Cadillac Escalade IQ brings 450-mile range and 750bhp Car News

Despite measuring 5.7m long and 2.4m wide, the Escalade has a turning circle of just 12m, which is comparable with many family hatchbacks.

Extra versatility is provided by adaptive air suspension, which allows the Escalade to be raised by 25mm or lowered by 50mm. A novel Low Ride mode allows the SUV to be driven with its suspension fully lowered at “low speeds”.

Inside, a 55in infotainment screen spans the Escalade’s dashboard, controlled by a BMW iDrive-style dial on the centre console.

An optional ‘Executive’ second-row seating layout swaps a conventional three-seat bench for a pair of airline-style thrones and adds 12.6in screens to the front seatbacks for entertainment or work.

The third row of seats, meanwhile, is electrically powered to avoid having to manually fold the seats down.

A three-year subscription to GM’s Super Cruise driver assistance technology is included as standard with the Escalade, allowing hands-free driving on compatible roads.

Prices start from $130,000 (£102,000) in the US, undercutting the 682bhp V8-powered Escalade V.


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This notice was published: 2023-08-10 15:41:40


What are the tax breaks for electric company cars? Car News

Businesses account for almost half of the UK’s new car market and, with over 700,000 company car drivers according to the latest HMRC statistics, the government has spent the past 20 years using tax incentives to fuel demand for vehicles with the lowest CO2 emissions. 

Company car tax bands are usually adjusted every April, at the start of the new financial year, and they’re under constant change. They’ve stimulated demand for diesel and hybrid cars, but today the biggest savings are reserved for electric vehicles and businesses are taking note. According to the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, over half of new business contract hire deliveries are now battery powered. 

With a growing choice of vehicles, longer ranges and ever-improving charging infrastructure, an electric company car is becoming more and more of a no-brainer. Here’s why. 

How much cheaper is electric company car tax?

If you’re doing a lot of business mileage, then you might be lucky enough for your employer to issue you with a company car. Often seen as a top-tier perk of the job, these are usually brand new, fully maintained and also available outside work hours, just like a privately owned vehicle. Naturally, there’s a tax implication if you opt in.

HMRC classes company cars as a benefit in kind (BIK), which is a term applied to most perks provided on top of your salary. Tax bills vary enormously, but the system is heavily weighted against cars with the highest tailpipe CO2 emissions. This favours electric vehicles, which don’t have a tailpipe at all, and therefore get the biggest discounts.

The calculation is more straightforward than it looks. All company cars are assigned what’s called a ‘taxable value’, which is a percentage of the list price (ranging from 2% to 37%) based on its CO2 emissions. Those bands are frozen until April 2025, which means electric vehicle drivers are only being taxed based on 2% of the list price until that date. For comparison, even the most efficient petrol, diesel or so-called ‘self-charging’ hybrid is taxed at 25% or more. 

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This notice was published: 2023-08-10 12:01:44


Peugeot Inception is 671bhp super-GT to preview new EVs Car News

Here it houses a 100kWh battery that’s claimed to be capable of 4.97 miles per kWh for a total range of 500 miles – far greater than any current Stellantis production EV.

Plus, being equipped with 800V charging hardware, it can top up at a rate of nearly 19 miles per minute, or more than 90 miles in five minutes. Notably, Peugeot claims it can do this using induction technology, negating the need for a cable – although this is a feature not yet confirmed for production cars.

Power – all 671bhp of it (making the Inception almost twice as powerful as the firm’s most potent production car) – is served up by a motor at each end for four-wheel drive and a sub-3.0sec 0-62mph time.

This hints at Peugeot’s plans to put engaging performance at the top of the priorities list for its flagship EVs in the future. Indeed, a big part of the brand’s reinvention is to offer “unrivalled driving sensations”, hence the concept’s lofty performance figures.

“Customers have high expectations of the electric car,” said product boss Jérôme Micheron. “Thanks to the new generation of our ‘BEV-by-design’ platforms dedicated to electric vehicles, we will meet their expectations.”

Together with the technical reinvention, the new platform also allowed for a rethink of Peugeot’s conventional design cues, and so the Inception does away with the traditional long-bonnet, three-box silhouette associated with saloons.

Styled to suit “the digital world” with sharp, crisp body lines and striking LED lighting, the Inception’s design embodies a dual focus on athleticism and cabin space.

The expansive greenhouse stretches almost end to end, leaving room for just a small ‘bonnet’ ahead of the front axle, and falls away sharply at the rear for a shooting brake-style profile. This, together with the removal of all physical controls and a traditional dashboard, maximises interior space for a grand tourer experience with optimal leg room and forward visibility.

