Environmental concerns are playing a bigger part than ever before in new car buying decisions, with 49% of buyers saying they will consider a hybrid and 33% looking for an electric model.
The statistics, which were released as part of a report by BNP Paribas Personal Finance, showcased a growing divide in the perception and purchasing decisions between city and country populations.
In large cities, 55% of those surveyed said they planned to invest in a hybrid vehicle, compared to 42% in smaller towns and rural areas.
Andrew Brameld, managing director of motor finance at BNP Paribas Personal Finance in the UK, said: “It is evident from this research that hybrid and electric vehicles are going to become increasingly important when it comes to the health of the new car market.
“Even though there is still a divide in opinions between older and younger generations and rural and urban drivers, this research has revealed that there is a growing concern amongst all groups about the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions.
“It will be interesting to see how lower fuel prices as a result of the coronavirus crisis will affect purchasing habits. It also remains to be seen whether people will revert back to buying petrol and diesel alternatives in the short term, while those cost savings are place.
“But this report shows that as a developing trend the public is very much on board with government efforts to encourage the sales of environmentally-friendly vehicles and we only expect to see this develop further in coming years.”
Diesel vehicles, which are already experiencing a reduced market share, are set to continue to fall in popularity. According to the study, just under a third of motorists intend to invest in this type of car.
There were 8,903 pure electric new cars registered in June – a 262% increase on the 2,461 pure EVs sold in the same month last year.
Diesel new car registrations were down 60% and petrol fell 40% compared to June 2019’s figures. Registrations of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) were up 117% year-on-year, from 2,270 units in June 2019 to 4,926 PHEVs registered last month (June).
Transportation currently accounts for around a third of the UK’s total emissions according to recent government figures, and despite a push from manufacturers to develop cleaner, more environmentally-friendly vehicles, the motor industry is continuing to struggle to shake off negative public perceptions.
According to the report, 69% of the UK population believes cars are the main cause of pollution globally, ahead of other pollutants such as aviation and manufacturing, with those in the 18-34 category most likely to agree with the statement.
GM Debuts Even Quicker Fourth-Generation Magnetic Ride Control
It’s been almost 20 years since Cadillac first introduced their nifty MagneRide technology on the Cadillac STS Seville, and, at the time, was pretty groundbreaking stuff, offering technology that would adjust and adapt suspension components of a vehicle in real-time in response to changes in terrain. Now on its fourth generation, MagneRide 4.0 gets a number of substantial upgrades across the board making it, in Cadillac’s own words, the world’s fastest reacting suspension technology. And with up to 45% faster damping response than the third generation, we kinda believe that claim.
According to Cadillac, these are the most dramatic changes yet to the MagneRide system yet, and will elevate the driving performance and road-going comfort of the 2021 Cadillac CT4-V, CT5-V, CT5 Sport, and Escalade. “With MagneRide 4.0, the world’s fastest reacting suspension system is now even faster,” said Thomas Schinderle, Cadillac vehicle performance engineer. “When paired with our sedans’ award-winning rear-wheel-drive architecture, the result is two of the most responsive sport sedans on the market, with reflexes that elevate the already high threshold of the V-Series legacy.”
MagneRide is an active damping system that literally uses electromagnets and magnetorheological fluid to help vary the damping rate of the shock absorbers. Wheel accelerometers read the road up to 1,000 times a second, triggering adjustments in the magnetic charge in the fluid. This fluid then adjusts the shocks almost instantly, allowing the vehicle to better respond to different road surfaces and corners, maximizing the traction on the road at all times.
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Every facet of the previous MagneRide system was improved to create version 4.0, with new wheel hub accelerometers, an inertial measurement unit that processes changes four times faster and is more precise, new temperature maps for the fluid, new flux control to provide more consistent and more accurate changes between rebound and compression, reduced damper friction for more pronounced differences between drive modes, and new software and hardware to help the vehicle remain more level when transitioning through corners.
