Making sure you’re well covered for Christmas…Is the EV herd heading in the wrong direction?…Lifetime collection for sale online…+ lots, lots, more…,

Lots of products get hung on the Christmas peg. But car insurance? Well, why not? Ahead of the busy festive period on Australia’s roads, apparently new research from car insurance experts iSelect suggests many drivers may be leaving themselves financially exposed by not regularly reviewing their car insurance policy.

The Galaxy Research, commissioned by iSelect, looked into Australians’ attitudes and behaviour towards car insurance, and indicated that over five million (33%) vehicle owners have either always been with the same insurer, or haven’t changed providers for at least 10 years.

More alarmingly, more than 727,000 vehicles are being driven uninsured. The research also revealed almost one in five (18%) of 65+ drivers have been with the same insurance company since they first got a license.

According to Laura Crowden of iSelect Car Insurance, the busy Christmas and New Year holiday period should be a reminder to drivers to review their car insurance policy and make sure it still suits their current needs and budget.

“During the holiday season, more people are on the road at the same time and many driving longer distances than normal, often on unfamiliar roads, increasing the amount of stress and the risk of accidents.”

Laura (pictured) also reckons that the research suggests many drivers may be paying too much for their vehicle insurance by not regularly reviewing their policy, requirements and options.

“Simple updates like removing drivers who no longer share your vehicle, a change of overnight parking circumstances, or even kilometres driven per year can make a big difference to your premiums.

“It’s also important to make sure that you notified your insurer of any changes, such as moving address or vehicle modifications, as not doing so could void your policy in the case of a claim.”

Ms Crowden also points out that if you’re planning to do a lot of driving over the festive period then you should take the time to check that your insurance policy is up to date.

Reviewing a current insurer against other options could reveal a better value alternative and free up some extra cash to put towards Christmas shopping.

Although there is understandably a strong focus on the Christmas road toll, the festive season also sees a heightened risk of minor prangs and bingles, particularly in busy shopping centre car parks.

The iSelect research also found that the majority of Australian drivers (51%) reported having not made a claim in the past 10 years, including a third of drivers who have never made a claim.

The research involved a nationally representative consumer study to assess the attitudes of 1000 insured drivers towards vehicle insurance. The dataset was weighted and projected to the population based on ABS population estimates.

Laura said perhaps most concerning research finding is that 727,000 Aussies are driving uninsured cars: “Car insurance is like health insurance and home and content insurance. You hope you never have to claim on it, but when the time comes it can be a financial lifesaver.

“After all, the implications of a parking-lot bingle with a top-of-the-line Tesla can run into the thousands. This is why all drivers, regardless of their situation and driving history, should speak with a car insurance expert regularly to make sure they have the right level of cover at a price they can afford.”

Is the EV herd heading in the wrong direction?

Despite doubts about whether or not the replacement of the internal combustion engine with electric vehicles will result in any reduction in greenhouse gases, the stampede towards EVs shows no signs of slowing down.

The latest to join the herd is the South Australia government and the City of Adelaide. Apparently, the uptake of electric vehicles is part of a commitment to the Climate Action Roundtable that includes Victoria, Western Australia, ACT, Hobart and Darwin.

According to SA climate change minister Ian Hunter, transport is the fastest-growing contributor to climate change globally and other major economies are moving away from petrol and diesel-fuelled engines.

“It’s important that we are at the forefront of a transition to lower-emission vehicles in Australia, both to reduce greenhouse gases and other emissions and to keep pace with global competitors.”

Behyad Jafari, the CEO of Australia’s Electric Vehicle Council, warned that Australia has fallen behind in the global market for electric vehicles.

“We need governments, particularly the federal government, to take meaningful action to begin the process of transitioning our economy from imported oils, to transport run from domestically generated renewable energy,” he said.

Yet according to Peter Rez, a professor at Arizona State University, in most developed countries this would imply a need to generate 25% more electrical energy. Electrical companies will also have to distribute substantially more power to the home.

To fully charge a car overnight requires up to 10kW, a major increase on average consumption. Fast charging stations also present a challenge for electrical companies. The equivalent of the local petrol filling station will require 1-2MW of electrical power, about the same as a small shopping mall.

“If I filled up my car with 12 gallons of petrol, in power terms, that’s 20MW, equivalent to the electrical consumption of 10,000 average homes consuming 2kW. Taking account of the greater efficiency of the electric car would lower the electrical consumption equivalent to about 4.5MW, or 2,250 homes,” said Peter.

