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Driving in Australia

How will Self-Driving Vehicles co-exist with Ridesharing?

In one corner of the ring, we have the arch nemesis of taxi drivers and motoring manufacturers – the ridesharing phenomenon. In the other corner, we have the antihero of all ‘motorheads’ – the self-driving car. But as consumers and pundits alike take sides in this battle to determine the future direction of driving, is it possible the two will co-exist and operate in harmony?

On the one hand, ridesharing has been around for several years now and is far from a new concept. As each year goes by, more and more players look to penetrated this market, and car pooling has long been a community thing in the likes of the US, allowing people to share costs, and reduce the burden on the environment, by riding together. In the US alone, more than 15 million consumers are anticipated to use P2P transportation each year.


With this head start, we’ve seen a change in consumer perception – moving slowly towards acceptance. Governments (and airports) have also been required to keep up to speed – from the US to Australia, more states are legalising ridesharing, which is encouraging the entry of further businesses to offer services. Of course, there are still some governments that oppose the operation of ridesharing services based on a financial arrangement – but even in these locations, the public often has a differing viewpoint.

But for all its growth, will the P2P ridesharing system inevitably reach a point of maturity and saturation? Is that the point at which self-driving vehicles are best placed to enter the market?

For its part, fully autonomous vehicles are, realistically, years away from becoming accessible to the public – let alone mainstream. Although countless manufacturers, and tech companies, are working on various iterations with some capacity for self-driving, there are still numerous hurdles for businesses to clear before being in a position where they can begin to market fully autonomous vehicles – from public infrastructure to vehicle development, driver education to local regulations, there are still challenges ahead, even after years of work.

When fully autonomous cars do eventually get through the rigorous testing hurdles in place, they will be limited to a niche audience – ultimately, those who want the convenience of being transported from point to point. Even more relevant, however, this audience may be further divided into those that want their own vehicle and privacy, and others who may be open to sharing.

Thus, it is this dilemma which will test manufacturers as to whether the ridesharing concept and self-driving car can co-exist in harmony, not least of which the consideration that it could come at their own detriment. After all, a ridesharing concept is only going to decrease the number of vehicles on the roads and reduce ownership levels, which in turn pushes down production volumes and hurts manufacturers profits. Will they be able to make up their lost profits elsewhere? Unlikely. What could turn out to be just as likely, however, is a case of ‘survival of the fittest’, where those with a finger in each pie come out on top – in which case, our motoring future could be shaped by tech giants. Tesla has already transformed itself into one, what’s stopping others from doing the same?

One thing is for certain, driving for the mainstream consumer won’t be the same in the long-term future!

October Faction: BMW Set To Launch 4 Series Coupe.

BMW Australia has confirmed the 4 Series Coupe is set for an October 2020 launch date down under. There’s plenty to look at and plenty to like in this striking new machine.

BMW’s TwinPower turbo technology is applied to a pair of four cylinder engines and a six. BMW says the fours will produce 135kW and 300Nm for the 420i, 190kW and 400Nm for the 430i, and for the big six in the M440i 285kW and 500Nm. Autos are the super slick 8 speed Steptronics complete with steering wheel paddle shifts.

For those that prefer the personalisation aspect, BMW’s M Sport Package is ready and waiting. The already bold air intakes are increased in area, and matched at the rear by a large contoured apron. Underneath is the M Sport suspension and 19 inch M Sport M alloys, plus Cerium Grey external accents for the M440i and M Carbon exterior highlights can be optioned. Inside, comfort and safety has the extra touches of knee pads on either side of the centre console plus specific other touches.BMW’s design team may have looked at the past for the future; the front sports a pair of striking yet familiar kidney grilles, with inspiration possibly from the art deco and pulp science magazines of the early part of the 20th century and nod towards their own BMW 3.0 CSi. There’s a heavier nod towards a vertically inclined styling, with a deeper reach towards the lower edge of the front apron. Inside is the newly added horizontal mesh material. There are assertive looking intakes on either side, and sit underneath LED headlights that sweep back deep into the upper edges of the front fenders. Adaptive swivelling adaptive LED with BMW Laserlight are optionable. Laserlight increases high beam range to over 500 metres at speeds of over 60 kilometres per hour.

