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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-24-2023, 08:40 AM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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Rolls-Royce Wraith special is final V12 coupe

Rolls Royce Wraith Black Arrow front three quarter

New ultra-limited edition will be the final V12 coupé to be produced by Goodwood as it moves to EVs

The Rolls-Royce Black Badge Wraith Black Arrow has been revealed as the British firm’s final ever V12-powered coupé, ahead of its switch to all-electric power. 

Limited to just 12 units, which have already been sold to customers around the world, the Black Arrow sees out 10 years of Wraith production. It has been described by Rolls-Royce as a “fitting finale” for the two-door coupé. 

The Black Arrow follows the Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge, which was launched in 2016, with the traditional Rolls-Royce special edition conventions of providing drivers with uprated power, brakes and suspension, as well as a unique interior. 

Finished almost entirely in black and silver, the Black Arrow draws inspiration from the famous, seven-tonne, eight-wheeled, dual-V12-powered Thunderbolt of 1938, which broke the land speed record, hitting a top speed of 357.497mph. 

The new Wraith also gains a glass-infused paint finish. Its bumper inserts, wheel pinstripes, V-struts, Spirit of Ecstasy and engravings are all finished in yellow, paying homage to the Thunderbird. 

Inside, the Black Arrow is equipped with open-pore wood door lining, which Rolls-Royce says represents the Bonneville Salt Flats, where the Thunderbolt set its record.

Meanwhile, the seats, armrests, transmission tunnel and lower dashboard are all finished in black club leather, while the steering wheel, seat tops and headrests are coloured yellow. 

The roof lining also has the highest number of LED lights ever used in a Rolls-Royce, with 2117 fibreoptic ‘stars’, arranged by hand and depicting the stars of the Milky Way just resembling the exact night sky from 16 September 1938. 

Rolls-Royce hasn’t revealed technical information for the car, nor a price tag. The Wraith Black Badge packs 623bhp and 642lb ft from its twin-turbocharged V12, so expect the Black Arrow to offer a similar level of performance. 

“[The] Wraith is one of the most significant and influential cars we have ever made at Goodwood. Its extraordinary power, performance and presence opened the Rolls-Royce brand to an entirely new group of clients,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Rolls-Royce CEO.

“As the last examples of this landmark motor car get ready to leave Goodwood, we commemorate Wraith’s status as the last series V12 coupé we will ever make. Both [the] Black Badge Wraith Black Arrow and its inspiration, the V12-powered land-speed-record-holding Thunderbolt of the Thirties, represent the culmination of many long years of achievement and the end of their respective eras. 

"This magnificent final V12 coupé collection captures both the significance and spirit of Wraith through the marque’s hallmark and peerless bespoke capabilities. A fitting finale for this transformative motor car.”

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-24-2023, 08:28 AM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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What are the tax breaks for electric company cars?

27 tesla model 3 2019 rt static

Switching from petrol or diesel to an electric company car is an incredibly effective way to reduce your tax bill. Here’s how much you could save.

Fleets and businesses are responsible for almost half of all new car registrations in the UK, and the government has 20 years using company car tax to encourage drivers to choose vehicles with the lowest CO2 emissions.

Company car tax incentives have helped stimulate demand for diesel and hybrid cars, but by far the most generous financial breaks are reserved for electric vehicles and it’s proving influential. In fact, the SMMT says two thirds of 2022’s new electric cars were registered to fleets and businesses. Here’s how it works.

How much tax will I pay for an electric company car?

Company cars are one of the most desirable perks for employees, providing access to a (usually) brand new and fully maintained vehicle that’s also available outside work hours. Unfortunately, this doesn’t come for free. If you’re using a company-owned car for private journeys then HMRC class it as a Benefit-in-Kind (BiK), and you’ll be taxed for doing so. 

Autocar's company car tax calculator shows exactly what you'll pay for every make and model

Several factors affect the size of that tax bill, but the biggest influence is the car’s CO2 emissions. Company cars are taxed based on what’s called a ‘taxable value’ – which is a percentage of their list price, weighted against vehicles that emit the most CO2 at the tailpipe. 

Although electric vehicles have a higher list price than their petrol or diesel counterparts, they are rated at 0g/km CO2 and fall into a much lower tax band.

