Wendy Williamson delivers keynote speech addressing digital era challenges

Wendy Williamson, chief executive of the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has provided an extensive insight into the challenges faced by the aftermarket in the digital era, in a speech delivered to a packed audience at the Aftermarket Theatre, Automechanika Birmingham 2019 on 5th June.

In her speech, which covered the opportunities, technology and legislation available to support a competitive, free to access automotive industry in the digital age, Williamson also looked at how changes in other areas of the sector are influencing technology, including intelligent mobility.

The speech revisited Type Approval, a continuing theme of IAAF’s lobbying activities for the past four years, vital for the IAM to ensure continued access to vehicles both now and in the future. She informed the assembly that the VMs “are trying to convince the EU that Extended Vehicle is the fairest, most secure and easiest way to access the vehicle in years to come”, and with the IAAF disagreeing, she stated that “our long-term goal is to continue to fight for the standard inter-operable platform.”

She also stressed that the recent ‘Proof of Concept’ exercise aims to demonstrate why the IAM needs direct real-time access to time-critical in-vehicle data and resources to provide a base for future EU legislation”, citing that “these principles are now underpinned as our key requirements in the future as we must not let technology become an excuse for unfair and distorted competition.”

There was also an update on IAAF’s prominent Your Car, Your Choice campaign, which recently launched its awareness day in Chesterfield, where over 100 people attended the event which highlighted the rights that motorists and garages have under the current block exemption legislation. Williamson vowed that IAAF “will continue to promote these messages in order to offer value for money repair and servicing throughout the automotive aftermarket.”

Williamson warned delegates of the new challenges faced by today’s digital era as the industry embraces new technologies, new environmental considerations and lifestyle changes, and how emissions, electric and autonomous vehicles “will have a profound effect on our future”.

She also cautioned that changing lifestyle trends are seeing a change in ownership patterns and the digital era is fundamentally changing how we think about driving, therefore “we must adapt and change to ensure that we don’t get left behind”.

The autonomous vehicle was also discussed, which brings with it a new set of challenges and opportunities delivering a whole new perspective to the industry, and while intelligent mobility was not imminent, terms such as block chains, e-hailing, demand responsive transport and connected cities would eventually become “a common part of our language in the future”.

In closing, Williamson said: “The automotive sector is facing a profound transformation as a result of changes in the digital era.

“We need to be prepared for changes in digitalisation, technology, automation, connected driving and societal changes. As ever we will need to continue to adapt and find new ways, to ensure that the aftermarket is geared up to supply the parts, whatever they are, tools and equipment required to service and maintain the vehicles of tomorrow.”

Your Comments

Six new members for IAAF council

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has announced the appointment of six new members to the IAAF council, adding further weight to its collective credentials.

The council welcomes Neil Croxson, CEO of The Parts Alliance who has taken over from Peter Sephton; Jonathan Eden, Managing Director of FPS; Andy Hamilton, CEO of Euro Car Parts who replaces Martin Gray; Joe Howard, Associate Director at Boswell Aftermarket and Alistair Preston, Founder of WhoCanFixMyCar.com. Darren Miller, Commercial Director of Truck & Trailer Components, also returns to Council as CV Chairman.

L-R: Terry Knox, Neil Croxson, Alistair Preston, Joe Howard, Darren Miller

Howard’s appointment is the first of its kind, being the first time that IAAF has elected a service member onto Council. Preston has been co-opted on to Council for the next twelve months to assist with some of the digital challenges currently being faced by the sector.

The IAAF Council is a voluntary group of aftermarket individuals made up of the Federation’s representatives, including distributors, suppliers, buying groups, service providers and garages who come together regularly to debate industry issues and IAAF policy, to each offer an outlook on how the independent aftermarket can continue to thrive and develop.

Recently appointed IAAF president, Terry Knox said: “At a time of great transition and challenge for the automotive aftermarket, IAAF’s role in supporting the industry and its members is more important than ever, and the welcome addition of our new Council members will help us take forward this task.”

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: “Having six new members is fantastic and on behalf of IAAF Council I would like to warmly welcome them all. We will no doubt benefit from the depth and breadth of experience and expertise they each bring.”

Your Comments

Autoparts hands over keys to FIAT 500 winner

Glasgow’s First Stop Tyre & Exhaust garage has driven away with one of the biggest raffle prizes at the recent trade show, hosted by Autoparts UK and Autoparts Garage Equipment.