The designers have looked at how the 4 Series Coupé can stand still and look fast and muscular. Elegant lines in curves and straight work together to pick out the frameless windows in the doors, the short front and rear overhangs, and emphasis the taut LED rear lights. The roofline is a metal wave, smooth, yet powerful. There has been subtle increases in size; there is an extra 128mm to 4,768, width is up by 27mm to 1,852, and a small height increase of just 6mm. It is now 1.383mm and makes the 4 Series 57mm lower than the 3 Series. The wheelbase is up by 41mm for2,581mm. Handling is sharpened by the increase in track with an extra 28mm up front, and 18mm for the rear.
Depending on model, integral head restraints will be fitted, with the rears eats sculpted for a 2+2 configuration. The front seats are a sports style, and the driver graps an M specific leather wheel. It’s a proper cockpit feel with a centre console that houses the Start/Stop button flowing high into the dash itself, and the door panel trim complements that of the instrument panel which is now a broader surface area design. Noise is reduced thanks to an acoustic glass windscreen.

Cabin tech arrives in the form of Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a SIM card for 4G LTE connectivity. The BMW Connected Package Professional brings in BMW’s Teleservices which includes the Intelligent Emergency Call, Reat Time Traffic Information, Concierge Services and Remote Services.

A built-in SIM card with 4G LTE connectivity and standard BMW Connected Package Professional enable use of digital services including BMW TeleServices and Intelligent Emergency Call, Real Time Traffic Information with hazard warning, Remote Services and Concierge Services. BMW’s 7.0 OS is standard too, with fully integrated digital access and information. The Live Cockpit Professional delivers a 12.3 inch driver’s screen and a 10.25 control display for the centre. There is also a Head Up Display as standard.

Pricing will be confirmed closer to the October launch date.

How do you Transport a Bike?

For some time now, cycling on our roads has been on the rise. Whether it’s the casual enthusiast, devout fitness fanatic, or professional rider, everywhere you look there appears to be a bike on our roads. And while some cyclists have adopted bikes as a way to break free from being behind the wheel, the two forms of transport are not always mutually exclusive. In fact, often riders like to transport their bicycles with them on long drives.

So what’s the best way to transport your bike by car?


Use a bike rack

If opting to carry your bicycle on a rear mounted rack, it’s important that the rack chosen is compatible with your vehicle. Generally one would be able to choose from straps (more suited to hatchbacks and sedans), or a tow ball mounted option (SUVs/4WDs). In the case of the latter, confirm that the load being carried is permitted by the vehicle manufacturer, and that you have access to open the boot if necessary.

Perhaps the most common option that is sighted on our roads, roof racks are often used by motorists who drive station wagons or SUVs/4WDs. The rack types available vary in their transport configuration, where bicycles may be stored upright or upside down. Irrespective, the rack needs to conform to the vehicle you are driving, and should be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. Always keep in mind that your vehicle may be restricted from safely accessing certain spaces when transporting a bike on your car’s roof.


Inside the cabin or boot


In the case of vehicles with larger internal spaces, some motorists may elect to disassemble the bike’s wheels and secure their bicycle inside the boot or rear cabin. While you might think that storing a bike inside your vehicle eliminates the risk of it causing a problem, this is far from the case. Should you need to manoeuvre suddenly, or if you find yourself in an accident, unsecure bikes have the potential to act as a projectile and cause notable damage. As such, you should ensure the vehicle is tied down with straps.

Fortunately, some hatchbacks and SUVs allow you to fold the seats down so that you can lay your bike across an expanded cargo area. This is a convenient solution that saves you time, while also making it easier to secure the bike.

If you’re driving a ute, you might just have an even simpler solution at hand! That’s right, the rear tray can serve as a very functional and capable space to take your bike with you, just about anywhere.

