Greenpeace protesters have stormed ship delivering Volkswagen diesel cars in an attempt to block it from unloading its precious vehicular cargo.
The ship, Elbe Highway, a 23,000-tonne ship vessel was boarded by activists at around 9AM this morning at Sheerness port in Kent. Their aim was to block the ship from unloading a large number of Volkswagen vehicles, causing it to return to the
A further 40 activists stormed the port and removed thousands of car keys in a bid to immobilise them. In a video released by Greenpeace, the group were seen lifting the bonnets and labelling the engines with messages from 8,000 Greenpeace supporters, including many car owners, calling on VW to ditch diesel.
The ship is currently anchored off Margate but is due to return to Sheerness port tomorrow morning. Reports suggest that at least two activists are still held up on the ship and will spend the night on a port gantry.
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From this month (September 2017), every new car model destined for UK showrooms will undergo a new emissions test called the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). This new test measures all regulated emissions, as well as CO2 and fuel economy.
Much like current New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) tests it is conducted in controlled laboratory conditions (for consistency) however the WLTP is much faster, longer and more dynamic, with a greater range of vehicle and engine speeds, engine load, gear changes and temperatures.
The tests are designed to replicate real world driving conditions by not only extending the test duration by 50%, they also incude
- Higher average and maximum speeds
- Shorter stops
- Longer test distance and time (from 20 minutes to 30 minutes)
- Higher average and maximum drive power
- Test temperature set at 23°C
- Different gear shifts
- More rapid acceleration/deceleration
- Better range of driving to represent the city, urban, a road and motorway
- Fuel consumption and emissions figures that better represent results achieved by drivers
Amazingly the WLTP is the world’s first test will require manufacturers to prove their air quality credentials by passing a brand new Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test using special state-of-the-art portable emissions measurement (PEMS) equipment. This PEMS analyses the trace tailpipe emissions of pollutants, including NOX and particulates over a wide range of both every-day and extreme conditions. This test will ensure that new vehicles meet tough Euro 6 emissions standards in real world conditions and also in the lab.
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You just might have guessed this but I love my Skoda Octavia VRS MK3, its the perfect performance family mover and touch wood is has been very reliable (queue Skoda jokes). Choosing the right tyres for my VRS is vital to ensuring peak performance and comfort, IMO finding the right rubber a must.
There are a huge selection of tyres available from many manufacturers, these range wildly in price and performance but many people forget one of the biggest issues with the MK3. Noise.
The biggest downside of the MK3 and all previous generations of the Octavia is the intrusive road noise. There’s much debate on why this is, from poor suspension setup to the lack of sound deadening. One of the biggest factors to the noise level in my opinion is the tyres, poor sound deadening and suspension is only going to amplify tyre noise, this is why getting a low noise tyre was key for me. If like me you have an estate, you’ll know what I mean.
What Size tyres do I need
As standard the Mk3 VRS came with two different tyre / wheel sizes.
Skoda Octivia VRS Mk3 18″ Wheel Size: 225/40/18
Skoda Octivia VRS Mk3 19″ Wheel Size: 225/35/19 (Extemes)
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Volkswagen UK have announced that they will be offering up to £6,000 “Scrappage” in exchange for any make or model diesel vehicle (Euro 1 – 4) when buying a new car.
The move comes as the SMMT announced that new car sales have plummeted by 9.3% in August 2017 with consumer confidence at an all time low “thanks Brexit”. In fact sales of new cars fell short of figures from 2013 according to a recent SMMT press release. Link here
Those with Euro 5 vehicles have been left high and dry yet again by the VW. Not only have they been left with broken cars following the VW emissions fix they are not eligible for the scrappage scheme despite continuing to belch illegal levels of NOx into the atmosphere. More here
What will happen to my old car?
All vehicles acquired by VW in the scheme will be “taken off the road and scrapped”. This is actually great news for the environment as Euro 1-4 vehicles do not have the stringent emissions control systems which feature in newer Euro6 cars such as a DPF filter (in most cases).
Can I just buy an old diesel car and use it for the scheme?
Unfortunately not. According to VW, “Trade-in diesel must have been registered in the owner’s name for at least six months.”
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We’re big fans of the VAG DPF app (full review coming very soon) its a great tool for tracking DPF regeneration and soot loading – the problem is we’re constantly being asked which dongle to choose. There are literally a million different OBD2 II dongles out there, all claiming support all manner of different protocols. The problem is that many simply do not work.
Many of the incompatible units we’ve seen are Chinese “knock offs”. These cheap, poor quality adaptors do not support the full ELM327 specification required for the VAG DPF app to work. Buying one of these cheap adaptors is a waste of money and a wasted wait of a 3 weeks express boat delivery. Avoid like an emission “fixed” Audi A3 😉
We got in touch with the author of the VAG DPF app Daaren, he suggests using either a Scantool Obdlink LX or the wallet friendly Vgate iCar 2. Being the
tight careful man that I am, I chose the Wifi version of the Vgate iCar 2. This dongle works perfectly with the app and my 2015 Skoda VRS 184 TDI Euro 6 (CUPA Engine) however not all apps support Wifi dongles. I swiftly returned the unit in flavor of the Bluetooth dongle.
The Bluetooth version of the dongle is pure perfection. It fully supports VAG DPF, the ELM327 specification and a whole host a other apps available on the Play Store such as Torque pro or Dashcommand from the App / Apple Store. It’s also cheap as chips!
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We’ve been following many of the facebook and forum threads focused on reversing the ea189 emissions fix. Whats become apparent is that most of these services are simply a remap aimed at disguising the fix and the horrendous effects it has on vehicle performance and efficiency. They’re not aimed at preventing further damage to vehicles components such as the fueling and emissions systems (Injector / EGR / DPF). In fact many of these “back street” remaps will simply compound these issues (Read more on that in our previous article – Can the VW VAG EA 189 NOx emissions fix be reversed? Is a remap the answer?)
Today the tide has turned. Today we have been approach by a “national tuning” network who plan to roll out a “VAG Emissions rollback” service. The key thing here is that this is not a remap or tune. This is a roll back to what they call a “pre-VAG-patch state”. If their claims are in fact true, this could be the answer for those owners who have fallen victim to the VW Group’s damaging ea189 emissions fix.
We’ve spoken to many owners trapped in a car they longer trust and are unable to sell due to financial issues or PCP contract periods. A rollback could be the key to restoring the reliability, performance and economy they have come to expect from their VW / Audi / Seat or Skoda vehicles.
Sure, EGR failure is possible in any diesel vehicle, but at least you’ll know it wasn’t at the hands of the VW emissions fix farse. You won’t be waiting for the engine management light to go or listening for every unexplained rattle or knock. You might actually be able to trust your car again.
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With the impending ban on diesel and petrol cars planned for 2040 could an ebike revolution be on the horizon? Could the move to electric be exactly what the industry needs?
Ebike sales have been booming over the years with technology driving advancements in design, range and choice. Ebikes are not the niche market they once were with sales expected to be increasing by at least 20% year on year.
In a report released by the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry, the UK place 7th in European ebike sales. This accounted for 5% of all european ebike sales in 2016.
An Affordable alternative
With electric cars still commanding a premium over petrol and diesel cars, ebikes could represent a viable alternative for those who lack a viable alternative to their car, such as those in semi rural areas with poor public transport. Ebikes could be what the UK public needs to overcome their fear of electric power, enabling them to see a world that isn’t powered by fossil fuels.
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