Helpful Information

At Leven Car Company we always want to keep you informed on the latest news and developments within the motor industry and that may affect you. Below are some articles that we and others have found of interest and we will constantly be updating this with the most relevant news.

  • CLEAN AIR ZONE

    Given that Edinburgh plans to move to become a ‘Clean Air Zone’ [CAZ] by April 2020 we found this an interesting article.

    As major cities across the UK announce their plans for Clean Air Zones (CAZ) it is clear that there is no consistent picture for the motorist or clear impact for the industry.

    The original Government framework excluded restrictions on passenger cars. It was for a good reason because the amendments were a result of the ill-informed media frenzy regarding NOx, diesel and passenger cars.

    To date only London and Birmingham have included charges for passenger cars.

    Leeds is charging commercial vehicles only.

    Southampton is awaiting a report on the consultation, but likely to apply similar model to Leeds, although the biggest NOx concentration is around the port and not the city centre itself.

    Both Derby and Nottingham have elected not to charge, but instead to focus on other measures to reduce pollution. Even for those that cities that charge for older passenger cars, Euro 4 has been in place for petrol since 2006 and Euro VI since 2015.

    There will be no impact for typical fleet market by the time the CAZs are operational in 2020/21.

    According to the BVRLA, 75% of leased cars and 94% of the car rental fleet already meet clean air zone standards. The leasing industry is also leading the van sector, with only 13% of the UK van fleet being CAZ-compliant, compared to 37% of all leased vans and 56% of the rental van fleet.

    The CAZs can be seen as a tax on the poor because you don’t generally choose to drive a 12-year-old petrol vehicle if you can afford anything younger.

    There is an argument that the CAZs will have a limited environmental impact and are expensive to set up and administer.

    There are far greater environmental benefits to be gained from aftermarket treatments, especially of HGVs. 

    All council fleets could lead the way and enforce low emission taxi and bus fleets at the earliest opportunity, which generally bigger impact than passenger cars, or invest in electrified public transport networks such as trams.

    Transitional arrangements for large commercial fleet operators who operate in cities such as Leeds and Southampton will be demanded due to long replacement cycles.

    Analysts at Cap HPI think that CAZs are unlikely to have any impact on new car sales over and above existing trend of switching from petrol to diesel, especially since all new cars will be compliant.

    The trend may increase commercial vehicle registrations as some fleets consider reducing replacement cycles to mitigate new levels of operating cost.

    The industry can point to air quality that has been improving significantly over time and would continue to do so without CAZs as new, cleaner vehicles replace older, more polluting vehicles in the parc.

    It is clear the road to Zero is already driving consumer change with the rapid growth in electric vehicles and decline in diesel models. The number of electric vehicles on Britain’s roads has leapt 128% since 2015, according to research by Cap HPI

    Whether you are a fan of Clean Air Zones or not, they are coming. The good news is that their likely impact on most in the industry is likely to be minimal.

    Author: Dylan Setterfield, international senior forecast manager at Cap HP

  • FIVE MANAGEABLE WAYS TO SAVE FUEL

    The cost of running a fleet can be one of the highest expenses a business can incur, with the ever-increasing cost of fuel making business trips more and more expensive. Managing fuel costs and mileage while reducing emissions are some of the greatest challenges fleet managers face.

    There is no quick fix to reducing fuel costs with alternatives such as switching to electric powered vehicles requiring time and investment. With that in mind here is a range of small and simple steps that can be taken to help increase fuel efficiency.

    1) CAREFUL DRIVING

    The greater the vehicles fuel efficiency the less fuel it is going to use and in turn the less your fleet is going to cost. Training your fleet drivers to accelerate gradually and try to maintain a steady speed in the highest possible gear will help reach the optimum MPG figure. The optimum driving speed for fuel economy will vary with every vehicle with the average being around 55/56mph. This figure often used by car manufacturers to quote fuel consumption figures.

    2) TYRE PRESSURE

    Tyres can lose air pressure at a rate up to 2 PSI every month. This affects not only the tread life of the tyre but also reduces fuel efficiency due to the reduction of rolling resistance with the road. Monthly driver tyre checks should be included within your driver handbook with a note to vary the pressure depending on vehicle load. As an example, if you have four passengers all with luggage then you will need your tyres inflated to the maximum recommended pressures.