Other considerations

Just to round things out, it’s worth noting some of the particulars as far as the law is concerned. In some states like Victoria, it’s actually illegal to have a bike rack installed on your vehicle if there are no bicycles fitted.

In what is perhaps less of a surprise, it’s important to ensure your number plates are not blocked by a rear bike rack, or you’ll also be facing the prospect of dealing with an infringement notice.

Whether you are storing your bike inside your car, or transporting it via a dedicated bike rack, you may also want to consider the risk of theft. As some bikes can be worth thousands of dollars, it is not uncommon for them to be the target of crime.

Last but not least, don’t skimp on the quality of any fittings or supports you buy. While you might think all parts do the same job, the reality is some may be better quality than others. Before you head off onto the road, it doesn’t hurt to double or even triple check that your bike is secured firmly and locked in place.

Should I Buy Genuine or Aftermarket Car Parts?

There are a whole host of options to choose from when you are considering parts to repair your car.

The most well-known ones are genuine and aftermarket, which are perhaps the most popular choices as well. However, the other options extend to rebuilt, reconditioned, and recycled car parts. As a motorist, it’s important to know about each of them. Inevitably you will choose between these categories when you are required to carry out repairs and/or maintenance on your vehicle – or that decision will be made by a mechanic on your behalf. Let’s take a look at some of the considerations and differences.


The difference between genuine and aftermarket parts

Genuine and aftermarket car parts carry longer warranty coverage. Repairs conducted through a vehicle manufacturer or their dealer network will often utilise (new) genuine car parts. Independent repairers and mechanics will readily carry aftermarket replacements. While both are sourced new, the key difference is that genuine parts are those specified as the original equipment installed in the vehicle. They are the specific (OEM) parts listed in the vehicle’s build specifications.

Meanwhile, aftermarket car parts are those which at least conform to said specifications, and may even provide superior quality – think drive belts and coolant hoses which potentially last longer. With quality that rivals the OEM parts available, motorists often choose aftermarket parts because they can sometimes be significantly cheaper. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the parts to be manufactured by the same provider, with branding details instead carrying aftermarket branding, or scratched off altogether.


What are rebuilt and reconditioned parts?

Depending on the age of your vehicle, or the difficult associated with sourcing certain parts, it may become viable to use rebuilt or reconditioned parts. This is typically an option that mechanics will offer to motorists driving older vehicles, or classic cars, where the parts may cost a disproportionate amount compared to the value of the car. Rebuilt parts involve full disassembly, followed by remanufacturing the part to restore or include new components. Such parts are tested for conformance to manufacturers’ specifications and will typically have a generous warranty period.

Motorists often assume that reconditioned parts are the same as rebuilt parts. Although they are similar in their disassembly, their remanufacturing typically does not guarantee ongoing performance like rebuilt parts. This is because reconditioned parts are designed mostly to the extent that they will become functional once again. Nonetheless, both rebuilt and reconditioned parts can be significantly cheaper than OEM parts, and slightly cheaper than aftermarket parts.


How about recycled car parts?

Last but not least, recycled parts are from vehicles no longer in operation. They may be sourced from vehicles which were involved in a crash, no longer viable to run, scrapped, and so forth. Often favoured by DIY hobbyists who are repairing their own vehicle(s) on a budget, or owners of vehicles that have ceased production long ago, recycled parts vary considerably in their condition. As always, it’s beneficial to search for parts from a newer vehicle, or one with a lower odometer reading as its condition is likely to be better.

Cosmetic or functional parts may be attained with less concern for their condition. Performance parts, however, require greater attention to detail. They may mask hidden problems and are likely to have a shorter lifespan compared with other options mentioned earlier. In addition, they may not be covered by warranty. It’s also important to ensure the part matches your vehicle. If seeking help with installation, make sure your mechanic is comfortable installing said parts.

Even after all these years of increased regulations, and our last guide around the importance of authentic car parts, fake parts are still quite prolific. Always obtain your parts from a reputable supplier, merchant or qualified mechanic, since no dollar figure is worth your safety or that of your family.