Company car tax bands are currently frozen until April 2025, which means drivers are taxed on just 2% of the list price if they choose an electric vehicle. That compares to 25% or higher for even the most efficient petrol, diesel or so-called ‘self-charging’ hybrid models. 

Although the tax bands will increase every April from 2025 onwards, in line with the new financial year, HM Treasury has confirmed that those incentives will remain in place until at least 2028. 

The following table shows some examples, based on the 2022-2025 tax bands:

Vehicle Type P11d BIK rate Taxable value
Peugeot e-208 Allure Premium+ Electric


2% £652
Peugeot 208 1.2 PureTech 100 Allure Premium+ Petrol £22,495 28% £6,299
BMW i4 eDrive40 M Sport Electric £57,630 2% £1,099
BMW 320d M Sport Auto Diesel £42,885 30% £12,866

Drivers’ annual Benefit-in-Kind payments are a percentage of the taxable value, which matches their income tax rate. England, Wales and Northern Ireland use three bands (20%, 40% and 45%), while Scotland has five (between 19% and 46%). For example, a 20% taxpayer would pay 20% of the taxable value each year, split equally across their payslips. 

Continuing the examples above, an electric car could reduce a driver’s tax bill by between 90 and 95%. 

Vehicle Type 20% Taxpayer BiK 40% Taxpayer BiK
Peugeot e-208 Allure Premium+ Electric £11 £22
Peugeot 208 1.2 PureTech 100 Allure Petrol £105 £210
BMW i4 eDrive40 M Sport Electric £19 £38
BMW 320d M Sport Auto Diesel £214 £429

How are fleets being incentivised to use electric cars?

HM Treasury hasn’t overlooked the extra costs for fleet operators. An electric car is usually more expensive to lease than an equivalent petrol or diesel model, but there are several tax incentives in place to tip the business case back in their favour.

Unlike a combustion engine car, businesses can deduct the full cost of buying or leasing an electric vehicle from their pre-tax profits, resulting in lower tax bills. 

They also qualify for zero-rate Vehicle Excise Duty (VED, or 'road tax') and are exempt from the levy (currently £355) that's applied if the list price is £40,000 or more. VED exemptions will be withdrawn in April 2025, and backdated to vehicles that are already on the road. 

Recurring tax costs are lower too. Employers pay Class 1A National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for providing workplace perks. These are paid at a flat 13.8% of the taxable value, which means it’s just as heavily CO2-weighted as drivers’ Benefit-in-Kind payments.

Vehicle Type Annual Class 1A NICs
Peugeot e-208 Allure Premium+ Electric £90
Peugeot 208 1.2 PureTech 100 Allure Premium+ Petrol £839
BMW i4 eDrive40 M Sport Electric £159
BMW 320d M Sport Auto Diesel £1,775

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-24-2023, 08:16 AM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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Skoda Superb gains upgraded plug-in powertrain for 2023

Skoda Superb estate render front three quarter

Next Skoda Superb will receive a design refresh inside and out

Skoda also confirmed the Kodiaq SUV would gain plug-in power for the first time

New iterations of the Skoda Superb and Skoda Kodiaq will go on sale later this year, with both models gaining a total redesign inside and out, new technology and a handful of “efficient engines’.

With first deliveries planned for early 2024, the Superb will enter its fourth generation, while the Kodiaq SUV will move into its second generation. 

Both models will be available with a selection of petrol and diesel engines, with 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines and 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesel engines, but a key change is the addition of a new plug-in hybrid powertrain. 

While the Superb has been available with a PHEV powertrain for a while now, it will be the first time the larger Kodiaq will be sold with a plug. 

The electrified plug-in hybrid pairs a 1.4-litre petrol four-pot with an electric motor and 13kWh battery for a combined output of 215bhp and an electric-only range of 25-30 miles. 

However, the line-up of both models will remain predominantly ICE-powered. The Superb will be a direct rival to the likes of the Peugeot 508, while the Kodiaq will have the Kia Sorrento and the Volkswagen Tiguan, its technical twin, in its sights. 

The Kodiaq was Skoda’s third best-selling vehicle last year, with the firm shifting 94,500 units around the world. The Superb, meanwhile, finished in the middle of the park for Skoda’s overall sales, with 60,800 units sold. 

Both models will play a significant role in maintaining and advancing the Czech firm's market share. As part of the firm's rapid advance towards electrification, it unveiled a plan to guide its transition that includes investing €5.6 billion (£4.9bn) in e-mobility, including three new electric cars by 2026 - a flagship SUV, a city car and an electric alternative to the Skoda Karoq crossover.

