On-street EV charge points receive funding boost – Fleet News

The Government has doubled the funding available for on-street residential charge points to encourage greener forms of travel as lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps says the Government will commit a further £10 million to the scheme, allowing local authorities to install up to 7,200 devices.

It is the second time that the Department for Transport (DfT) has increased the funding available after announcing it was doubling the £5m it had already committed to £10m in January.

The DfT said that further efforts to encourage drivers to make the switch include the upcoming launch of a consultation, which hopes to make charging electric vehicles (EVs) just as easy as filling up a traditional petrol or diesel car.

It will explore measures such as requiring rapid charging points – which are fundamental for longer journeys - to offer contactless payment, improving transparency on pricing and giving drivers better access to information about the charge points available on their journey.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “The additional funding allocated for electric vehicle charging infrastructure is much needed.

“While the proportion of drivers looking at purchasing an electric vehicle as their next car choice remains relatively low, interest is increasing.

“Charging infrastructure in the UK has improved significantly, though drivers still say this remains a barrier to them choosing an electric vehicle, alongside range and comparable cost to a similarly sized conventional vehicle.”

Brighton and Hove City Council announced last year, that more than 200 new EV charge points are set to be installed across the city.

Its project is being funded with £300,000 from the Office of Low Emissions (OLEV), and £100,000 from Electric Blue.

The 207 new points will include 30 in areas with high parking demand, where the council is proposing mandatory electric charging spaces, many of them in response to requests from residents who own or are thinking of buying EVs, but have no off street parking available.

Dealers prepare to take some employees off furlough – Motor Trader

Dealers across the country are beginning to unfurlough staff in preparation for a return to business.

Among them is Simon Bailes Peugeot, which is gearing up to deal with a rising number of telephone and online enquiries for new and used vehicles.

The business, with dealerships in Northallerton, Stockton and Guisborough, has the necessary procedures in place so that it can safely open for business.

Simon Bailes Peugeot temporarily closed its showrooms for vehicle sales in line with current government advice, although customers are still able to order online.

Aftersales and vehicle servicing departments continue to operate to support essential vehicle servicing and maintenance – with priority given to key workers.

Simon Bailes said: “We have received a number of online and telephone enquiries from customers regarding the purchase of new and used vehicles and as a result several of our sales staff are coming off the furlough scheme to meet this growing demand.

“We have already imposed a range of safeguarding measures within our parts and servicing departments which work well. We are prepared to extend and reinforce these measures so that we are in a position to welcome back customers to our showrooms the moment it is judged prudent to do so.”

Aston Barclay to up digital sales programme as lockdown eases – Motor Trader

Aston Barclay has announced a weekly digital auction sale programme, extending its current online sales schedule.

Its new strategy is based on the results of a major buyer survey following Boris Johnson’s updated lockdown address on 10 May, which predicts a healthy demand for used cars once dealers get back to work full time.

52% of buyers said they are expecting a strong demand for used cars as soon as dealers open for business, with four out of every five (80%) expecting to buy up to 30 used cars during the next month.

These statistics match closely buyers’ pre-pandemic buying patterns.

Results show that 59% said they would be buying stock in the £5-15,000 price bracket, while buyers also predict SUVs will retain their popularity in the market.

Nearly half (44.9%) of dealers said they will be buying stock online once the market gets back to normal, reinforcing the impact online buying has had in the first seven weeks of the lockdown period.

When Aston Barclay launches its scaled-up auction programme on 18 May no physical buyers will be allowed on site to inspect or bid on stock.

Even when social distancing is relaxed it envisages allowing only a restricted number of physical buyers attending each sale to maximise on site safety, a trend that will become the ‘new normal’.

Neil Hodson, Aston Barclay’s group chief executive: “Every part of our recent business review focuses on what the new future will look like to enforce the safety of our colleagues, buyers and vendors.

“Combine that with the results from the buyer survey where the industry is predicting a healthy used car market in place from the off, we believe we are in a good place and ready to play our role in supporting the industry as it returns to work.

“Our new online plans will shape a new look future for the remarketing industry where the latest digital technology is supported by a first-class auction infrastructure rather than the other way around.

“Our investment in our buyer’s app means quality images are paying off as buyers are now basing all their buying decisions on online photos and condition reports. Our unique grading and Assured warranty-style product provide further confidence when buying online.”

Hats on 4 Ben to promote mental health message amid COVID-19 crisis – AM Online

Ben is urging car retailers to use their head to raise awareness of the issue of mental health by hosting its fifth annual Hats on 4 Ben charity event amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The automotive retail sector benevolent charity will aim to “reconnect the automotive family virtually” and take action to support those struggling with their mental health through activities which are set to take place during Mental Health Awareness Week (May 18 to 24).

Each year, over 50% of people who turn to Ben ask for help with mental health issues and the charity has seen demand increase in light of COVID-19.

Ben is asking people to get involved in this years Hats on 4 Ben event to help raise funds, and spirits, during its week of action.

To take part in Hats on 4 Ben, Ben is asking people to do three simple things:

  1. Make/wear a hat and share a selfie on social media, using the hashtag #HatsOn4Ben.
  2. Tag five family members or friends to do the same.
  3. Text HATS to 70480 & donate £5 (if you can afford it) to help provide mental health support.

BCA team set to cover 1,948 miles to fundraise for the NHS – AM Online

Members of the BCA human resources (HR) team have set themselves the challenge of covering 1,948 miles to raise funds for the NHS during the COVID-19 crisis.

The challenge will mark the anniversary of the formation of the NHS on July 5,1948, and will celebrate the work of the NHS amidst the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Around 15 people from the HR team have signed up to walk, cycle or run the distance from various locations around the UK, covering 1,948 miles between May 5 and June 30.

The participants will track their progress through a running app and will be posting photos and updates on their progress via the BCA LinkedIn page, throughout the duration of the 60 days. …