As part of the evening’s huge £15,000 prize draw bonanza, the garage won the use of a free Fiat 500 courtesy car for a year for their customers, fully liveried and supplied by Autoparts UK.

The event, which took place on 24th April at GTG Training Academy in Glasgow, welcomed hundreds of garage owners and mechanics through its doors, who over the course of the evening got the opportunity to see the most up to date equipment and parts available to the aftermarket from a raft of top-quality names including Bosch, Beissbarth, Febi, First Line, Gates, Hella Gutmann, Hofmann Megaplan, Launch, LUK Clutch, Matco Tools, NGK, Shaftec, Thermobile and TMD Friction.

Around 700 garage customers flocked to see the latest automotive, brands, parts, tools and equipment and network with some of the automotive industry’s key players, with over 50 exhibitors, featuring Garage Equipment & Workshop Essentials, Vehicle Components and Tooling, as well as live product demonstrations.

Sinclair Fraser, Director of First Stop Tyre & Exhaust said: “We’re extremely chuffed with winning such a fantastic prize, we will be putting the car to good use straight away! I’d like to thank Autoparts and AGE for a great evening, one that we shan’t forget.”

Craig McCracken, Group factor manager, said: “We’re delighted to hand over the keys to our lucky winner, which caps off a very successful trade show event. It was fantastic to see so many customers and new faces turn up on what was a very busy evening with a bit of fun thrown in.”

Your Comments

Roadlink pulls out the stops for Powell’s Truck Racing

Roadlink is sponsoring Steve Powell of Powell’s Truck Racing for a third successive season in the British Truck Racing Championship (BTRC), which has been sealed with an impressive start in the early stages.

Powell is currently competing in Division 2 of the 2019 championship, which began at Brands Hatch on 21 and 22 April, and went on to win in the season’s second race which took place on 11 and 12 May, at Llanelli’s Pembrey Circuit.

With minimum truck weights of 5500kg and racing speeds approaching 100mph, brake components need to be of the highest quality. Driver Steve Powell is using both Roadlink brake discs and Roadlink RF4001 material disc pads, which offer great levels of performance and consistency across the full temperature range and in these extreme race conditions.

Steve Powell said: “It’s great to have the support of Roadlink for yet another season. The performance and reliability of their brake pads and brake discs are second to none, providing us with the upper hand on the race track.”

Keith Sedgley, Roadlink joint managing director, said: “There is no better proving ground for our products than truck racing and each season we aim to provide Steve and his team with the highest performing braking solutions possible. We’re delighted with Steve’s early win in Llanelli and wish him all the best for the season as he looks to challenge for the championship.”

Independent testing has proved that Roadlink’s brake pad has a higher braking power than a recognised OE grade over the full range of speeds. Testing has also revealed that the Roadlink brake pad experiences an increased lifespan under higher temperatures of 450 to 600 degrees Celsius, typically experienced on truck racing.

Roadlink disc pads comply with the strict safety regulations within truck racing enforced by the FIA (the same body that governs F1) and are manufactured to European braking regulation ECE R90 in production facilities accredited with ISO9001/TS16949 quality standards.

The British Truck Racing Championship is enjoying increased popularity and it is an ideal platform for Roadlink to demonstrate the quality of its products. The championship has also announced that Amazon Prime will also be showing races live.

The third race of the championship will take place on 29-30 June at Thruxton Circuit.

Your Comments

Petrolgate? CO2 discrepancy highlighted in real-word tests

The automotive industry could be facing a new emissions scandal as Emissions Analytics uncovers discrepancies in petrol car emissions figures.

Results from the latest WLTP-certified vehicles show that CO2 emissions for petrol cars are falling, but real-world testing carried out by Emissions Analytics paints a different picture.

“While our real-world test results for diesel cars are in line with WLTP data indicating that manufacturers have got their house in order over diesel, the same cannot be said for petrol,” explained Nick Molden, CEO of Emissions Analytics.

While all cars sold from September 2018 must be WLTP-certified, the CO2 figure that is published for the vehicle is still based on the old NEDC value, using a back-translation.

According to Emissions Analytics, the real-world emissions for petrol cars are not going down, despite the official published figures suggesting they are.

It says the EQUA real-world average for petrol cars is 185g/km, considerably higher than the 151g/km WLTP-reported figure, whereas the figures for diesels are largely aligned (175g/km vs 173g/km).