However, in the lead-up to the 2030 ICE ban, it will continue to update its existing combustion models. By this time, the firm estimates ICE cars will still account for 30% of its total sales.

The current Superb is built at Skoda's factory in Emden, Germany, but this new generation will be built in Bratislava, alongside the new Volkswagen Passat. Both cars will be based on Volkswagen's latest ICE car platform - MQB Evo.

Skoda's aim of catering to a large bracket of customers will mean this line-up will likely remain competitively priced. The aforementioned 1.5 TSI starts at just under £30,000, while the range-topping Laurin & Klement variant using the 1.4 TSI hybrid powertrain pushes the price to £45,000. 

As shown in the accompanying spy shots, we have seen only the estate testing, but Skoda has already confirmed the saloon will make a return once again. This is despite the fact Volkswagen axed the Passat saloon in 2021. The Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia have also made high-profile exits recently.

The grille, lighting and trim details are visible beneath the test car's camouflage, with refreshed overall design cues to align it with other models in the range such as the Scala, Kodiaq and Octavia. Its silhouette leaves it indistinguishable from the current car, with the firm clearly adopting evolution over revolution for its design.

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-24-2023, 06:40 AM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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E-fuel debate is 'unnecessary noise', says Volkswagen boss

E fuel drum Porsche

An e-fuel exemption to the 2035 ICE ban would allow Porsche to continue selling the profitable 911

Brand head Thomas Schäfer argues synthetic fuels are better suited to trucks and planes than cars

Volkswagen boss Thomas Schäfer has described the tussle within European Union member states to revise the 2035 ICE ban to include an exception for e-fuels as “unnecessary noise” in the shift to electrification.

“This discussion is distracting from the point,” Schäfer told journalists at the unveiling of the Volkswagen ID 2all EV concept on Wednesday last week. 

“It’s unnecessary noise from my point of view. By 2035 it’s over anyway, and we said by 2033 we’re done,” he said of Volkswagen's plan to stop selling ICE cars in Europe. “So why spend a fortune on old technology that doesn’t give you any benefit?”

The Volkswagen Group has invested in e-fuels, which synthesise petrol from waste carbon, via its Porsche brand, and CEO Oliver Blume has been one of e-fuels' biggest advocates to help with vehicle decarbonisation. 

Blume has framed Porsche’s support as a way to reduce CO2 emissions “for existing combustion engine cars”, but Germany has formed an alliance with Italian and as well as some eastern European countries, including the Czech Republic, to oppose the 2035 EU ban unless new cars running on e-fuels are exempted. 

An exemption would allow Porsche to continue selling its highly profitable 911 as an ICE model, as well as giving Ferrari a reprieve for its V8 and V12 engines.

France, however, believes the EU must stick to the ban, setting up a scrap at the heart of EU politics. "We can't say there's a climate emergency but retreat from the transition to electric vehicles," said French finance minister Bruno Le Maire last week.

Spain has also expressed its disappointment at the German-led rebellion to try to modify the ban. Spain will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the switch to electric in Europe as brands including Volkswagen look to produce EVs there.

EVs are facing a backlash among some car buyers worried about the increased cost compared with ICE models, as well as slow building of an effective and reliable charging infrastructure for longer journeys. The higher price of electricity has also increased anxiety in recent months.

However, car makers are working to bring down the cost of EVs, with VW aiming to launch a version of the ID 2 to sell for less than £22,000 by 2025.

Volkswagen is also working on a project with Skoda to sell an even cheaper electric car starting at £17,000 with a target sale date of 2026/2027.

Schäfer took issue with e-fuels for their tailpipe emissions as well as the high energy consumption needed to make them. “Look at the physics. We don’t have enough energy as it is, so why waste it on e-fuels?” he said. 

However, Schäfer echoed Blume’s point that e-fuels could help decarbonising vehicles less suited to electrification, including trucks and planes. “This discussion around e-fuels is widely misunderstand. They have a role to play in existing fleets but won’t replace EVs,” he said.

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-24-2023, 04:00 AM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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Dacia reshuffles production planning for new Bigster SUV

Dacia Bigster front quarter static 2022

The production version of the Dacia Bigster will be built in Mioveni, Romania

The Dacia Jogger will move from Romania to Morocco to free factory space for the new SUV

Dacia has announced a reshuffle of its production strategy as it gears up to launch a new C-segment SUV in 2025.

