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Secretary’s Scribbles

Posted on 09/04/16 |

Firstly, I’d like to give a big Group welcome to those new associates who have joined our August advanced driver course.  We’ll do all we can to make it a great experience for you.  Of course, we’ll probably be asking for a change in some of your driving habits and that may prove difficult for you.  It’s not unusual for associates’ driving to get worse before it gets better.  Please persevere and you should feel the benefits of the advanced way of driving by Session Five.  If this doesn’t happen or you feel that you are struggling, please telephone your mentor. The Group has over 50 years’ collective experience of training drivers to pass their advanced test so I’ll be surprised if we can’t resolve any situation you may be facing.  Just don’t suffer in silence!

Have you got strong views on whether men or women make the better drivers?  I’m not going to take sides.  I’m reporting research on driverless cars at Newcastle University which found that women were better at taking back control of the vehicle when required and exhibited significantly faster reaction times.  They also exhibited more stable wheel control and executed fewer hasty manoeuvres.

The men and women involved in the research were asked to read aloud from the BBC news website on an iPad while in a driverless car.  At a random point during the reading they were asked to take control of the vehicle to avoid a hazard ahead.  The mean time taken by the women was 2.45 seconds and that by the men, 2.63 seconds.

The researchers concluded that driverless car software settings should be based on gender and age so that people who need extra time to respond can be warned of obstructions earlier, or informed sooner that navigation signals are about to be lost.  I don’t agree with their line of thought.  Even if I had the fastest reaction times, I would still like to know about potential hazards as soon as possible.  So I would leave the software settings alone.

I think we’re all clued up on the range between charging for different makes of electric vehicle but until recently I hadn’t seen any articles about battery degradation.  Perhaps it’s just the newspapers, magazines and websites I read!  But we all know the batteries in our mobile phones, laptops, tablets and the like lose performance over time.  The majority of people can’t afford new vehicles and it will be some time before electric ones filter down to those with less cash to spend on their cars.  If the batteries in these models are about to fail at that point the market will surely collapse.

The Daily Telegraph has been investigating which models are standing the test of time and those that fail to instil confidence.  In first place was the Kia Soul EV 2017.  The battery State of Health (SoH) after 2 years 8 months was 98.8%.   Second was the VW e-Golf 2017 whose SoH after the same period was 96.9% and third the Tesla Model S 2016 whose SoH was 95.1%.  Compare this with the BMW i3 2017 whose SoH after 2 years and 8 months was 84.2% and the Mitsubishi Outlander whose SOH after only 1 year and 8 months was 86.1%.  Resale values should take account of this.

Food for thought indeed.

Gary Whittle