new diesel cars would reflect on the used car market – but apparently no. According to CarBuyer.co.ukdiesel cars are more in demand than cars with petrol engines and can be worth 10% more when bought secondhand.

It appears that diesel cars, at least for the time being, can retain a good value and good demand on the used forecourt. Whether the ever increasing financial obstacles the government hurls into the path of diesels reduces their appeal to buyers, and their value, this is a question many used car dealers should consider. Especially those within the big city limits.

Used Diesels vs. Used Alternatively Fuelled Vehicles

If the new consumer market is anything to go by, it looks like we’ll see a slight but steady decline of diesels flowing into the used car market over the coming years. Slowly being replaced by a new demand for used hybrid, electric, and other AVF vehicles. This brings about a whole new set of goalposts to kick through, as common diesel issues that we’re all familiar with like DPF or glow plug faults, are replaced by potential hybrid battery pack problems  or complexities associated with the drive train.

Used hybrids however are nothing new. The first Toyota Prius rolled onto UK roads in 2000 and with the 4th generation in the showrooms now it’s fair to say hybrid technology is reliable and in-demand.

The problem from a used buyers point of view is the unknown. They assume expensive repairs because of the newer and complex technology – even though vehicles like the Prius has no clutch, conventional starter motor, alternator or drivebelt. Plus the hybrid system apparently leads to longer durability of brake discs, pads and tyres. But, of course, it’s the battery pack that has most potential buyers worried.

Hybrid Green Cars

I guess it’s the same kind of worry traditional used car buyers have about a timing belt. You’ll probably think something like:  ‘If the battery fail then the repairs will be expensive. The parts will be expensive. That will not be a good day.’

According to Honda, reliability isn’t an problem with their hybrids. They say the batteries in the Civic IMA (from 2002) are lasting 10-14 years, while the company has yet to replace a single pack from newer models such as the post-2010 Insight and the Jazz Hybrid offered from 2011.

With these batteries still under warranty, most manufacturers have yet to set prices for replacement parts. Mitsubishi UK advise battery pack costs have halved in the past three years and by the time the current crop of cars are out of warranty – and by the time their battery packs begin to fail – replacement costs will be even lower.

What is more encouraging is that it’s unlikely a complete battery pack will need renewal. It will simply be a question of replacing the dead cells inside, reducing costs even further.

So how much does an entire battery pack cost for a Mk1 or Mk2 Prius?

At the moment, it’s around £1,000 to £1,200 respectively for replacement battery. A new battery for a Mk3 is priced at £5,730.

Replacing the battery pack on an original Honda Insight or Civic IMA will cost around £2,000, but only £900 on the later Insight and Civic IMA.

In 2012, Honda switched from nickel metal hydride batteries to lithium-ion versions, almost tripling replacement costs from £972 to £2,700.

So in this article we’ve talked about the perception and decline of diesel cars, and the possible effect this could have on the used car market. Even though we predict that eco-friendly cars will begin to take up more and more space on the forecourts, there is still a feeling of the unknown when it comes to used AVFs aftersale problems and potential repair costs.

One thing’s for sure. Times are changing, and with it, the landscape of the new and used car dealer forecourt.

Thank you for reading this post on the Warranty Administration Services Ltd blog, about diesel vehicles on the decline.

Four Year MOT Proposed For New Vehicles

The time new vehicles will be allowed on UK roads without an MOT, may rise to four years in 2018.

The four year MOT recently announced by the government intends to extend the length of time for a new vehicle to have its first MOT. From three years, to four years. This change in 2018 would bring England, Wales and Scotland in line with Northern Ireland and other European countries. These include France, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Denmark and Norway.

The Department for Transport explained that safer technology and improved manufacturing means new vehicles retain their level of build quality, and stay roadworthy for longer. The four year MOT strategy is a response to evolving levels of production, and will bring welcomed cost-savings to motorists using new vehicles estimated at over £100 million a year.

The DVSA does advise there will still be a legal requirement for drivers and motorcycle riders to ensure their vehicles are roadworthy.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “We have some of the safest roads in the world, and MOT tests play an important role in ensuring the standard of vehicles on our roads. New vehicles are much safer than they were 50 years ago. It is only right we bring the MOT test up to date, and help save motorists money where we can.”

There are fears that high-wear components such as lights and tyres may go neglected because of the four year MOT change. This may lead to more test failures or worse still, accidents as a result of mechanical failure.