Emissions Analytics believes there is a significant discrepancy in relative certification values for petrol vehicles, despite no change in real-world performance as measured by the EQUA Index.

It concludes that optimisation of the lab-based WLTP test has already set in, with car makers adapting petrol vehicles to perform better in the WLTP test than they do on the road in actual driving conditions.

With the increased market share of petrol vehicles post-Dieselgate, reduced CO2 emissions from these vehicles will have the largest impact in meeting fleet average emissions targets.

“This would make WLTP questionable as a source for gathering actionable data, much like NEDC that preceded it,” said Molden. “It is also worth pointing out that the EQUA Index currently shows real-world emissions sitting well above the EU headline 130g/km fleet average target for CO2, which suggests official data flatters how much CO2 is being reduced overall.

“While obtaining laboratory figures should be a useful way accurately to benchmark vehicles, there is a severe lack of validation and correlation with real-world use. Granted, repeatability suffers when testing on the road, but it severely limits the ability of manufacturers to optimise for the test.”

Emissions Analytics believes that the best solution is for a simple and comprehensible certification programme, combining laboratory tests and on-road validation analogous to the Real Driving Emissions regulations for nitrogen oxides. Real-world surveillance would add extra deterrence to manipulation.

“Until such a system is in place, there will be many more counter-intuitive outcomes from an imperfect test regime caught in a switch-over phase. There is still fallout from Dieselgate and consumer trust needs to be built back up. The industry really needs to act now to avoid a Petrolgate,” Molden added.

Your Comments

Volvo Cars joins ground-breaking, pan-European safety data-sharing pilot project

Volvo Cars is joining forces with other car makers, service providers and national governments in a ground-breaking, pan-European pilot project to share traffic safety data generated by cars and infrastructure, in the interest of safer roads for all.

The pilot project, run under the umbrella of a public-private partnership called the European Data Task Force, brings together some of Europe’s leading vehicle makers, service providers as well as a number of EU member states.

The partners will share anonymised safety data or safety services based on that data with the pilot via a cloud-based platform. Volvo Cars will contribute to the pilot project by providing real-time data from its industry-first connected safety technologies, Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert.

For example, participating car makers can use the data to warn drivers of potential dangers on the road ahead, while service providers can deliver this data via their live traffic services and to traffic services operated by national road authorities.

The pilot project, across borders and brands on a reciprocal basis, has the overarching aim of improving traffic safety for all. The European Data Task Force was founded in 2017 for exactly this purpose: to make driving safer for all road users by prioritising societal over monetary gain.

Volvo Cars has called for open and reciprocal sharing of anonymised safety data for some years now. In 2017, its President and CEO Håkan Samuelsson told a conference at the European Commission in Brussels that sharing data between governments and car makers is the right thing to do.

“We think this type of anonymised data sharing should be done for free, for the greater good and to the wider benefit of society. It saves lives, time and taxpayer money,” Mr Samuelsson said at the time. “I call on other car makers and governments to work with us on realising this type of data sharing as widely as possible.”

Volvo Cars’ own alert systems allow Volvo cars to communicate with each other and warn drivers of nearby slippery road conditions and hazards via a cloud-based network. Both features were first introduced in 2016 and are available on all new Volvo models across Europe.

Sharing traffic data in real time can provide a strong boost to overall traffic safety and becomes more influential the more cars are connected. Since last year, Volvo Cars and Volvo Trucks have shared data to alert drivers of nearby hazards in Sweden and Norway.

“The more vehicles we have sharing safety data in real time, the safer our roads become,” said Malin Ekholm, Head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre. “That is why the European Data Task Force is such an important initiative. We hope to bring on board even more partners who share our commitment to safety.”

Your Comments

Vehicle electrical/electronic architecture key to future mobility, at Ricardo Strategic Consulting Detroit Conference

Ahead of its inaugural Advanced Mobility 2025 conference in June, a Ricardo Strategic Consulting study has found that a shift to single dominant ECU, from the current de-centralised approach, can deliver manufacture cost savings of up to $500 per vehicle.

Part of the Ricardo vision for urban mobility, the insight covers the evolution that will be required of vehicle E/E architectures – not only the additional sensors and processing required but also the fact the ECU designs must not be obsolete by the time vehicle is released on the market.