The Dying Art of Manual Driving

Among the diehard motoring fanatics, manual driving has been a fundamental component of one’s driving abilities. Even then, it offers a level of authenticity that you just don’t get when the car does all the work for you! After all, there has always been something about those perfectly-timed gear changes that just resulted in a sense of self-satisfaction.

However, much like a lot of things, especially in today’s day and age, a ‘trend’ doesn’t necessarily stay in vogue. At least if something more convenient and simple takes over. It doesn’t matter how much more authentic manual driving might feel to the masses, because the masses quite frankly don’t care.

What is surprisingly, however, is that they also don’t seem to care about the prospect of some handy savings on the up-front price of a manual vehicle either. Although that could have something to do with the fact that selling a second-hand manual car on the market these days is becoming more difficult than it otherwise should be.

Where do manual cars stand in the market today?

While manual car sales remain resilient throughout many European countries, it’s a vastly different proposition down under. In fact, cars with manual transmission have accounted for a diminishing portion of all new car sales over a long time, and it doesn’t help that more and more manufacturers are turning their backs on manuals when releasing their latest models.

Now accounting for well under 10% of all new car sales in Australia, it appears that there is no love for manual driving anymore. Everyday Australians want the convenience of an effortless drive. And, when you would normally have to grind along in peak traffic, who can blame them?

But we also need to consider the role being played by the population’s fanaticism with SUVs. Once upon a time, not all that long ago actually, true SUVs built for off-road conditions were favoured with a manual transmission.

Now, however, because we use our SUVs for almost everything but off-roading, the clear direction has seen the latest models fitted with automatic transmission as default. Driving purists must be in disbelief! Or maybe they’ve made the switch as well, since less than 2% of SUVs are now manuals.

What does the future hold for manual driving?

If there is one sole bright spot for manual cars, however, they have a loyal support base among light commercial applications. As the preferred choice for many heavy-duty fleets, or tradies alike, there is surely a safe haven for the tried and trusted manual car?

Well, that may have been the case, but if you haven’t noticed around you, dual-cab utes have rose to prominence as some of the nation’s best-selling vehicles. More to the point, it’s not only tradies using these vehicles now. Instead, they are finding themselves in the hands of families who want convenience and simplicity. Yep, you guessed it! That’s another one of our preferences squeezing manual sales.

But at the root of all this, there’s something else happening. Younger drivers just aren’t interested in manual cars. Forget about the fact they can’t drive manual, they don’t even want to learn how to do so. What’s even more worrying for fans of the format is that if we do move the way of autonomous vehicles, what then for the nostalgic days of manual driving?

Car Maintenance: Basic Car Care Tips

Summer in Australia. Perth has a dry, baking heat. Darwin and the FNQ region has “the wet”. Brisbane and Sydney have a mix of wet heat and thunderstorms. Melbourne and Hobart have their own climate requirements, as does Adelaide. Come Autumn into Winter, and the regional weather changes make how we look after our cars a different proposition.

This makes looking after a car’s paint potentially fraught with region specific issues for a vehicle built to cover a wide environment. Here’s a few tips that may help.
Although it’s not always possible, a garage or carport is a great start in protecting paint. This is a great investment against the number one killer of a car’s outside. Ultra violet rays. These can fry the clear coat cars have that are intended to seal the layers of paint underneath.

An added layer of protection can come from a car cover. This not only keeps the sunlight and UV off, it keeps dirt, dust, rain, and anything else skyborne. Most also come with venting in order to allow air flow. This stops moisture build up and potential mould and/or rust forming.

Washing a car the right way can go a long way to looking after paint. Although long gone are the days where a street would be lined with people washing their cars, getting the bucket and cloth out is still a good thing.

Never wash the car in the heat of the day. Whenever and where-ever possible a morning tub is the preferred time. This stops heat shock on the car’s metal and paint. It also stops water drying quickly and spotting on the paintwork and glasshouse.