Four Year MOT in 2018

Quick MOT Facts

  • Over 2.2 million cars each year require a first MOT test at a maximum cost of £54.85.
  • Motorists face a fine of up to £1,000 for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT.
  • The annual number of three-year and four-year-old cars involved in accidents where a mechanical defect was found to be a contributory factor has fallen from 155 in 2006, to just 57 in 2015.

What effect will this four year MOT change have on service centers?

We’ve all been there. Sitting in the waiting room like a concerned family member as you wait for the MOT to finish. The testing mechanic walks in. They give you a bit of a head shake, exhale with a sort of ‘unfortunately’ tone, and then break the bad news your car has failed.  Then you find yourself wishing “please just be a light bulb, please just be a light bulb!”

Now ironically at the time of writing this article, my Toyota Yaris has just this morning failed its MOT! A faulty brake light and a rubber wishbone bush. So not bad really!

So whatever the outcome of your MOT, the test and repair work brings vital income for one of the 22,700 garages and test centres around the UK. If MOTs on new vehicles are delayed and motorists are expecting to save some £100 million per year, that money is no longer going into the motor trade.

It will be up to these garages and testing centres to diversify, and as the government has said, “find new areas of work to cover the shortfall in MOT testing and repair work”.

Four Year MOT in 2018

What kind of initiatives can you implement?

As one of the garages/service centres potentially affected by these four year MOT changes, what can you do?  One such initiative could be something like our very own MOT Cover. A self-funded product where you can offer your customers a guarantee on common parts/components in case they fail the next MOT.

Think of it like a warranty, equipped with claim limits and guidance on what to do should the vehicle fail the next MOT. You register the customer and vehicle details online within minutes, and print out the professionally formatted personalised paperwork instantly to hand to your customer.

You can sell this cover as a standalone product, or the popular approach adopted by our used car dealers is to give it away free. Then incorporate the cost into the price of a vehicle sale.

One other strategy our clients use is to encourage customers to return the vehicle to their workshops to keep the MOT Cover valid. “Bring your car back to us for MOTs and we’ll guarantee certain parts against failure on your next test.”

Four Year MOT Changes

How does MOT Cover work?

It’s very simple. You keep the MOT funding/premium in your own accounts, and over time, build up a pot of money to cover any claims (and goodwill if you should choose) from future MOT failures.

Not only does this provide you with a cash flow benefit, it’s also a VAT product meaning there is no FCA involvement. We provide a full claims service for you and your customers, and support you with onsite training, monthly reporting and administration.

What happens to the expired MOT Cover fund?

When MOT Cover guarantee runs the course and expires, you can then at your discretion, draw down any expired funding as profit. Some clients choose to let the account build up to accommodate any larger MOT claims. Some dealers choose to actively use the pot for goodwill repairs and go that extra mile for their customers!

If you’d like to talk about introducing MOT Cover for your customers, please call Warranty Administration Services Ltd on 01522 515600.

When was the MOT introduced?

Fun fact for you, the ‘Ministry of Transport test’ or MOT was introduced in 1960! Originally designed for vehicles over 10 years old, back then it was a basic vehicle check to examine brakes, lights, and the steering system.

London Traffic 1960s
1960s traffic on Regent Street, London

If you’d like to talk about introducing MOT Cover for your customers, please call Warranty Administration Services Ltd on 01522 515600. Thank you for reading this post on the Warranty Administration Services Ltd blog about the new four year MOT changes.

UK Vehicle Accident Whiplash Claims On The Rise

New study reveals the number UK vehicle accident whiplash claims among the highest in the world.

You might have been here before. You’re sitting in the car among a long line of traffic that isn’t going anywhere fast. It’s been a tiring week and it’s raining hard outside and you’re so looking forward to finally getting home and having a nice relaxing a cup of tea. Out of no where you see a little forward motion in the traffic jam and then it happens. Someone accidentally bumps their vehicle into the back of yours and all of a sudden – you’re both having a bad day.

Hopefully for most of us this kind of incident is resolved quickly and more importantly, no one is hurt. Unfortunately ‘whiplash’ is an injury quite common with vehicle accidents. It appears however that figures released by the insurer LV reveals that UK whiplash claims as a result of car accidents are above the European average.

The UK even has a higher percentage of whiplash claims compared to the US, with nearly 80% of all injury claims seeking compensation for whiplash.

