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Green light for 'self-driving' cars and the new Polestar 2 is to undergo 30,000 test drives

We’re used to outlandish claims from governments, both at home and abroad, but Yahoo has reported on Department for Transport (DfT) plans to allow “self-driving” cars to be used on British roads later this year. 

It might sound like pie in the sky, but it appears the government’s definition of ‘self-driving’ is not exactly broad. Under the proposals, drivers would be allowed to take their hands off the wheel in cars fitted with Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) technology, which would allow the car to drive itself at up to 37mph on a motorway. 

Above that speed, drivers would have to remain in control.

The system is designed solely for use in heavy traffic, but the move has still come under fire from the car industry. The insurance industry’s research centre, Thatcham Research, has criticised the government’s use of the terms ‘self-driving’ and ‘automated’, describing ALKS as an assisted driving system, rather than an autonomous driving feature. 

However, the organisation said it would work with the government to ensure “future technologies such as ALKS can be adopted safely”.

Somewhat less controversial is Polestar’s announcement that it wants to conduct up to 30,000 test drives of its Polestar 2 electric car. As was reported by AM Online, the company is opening a new test drive hub in Milton Keynes, to join locations in London and Manchester.

The 8,000 square-foot site will be open for just six months, but Polestar expects to host 7,000 test drives in that time. According to AM, the car maker’s UK chief executive, Jonathan Goodman, hopes 28,000 to 30,000 test drives will take place nationwide before the end of the year.

Polestar will need to turn those test drives into sales if it wants to become one of the UK’s most popular EV manufacturers. 

Tom’s Guide reported on research from price comparison site Go Compare, which found Tesla accounted for a third (33%) of all electric vehicles on UK roads. More than a fifth of the total (22%) were Model 3s. Nissan was the second most popular electric vehicle brand, representing 19% of the total EVs on our streets. Renault, BMW and Volkswagen rounded out the top five.

Volkswagen may well increase its market share soon, however, with the arrival of new, cheaper versions of the ID.4 electric SUV

The new Pure model now underpins the range, with a 52kWh battery pack and a 148hp electric motor. That’s joined by the Pure Performance model, with its 170hp motor. Both versions are available in City and Style trims, which sit below the existing Life, Family and Max models with their 204hp Pro Performance powertrains.

The new models have smaller batteries than the Pro Performance cars, so range is impacted. The City models will do 213 miles between charges, while the Style versions have 211 miles of range. 

Both versions come with LED headlights and a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, although the Style versions are marked out by their 18-inch alloy wheels and the front LED light strip between each headlight. 

The Style also benefits from a reversing camera, three-zone climate control and tinted rear windows.

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Tuesday, 10/05/2022