Wash from the roof down. Gravity pulls the dirty and clean water downwards so it doesn’t pool. Circular motions with a cloth aren’t recommended, use a straight pull from front to rear on the roof, bonnet, and boot, and downwards on the doors and fenders. This stops or minimises the circular micro-scratches so commonly seen on cars.

There are some products that are a spray-on foam style. These work quite effectively by kee

ping the paint moist and lift away dirt particles as the foam expands upon contact. Clean micro-fibre cloths are a necessity. In tip-top condition these have an almost zero likelihood of scratching a car’s paintwork. This is important as any opening to the paint below the clearcoats can lead to the water and dirt getting in and starting that process of erosion that we see on cars. That’s that lifting of the clear coat and the look of the clear peeling like a sunburned skin. This leads to the dulling and fading of the main colours.

This is where a good polishing method can also assist. Again a clean micro-fibre cloth is a necessity. Any residual dirt particles can be trapped in a cloth and potentially scratch. Never press hard onto the car’s surface, let the polish itself do the work. And again, always do this in cooler situations. As liquid and cream style polishes have different methods and formulations, following the instructions to ensure the product does its job is a must.

A final tip is to head on out to a car show. Owners and drivers take a lot of pride in the presentation of their vehicles, so they’ll have the inside goss on which products and methods work best. There’s the deep, deep, gloss that makes the paint look as if you could put your finger in an inch deep and still not touch it. The gleaming alloy and chrome wheels, the inky black

of new or superbly maintained wipers. Look after your car and a few things outside will last a lot longer and make running costs cheaper.

2020 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Premium: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The quirky and different Hyundai Veloster. It’s finally received a much needed makeover and it looks more like a member of the Hyundai family than the odd-one-out visage of the now superseded model. It’s a three model range, with Veloster, Turbo, and Turbo Premium, the model reviewed. The Veloster is also a dedicated 2+2 seater.

How Much Does It Cost?:
Hyundai’s website has drive-away prices, with $33,253 as a starting price for the entry level, $39,443 for the Turbo, and a starting rate of $43,048 for the Premium. The website appears to indicate zero extra charge for metallic paint. The Premium comes with a two tone roof option with Phantom Black or Tangerine Comet as the choices.Under The Bonnet Is: A 1.6L engine in capacity, complete with 150kW and 265Nm of torque. Both turbo models offer a seven speed dual clutch auto or six speed manual. The entry level Veloster runs a 2.0 Atkinson cycle non-turbo four and has a six speed non-DCT auto along with the manual. Those 265 Newton metres are available from 1,500 rpm to 4,500 rpm. Economy is quoted as 9.1L per 100km for the urban cycle, 5.6L/100km for the highway, and on the combined it’s 6.9L100km. That’s from the 50L tank in a chassis weighing 1350kg.

On The Outside It’s: Still the 2+1 plus hatchback rear shape. It’s been flattened, has the Hyundai signature tail light design of three strips in their individual enclosure, and it looks fantastic lit up. That’s with tinted lenses as well. The front loses the slightly bulbous headlights and now has the slimline LED lit setup. Wheels for the Premium are 18 inch in diameter and are a dark grey metallic colour. Rubber comes form Michelin’s Pilot Sport 4 range and are 225/40 in profile.It’s a pert little thing at just 4,240mm in length. It’s not tall at 1,399mm and offers plenty of shoulder room with a very handy 1,800mm of width. The wheelbase is 2,650mm and that adds to the sporty look and handling. Adding to the looks are the body additions front and rear. Up front a semi-gloss grille sits over a honeycomb grille air curtain, with subtle chrome highlights. The rear diffuser has extra width over the others and is complemented by a dark metallic finish on the lower bumper that sits around the centrally mounted twin exhausts. A small yet nifty touch is a hidden rear hatch opening button that’s integrated into the wiper housing and the locating of the left rear passenger door opener inside the rear door pillar structure.