Peter also claims that if cars are charged at home don’t expect to use solar unless you only drive at night and leave the car in the garage during the day. In fact, if coal were used to generate the extra electricity required by electric cars there would be no reduction of CO2 emissions compared to petrol or diesel cars.

About a third of South Australia’s energy comes from renewable sources. It is Australia’s biggest wind energy producing state and has the highest uptake of household rooftop solar in the nation. It also plans to reach a renewable energy production target of 50% by 2025.

CLICK HERE to read: What’s Wrong With Electric Cars

 

Lambo launch super..super..super..sports utility

Automobili Lamborghini today unveiled what it says is the world’s first super sport utility vehicle (SSUV) in the form of the Lamborghini Urus. In autospeak, “it’s a new niche in the luxury segment with benchmarking power, performance and driving dynamics, unparalleled design, luxury, and daily usability.”

Delivery is towards the end of next year with suggested retail prices, not including taxes, of $A390,000 and $NZ323,000. If you’ve got that kind of throwaway dosh, then you can read masses of autospeak in The new Lamborghini Urus or just watch the video.

Lifetime memorabilia collection for sale online

Nearly 400 special automotive memorabilia items from the lifetime collection of noted Jaguar enthusiast and international authority Ian Cummins, are now being offered by Shannons through a timed online auction.

The sale, which opened on November 30 and closes at 5pm (Australian Eastern Daylight Time) on December 14, covers items that were not included in Shannons’ Melbourne Summer Auction because of the sheer volume of lots from the collection.

There’s everything from plaques and posters to carburettors, badges, radiator grilles and bonnet mascots but the standouts are the many model cars that Ian collected during his lifelong fascination with rare and sporting vehicles.

A true connoisseur of model cars of all scales, in 1970 he opened Model Cars Australia in Sydney and sold the shop in 1986 when he became the curator of the Donnington Motor Museum in England, but not before he’d assembled a vast collection of rare and hand-built models.

Topping the on-line lots is a professionally crafted child’s electric car. Based on a scaled-down Bugatti Type 35 grand prix vehicle, the model is expected to attract international interest in the $20-30,000 range.

An exquisite hand-built 1955 Jaguar D-Type long nose 1:12 scale model by New Zealand’s G. Climo and one of several sets of rare Dunlop alloy road wheels from full-size racing D-Types ($12-$16,000) for a set of four will certainly grab the interest of Jaguar enthusiasts.

Other collectible models include a hand-built 1935 Alfa Romeo P3 grand prix car ($12-16,000), hand-built 1914 GP Vauxhall ($8-12,000), a 55cm-long Toschi die-cast Ferrari 500 Clockwork GP car ($2-3000), a trio of 1:43 scale Jaguar D-type and C-type models offered with no reserve for as little as $80-120.

There’s 55 different steering wheels from a wide range of sporting vehicles over the past century on offer, the rarest being an Aston Martin DB 3-spoke wood rim with boss ($15-$2000).

A 15.75-inch Nardi steering wheel that Ian acquired from fellow-Sydney enthusiast Laurie O’Neill’s Ferrari 212 is expected to change hand for somewhere between four and eight thousand dollars.

A sandcast Weber 40DCO3 No2 side-draught carburettor, once fitted to an Alta four-cylinder engine and a set of three Weber 36DCL3 downdraft units with intake manifolds and air cleaners from a late 1950s Ferrari 250, are among a rare collection of fuel and air blenders.

CLICK HERE for more details.

‘World first’ showroom for Sydney and a short black for Melbourne

Mercedes-AMG has opened what the company say is the first dedicated stand-alone, full sales and service showroom in the world adjacent to Sydney Airport domestic terminals.

According to the company’s Tobias Moers, it is the first time in Australia that customers can view new and pre-owned Mercedes-AMG vehicles alongside a full servicing workshop.

“Customers will experience the brand over two storeys, with the focus exclusively on the models and themes of the sports car and performance brand. This facility serves as a role model for future stand-alone projects in other major cities, which are already on the drawing board.”

Design of the structure is modelled on the architecture of the AMG building in Affalterbach, Germany. The LED façade, with white louvers and the diagonal structure provide a dynamic daytime appearance with white-red exterior lighting activated at night.

An area of almost 1000 square metres is split over two storeys enabling customers and prospects to learn about the latest AMG performance models, the AMG driving academy and collection and the organisation’s involvement in motorsport.

