Monday, 30 October 2017

Jaguar Land Rover and project REALITY: The Future of Recycling

Jaguar Land Rover, the largest vehicle manufacturer in the UK, made ground-breaking steps in 2008 with the launch of their REALCAR and REALCAR 2 projects, aimed at increasing aluminium recycling rates and reducing carbon emissions.

However, their latest project REALITY is showing early signs of being the most pioneering yet.

So, what has been going on behind the scenes so far…

What is the REALCAR Project?

The REALCAR project began in 2008 and was the first step introduced by Jaguar Land Rover to boost aluminium recycling rates, aiming to boost the amount of recycled aluminium used in vehicle manufacture to 75%, lowering their overall carbon footprint.

This project assisted in the design of a new alloy made from discarded, aluminium scrap; the RivAlloy, which combines the benefits of largely reducing the amount of wasted material and dramatically minimising transport emissions from using UK materials.


REALCAR 2, the second wave of the REALCAR project, focused on separation technologies and the “technological shift” needed to change the future of vehicle recycling.

In figures set out by Jaguar Land Rover, the REALCAR programmes have reclaimed more than 75,000 tonnes of aluminium scrap which was then able to be used in the manufacturing of new vehicles.

What is the REALITY Project?

Moving into the final stage of a larger plan, Jaguar Land Rover have announced how their last project will attempt to increase the amount of recycling from ‘end of life’ vehicles to witness a surge in the amount of aluminium coming from scrap:

“Aluminium from other sources, including end-of-life vehicles, can now be graded and ‘born again’ in the manufacture of new cars.”

The REALITY project is scheduled to last for three years and will build on the foundations of the REALCAR projects. REALITY is concerned with enabling and promoting closed loop recycling- a unique system that helps to bring about both financial and environmental benefits.

The REALCAR projects have so-far already received super brain-power from the likes of Brunel University, Novelis and part-funding from Innovate UK:

"Innovate UK is proud of our support for the REALCAR programme, and this exciting latest stage of the project, REALITY, is another excellent example of collaboration between large and small businesses in the supply chain, supporting them to scale up and become more productive. These projects have been a model in terms of professional delivery of complex research and development."

REALITY has now also called upon the help of a new partner- AXION for a specifically designed process tailored to the recycling of aluminium.

If you’re interested in seeing more videos like this, you can subscribe to Innovate UK’s YouTube channel here.

Additionally, you can follow @InnovateUK on Twitter here.

Friday, 27 October 2017

The UK’s ongoing headache with potholes

The RAC have released new data that suggests that drivers in Britain are still having recurring issues with potholes and this is causing a lot of problems. Used Volkswagen provider Inchcape Volkswagen, who offer thorough aftersales services, MOTs and repairs to solve issues such as wheel misalignment and suspension damage, explores…

Between January and March of 2017, the RAC had dealt with almost 7,000 breakdowns that were likely caused by poor road conditions. The last time that so many pothole-related breakdowns were recorded in a three-month period was in the first quarter of 2015 (almost 6,900 breakdowns were recorded then). However, in the early months of 2015, the country was subjected to more days of frost and rainfall when compared to the first three months of 2017, when the nation experienced mild and moderately dry conditions.

“Our figures sadly show a surprising and unwelcome first quarter rise in the number of breakdowns where the poor quality of the road surface was a major factor. We had expected a figure no worse than that recorded in the first quarter of 2016 (4,026) and it is very concerning that the roads, strangely, appear to have deteriorated in a mild, comparatively dry winter.” Commented David Bizley, a chief engineer at the RAC.

But do we actually know how bad these pot holes are in Britain? 

Where are the potholes?

The table below is based on the number of road hazards which were reported to them with research carried out by

Total reports
Open reports
Fixed reports
% fixed
SE Eng
SE Eng
SE Eng
SE Eng
SE Eng
NW Eng
SE Eng
Cheshire East
NW Eng
West Sussex
SE Eng

... Surrey having almost twice as many reports as the next county, Hampshire.

How many potholes are being filled?

We can see that across England 13,468 potholes were filled throughout 2016/17 by local authorities – in the Asphalt Local Authority Maintenance Survey 2017 - A small percentage of the total number being reported and causing damage (and compensation costs!).

Some local authorities are able to claim that more than 90% of the reported potholes are subsequently fixed... Well done to them!

However, from the table above, it is clear that there are still many places where only 10-15% are being dealt with.

In the past year, in London and South East England, more than 1.6M drivers reported damage to their vehicles. A costly problem.

With the cost of road repairs averaging £163 per pothole in Eastern England, and £124 in London and the South East, you can see why struggling authorities appear to be burying their heads in the sand.

UKMT comments:

My recent drive across several neighbouring nations has convinced me that Britain is now the  pothole capital of Europe.

Travelling mostly on secondary category roads, the equivalent of our A and B roads, I have found French and Spanish roads to be in considerably better condition than ours. 

Ah you say, they have toll roads. Indeed they do, but the toll network of motorways is entirely self financing and in both countries the A and B roads are financed from local taxes and fuel duties.

In our case most of the finances raised by the treasury from road tax, fuel duties, motor insurance levy, vat etc etc does not get spent on the roads. The ring roads are not ring fenced, nor indeed are any of the others!