LV report that whiplash claims are estimated to cost the insurance industry £2billion a year, adding a painful £90 to every insurance policy, and that the average driver receives five calls or text messages that offer financial remuneration after a crash. One in eight are contacted by a claims management group before they had even reported the accident to their insurer!

In light of recent trends, the Government has announced it will remove the right to “general damages for soft tissue injuries”, along with increasing the upper limit for the small claims court for personal injury claims from £1,000 to £5,000. LV believes however there is more the Government needs to do to curb the number of minor injury claims that raise the premiums of all motorists.

Martin Milliner, GI Claims Director of LV=insurance said: “Government makes one change to the system and the fraudsters find a way around it – meaning further action is needed and fraud persists. The more time it takes to implement changes, the easier it makes it for fraudsters to find another loophole, hitting the pocket of the honest consumer.

“We would like to see a quick and comprehensive response from Government to implement all the Insurance Fraud Taskforce’s recommendations.


Thank you for reading this WAS Blog post on UK vehicle accident whiplash claims. Image credit Craig Sunter via Flickr.

Parking Fees Create Huge Profits For Councils

You find a parking space. You buy your ticket. Where does that money go? Councils in England have made nearly £700 million in profits during this past year from parking fees and tickets.

Reported by AutoExpress.co.uk, Councils across England have recorded nearly £700 million in profits from their parking operations this year, the highest numbers on record.

Research by the RAC Foundation has revealed that in 2014/2015 English councils recorded combined profits of £693 million from their day-to-day parking activities. That’s nearly £1.9million a day, and represents a four per cent increase from the previous year.

The rise in overall profits is said to come from increased income from parking operations such as tickets and fines, not cost cuts, suggesting motorists are paying record fees for parking privileges.

London motorists appear to spend the most, with councils bringing in over 40 per cent of the record high profits. Westminster tops the charts by claiming a huge £46.4 million surplus.

It turns out however that not all local authorities recorded profits in 2014/2015. Of the 353 councils, the research found 57 authorities reported a drop in their numbers. For example, Cambridgeshire recorded a loss of £279,000 from their day-to-day parking operations for the financial year.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation said: “The financial sums involved in local authority parking are huge and the overall profits eye-watering. And once again the year-on-year direction of travel is upwards.

“When a parking profit is made the law states that, essentially, the money can only be spent on transport and environment projects. We are simply asking that all councils publish annual reports to tell drivers exactly where this huge excess ends up.”


Thank you for reading this post on the WAS Blog.
Image credit Ravi via Flickr.

VW Emissions Latest News Summary

News Summary: The latest VW news following the emissions scandal.

VW announces spending cuts

13th October 2015
Europe’s biggest carmaker the Volkswagen Group, has just announced €1bn (£750m) of spending cuts within its central VW division to fund a product overhaul following the emissions testing scandal, and create a new focus towards cleaner electric powered cars.

The chief executive of the VW brand Herbert Diess said he would overhaul the division’s strategy to concentrate on electric and hybrid vehicles, and revamp all diesel cars and vans to feature cleaner exhaust emissions systems.

Third of VW vehicles in the UK need significant repairs

12th October 2015
Head of Volkswagen UK operations advises that a third of VW vehicles in the UK will need significant hardware repairs which might not be completed until the end of 2016.

UK minister says VW deserves to suffer substantial losses

12th October 2015
Volkswagen deserves to suffer “substantial damage” because of the diesel emissions scandal that has affected 11 million vehicles worldwide, the British transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin told MPs at the Commons transport select committee.

Referring to VW’s use of adaptive emissions sensing software to cheat emissions tests, he said: “These devices were made illegal in 1998 and it is unbelievable to think a company the size and reputation of VW have been doing something like this. They are going to suffer very substantial damage as a result and they deserve to.”

VW to recall 1,950 vehicle in China

12th October 2015
Perhaps a lesser headache for Volkswagen, which has announced it would recall 1,950 vehicles in China to correct engine emissions software saying, ““Volkswagen would like to sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused to our customers,” it said in a statement. “We would like to assure that we will do everything humanly possible to win back trust and take care of any concerns.”

The vehicles include 1,946 imported Tiguan compact sport-utility vehicles and four Passat models.

Leonardo DiCaprio to produce Volkswagen scandal film

13th October 2015
Leonardo DiCaprio is to produce a film about the Volkswagen emissions scandal. His own production company Appian Way and Paramount Pictures have bought the rights to an as-yet-unwritten book about the scandal, according to the Hollywood Reporter.