On The Inside It’s: New Hyundai. That means classy fit, finish, and soft touch materials. Hyundai also show the other brands how to do it right with heating and venting for the front seats, a classy looking Performance Gauge screen with turbo pressure, G-Force meter, and torque output. This is accessed via an 8.0 inch touchscreen with DAB, Android and Apple app access. This tops a centre stack which is…busy to look at. It’s a little heavy in its layering, and the bottom layer which is the USB/Aux inputs are substantially more inset than the uppermost.For the driver a Head Up Display is fitted, and the binnacle below houses a pair of analogue dials. Naturally there’s the ubiquitous colour info screen and the tabs for this are on the right hand spoke of the tiller. It’s also a right-hand stalk for the indicator however Hyundai have fitted an intermittent mechanism for blinking. State laws in Australia ask for “sufficient indication” and a blinker that flashes just three time simply isn’t enough safe warning.

The gear selector has a red plastic insert on the rear and it looks as if it needs to be pressed, but it’s a fixed item. The selector itself is a straight forward and back mechanism, not a squiggly line as some do. There’s also Hyundai’s Drive selector button, and in Sport Mode (or tipped into Manual gear selection, which makes using the paddle shifts worthwhile) it brings a rev counter dial into the HUD’s information.Rear cargo is just, just, big enough for a weekly shop. The mechanisms to fold the 50:50 split-fold rear seats are on the shoulders of them however because the right side seat doesn’t have a door, it’s a touch fiddly to access and operate, And when folded the bottom of the seats don’t sit flush with the floor and the metal hooks stand proud. These, though, did come in handy by stopping a flat bottomed item from sliding, and the cargo net fitted also helped. Actual space is 303L seats up, and 1,081L seats down.The seats are set low due to the Veloster’s overall height. There is still decent room though, with the dimensions of 936mm and 911mm front and rear for head room, 1,433mm and 1,378mm shoulder room front and rear, providing better than expecting space to enjoy the cabin and the drive.On The Road It’s: An absolute hoot to drive. 265Nm doesn’t sound a lot, but coupled with a well ratioed auto and a relatively lightweight body, there’s more than enough zip to delight. Hyundai’s really spent some time working on the DCT’s biggest issue, and it’s one all companies have: lag between swapping from park to Drive or Reverse, and having the gear engage. However, practice shows that the lag can be minimised and it’s about how long the vehicle is stationary.

In a three point turn, so from Park to Drive to Reverse to Park, by bringing the Veloster Turbo to a complete stop quickly, it helps the DCT re-engage the chosen gear just that much more quicker and makes for a smoother progression from that moment of Neutral to gear.

Press it hard and there is some scrabbling of the front driven wheels before grip, or the traction control nanny, steps in to settle things down. Forward acceleration is good enough for the whole package but it’s not quite a neck-snapper as anticipated. What wasn’t also anticipated was the faint but audible “phut, phut” as the DCT does its thing and the engine lets the world know via the twin pipes. It’s an understated note and deserves more volume.Steering is rapid, light in the feel, and tenacious in how it has the front wheels responding to its command. That fore-mentioned three point turn is made a doddle to perform because of it, and on the highway the response is welcomed too. Feedback is plentiful and perhaps a little too much so for the untrained.

Suspension tune is firm, and the concrete ripples on sweeping bends ensure that every flake of paint has its height sent through to the driver’s hands via the steering wheel. It bang-crashes on the normal speed-humps yet soaks up the highway undulations without fuss. The weak spot of the Veloster is the brake feedback. There’s a harder than required shove to getting stopping done, and the pedal has a softer than expected feel when doing so.

What About Safety?: No problems here. Lane Keep Assist is on board and it’s perhaps a little too heavy handed, with the tiller all a-twitch in the driver’s hands. The intervention is, for our mind, just that too aggressive, it needs a smoother pull to straighten the Veloster Turbo Premium up. Torque vectoring is standard, as is Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) including City / Urban (camera) and Interurban / Pedestrian & Cyclist detection (camera & radar). There is also High Beam Assist (HBA), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning (RCCW) and Smart Cruise Control (SCC).

