Car news round-up: 5 October

Posted: 5 October 2021 7:53 pm
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Ford announces electric and hybrid plans; car sales grow despite COVID-19 impact; Polestar 2 electric specs and pricing confirmed; Charge Your Car Day 2021; and car insurance set to rise – here are the takeaway news stories from today

It's been a whirlwind of a day, so here's a breakdown of the latest car news stories.

Ford's electric plans laid out

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In a push for sustainability, Ford Australia laid bare its electrification master plan. By the end of 2024, the Blue Oval will introduce a minimum of 5 new electric vehicles. The first, the Ford E-Transit is scheduled for a mid-2022 launch.

The electric van is one of the first set to arrive in Australia. It'll feature a 68kWh battery, a motor with 198kW and 430Nm and a range of up to 317 kilometres (Ford says this is more than 2.5 times the distance the average van drives in a day).

Charge times vary. On a high-power DC fast charger, a 15-80% squirt takes just 34 minutes. Using a lower power wall charger, the E-Transit can be comfortably juiced up overnight in 8.2 hours. It matches the cargo carrying specs of the Transit 350L RWD diesel models and Ford is eyeing a 1.6-tonne payload.

Ford E Transit interior

The Ford E-Transit will come with a 5-year, unlimited-kilometre "service offering" and an 8-year, 160,000km warranty for the battery and key electric components.

In the same press release, Ford also mentioned that plug-in hybrids (PHEV) will have a part in the brand's electrification too. The company has earmarked $40 billion for its electric strategy.

September car sales grew, even with COVID-19 restrictions

It seems COVID-19 lockdowns and a global shortage of microchips could only dampen the Australian driver's desire for a new vehicle. In September 2021, car dealers accrued 83,312 new vehicle orders – that's almost 591 units shifted per day. SUVs were in most demand, with 40,832 sales. Passenger vehicles saw an increase of 4.6% in demand versus September 2020, while the light-commercial and heavy-commercial vehicle segments also logged increased demand.

As usual, Toyota claimed the largest share of the sales – with 20,216 sales. Mazda sat behind its compatriot claiming just under 8% of the market and Ford rounded out the top three with a 6.9% stake.

The most popular model? The Ford Ranger, with 4,192 orders. Second was its ute rival, the Toyota Hilux, while the Corolla hatch was the nation's third favourite car in September 2021.

Victorians seemed to be behind the massive surge, with a 96.2% increase in car buying, compared with September 2020. The Garden State bought 10,048 extra vehicles versus last year.

Polestar 2 pricing released

Polestar 2 electric fastback

Another new electric car is set to join the fledgling market, this time from Volvo's electric car division – Polestar. Buyers can order the fastback electric car from January 2022. Prices start from $59,900 (manufacturer's suggested retail price, MSRP) for the entry-grade standard range single motor variant. This model has a range of 440km. The Long Range Single Motor Polestar 2 has a larger battery and therefore an increased range of 540km. This model has an MSRP of $64,900. The Long Range Dual Motor Polestar 2 has the same battery, but the power rises to 300kW and torque measures 660Nm. The range dips to 480km and the MSRP jumps to $69,900.

Polestar will also offer 3 optional packs, priced between $6,000 and $8,000. They'll unlock extra performance or efficiency.

Polestar 3 SUV

Polestar also indicated it plans to launch an SUV model, known as the Polestar 3 "in the future".

Today is Charge Your Car Day 2021

Car charger experts, CTEK, have labelled 5 October as Charge Your Car Day.

They say, because of COVID-19 lockdowns, with some vehicles being parked for extended periods, you need to check your battery. Apparently, in Germany, 46.3% of breakdowns were caused by battery failures; while in the UK, over three-quarters of breakdowns were a result of a battery problem.

Why is this happening? A car battery is recharged through use, thanks to a component known as the alternator. Without regular driving for reasonable distances, the battery can lose charge. CTEK says this can risk damage to the battery's health. Drivers in urban areas, who do frequent short trips, place the most pressure on their car battery. If your car has gone flat and you jump-started it, CTEK says this could have impacted the long-term life of the battery.

What do you need to do then, if your car is parked more than normal? Get a car battery charger, if you don't already have one. It's a pretty straightforward process to hook one up to too. Check your car owner's manual where your battery is. Then, connect the charger's crocodile clips to the battery terminals and let the charger do the rest.

Some of the better chargers only brim the battery when they need to and almost all offer a trickle-charging function for slow and controlled overnight top-ups.

Read our 31 vehicle maintenance tips to keep your car in peak condition.

Car insurance rises thanks to lockdown easing

As if you're not fed up with lockdown already, it seems that the easing of restrictions will probably result in car insurance premiums going up.

Why? More cars are expected to get back on the roads, increasing the likelihood of having a bingle. Plus, global supply chain issues will almost certainly see the cost and availability of replacement parts increase.

To find out more, check our guide on rising car insurance and lockdown easing.

Looking for a new or used car? Check out our car reviews section. It's always worth comparing car loan options, as well as car insurance, to maximise your savings.

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