The new model, based on the 2021 Bigster concept, will be built at Dacia’s factory in Mioveni, Romania.

To free up enough capacity at the plant, the firm will move assembly of the Jogger MPV to Tangier, Morocco, from the second quarter of 2024.

Established in 2012, the Tangier facility currently houses the Dacia Sandero – Europe’s best-selling car as of January 2023 – producing zero carbon emissions and industrial wastewater.

Dacia also confirmed that the next-generation Duster crossover, due in 2024, will remain at the Mioveni facility.

CEO Denis Le Vot said: “Two years after the presentation of the Renaulution strategic plan, Dacia has successfully completed its phase of radical transformation by renewing its entire range, rolling out a new brand identity and reinforcing its electrified models.

“We are now focusing on going on the offensive in the C-segment and are therefore developing our business plan while remaining true to our values: providing the essentials to our customers and offering the very best value for money.”

Dacia’s push into the C-segment is expected to increase the brand's margins even higher. The Romanian brand already plays a starring role in the Renault Group.

Speaking to analysts in November 2022, Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo revealed that Dacia – one of the group’s “golden nuggets” – posted “double-digit” profitability. De Meo also set a target 15% margin for the brand by 2030, suggesting its current margin lies between 10-15%.

This far surpasses mass-market competitors and even rivals high-end firms such as the Audi Group (Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and motorcycle maker Ducati), which posted a 12.2% margin in 2022.

Such success is thanks to what de Meo calls Dacia’s “magic potion”: the reuse of proven Renault Group technology and a focus on providing only what buyers actually need in a car.

That means the development of new models incurs a minimal R&D cost, hence the large margins.

The C-segment SUV will be no different, being based on the existing CMF-B platform that underpins Dacia’s current combustion cars. However, by competing in a more expensive class, it allows the brand to push pricing higher than ever – theoretically yielding substantial returns.

Read more: No spin-off for 'golden nugget' Dacia despite star profit role

Read more: Dacia Bigster: prices, specs and UK release date

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-24-2023, 02:57 AM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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Editor’s letter: Will e-fuels save the internal combustion engine?

mazda mx 5 filling with sustainable fuel

Germany and Italy have threatened to derail the EU's internal combustion ban unless e-fuels are exempted

Thought the internal combustion engine was going to be a goner in Europe by 2035? Its saviour may yet come after all.

The noise around e-fuels has become a lot louder in the past few weeks. Most prominent has been the actions of Germany and Italy in the European Parliament, threatening to derail the 2035 legislation unless an exemption for ICEs running on e-fuels is added. Other EU nations are said to be lukewarm to the 2035 ban too, and Germany’s backing for it will be essential.

Whatever the political outcome, the switch to electrification surely remains inevitable. Too many car makers have invested too much money for a complete about turn to be made, and some have already begun to wind down or stop completely investment in ICE technology, with the costly and equally controversial Euro 7 emissions regulations on the horizon. With that in mind, if e-fuels emerge, it’s highly unlikely that they would derail the mass switch to electrification.

What they could do, though, is preserve the high-performance ICE for brands like Ferrari and Aston Martin and offer a cleaner fuel for the remaining car parc, which will still run into the millions – although this is up for debate, given the challenges that e-fuels themselves face concerning their production and other emissions, so consider ‘cleaner’ a relative term against the fuels of today.

Last week, my colleague Richard Lane was in Chile looking at an e-fuels plant that Porsche has invested in and is using as a proof of concept for the technology. As Lane notes, it’s quite a savvy bit of PR: Porsche gets the warm glow from petrolheads in showing how they take finding a way to keep the ICE living on while still confronting environmental concerns. 

His trip also revealed that the technology is some time away from large-scale introduction, although he suggests that were it not for Porsche’s very public involvement in the project (which amounts to a 12% stake), few outside the automotive industry would be talking about e-fuels at all. Indeed, he discovered that, as it stands, e-fuels are more likely to end up in aviation and shipping.

Still, if political intervention ensures that momentum starts to build behind e-fuels, the time for it may well come. While it has appeal at the top of the market, it also has appeal at the other end of the market as a way of ensuring that smaller new cars can remain affordable. 