There’s also lounges, boutiques, motorsport exhibits, vehicle hand-over area and a dedicated space with a sound counter relaying different engine sounds, where customers can configure vehicles to their personal preferences.

Meanwhile, Merc now has its very own coffee shop in the heart of the Melbourne CBD. Mercedes me Melbourne is claimed to offer contemporary architecture, top class coffee and gastronomy, all under the one roof. The café is modelled on similar outlets in Hamburg, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Munich, etc.

According to Merc’s Horst von Sanden, the new chophouse is a great reflection on the importance of the local market: “To open such a facility amid Melbourne’s world-renowned food and drink scene is a great honour and we are sure that we can do Melbourne and Mercedes-Benz proud.

Corporate signage is said to be minimal, but Merc fans can enjoy a menu that draws inspiration from the carmaker’s storied heritage. Customers can sip latte in The Garage or The Living Room, grab one of the ‘Air, Land and Sea’ booths, or hang out in the floating loft.

Brembo and Sachs add savoir faire to Toyota 86

The Toyota 86 GTS may not be the most exciting looking sports car around, but now at least there’s a chance of giving it a bit of touch up thanks to a new performance kit available for all four model variants.

The addition of larger Brembo performance brakes, specially tuned Sachs performance dampers and anthracite-coloured, 10-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels should add a bit of sparkle.

This combination was part of a limited-edition run of just 60 cars released in June, but for between two and three grand it’s now possible to add it as an option on all four 86 model variants.

GTS owners also can combine the performance pack with Moon Slate, a newly developed exterior paint colour, that combines with red interior trim highlights and black wheels, exterior mirrors and rear spoiler.

Introduction of the optional performance kit is accompanied by an ‘upgrade’ to the 86 that adds satellite navigation to the GT and an updated multimedia system with connected mobility across the range.

Top ten ranking for online auto retailer

Australia’s largest online auto-parts retailer Sparesbox.com.au has been ranked #7 in the Deloitte Tech Fast 50 that rates fast growing technology companies based on percentage revenue growth over a three year period.

Based in Sydney, the auto-tech start-up is the only automotive company to rank in the top 10, highlighting the continuing role of technology in disrupting traditional industry models.

According to Sparesbox’s co-founder Andy Palmer, technology has played a key role in the company’s growth, expansion and ability to offer consumers an affordable alternative to the traditional dealership pathway.

“The idea behind Sparesbox was simply to use our experience in the auto industry and combining it with some tech innovation. We saw that we could disrupt an outdated industry model and in the process offer genuine savings to users.”

Since its launch in 2014, the company has grown to be become the largest online auto-parts retailer in Australia employing 80 people across NSW and Victoria and has a customer base of more than 100,000. The company recently launch a mobile service fleet in NSW.

“With over 130,000 genuine auto parts in our inventory at 30% less than dealership cost, we saw an opportunity not only to pass these savings onto the consumer but to offer them through our mobile service arm. As a result, consumers can save on a standard car service minus the hassle of even leaving home or work as our vans go straight to them.”

Joint venture for cities of the future

US-based designer and manufacturer of electric vehicles Fisker has formed an alliance with the Chinese conglomerate Hakim Unique Group aimed at developing autonomous shuttles for smart cities.

The partnership is said to reflect both company’s vision in new mobility trends and the elevation of integrated smart city concepts.

The HUG has more than 160 companies involving a range of experts across government, universities, operators and enterprises with expertise in consulting, advanced technical research, multi-mode operation, integration, implementation and operation.

For its part, Henrik Fisker’s expertise include the Fisker EMotion luxury electric sedan and various technologies that the company claim will change the face of the automotive industry.

The first joint project will include the design, development and integration of the Fisker Orbit, an electric autonomous shuttle due for delivery next year, into a Hakim-implemented smart city.

“The combination of our breakthrough automotive technology, design prowess and unique vantage point and Hakim Unique Group chairman ‘Jack’ Wang Qicheng’s truly integrated vision of smart cities, is very powerful,” said Henrik.

For his part Jack sees the greatest opportunity for society in the future coming from the orchestration of data, intelligence and collaboration with the convergence of online and offline activities.

“If we take this opportunity, we will restructure the business ecosystem. Hakim Unique Group aims to become an enterprise that can bring profound impact on human lives around the world, and even on the future of business.

“We believe that Fisker Inc. shares that same ambition and our collaboration will not only create a great win-win outcome, but also a story and legacy to be relished by future generations.”