And The Warranty Is?: Five years and unlimited kilometres, with servicing costs and details here.At The End Of The Drive. It’s a far prettier car than the original, still has plenty of squirt, and handles as a sports oriented car should. It’s definitely roomy enough inside, however the heavy design of the centre stack, the insistence of the Lane Keep Assist to make its presence known, and the soft brakes pull the 2020 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Premium down a couple of notches. Don’t take that as saying it’s not fun to drive, it is, and it’s a lively drive too. Just as a sports oriented vehicle should be.

How to Choose the Right Car Seat for Your Child

At first, the thought of choosing a car to accommodate a growing family might not occupy your mind, however, if you decide to have a child, you’ll soon need to spring into action. Because motorists are often caught short in terms of being unprepared, it’s important that you follow the right advice to ensure that you can choose the right car seat for your child.


What should I look for in child seats?

There are two key considerations when you start to chop for a child seat. First, you need to consider the age of your child. Secondly, you should also be conscious of their size. In most cases, you will be able to stick with a series of configurations, starting with a rearward facing seat, before move onto a forward-facing seat, and then finally, a booster seat. Make sure that the seat you are choosing is appropriate for your child, as there may be variations between each model.

Rear-facing baby seats are compulsory for infants up to 6 months old, however, you need to pick the right model based on the height of your baby. Once your child is older than 6 months, you may consider the following. Type A1 rear-facing child seats are designed for children up to 70cm tall or 9 months old. Type A2 is appropriate for children up to 80cm in height or roughly 1 year old. Rounding out the series, Type A4 rear-facing child seats are for children between 2 to 3 years of age. At the end of this period, children then progress onto forward-facing Type B seats, more or less up until the age of 4.

Seat installation is a crucial aspect when it comes to ensuring the safety of your child. Rear-facing seats should be held tightly in place with little slack, while forward-facing seats require a 5 or 6-point connection. Always pay attention to the manufacturing standards of the seat, as you should never compromise on quality. Look for the Australian Standards compliance watermark on the product.


What about booster seats?

Booster seats are designed for children between the age of 4 and 8 that are no longer appropriate for smaller forward-facing seats. While booster seats are also a type of forward-facing seat, they have a different categorisation, which is Type E or Type F. These seats include a belt, whereas Type B child seats described earlier, do not. If in doubt, however, speak to an expert in store who can advise on what specific solution is best for your child.

Before you head out to the shops though, double check what capacity your vehicle is equipped with to install a child seat. Does it have appropriate anchor points? Will airbags provide protection or could they potentially pose a risk? Is there adequate room to fit the seat, yet alone manoeuvre it? These are important points to consider, never compromise on safety.

How Does Stop-Start Technology Work?

Although they have existed for roughly 30 years, and there have been several concerted efforts to push the technology to the masses, stop-start systems have just started to become more popular in our cars. In fact, if you look at new-release vehicles coming to the market today, a fair portion of them are now banking on the technology, and that is outside the luxury segment of the market as well.

With a growing focus on fuel efficiency and sustainable driving, it’s little surprise that it’s only now we are starting to see this shift. According to manufacturers, motorists can save up to 10% on fuel efficiency. Despite this, in terms of practicality, motorists haven’t quite warmed to the technology. Let’s consider the ins and outs in a little more detail.



What is a stop-start system?

Stop-start systems are a mechanism that is designed to control the operation of the engine. The purpose is to ensure that the engine is only functioning when the car is moving, and not when it is sitting idle. Therefore, when the car is sitting idle, like at traffic lights, the system will automatically turn off the car’s engine. The technology relies on a myriad of sensors to determine things like brake pressure, vehicle speed, gear changes and more. Once you are ready to move again, the system reactivates the engine.

You might be wandering, doesn’t a system that turns the engine off interfere with other functions of the car? Fortunately, the technology includes a bypass that enables things like air conditioning and the like to continue. Unlike some of the earlier iterations of the technology, or even examples from early last decade, today’s systems are ‘smart’ enough to react to changes in driving conditions, such that your car runs smoothly.