    Drivers should also remember that over-inflated tyres can affect fuel efficiency as much as underinflated ones.

    3) THE PRICE OF AIR CONDITION

    Not using the air conditioning system is the last thing your drivers will want to do in the current heat wave. Although it might make a journey more comfortable it uses a great deal of fuel due to the strain it puts on the engine. Drivers should try to avoid excessive use of your air con when stuck in traffic. Engines have to work harder in stop-start traffic so using the air con will only add to this strain and use more fuel. In slow moving traffic rolling down the windows is a much better choice.

    We recommend that vehicles have their air-conditioning system re-gassed every two years. Your air-conditioning refrigerant will drop due to use meaning that the system will start blowing warm air into the cabin, in turn, meaning your air-con system will have to work harder to produce cold air with no avail and increase your fuel consumption.

    4) VEHICLE MAINTENANCE

    Whether your vehicle contract comes fully maintained or customer maintained you are under obligation to make sure that you keep the vehicle maintenance up to date. Keeping up with vehicle maintenance is one of the best ways to improve the efficiency of your vehicle. Replacing items such as spark plugs and regular oil and filter changes all reduce the burden on your engine and help to provide improved MPG.

    5) CHECK THE LOAD

    Studies have shown that on average every 50kg of extra weight will increase your fuel consumption by 2%. This figure is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight so it affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.

    Drivers should be advised to remove unnecessary items from the boot and seats from the back of your van which may also reduce the chance of vehicle break-ins by removing objects to target.  Roof bars should also not be left on cars as these can create wind resistance and cause your car to use more fuel.  Roof bars tend to weigh between 3kg to 5kg and an empty roof rack can reduce fuel consumption by about 10%.

    It is also recommended that if you tend to use your vehicle for short trips you should consider only filling your tank up halfway each time to lighten the load.

    If you have any questions about the above, or if you are looking to add a new car to your fleet, please contact us at leasingenquiries@levencarcompany.co.uk

  • PLUG-IN CAR GRANT – THE REMOVAL OF CATEGORIES 2 & 3

    A big blow to the growth of Electric and Plug-In vehicles announced yesterday. The UK government has announced changes to the Plug-In car grant that took effect from the 9th November 2018. The changes announced will mean that the grant rate for Category 1 vehicles will move from £4,500 to £3,500 and Category 2 and 3 vehicles will no longer be eligible for the grant. The grant has been in place for the last 7 years and has supported the purchase of over 160,000 new cars.

    Cars that currently sit in Category One include:

    • BMW i3 and i3s
    • BYD e6
    • Citroen CZero
    • Hyundai IONIQ Electric
    • Hyundai KONA Electric
    • Jaguar I-PACE
    • Kia Soul EV
    • Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive
    • Nissan e-NV200 (5-seater and 7-seater)
    • Nissan LEAF
    • Peugeot iON
    • Renault ZOE
    • Smart EQ fortwo
    • Smart EQ forfour
    • Tesla Model S
    • Tesla Model X
    • Toyota Mirai
    • Volkswagen e-up!
    • Volkswagen e-Golf

    These vehicles have CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km and can travel at least 112km (70 miles) without any CO2 emissions at all. Some of these vehicles are subject to change due to the introduction WLTP.

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOUR FLEET

    The information so far states that cars that were ordered before the 9th of November will benefit from the grant, with the government currently honouring orders processed.

    Vehicles that will be affected by the removal of the categories include:

    Category Two Cars

    • Audi A3 e-tron
    • BMW 225xe
    • BMW 330e
    • BMW 530e
    • Hyundai IONIQ PHEV
    • Kia Niro PHEV
    • Kia Optima PHEV
    • Mercedes-Benz C350 e (with 17 inch rear wheels)
    • Mercedes-Benz E350 e SE
    • Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (except Commercial)
    • Toyota Prius Plug-in
    • Volkswagen Golf GTE
    • Volkswagen Passat GTE
    • Volvo S90 Twin Engine
    • Volvo V60 D5 Twin Engine
    • Volvo V60 D6 Twin Engine
    • Volvo V90 Twin Engine
    • Volvo XC60 Twin Engine
    • *These vehicles have CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km and can travel at least 16km (10 miles) without any CO2 emissions at all.