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This notice was published: 2023-08-09 13:09:00


House of Lords seeks answers on UK’s EV transition plan Car News

The House of Lords’ Environment and Climate Change Committee has launched an inquiry into how the UK government will achieve its plan to decarbonise cars and vans over the next 12 years.

It aims to establish the main barriers to reducing private transport emissions, as well as to understand the costs and potential benefits associated with the 2030 moratorium on sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in the UK.

Moreover, it seeks to determine what progress has already been made on the road to 2030 and then to 2035, when sales of new hybrid cars will also be banned.

“The rubber is now hitting the road, as we can’t get to net-zero without individuals making changes to our lives, how we travel and what we buy,” said committee chair Baroness Kate Parminter.

“Using EVs for passenger transport will be a part of that, and the government has committed to ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030.”

The committee has invited the public to submit evidence concerning the government’s approach to the 2030 and 2035 dates; the EV market and buying an EV; the user experience; end-of-life disposal of EVs; national and regional infrastructural issues; and international views.

Among the questions included in the call for evidence (the full list of which can be read here) are queries on whether the 2030 and 2035 dates are realistic and achievable, as well as whether they’re incentivising the development of an EV market.

These dates have come to the forefront of the public consciousness in recent months, with the phase-out facing scrutiny from various high-profile newspapers and, more recently, business secretary Kemi Badenoch.

According to a report from Politico, Badenoch is aiming to convince cabinet ministers to relax the incoming zero emission vehicle mandate – which will require that 22% of all new vehicle sales be EVs from 2024 and ramp up that proportion annually thereafter – be relaxed to protect the UK’s waning automotive industry.

The committee’s call for evidence will close on Friday 15 September.

Read more: Government considers easing impact of 2030 ICE ban

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This notice was published: 2023-08-09 14:07:05


Top 10 best electric company cars Car News

Jaguar I-Pace EV400 SE

One of our favourite EVs, the Jaguar I-Pace stole a march on rivals when it beat them all to the EV punch. Not only was this the first upmarket all-electric SUV, but it was and is also one of the best, particularly from behind the wheel. Despite its high-riding stance, the I-Pace handles with the agility and involvement of something half its size, while its muscular twin-motor set-up channels 395bhp through all four wheels for rapid acceleration, and it can crack 292 miles on a charge. It’s also beautifully finished and spacious inside, with the latest Pivi Pro infotainment keeping you connected on the move. As a company car, it’ll cost higher-rate earners as little as £560 in tax, though we’d suggest spending an additional £28 to step up to SE trim. 

Kia EV6 226bhp RWD GT-Line

Kia EV6 front driving

The EV6’s broad spread of talents and distinctive coupé-SUV design took the ‘Best Electric Car’ title during the 2022 Autocar Awards, and it’s still a strong contender. Based on Hyundai-Kia’s EV-only platform, it offers an engaging drive and there’s a GT version with a whopping 577bhp. However, the 226bhp rear-wheel-drive version in GT-Line trim is our pick of the line-up, providing enough pace to entertain and a range of 328 miles. It’s practical too, with plenty of kit and interior space, ultra-fast charging to 80% in 18 minutes and a towing capacity of up to 1600kg. With an annual BIK bill of £183 for a basic-rate income taxpayer, it’s a bit of a bargain too.  

Mercedes-Benz EQE 300 AMG-Line

Mercedes EQE 300 front quarter driving

If you’re a thrusting executive looking for business wheels to impress, then a saloon car adorned with the three-pointed star ought to do the trick. The EQE is effectively an electric E-Class, though the two cars are unrelated – the platform is shared with the larger EQS saloon and designed purely for battery power. With a streamlined silhouette, it offers a range of up to 388 miles but with more cabin space than its fuel-burning counterpart and a choice of sporty or luxurious trim levels. If your company car allowance stretches far enough, then the entry-level model would cost a higher-rate taxpayer just £594 per year – that’s 90% less than the cheapest diesel E-Class. 

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This notice was published: 2023-08-09 05:01:44


First Lamborghini EV to be revealed in concept form next week Car News

The revelations from Autocar’s exclusive interview provide the first details to support Lamborghini’s stated electrification plan, announced in 2021.

Called Direzione Cor Tauri, referring prosaically to the Latin name for a bull’s heart and the brightest star of the constellation of Taurus, the plan lays out a three-step strategy towards electrification.

The initial stage, a celebration of pure-ICE specials, concluded last year, ahead of the launch of Lamborghini’s first plug-in hybrid, the Revuelto, which is now sold out until 2026.

By the end of 2024, all three of Lamborghini’s models – the Aventador, Huracán and Urus – will be sold as plug-in hybrids.

That will allow the company to record official CO2 outputs at half of its 2022 levels by 2025, the pair of EVs then providing a further significant reduction.