Dacia boss Denis Le Vot is particularly concerned about the cost of electrification and wants to prioritise “affordable decarbonisation” of cars, such as with Dacia’s continued support and used of LPG as a fuel.

His eyes lit up when I asked him this week about the political developments around e-fuels; he said it “puts the question on the table in a holistic way” and that he would be “watching carefully all the developments with e-fuels”. 

As will we all.

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-24-2023, 01:44 AM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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Mercedes targets rugged crossover market with junior G-Class

Mercedes EQG render

The baby G-Class gives Mercedes a foothold in the popular rugged crossover market

Compact SUV sits on CLA platform with ICE and EV power and will be fifth 'Entry luxury' model

Mercedes-Benz is plotting a rugged ‘baby’ SUV inspired by the G-Class as a flagship for its new family of ‘Entry Luxury’ models – and it will have electric and combustion-engine options. 

Unlike the full-sized EQG, which will use a reworked version of the existing combustion car’s ladder-frame chassis, the compact SUV would sit on the same versatile Mercedes Modular Architecture (MMA) platform as the upcoming Mercedes-Benz CLA, which will arrive with a choice of ICE and EV power. 

The proposed new SUV is currently being considered by Mercedes and would be its fifth 'Entry Luxury' model if it gets the go-ahead, joining four others being launched over the next three years. 

As well as giving Mercedes a foothold in the increasingly popular rugged crossover market – joining the inbound Jeep Avenger, Mini Aceman and Ford’s MEB-based electric crossover – the baby Mercedes-Benz G-Class would be crucial in establishing ‘G’ as a Mercedes sub-brand in the same vein as Maybach and AMG, building on the success of its blocky Land Rover Defender rival. 

CEO Ola Källenius said last year: “Most luxury companies build their portfolio on the basis of one or two true icons. Mercedes-Benz has the good fortune to have multiple iconic products and brands at the upper end of its portfolio, such as the S-Class, the SL, the G-Class as well as the AMG and Maybach brands. 

We see great potential here to expand our top-end portfolio with even more fascinating products.” His comments hint at the possibility for each of those four brands to spawn more comprehensive line-ups. 

Like the upcoming CLA, the new compact SUV would have an 800V architecture to give a 10-80% battery top-up within 30 minutes from a 350kW charger. 

The prospect of a new silicon-anode battery being introduced – tipped to be close to 100kWh in capacity – means it could offer a range far exceeding that of conventionally powered rivals, although its upright stature means it is unlikely to approach the slippery EQXX concept’s 700-mile range. 

A mild-hybrid combustion version could be offered but Mercedes may opt against this in some markets, as the new ‘G’ sub-brand is about providing an “unparalleled combination of luxury and off-road ability for electric vehicles”, according to the firm’s boss of off-road vehicles, Emmerich Schiller.

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-23-2023, 10:42 PM
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Hyundai boss admits surprise at success of Ioniq 5

Hyundai Ioniq 5 front three quarter

The Ioniq 5 has brought a mix of customers from premium brands

Sharply-styled SUV was pitched above Hyundai's normal offerings but market has not faltered

Hyundai’s European chief Michael Cole has admitted the firm has been surprised how successful the Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV has been at winning over customers from premium brands.

The sharply-styled SUV is the first in a line of models from the Ioniq sub-brand that uses the Hyundai Motor Group’s bespoke electric E-GMP platform. It was joined last year by the Hyundai Ioniq 6 saloon, with the larger Ioniq 7 SUV set to follow next year.

Due to the higher cost of EVs, the Ioniq range is pitched above where Hyundai has traditionally been positioned, but has been a sales hit.

Asked if there was a limit to how premium a future Hyundai could be pitched, Cole said: “Our experience with Ioniq 5 would almost suggest no. It’s brought such a rich conquest mix, and it’s probably a higher ratio of customers from premium brands than we’d anticipated. There is not necessarily a limit.

“With Ioniq 7 there was a bit of hesitation a year ago prior to Ioniq 5 about whether it was a car for Europe – but after the success of the Ioniq 5, we now 100 per cent think it’s a car that we can sell in Europe, and we will capture some premium brand customers with it. Brand loyalty doesn’t seem to be as strong in EVs.”

But Cole ruled out a wholesale premium switch for Hyundai, adding: “We want to keep the customer base we’ve got, we’re not trying to change our whole outlook, but we believe we can reach a whole new customer as well with EVs.”