Thank you for reading this WAS Blog quickfire summary of the latest VW developments following the emissions scandal.
Image credit Doug Belshaw via Flickr.

 

Electric Charging Motorways To Trial On UK Roads

A new futuristic electric technology set to trial in the UK soon, and could charging its way underneath a road near you!

The new technology trial, funded by the Government and managed by Highways England, will power cars through a charging infrastructure situated beneath the road’s surface. Removing the need for static charge points. It literally charges your car as you drive!

One could say it’s similar to the wireless charging technology we’re seeing for mobile phones and portable devices, where you can simply place your device upon a “charging mat” instead of plugging it in with a  cable.

At present, electric cars can only do long distance trips by taking extended breaks for conventional plug-in charging. The newly-announced 18-month trial programme is based on the installation of a charging infrastructure under chosen test roads. Specially adapted vehicles will be used to check the technology’s efficiency.

wireless-charging

“Vehicle technologies are advancing at an ever increasing pace,” said Highways England chief highways engineer Mike Wilson. “We’re committed to supporting the growth of ultra-low emissions vehicles on England’s motorways and major A-roads.”

Besides wireless charging technology, Highways England has reaffirmed the government’s Road Investment Strategy commitment to install 20-mile plug-in charging points on the motorway network.

“The government is already committing £500 million over the next five years to keep Britain at the forefront of this technology, which will help boost jobs and growth in the sector,” said Transport Minister Andrew Jones. “As this study shows, we continue to explore options on how to improve journeys and make low-emission vehicles accessible to families and businesses.”


Thank you for reading this post on the WAS Blog!
Image credit Marc Dalmulder via Flickr.

 

Number Of Untaxed Vehicles In UK Rises

Recent figures show an increase in the number of drivers caught without road tax following the recent abolishment of the paper tax disc.

Data released by AutoExpress and obtained by the DVLA reveal that since the paper tax disc was scrapped  six months ago, the number of enforcement cases where drivers had no road tax had risen by almost 50 per cent.

The DVLA shows 117,490 cases were recorded between October 2014 and March 2015, compared to just 82,999 and 86,939 in the previous two six-month period when the tax disc was still in operation.

A spokesman for the DVLA told AutoExpress: “We continue to operate a comprehensive package of measures which makes vehicle tax easy to pay but hard to avoid.

“We write to every new vehicle keeper when they buy a used vehicle to remind them that they must tax the vehicle before they can use it. If they don’t, they become eligible for enforcement action.”

My own experience!

At present there seems to be some confusion as to what happens when you buy a used car or motorcycle. I recently purchased a used Yamaha R6 from a private seller, and both he and I, and his wife ,and my friend had to really look through the V5 document and make our own interpretations of the procedures!

I signed the V5 document and kept the little tear-away “proof of new ownership” strip.  The seller retained the main body of the document with the responsibility of posting it to the DVLA to inform them of a change of ownership.

Not knowing quite what to do from here, I visited the DVLA website as soon as I arrived back home and began a monthly road tax Direct Debit. My advice is have you road tax in place as soon as possible!


Thank you for reading this WAS Blog post on the number of untaxed vehicles within UK rises.

DVLA Bans Number Plates Because They’re Too Offensive

The DVLA has revealed more vehicle registration numbers that have been banned for use in the UK because they are considered offensive.

The bans also include plates that are deemed to have religious references, innuendos, and even drink related references, clamping down on those related to alcohol abuse such as SL05 HED and AL60 POP.

“There’s nothing scientific about it,” a spokeswoman told us. “A group of staff meets twice a year and looks at plates that could be seen as offensive. It’s all done by taste, and if some slip through and we get a complaint, we take the feedback on board.”

Auto Express decided to see which registration plates might have slipped through the DVLA taste test, and a few had clearly passed it by – such as TO62 POT, LO62 ERS and AR62 END.

The list doesn’t just include words the DVLA classes as rude. Anything that can be seen as racist, religiously offensive or even drug related is also unavailable. These include plates such as JE55 US, 15 LAM, OS55 AMA and even AD13 CTS.

Even drivers with creative imaginations investing in a private plate cannot slip by the clampdown! The DVLA’s powers stretch to what can – and can’t – be used on these, too. Here are a few examples of the number plates that have been vetoed by the DVLA in the past few years:

BU62 GER
SC12 OTM
DR12 UNK
LE61 ESS
LU61 FER
P15 OFF
PR15 SON
CR12 PLE
MU12 DER
SH12 HED
AS62 OLE
DR12 UGS
TO62 SER
RU13 BUM


Thank you for reading this WAS Blog post!
Information source via AutoExpress.