      Category Three Cars

      • Mercedes-Benz E350 e AMG Line
      • MINI Countryman PHEV

      *These vehicles have CO2 emissions of 50 to 75g/km and can travel at least 32km (20 miles) without any CO2 emissions at all

      There are however new plug-in vehicles arriving on the scene every month and an increase in range from various manufacturers now means that cars that were seen to create ‘range anxiety’ now have the capability of two and three hundred miles on a single charge.

      To find out more about what is available and how this can benefit your fleet contact our team on leasingenquiries@levencarcompany.co.uk

  • 19MY OUTLANDER PHEV INFO

    The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is one of those cars that's constantly reinventing itself. The latest PHEV version is truly something to marvel at, and here are some facts….

    With a smoother, quieter driving experience and fuel economy that traditional cars just can’t match, hybrid technology is the future of motoring and the Outlander PHEV exemplifies everything great about plug-in hybrids.

    TWO POWERFUL MOTORS PROVIDE SUBLIME ELECTRIC DRIVING

    Switch seamlessly between electric and petrol engine driving.

    The twin-motor drive in the Outlander PHEV gives responsive acceleration, a quieter, more comfortable ride and exceptional fuel economy.

    The updated Outlander PHEV has a 10 percent larger battery and an upgraded 2.4-liter Atkinson Cycle inline four-cylinder engine with two electric motors – one on each of the front and rear axles. This translates to an improved all-electric range of 28 miles (per WLTP numbers) versus 22 with the prior version, with an 85 mph all-electric top speed from 78 mph. No horsepower or torque numbers have been released. Two new drive modes, Snow and Sport, will also be offered and provide variations in grip and throttle response.

    The Outlander PHEV’s efficiency translates to savings 40 g/km CO2 £0 VED159* mpg13% BIK

    The 19MY Outlander PHEV can save you money on your fuel bill, vehicle excise duty and more.

  • COMPANY CAR TAX

    Company cars and vans like many business benefits are taxed, this is called Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) Tax. As company vehicles are an additional taxable benefit, they fall outside of your standard National Insurance tax contributions. The amount of company car tax that you will pay is based on a range of factors, including annual earnings, the cost of the car and the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted.

    CALCULATING COMPANY VAN TAX

    Do I have to pay company van tax? is a question often asked by fleet van and pickup drivers, the answer is not a straightforward yes or no. An employee is only liable for Van Benefit Charge if he or she uses the company vehicle for private use or commuting to a fixed workplace, such as a head office. If an employee solely uses the vehicle for business trips such as a journey to an appointment or to a temporary workplace, then they are not liable for company van tax.

    Pool vans are also subject to a tax exemption if they meet the following categories:

    • Available for use and used by more than 1 employee.
    • Available to each employee because they need it to do their job.
    • Not ordinarily used by 1 employee to the exclusion of others.
    • Not normally kept at or near employees’ homes.
    • Used only for business journeys – limited private use is allowed, but only if it’s incidental to a business journey, for example driving home to allow an early start the next morning.

    The benefit in kind charge for Vans is currently set at a fixed rate of £3350 for the 2018/19 tax year, this means that any van or pickup that falls under personal use will we subject to a payment of £670 for a 20% taxpayer and £1340 for a 40% taxpayer.

    This is set to rise for the Tax Years 2019/20 and 2020/21, with the benefit in kind charge rising to £3430, with the new Van Benefit Charge being £686 and £1372 respectively.

    Example - Ford Ranger 3.2 TDCI Double Cab 4x4 Limited 1 200ps Auto

    Tax Year to 5th April 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21
    Benefit in kind £3,350 £3,430 £3,430
    Tax payable at 20% £670 £686 £686
    Tax payable at 40% £1,340 £1,372 £1,372

    CALCULATING COMPANY CAR TAX

    Every car has a BIK percentage band. This is based on CO2 emissions, and a P11D value, which is the list price, including extras and VAT, but without the first-year registration fee and vehicle tax.