The government returns a steadily diminishing amount of the taxation to local authorities to keep local roads in good order. Desperately cash strapped councils then divert some of this money to other equally underfunded areas of their responsibility. 

The result is a pathetically small amount of money left for road repairs and, just as bad, no inspectors to check the few works that are done. The inspectors have mostly been made redundant.

I live in Sussex but drive all over, so am certain this sad state of affairs operates throughout most of the UK. 

Every minor road I travel is littered with holes and those few repairs that are carried out are usually of poor quality and often only last a few months. 

We have become a third world country in terms of our roads despite inventing the tarmacadam process ... or at least the Scots did... Thank you Scotland.

According to a recent survey most local authorities now spend more on settling motoring insurance claims for pothole related damage than on repairing the potholes. 

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

UKMotorTalk News highlights podcast

In this episode of UKMotorTalk:
  • London's T-Charge
  • A new child seat with air bags
  • 2018's Grand Prix of South America long distance rally
  • A review of the US Grand Prix
  • A look forward to the 2017 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run

For more information about entering the Grand Prix of South America rally event, visit:

For more on the London T-Charge, visit:

To follow the UKMotorTalk podcast, and not miss a thing, go to:

Friday, 20 October 2017

F1 News - Alonso stays at McLaren

So, finally, the announcement Fernando Alonso has signed for McLaren for another year ...

He says he is very happy at Woking alongside Stoffel Vandoorne... but only for 1 more year.

Now the double world champion has had 3 terrible seasons at McLaren, and few other driving choices.

There are no seats at top three Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull.

But I don't believe it is either inertia or money that is keeping Fernando in Zak Brown's squad.

He knows something.... There are engine and chassis developments afoot that have persuaded him to stay post the Honda debacle.

I think he knows 2018 could be a major return to form for the team and he wants to be back in the points not back on the retirees list.

Alonso is a truly great racer, give him just half a chance in anything reliable and he will work wonders. All of the other front runners, Lewis, Sebastian, Daniel, know, respect and perhaps fear him a little. Only Max fails to give respect.

Will we see him back on the podium next year? I believe we will ... and much more importantly, Fernando believes we will.

Graham Benge

Friday, 6 October 2017

DS 7 Crossback La Premiere - Guided Tour!

DS Automobiles UK's Head of Communications, Kevin Jones, shows us round the DS 7 Crossback La Premiere, due to be available in the UK early 2018.
Kevin's tour is also included as a UKMT podcast:

UKMotorTalk - DS7 Crossback La Premiere - Guided Tour

To follow the UKMotorTalk podcast, and not miss a thing, go to:

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Are UK new car sales dramatically on the decline?

A balloon can collapse in 2 ways... Either with a dramatically loud explosion, or slowly with a gradual release of air and a humerous noise.

Both ways however result in a flat balloon or whoopee cushion.

Why do I make this zen like analogy?

The SMMT has this morning released the latest car sales figures, and it is becoming increasingly clear to observers that the new car sales market is deflating .... rapidly.

Four straight months of decline clearly show new car sales peaked in 2016, a record year, and a severe decline is now in progress.

The evidence on any motorway journey is there are huge numbers of new cars out there.

Of the 35 million or so cars on the UK's roads, probably a higher proportion than ever are less than three years old.

A sales boom in 2015 and 2016, fueled by cheap credit deals, was simply not sustainable, and has, as a by-product, severely damaged the used car market.

With increasing fears over the end residual values of these cheaply 'bought' cars, the prospects for car dealers, especially the larger groups, look comparatively bleak over the next few years.

Recently introduced scrappage schemes don't seem to have (yet) halted the decline, for that is entirely what they were intended to do. They were never about saving the planet but were all about an increasingly cynical ploy to grab market share.

The initial schemes had some merit but those that came to the market later were often highly selective enhanced trade-in schemes.

Add into this mix the uncertainty over the future of diesel cars - it's taken nearly 30 years for me to be able to say I told you so! - and there seems little chance of an upturn in the mainstream market until some of those 2 or 3 year PCPs come up for renewal.

The Bank of England has already expressed its concerns about cheap car loans and their effect.

A decade ago it was cheap loans on houses that got us all into a global meltdown... 10 years later will the effects of cheap car loans be just as bad? ..... Or is my glass just less than half full this morning??

Graham Benge

Monday, 2 October 2017

Devil's Dyke Road... in a DB7..?

OK, so perhaps it's not quite as dramatically scenic, as rugged or even as long as our other suggested great drives, but a personal favourite of mine is a road that I have often used for benchmarking the handling of a wide variety of cars. 

The road in question is just north of Brighton, the Devil's Dyke Road up towards Horsham.

It's set in the South Downs National Park, and uses the Downs' green contours as a rural switchback.

It's narrow with multiple curves. In fact, it has hardly any straight bits at its southern end, so it's more like the Millbrook Alpine handling track, used all year to put test cars through their paces.

Both have an incredible variety of curves, cambers and elevation changes and if treated with respect, they will reward any keen driver. Just remember, on the South Downs you won't have much time to admire the scenery you'll be so engaged.

It was on the Devil's Dyke Road that I once took an Aston Martin DB7 for a quiet, relaxing drive in the countryside. A beautiful car, in a beautiful part of the world. Both fully lived up to expectations.

Graham Benge