“There are already several companies working in partnership on central controls, incorporating the knowledge of OEMs and cutting-edge tech companies, which will be key to the future of centralized systems,’ explained James Passemard, Global Managing Director for Ricardo Strategic Consulting. “These will deliver significant design and development cost savings, yet will handle the increases in the number of sensors and the processing power required for L3-L5 autonomy.”

As the automotive industry grapples with a fundamental shift in transport and related technologies across the globe, Ricardo Strategic Consulting’s Advanced Mobility 2025 conference in June promises an unrivalled insight into understanding the realities of future urban mobility and goods movement.

Starting with Ricardo’s vision for urban mobility, before moving on to consumer needs and behaviours, connectivity and cyber security, investment, innovation and policy, it will pose the questions on what can realistically be achieved by 2025.

The two-day workshop style conference will deliver some of the latest thinking, and cover not only how vehicle systems will be required to evolve, but also the resulting requirements from vehicle OEMs, the role of government regulation and investment. This includes the key enablers in terms of onboard and off-board vehicle systems, connectivity and cyber security, as well as the inevitable policy changes required. The full agenda for both days can be viewed here.

This tantalising glimpse into the future will be delivered by key note presentations from some of the field’s best minds, while interactive panel discussions on possible technology roadmaps, the market requirements and the business cases for services will allow the audience to interact and shape the debate. The first day will focus on urban mobility, including the definition of mobility for consumers, while the second centres on the movement of goods: covering connectivity and autonomy, the issue of cyber security and the demands on vehicle manufacturers and fleet operators.

Experts taking part over the two days include Giovanni Circella, Director, 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Programs, ITS – UC Davis, Alan Taub Professor, University of Michigan Advisor, Autotech Ventures and Therese Langer, Transportation Program Director at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). They will be joined by additional speakers and panellists from OEMs and tier one suppliers including Volvo, Ford, Roke, Valeo and Traxen.

This close-knit and limited event permits just 100 people to participate in a discussion which will address how the world’s transport will have evolved by 2025. Delegate registrations for this must attend conference are now open with 50% off a second ticket (full price $995)

For further information about attending Advanced Mobility 2025 and for updates on the agenda, visit www.ricardo.com/AM2025.

Your Comments

Heathrow to introduce ultra-low emission zone from 2022

Heathrow is proposing to implement an ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) to target older, more polluting passenger cars and private hire vehicles from 2022.

A wider access charge would be introduced for all passenger cars, taxis and private hire vehicles entering the airport with the opening of the new runway.

Charges will help fund new measures to improve sustainable transport modes at the airport and public transport access proposed as part of Heathrow’s expansion plans, it said.

The Heathrow ULEZ will introduce minimum vehicle emissions standards identical to the London’s ULEZ for passenger cars and private hire vehicles entering car parks or drop-off areas at any of Heathrow’s terminals, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Over time, with the opening of the new runway from 2026 and improvements to public transport access to the airport, the Heathrow ULEZ will transition into a vehicle access charge (VAC) on all passenger cars, taxis and private hire vehicles coming to car parks or drop-off areas.

The goal, it says, is to tackle the main source of local air pollution – road vehicles – and reduce congestion by encouraging more people to use sustainable ways of getting to and from the airport.

Initial proposals for the Heathrow ULEZ could set the charge figure between £10-15, in line with charges in central London. Exact details for the Heathrow ULEZ will be confirmed when Heathrow submits its final application for expansion after public consultation.

Revenue generated from both schemes will help fund initiatives to improve sustainable transport, contribute to community compensation and help keep airport charges affordable as the airport expands, it said.

The announcement comes at a time when action is needed to protect local air quality by changing industry and public behaviour.

Furthermore, a strategy will be launched next week that will focus on reducing the number of staff car trips through a mixture of incentives, restraints on parking, and investment in new public transport links.

Former London deputy mayor for transport and newly appointed chair of independent Heathrow Transport Area Forum, Val Shawcross, said: “This is a significant step change in Heathrow’s effort to clean up local ground level air pollution by shifting people into the cleanest modes of transport.

“I have never pulled my punches talking to the airport about local air quality and I look forward to continuing to hold Heathrow to account in my new independent role as chair of the Heathrow Area Transport Forum.”

Heathrow will be consulting on proposals for its surface access strategy, including Heathrow ULEZ and Heathrow VAC, in a statutory consultation on the preferred masterplan for expansion, which will be launched on June 18. The public will have the opportunity to provide feedback on our proposals as part of this consultation.