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-23-2023, 05:50 PM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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First ride: Lunaz Upcycled Electric Vehicle bin lorry

4.LunazUEVontheroadoutsideenlargedfactory (1)

New UEV is the British firm's latest conversion project, but how successful can it be?

Sell it to me in a sentence…

The Lunaz Upcycled Electric Vehicle (UEV) is a converted zero-emission bin lorry from a firm best known until now for converting ultra-posh Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Jaguars to electric power.

From Bentleys to bins? Come on, you’re talking rubbish now…

Rubbish? Quite the opposite: we’re all being encouraged to reduce, reuse and recycle – and the Lunaz UEV applies those ‘three Rs’ to the machines that picks up your empties.

At the moment, collecting rubbish and recycling is dirty and smelly work – and not just because it involves a load of, well, rubbish. Most bin lorries in use today are big, heavy, diesel-powered vehicles, which are good for providing the power to pick up your leftovers but create problems of their own.

They’re quite loud for one thing, as you might well know if your bins are collected early. But, more significantly, they’re not great when it comes to emissions. Essentially, the use case of a bin lorry is really not suited to diesel powertrains: they make slow journeys through often in dense residential areas, with frequent stops and starts.

Studies have shown that idling vehicles produce more emissions than when a vehicle is moving – and those emissions are more likely to stay in that area. And it doesn’t help that the lifts on most bin lorries are actually powered by their Diesel engines, burning extra fuel and creating further emissions.

Change is needed, and there is increasing national and local government emphasis on reducing emissions – look at the rising number of Clean Air Zones, or the UK government’s planned ban on the sale of all non zero-emission cars and vans from 2035 onwards. 

As a result, many councils and waste firm operators have pledged to switch to zero-emission machines in the coming years – including electric bin lorries. There are some new ones coming to the market: for example, the Mercedes Econic is a particularly popular bin lorry in Europe, and the firm now offers an eEconic (and yes, the double e in its title makes us wince a bit too).

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But new electric vehicles have problems of their own: manufacturing a bin lorry produces a significant amount of emissions in itself. So Lunaz’s idea is to take an existing vehicle and fit an electric powertrains, while also giving it a thorough makeover.

“If you replace the current fleet you just ‘carbon postbox’ existing vehicles to other countries, so you don’t solve the problem,” says company founder David Lorenz. “You have to break the pattern, by taking existing vehicles and upcycling them to electric – or else you just end up with more vehicles on the road.”

So the Lunaz UEV is a diesel bin lorry converted to electric power then?

That’s essentially right, although Lunaz doesn’t like to use the terms ‘conversion’ or ‘repowered’. It uses the term upcycling – and the difference is more than just some terminology pedantry. In fact, it’s probably best explained by returning to those Rolls-Royce and Bentleys we mentioned earlier.

Lunaz founded in 2018 by entrepreneur Lorenz and engineer Jon Hilton, with an initial focus on Lunaz Design. That’s the classic car upcycling arm, which is based in a large unit at Silverstone Business Park, a few hundred metres from the home of the British Grand Prix.

The division works on a commission basis, and its clients include high-end hotels, classic car fans and some ex-footballer called David Beckham, who was so impressed he invested in the company. 

Lunaz develops its own electric motors and powertrains in-house, and also assembles its own battery packs. That means each powertrain can be developed specifically for the vehicle its going in. But the operation doesn’t just whip out the old petrol engine and stick in an e-motor. There’s as much emphasis on restoration and redevelopment.

Most clients come to Lunaz with a request for a particular type of car, which the firm then goes out and sources. The firm actively steers away from pristine concours cars, instead seeking out ‘barn find’ project cars that need some work.

Each machine is driven, tested and evaluated before being striped right back to the shell, so that it can be cleaned and restored, patching up any bodywork issues and strengthening and replacing every part. The new e-powertrain is tuned to match the car’s original performance traits.

At the same time, Lunaz’s design and trim team work with clients to spec up the interior of each car, sourcing materials that are true to the ethos of the original but are fresher and sustainable. Extra features can also be added, ranging from touchscreens and USB ports to a custom-built cigar humidor.

Unlke some EV conversion firms, the amount of work that goes in means this is not a reversible process: unless a client specifically requests it, the old combustion engine is carefully taken to bits and recycled. But the process is so involved that the vehicles couldn’t be reverted back to petrol power anyway. Still, the idea is that they emerge from the Lunaz workshop – after close to two years, in some cases – looking better than they did when new, and now fully emission-free.