Hydrogen – The Future Of Motoring?

With ever increasing traditional fuel prices, a trip to the petrol pump is always a cringe-worthy affair. Even with electric and hybrid technology powered vehicles readily available, the cost of motoring only seems to be going up! So is there a viable long-term alternative? Meet the new kid on the block powered by the snazzy new fuel technology, Hydrogen!

The future is here. Well, maybe! Are you tired of paying a small fortune for Petrol or Diesel? Worried about the environmental impact of fossil fuels? Fear not dear reader. Clean, renewable and cheap motoring is here – but it’s actually quite expensive at the moment, and it’s also hard to find, but please bear with me for a moment!

Hydrogen is what I’m talking about. Vehicles powered by a Hydrogen fuel cell. Available to purchase right now in the UK however granted, choices are limited and you’ll have to have deep pockets to purchase one! Hyundai are now offering the ix35 Fuel Cell Car, which will cost you roughly £53,000.

Toyota will release the Mirai later this year, price to be confirmed closer to its release although it is expected to be in the same ballpark as the Hyundai ix35.

Toyota Mirai
The Toyota Mirai

 

Given the incredibly high purchase price can these cars really be a viable motoring alternative for the future?

Well, most people accept that oil is a finite resource which will eventually run out, which means an alternate fuel to power our vehicles has to be found.

We already have several Hybrid options that reduce the consumption of fossil fuels but still require some petrol or diesel to function, and in my opinion, these feel more like a stepping stone to an alternate format rather than a solution. Fully electric powered cars are also available to the consumer, but with very limited range, excessive charge times, and a scarcity of charging points outside of the city, it’s highly unlikely that they will become anything more than a niche speciality vehicle.

So! We know our oil will eventually run out rendering our current petrol and diesel powered vehicles useless. Fully electric vehicles aren’t practical to meet for the needs of the wider motoring community, and Hybrids are still dependant on traditional fuels as part of their power source.

 

Could these hydrogen cars be the answer?

Hydrogen fuel cell cars generate their power from the most abundant resource in the known universe, Hydrogen. So no fear that the fuel source will run out any time soon.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

 

What is hydrogen?

Hydrogen is an element with the chemical symbol H and atomic number 1. Hydrogen is the lightest element on the periodic table and is considered to be the most abundant chemical substance in the universe.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

 

How do Hydrogen fuel cell cars work?

Hydrogen gas is pumped into the vehicle hydrogen tanks where it is stored under high pressure (up to 10,000 psi) in one or more cylinders mounted in the vehicle. The hydrogen travels from the storage cylinders, along with standard air to the fuel cell stack.

Once at the fuel cell, the hydrogen gas goes through a chemical reaction with the oxygen in the air, and this generates an electric current to power the vehicle. The only byproduct of this reaction is water which exits through the vehicle’s exhaust pipe.

 

Is it safe?

Hydrogen is a very explosive element. However hydrogen is 16 times lighter than air meaning if a leak does occur it will dissipate instantly into the surrounding air. By comparison if petrol or diesel leaks, both can pool under the vehicle creating a fire risk.

The hydrogen storage tanks used in fuel cell vehicles are presently made from carbon fibre, and have to undergo stringent crash and even ballistics tests. Current indications are that fuel cell vehicles in their current format are safer than conventionally fuelled vehicles.

 

Where can I get Hydrogen from?

Presently the short answer is hardy anywhere, currently only a handful of hydrogen filling stations are operational in the UK due to the hydrogen fuelling infrastructure being in it’s infancy. However, each vehicle sold increases the demand for hydrogen. This will increase demand and it’s inevitable that more and more filling stations will open.

Now granted it won’t happen overnight, but I wonder how common a sight a hydrogen filling station will be by 2020?

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

 

So is hydrogen the future?

It’s abundant and usable, and we know how to harness it’s energy potential. It’s also renewable, and if produced in the right way has little to no impact on the environment. Whether it’s the motoring energy of the future then only time will tell, however hydrogen power is a very bright positive glow on the motoring horizon.


Thank you for reading this WAS Blog post on hydrogen fuel cell cars.
Image Credits: Adam Evans via Flickr, Zero Emission Resource Organisation via Flickr, Revolve Eco-Rally via Flickr.