Company Car Today

BiK boost as Volvo extends PHEV range

A larger battery is to be fitted to the Volvo S/V60, S/V90, XC60 and XC90 models, pushing them from the 11% BiK band to the 7% banding thanks to a longer EV-only range.

Although model-specific details are yet to be revealed, Volvo said official figures are to jump from the current level of mid-30-miles to a maximum of 56 miles, cutting BiK payments for company car drivers, and putting the models into the small group of cars that can achieve over 40 miles and therefore hit the 7% BiK band. Those models already there include the Audi A3, BMW X5 and Peugeot 3008.

Volvo predicts that the increased range has the potential to reduce CO2 emission by up to 50% in the WLTP drive cycle, though official figures haven’t yet been confirmed.

A more powerful electric motor boost output by 10hp on the T6 plug-in powertrain to 350hp, while the T8 becomes Volvo’s most powerful powertrain ever with an increase of 65hp to 455hp. The T6 is used on the V60, V90 and XC60 models, while the T8 is in the S60, S90, V60, XC60 and XC90.

Increased grey fleet use prompts update to HSE’s work-related road risk guidance

The Health and Safety Executive has published updated guidance on work-related road risk in response to increasing numbers of grey fleet drivers and the rise in the gig economy. The regulator said these drivers have created “some confusion over where responsibility for legal compliance lies”.

“The Health and Safety at Work Act sets out the legal duties of employers and those engaged to work for them, their responsibilities to manage WRRR are nothing new,” said HM inspector for HSE’s transport and public services unit Nicola Jaynes. “However, the landscape is changing and we wanted to ensure guidance reflects these changes and also remains relevant for years to come.”

“Companies who otherwise have robust health and safety policies sometimes fail to consider their responsibilities adequately when it comes to driving or riding for work,” Jaynes continued. “Everyone should come home from work safe and well, whether they’re working behind a desk or behind the wheel.”

The updated guidance can be found at https://www.hse.gov.uk/roadsafety/index.htm.

“Driving at Work has been the fleet industry ‘bible’ for legal risk management standards for many years, so any change is significant, and these revisions do mark quite a major shift,” commented Association of Fleet Professionals chair Paul Hollick. “They mean that any business that uses gig economy workers or contractors now have the same responsibility for their drivers and vehicles as any other part of the grey fleet – and that means, of course, they are on the same footing as for their own company cars and vans.”

New ratings planned for driver safety systems

A new independent consumer rating system for driver assistance systems is planned to launch next year, beginning with tests of Lane Keep Assist technology.

The project is funded by the Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles and will be co-ordinated by self-driving expert Zenzic and led by Thatcham Research, with the goal of it acting as a basis of safety ratings for automated driving systems and eventually being adopted as part of the Euro NCAP crash test assessment.

The organisations claimed that this is the first test in the world to independently rate the performance of automated driving systems and combine virtual and physical testing.

“Not all Automated Driving Systems will be made equal,” said Thatcham Research chief executive Jonathan Hewett. “Therefore, an independent consumer safety rating will drive best practice, while helping consumers to make informed choices and trust that it is safe to relinquish control.”

The next stage of test development is the planned delivery of proof of concept in March 2022.