Again… this is related to bin lorries how?

Because that whole process – albeit in a somewhat larger mass-market production process – is essentially what Lunaz has now started to do to old diesel bin lorries. Although you can’t actually get a cigar humidor in a Lunaz bin lorry. Well, in theory you could, but it’s not expected to be a popular request from local councils.

The Lunaz Applied Technologies division was created in 2021, with a focus on converting industrial vehicles to electric power. The initial focus in on a specific line of bin lorries, but the plan is to eventually offer conversions for a wide range of vehicle types from a wide range of manufacturers.

Initially, the two Lunaz divisions shared space in a single unit at Silverstone Business Park, but the Applied Technologies division has now moved to a massive new 250,000 square foot facility a few hundred metres away. 

The site had only just opened when Move Electric visited, and even though it featured several long lines of bin lorries being upcycled there was still masses of space. The plan is that it could eventually house three production lines, with an output of 1100 vehicles a year. Lunaz currently employs around 120 people – up from 20 two years ago – with an eventual goal to employ 300 here. 

So how do you upcycle a bin lorry then?

Well, you start with an old diesel model. Lunaz has started with the Mercedes Econic, one of the most popular vehicles used for bin lorries in Europe. The changes are significant: enough that Lunaz removes the three-pointed start from the ‘engine cover’ and replaces it with a Lunaz logo.

The idea is to secure contracts with bodies running waste management schemes (usually the local council itself or a contractor). Most bin lorries are replaced when their warranty is up – usually after seven years, when a machine might have covered 70-90,000 miles, a fraction of the 500,000 or so they’re designed to cope with over their lifespan.

The smelly old bin lorry is then sent to a Lunaz facility that’s away from the Silverstone unit (which is currently so shiny you wouldn’t want a dirty old lorry in there) to be cleaned, stripped down to its shell, have its powertrain removed, have its frame patched up and be repainted.

The clean, stripped shells are then delivered to Silverstone, where the new powertrain and batteries are fitted, the stripped down cab is refurbished and the replacement bin lorry workings are added.

Lunaz uses its own 370kW powertrain that is mounted at the front, where it has to go there to maintain the needed 20 per cent weight distribution on the front axle. The batteries are then mounted down either side of the central ladder chassis. 

The powertrain includes a two-speed high/low gearbox so that all of the torque can be accessed as easily as possible. That’s another necessary touch given that on some routes bin lorries have to perform standing starts after pick-ups on very steep hills.

Each Lunaz-assembled battery pack has a capacity of 65.5kW and the amount required depends on the use case of each vehicle. It will usually be between four and six, offering a maximum capacity of 393kWh. Lunaz works with each operator to find out their needs, studying each bin route to work out the specific battery needs for each.

That can vary greatly: a bin lorry in rural Scotland might have to drive for 30 miles just to reach the town it is servicing; a lorry in the centre of London might complete 2500 pick-ups in just 15 miles.

Unlike some firms, Lunaz installs each vehicle with a 22kW on-board charger. A rapid charger can be added, but is unnecessary: most bin lorries do a single route a day and then sit in a depot overnight, making them ideal use cases for relatively slow 22kW charging.

The whole upcycle process takes around 11 days.

What’s an electric bin lorry like inside?

As with its classic cars, the Lunaz upcycling process goes beyond simply fitting an electric powertrain. There are extensive updates to the vehicle interior and technology. While the basic four-seat cabin and layout of the Econic remains, the seats are reupholstered in a new hard-wearing fabric, which also offers extra space for the two elevated middle seats (apparently by far the last popular with waste collectors.

Bright yellow seatbelts are designed to be easier to find and use during a busy route, while in a bonus on cold, winter days the seats are heated (in part because that’s more efficient than using a heater in an EV).

The dashboard has also been reworked, with the addition to two 10in screens – one to show the extra cameras now fitted around the machine, the other giving access to an infotainment system that is compatible with Apple CarPlay. The vents have been reworked, new hard-wearing buttons have been fitted for the heating systems, and the surface has been strengthened on the realisation waste collectors will use it as a footrest. 

There’s another extra bonus too: more cupholders. The original Econic only featured two, which could apparently make for some awkward arguments among four-strong collection teams. There are now five, so there’s even a spare.