In the past there has also been concern around the potential for excessive wear that comes with stop-start technology. While there is no shying away from the fact that the more stop-start scenarios one endures, the more strain you put on various mechanical parts, manufacturers have found ways to mitigate if not offset this altogether. A large part of that strategy relies on a heavy duty starter and battery, while engine bearings are also lubricated to reduce friction with the crankshaft. So you don’t necessarily need to not worry on that front.


Does the technology help address emissions?

stop start 2Although lab testing will point to improvements as far as reducing emissions, the reality is always going to be found out in the field. So when it comes to improvements, in the majority of instances where a vehicle is idle for longer than a minute, stop-start technology will deliver fuel savings. Of course, however, there are more permutations to consider, so it’s not possible to say that there will be benefits in every scenario, particularly once driver behaviour starts to play a role in things.

While the prospect of fuel savings is something that can only help your hip pocket, don’t forget that replacement parts or repairs to the system could set you back more than you might otherwise normally be up for. Nonetheless, with the sheer volume of fuel that goes into our cars these days, an estimated 10% reduction is nothing to sneeze at, even if (most) ‘motorheads’ would prefer to have that engine ticking along at all times.

What Fee Structure Should Apply to Electric Vehicles?

Although electric vehicles have yet to become a common sight on our roads, early discussions have focused on the necessary incentives to push them to the public. Now, however, as network operators begin to roll out the critical infrastructure to support the uptake of EVs, a new question is emerging. That is, what fee structure should apply to electric vehicles?

To date, the majority of EV fast charging sites have operated with a fee structure that sees users charged at a per kilowatt hour rate. This means that motorists are effectively paying by the unit of energy they will consume. Consider it a similar strategy to the per litre fee charged at petrol stations. However, more recently, some operators have also begun to implement a second fee, which is a time-based charge.

This measure stands to act as a potential barrier for the uptake of electric vehicles, with affected motorists already voicing their frustration. It should be noted as well that this was an impediment that also sparked controversy in Norway, a well-established domicile for EVs.



What are we trying to promote?

Considering electric vehicles are one of the only segments of the new car market experiencing growth – even if from a very low base – we need to be proactive in ensuring that policy and regulation is aligned with the goals we have as a community. So if we want more and more drivers to switch over to EVs from ‘inefficient’ vehicles that consume too much fuel, our fee structure needs to be in the interest of road users.

One of the biggest obstacles we currently face is a lack of transparency in pricing. When you drive up to a petrol station, you know what sort of damage your wallet will be in for. On the contrary, EV charging doesn’t involve clear pricing, nor any clarity around the structure with which an operator may apply over their network. Furthermore, if you’re only just new to the electric vehicle landscape, good luck navigating which charging sites are equipped with DC rapid charging or AC destination charging.



Making sense of it all

In the end, however, kilowatt hour rates make sense. Everyone pays the same rate, regardless of what type of electric vehicle they are driving, without discrimination between a new and old EV. While our petrol-powered vehicles are effectively price-graded based on their age – with newer vehicles more suited to dearer premium fuels – this doesn’t work against motorists driving older vehicles as time-based fees do when it comes to electric vehicles. What’s more, charging a motorist for the time that they are connected but not charging, goes against the very notion that you get what you pay for.

The speed at which electric vehicles charge is largely out of the control of motorists, with older vehicles typically constrained on account of their in-built ‘rectifier’ componentry, as well as batteries that don’t necessarily feature pre-conditioning features found in newer models. EVs running smaller batteries are also up against it due to the need to recharge their battery to a higher percentage than those with a larger battery, which generally charge at a slower rate once they hit 70-80% of their charging capacity.

What’s clear is that if we really intend to promote electric vehicles as a next-gen driving option, we need to come up with a more equitable approach to charging electric vehicle owners. This can’t feature time-based fees as it simply perpetuates a divide between drivers that share the same vision to move towards more sustainable fuel technology. Why should anyone be penalised for that?