MagneRide 4.0 comes standard on the 2021 Cadillac CT4-V in rear-wheel drive and CT5-V and starts at $45,8901 and $48,7901, respectively. The 2021 CT5 Sport can get MagenRide 4.0 as part of an optional V Performance Package, plus suspension performance upgrades and a mechanical limited-slip diff. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade will have MagneRide 4.0 on the Sport and Platinum models as standard, which starts at $86,8901 and $101,2901, respectively. The Premium Luxury trim may get MagneRide 4.0 as part of an optional Performance Package.
BMW Gives Android Auto, Other Freebies To 750,000 Owners In OTA Update
In 2012, Wired reported that Tesla would deliver the auto industry’s first over-the-air (OTA) update to more than 100 Model S sedans. Fast forward to 2020, and BMW has announced it’ll deliver a free OTA update to more than 750,000 cars in markets worldwide. BMW OS 7 and the Remote Software Upgrade tech allow the automaker to update existing features while introducing completely new ones, like adding wireless Android Auto for the first time.
Google’s in-car connectivity software joins Apple CarPlay that has already been available in BMW models, though there’s a lot more included in the update. BMW is updating its proprietary map software for an “entirely new navigation experience.” BMW says its cloud-based system can calculate routes faster by combining real-time info with forecast models. Even CarPlay gets some love with turn-by-turn directions and lane information that’s now viewable in the head-up display. Oh, and there’s no mention of an Android Auto subscription.
BMW’s other new features try to make the driving a bit less frustrating. BMW’s Connected Parking, which helps drivers find parking spots and shows the probability of a spot being open, can now consider the vehicle’s size when assisting. BMW’s eDrive Zones can automatically switch the vehicle to its pure electric driving mode through geofencing. So far, 90 European cities have established such zones. Even BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant is a bit smarter, distinguishing between whether the driver or passenger is speaking.
OTA updates for cars didn’t exist a decade ago. But today, BMW, Ford, GM, and others are offering it, or they will be offering it soon. It is just one example of how pure vehicles are changing, highlighting their rapid digitalization and increased connectivity, enabling a host of new and interesting features. Pair that with electric vehicles, and you have a rapidly changing automotive landscape. All you have to do is download it.
VW Uses Engine Rev Hang To Cut Emissions
It has been almost a year since Volkswagen introduced the eighth-generation Golf – the latest version of VW’s best-seller. While a lot can be said about the Golf’s design, one of the great things about it is that it still can be ordered with a 6-speed manual transmission. For enthusiasts and purists, that’s a huge thing, considering that only 12 percent of new models in the U.S. are offered with a stick shift.
But as with most modern cars, the latest VW Golf has an engine rev hang, which is most noticeable in cars equipped with a manual gearbox.
Douglas Skorupski, Volkswagen of America, Inc.’s powertrain strategy manager, has a good explanation for this, as reported by Autoweek. According to Skorupski, the engine rev hang cuts the Nitrous Oxide (NOx) emissions of cars.
“As you pull your foot off the throttle, what we are trying to prevent is a big hunk of air getting into the chamber without any fuel. If air gets in that way, when you do reapply throttle, it creates a lean condition (a higher than 14.7:1 air-to-fuel ratio), which generates nitrous oxides or NOx. By delaying the fuel cut-off in the cylinder, we get some fuel in there with the air to keep the mixture correct and avoid the lean condition and prevent the NOx from occurring,” Skorupski said in an explanation in Autoweek‘s report.
Engine rev hang isn’t actually limited to the VW Golf. Most modern cars are equipped with electronic throttle bodies, resulting in the catalytic converter’s better control of air/fuel ratio balance and improvement of throttle control. But the use of this technology also ushered in engine rev hang, especially felt in manual gearboxes since you’re in full autonomy.
While it can be intrusive for some, it’s good to know that engine rev hang has a positive environmental effect – no matter how marginal it sounds.
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