Plans to expand Heathrow include a commitment not to release any additional capacity at the airport if that would directly result in a breach of the UK’s legal air quality obligations.

Your Comments

BMW Group and Jaguar Land rover announce collaboration for next-generation electrification technology

As it develops its plans for the mobility of the future, the BMW Group is increasingly focusing on co-operations to help make next-level electrification technology more widely available to customers by the start of the coming decade.

Cooperation between car manufacturers to share know-how and resources is important as the automotive industry tackles the significant technological challenges of autonomous driving, connectivity, electrification and services (ACES).

Highly-integrated electric drive train
The BMW Group and Jaguar Land Rover have recently confirmed they are joining forces to develop next generation electric drive units in a move that supports the advancement of electrification technologies necessary to transition to an ACES future.

The BMW Group and Jaguar Land Rover share the same strategic vision of environmentally-friendly and future-oriented electric drive technologies. The BMW Group brings long experience of developing and producing several generations of electric drive units in-house since it launched the pioneering BMW i3 in 2013. Jaguar Land Rover has demonstrated its capability with this technology through the launch of the Jaguar I-Pace and its plug-in hybrid models.

The BMW Group’s most sophisticated electrified technology to date features an electric motor, transmission and power electronics in one housing. This electric motor does not require rare earths, enabling the BMW Group to reduce its dependence on their availability as it continues to systematically broaden its range of electrified models.

Starting next year, the BMW Group will introduce this electric drive unit, the fifth generation (“Gen 5”) of its eDrive technology, with the BMW iX3 Sports Activity Vehicle. The Gen 5 electric drive unit will be the propulsion system upon which subsequent evolutions launched together with Jaguar Land Rover will be based.

“The automotive industry is undergoing a steep transformation. We see collaboration as a key for success, also in the field of electrification. With Jaguar Land Rover, we found a partner whose requirements for the future generation of electric drive units significantly match ours. Together, we have the opportunity to cater more effectively for customer needs by shortening development time and bringing vehicles and state-of-the-art technologies more rapidly to market,” said Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development.

The cooperation allows the BMW Group and Jaguar Land Rover to take advantage of cost efficiencies arising from shared development of future evolutions and production planning costs as well as economies of scale from joint purchasing.

A joint team of BMW Group and Jaguar Land Rover experts located in Munich will be tasked with further developing the Gen 5 power units with production of the electric drive- trains to be undertaken by each partner in their own manufacturing facilities. Both companies will seek to adhere to their own brand-specific propositions in any project.

Technology openness
The development of multiple new technologies is required for the company to meet customer and regulatory requirements around the world, which often vary by market. This means that the BMW Group will continue to improve its combustion engines, while also pushing forward the e-mobility strategy with both battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids and investing in new technologies such as fuel–cell powertrains.

Your Comments

UK car manufacturing plummets in April as Brexit shutdowns strike

British car manufacturing output plummeted by almost half in April, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

70,971 cars rolled off production lines in the month, down -44.5% year on year as factory shutdowns, rescheduled to mitigate against the expected uncertainty of a 29 March Brexit, took effect in many plants across the UK.

SMMT data 

Manufacturing for domestic and overseas markets fell -43.7% and -44.7% respectively as most volume manufacturers brought forward, and extended, production stoppages normally scheduled for the summer holiday period.

The shift in shutdown, which cannot now be repeated for a 31 October deadline, was part of a raft of costly and ongoing contingency measures, including stockpiling, rationalisation, training for new customs procedures and rerouting of logistics – all designed to try to protect business when the UK leaves the customs union and single market.

April’s dismal performance, the 11th straight month of decline, exacerbated the underlying downward trend, due largely to slowing demand in key international markets, including the EU, China and the US, as well as at home.

In the year to date, 127,240 fewer cars have been built compared with the same period in 2018 – a decline of more than a fifth (-22.4%) – with similarly large percentage falls in production for the UK and export.

Provided the UK leaves the EU with a favourable deal and substantial transition period, and notwithstanding any escalation of global trade tensions, the decline in volumes is expected to ease by the end of the year, as new models come on stream and production lines remain active over the usual summer shutdown months.

However, the latest independent outlook suggests output will still be down some -10.5% on 2018 levels.

Your Comments