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The driving layout has also been reworked, with most of the key controls shifted to the right of the drive, so they can be operated by taking just one hand off the wheel. The sensors and rear camera also mean that the driver no longer needs a spotter behind the van to check if it’s clear before sets the lift into action.

Another change: as standard, Lunaz fits digital rear-view mirrors. That’s not just for technology: wing mirrors are apparently a frequent casualty given big bin lorries have to negotiate tight city streets.

Oh, and the rubbish compactor itself doesn’t miss out on some upgrades. There are new 550 Grade Ardox wear plates, upgraded bushes and a new blade compactor to stop debris getting past the blade. Lunaz has also added rodent-resistant wiring harnesses: rats quite like hiding in bin lorries, apparently, and can cause plenty of issues chewing through wires.

What’s it like to ride in?

While you’d think the novelty of electric vehicles being quiet would have worn off by now, there’s still something surreal about sweeping out of the Lunaz factory in a near-silent bin lorry. At one point on our short loop we head past the outer fence of Silverstone, where a handful of F1 fans are crouched with long lens cameras trying to get a snap of new F1 cars testing. There is a bit of a double-take when they catch a glimpse of a silent bin lorry.

Without an HGV licence, we’re sat in one of the central passenger seats, and while it’s not the most luxurious of rides it’s certainly not an unpleasant place to spend time. Even with four of us filling the cabin there’s a reasonable amount of room, and the wider front windscreen means visibility is good. The powertrain isn’t just quiet: it feels smooth, and we’re capable of reasonably rapid progress as we tour the roads of Silverstone Business Park.

This is just a short outing, but the Lunaz UEV has spent a lot of time in action here, the firm going as far as to put out bins to simulate stopping and starting collection runs. It’s certainly quieter than the bin lorries that sometimes wake me up on a Tuesday morning as they do their pick-up, and it definitely feels more like a new machine than a seven-year-old shell.

Of course, a short lap of a business park doesn’t tell us much about a vehicle designed for hours of very specific use, but it’s clear that Lunaz has done a very convincing job.

When will a Lunaz UEV be picking up my recycling?

Soon. The firm is currently conducting final validation testing before it plans to start testing the machine on real-world routes later this year. It’s now begun to talk to waste collection operators and is beginning to look for partners to work with and tenders it can bid on.

Lorenz says that the price for a Lunaz UEV will be “less expensive than a new alternative”, and each machine will come with a Lunaz seven-year warranty. The idea is that after that time the vehicles can be brought back and upcycled again, further extending their life. 

More significantly, the Silverstone operation is essentially being used to create a template that can be applied elsewhere. Rather than ship vehicles around the world, Lunaz is focused on local production, with the idea to develop several production facilities close to its main customer bases.


The Lunaz UEV is utterly rubbish. Which, for perhaps the only time ever in a Move Electric review, is meant entirely as a complement. 

The success of the machine will ultimately be judged by how many take to the roads, and how effective they are in removing old diesel motors from our streets. But the effort Lunaz has put in to developing this process is genuinely impressive – and it's effort that surely won't go to waste.

Lunaz Upcycled Electric Vehicle bin lorry specification

Gearbox: two-speed automatic

Driven wheels: Front

Maximum power: 370kW

Torque: 5162lb ft

Top speed: 56mph (limited)

Battery capacity: 262-393kWh (net)

CO2 emissions: 0g/km

Charging: on-board 22kW AC charger

Rubbish capacity: 10,000kg


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Ford Ranger Raptor vs Jeep Wrangler Rubicon video review

Ford Raptor vs Jeep Wrangler 19 1

Which one of these off-road icons will come out on top?


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We certainly do, and you’re somewhat spoilt for choice at the moment when it comes to cars that you can take off of the beaten track.

You could always go with the Jeep Wrangler. One of the most iconic 4x4s of all time, this one’s in Rubicon guise, which means that it will go pretty much anywhere you point it.

However, while it might be able to go wherever you want it to, it can’t do it very quickly, which is where the Ford Ranger Raptor comes in. The twin-turbocharged V6 under the bonnet produces 288bhp, but it also has a seriously impressive baja-style suspension setup that lets it fly over rough terrain.

Join Matt Prior and Matt Saunders as they pitch this pair against each other to find out which one is the king of the hill.

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