    Using the table below, multiple the P11D value of the vehicle by the car (BIK) tax band percentage rate then, multiply that figure by your marginal rate of tax (20% or 40%).

    Example – Audi A3 Sportback 2.0 TFSI Sport 190ps

    Co2 Emissions of 129 equates to a Taxable Percentage of 26%

    Multiple £23,400 by 26% (Taxable Percentage) to calculate the payable BIK = £6,941

    Tax payable 20%: £1,388

    Tax payable 40%: £2,776

    Should the CO2 emissions of your company car fall between CO2 bandings, simply round the number down to work out the company car tax band that applies.

    The Diesel supplement

    Remember to add an extra 4% below to the taxable percentage of the p11D value for any diesel vehicle that doesn’t meet the new RDE2 test standards (There are currently no vehicles that meet this standard).

    Remember to add an extra 4% below to the taxable percentage of the p11D value for any diesel vehicle that doesn’t meet the new RDE2 test standards (There are currently no vehicles that meet this standard).

    Company Car Tax Table

    Taxable Percentage of P11D Value

    CO2 Emissions (g/km) Electric Range (miles) 2018/2019 2019/2020 2020/2021
    0 N/A 13 16 2
    1-50 >130 13 16 2
    1-50 70-129 13 16 5
    1-50 40-69 13 16 8
    1-50 30-39 13 16 12
    1-50 <30 13 16 14
    51-54 16 19 15
    55-59 16 19 16
    60-64 16 19 17
    65-69 16 19 18
    70-74 16 19 19
    75-79 19 22 20
    80-84 19 22 21
    85-89 19 22 22
    90-94 19 22 23
    95-99 20 23 24
    100-104 21 24 25
    105-109 22 25 26
    110-114 23 26 27
    115-119 24 27 28
    120-124 25 28 29
    125-129 26 29 30
    130-134 27 30 31
    135-139 28 31 32
    140-144 29 32 33
    145-149 30 33 34
    150-154 31 34 35
    155-159 32 35 36
    160-164 33 36 37
    165-169 34 37 37
    170-174 35 37 37
    175-179 36 37 37
    180-184 37 37 37
    185-189 37 37 37
    190 or over 37 37 37
  • KIA E-NIRO: PRICING & SPECS ANNOUNCED

    The Kia e-Niro will be priced from £32,995 (after the government’s EV grant is taken into account) when it arrives in the UK in April 2019. The all-electric version of the Niro crossover made its European debut at the Paris Motor Show, and gets up to 282 miles of range and a battery that can be recharged to 80% in as little as 54 minutes.

    Design-wise, the e-Niro gets essentially the same look as the current car – that’s already available as a plug-in and pure-hybrid. It follows the reveal of the new Kia Soul EV – a crossover that gets a much more distinctive look.

    However, there are some external changes up front courtesy of a unique closed tiger-nose grille that incorporates a charging socket, a revised front bumper and model-specific LED daytime running lights. Blue trim pieces also mark it out from other models.

    This theme continues inside, where you’ll find an interior and layout that’s identical to other Niro models, with the exception of blue dash trim around the air vents, EV-specific centre console controls and driver information dials.

    Kia says models fitted with the 64kWh lithium-ion battery pack will be capable of up to 282 miles of range, while a less expensive 39.2kWh battery will also be available, allowing for up to 193 miles (312 km). Both models feature a single electric motor delivering 199bhp and 395Nm of torque allowing a swift 0-62mph time of just 7.5 seconds. Plugged into a 100 kW fast charger, it takes 54 minutes to recharge the e-Niro’s battery to 80%.

    Regenerative braking tech also features, which works as part of the car’s Eco Driving Assistant System, providing drivers with intelligent guidance on how to drive more efficiently. A battery heating system is also fitted to the e-Niro, designed to insulate and warm up the battery while the vehicle is plugged in, minimising the adverse effects of cold temperatures.

    A host of safety tech is available, including forward collision warning, forward collision-avoidance, smart cruise control with Stop and Go function, Driver Attention Warning and Lane Keep Assist.

    For more information contact our leasing department on 0131 442 5900.