“What’s clear is that customer perceptions have shifted,” said Winkelmann.

“They are aware of the legislation and interested in the technology so long as it marries sustainability with enhanced performance from what has gone before.

“That’s why [Lamborghini’s] hybridisation phase is coming first: that has been digested and accepted by the customer base. Even the majority of petrolheads say that they have accepted our vision on that. And in turn, that opens the door for a new breed of customer to look at full electrification.”

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This notice was published: 2023-08-08 18:51:23


How to calculate your company car tax Car News

Choosing a new set of wheels is rarely an easy process, but that decision-making becomes all the more complicated if you’re a company car driver, because it also impacts your tax bill.

If your employer provides you with a car for business use but you’re able to drive it outside work hours (and yes, that includes commuting), HMRC classes this as a benefit-in-kind (BIK).

This is a catch-all term for any workplace perk provided in addition to your salary, and these are also taxable. 

Company car tax bands are usually adjusted every year and, since 2002, the system has been designed to influence drivers to choose the most fuel-efficient vehicles. Those incentives helped fuel the ‘dash for diesel’ during the 2000s and, with 720,000 company car drivers in 2021/22, they’re now driving the market for plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs).

Despite the jargon, calculating your company car tax bill – and keeping it low – is a lot easier than it looks. Here’s what you need to know.  

How does the company car tax system work?

For most drivers, it’s a seamless process. Company car tax is usually deducted from your monthly wages as a BIK payment, so you’re unlikely to face a hefty bill at the end of the year. However, the size of that monthly payment varies enormously.

Every company car has what’s called a taxable value, which is unique to that car. It’s calculated as a percentage of the list price (or P11D value), weighted according to its tailpipe CO2 emissions and, for PHEVs, electric-only driving range. 

The list price includes optional extras, VAT and delivery charges but not the registration fee or the first year of vehicle excise duty (VED, or road tax). It’s also fixed for life, so it doesn’t reflect discounts for new cars or the lower price of a used one.

BIK is paid as a percentage of that taxable value in line with your income tax band (20%, 40% or 45%, unless you’re in Scotland, which has different rates), and that annual figure is then split equally across your pay packets.

For example, a 20% income taxpayer would be liable for 20% of the vehicle’s taxable value per year.

The cheaper the car and the lower its CO2 emissions, the lower the tax bill. 

Which tax band does my company car fit into?

The starting point is finding out how much CO2 your car emits – and, if it’s a PHEV, its electric-only range. Your fleet manager or vehicle supplier should have that data.

Manufacturers switched to a more granular and tougher economy test cycle in 2017, and both figures are affected by options such as larger wheels, sporty bodykits and even heavy panoramic sunroofs. This can cause some models to straddle multiple tax bands, so it’s important to check.

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This notice was published: 2023-08-08 08:51:21


Lotus Emira I4 Review (2023) Car News

Not that there’s much to give away the junior Emira’s Swabian heart, at least superficially. In the V6 car, you can see the top of the supercharger through the glass, while this I4 has plastic cladding, like its chief rivals, the Alpine A110 and Porsche 718 Cayman S. Elsewhere, even the deliciously big-bore tailpipes are the same on both strains of Emira. But then if I had something so pretty on my hands, I wouldn’t tinker either. In the flesh, this valedictory combustion-engine Lotus has the look of a Ferrari 488-Lancia Stratos cross. It’s stunning. The scalloped sides are particularly breathtaking – pun fully intended. 

Once you’re inside, I4 hallmarks show. There are two quite beautiful aluminium paddles mounted to the steering wheel. They control the Mercedes eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and while their action is a tad short and unsatisfying, they are in perceived-quality terms emblematic of the cabin as a whole. Airy but intimate, the cockpit has a maturity beyond that of the dark, plasticky A110 and a warmth that the Cayman has always struggled to muster. It’s only let down by the seats, which are a bit unsupportive and short, with jutting headrests. Otherwise, it’s lovely. Slick tech, too. 

Foot on the conspicuously centred brake pedal, drag the artful, leather-on-metal gear selector into drive, hit the start button and your first taste of Lotus-featuring-AMG is… docile and understated. Pull off the mark and the motor burbles and thrums gently, and you really have to sharpen your ears to appreciate the waspish tension that hints at its outrageous, more-than-200bhp-per-litre output potential. Admittedly, here the M139 isn’t wound up as bombastically as in the Mercedes-AMG A45 S. In the super-hatch it makes 416bhp at 6750rpm, while in the Emira it’s pegged to 360bhp, delivered at 6600rpm. Even better-endowed versions will surely follow, but for now the I4 Emira is deferential to the 400bhp V6 one that made its bow last year. 

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This notice was published: 2023-08-07 23:01:45