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Speeding in rainy weather: can we contest?


GEORGES GOBET/AFP

RIGHT OF THE USER – After being arrested and fined for speeding in the rain, you dispute the traffic weather conditions. How to try to guard against abusive verbalization?

As a reminder, in the event of rain or other precipitation, the Highway Code provides for lower speeds on certain traffic routes.

The maximum authorized speed thus increases to 110 m/h on the motorway, to 100 km/h on a dual carriageway separated by a central reservation.

However, even under these conditions, the speed remains at 80 km/h on two-way roads without a central separator and also remains unchanged in the city.

However, a speed reduction inevitably modifies the importance of the penalties incurred in terms of license suspension, fine or even loss of points.

The ticketed user must demonstrate by witness or in writing that the weather conditions were not those noted by the ticketing agent. In particular, the user could justify the absence of rain by producing, for example, a rainfall measurement taken before the check by a meteorological station at the place of the offence.

However, to characterize the offence, the courts judge the offense established when the roadway is wet even in the absence of rain at the time of the control.

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The risks of carpooling


Andrey Popov/Andrey Popov – stock.adobe.com

RIGHT OF THE USER – While carpooling has become a generally user-friendly mode of travel, it is not without risk for the driver.

Carpooling is the joint use of a motor vehicle by several people and for which financial exchanges are limited to the sharing of costs (petrol, tolls). Outside this framework, you will be prosecuted for violation of the regulations on the transport of people.

You do not have to take out additional insurance since civil liability insurance is sufficient for carpooling, but beware it does not cover all situations.

You do not risk any prosecution in the event of an offense related to the transport of luggage whose content is illegal or of a person in an irregular situation since you had no knowledge of it.

You will also not be liable if adult passengers do not fasten their seat belts, but you will be liable for a fine per unfastened passenger if they are minors.

Finally, if you use a company vehicle to carpool, it is imperative to obtain the prior agreement of the employer. Otherwise, he could incur sanctions or even dismissal.

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Car of the Year 2023: the seven finalists


NEWS – Two French models are among the seven cars qualified for the most renowned prize in the automotive industry.

Who will succeed the Kia EV6 voted “Car of the Year 2022”? One certainty: the sixtieth “Car of the Year” will be an electrified model. Among the twenty-three vehicles in the running for the final, the jury of sixty-one European journalists, who participated in this election, including a member of the editorial staff of Le Figaro, favored hybrid, rechargeable hybrid or electric vehicles. The results revealed at the Brussels Motor Show on January 13, 2023 will reward one of the seven finalists, which are the Jeep Avenger, the Kia Niro, the Nissan Ariya, the Peugeot 408, the Renault Austral, Volkswagen ID.Buzz and the duo Subaru Solterra-Toyota bZ4X.

Once again, the list is intended to be a snapshot of the market, favoring SUV architecture, apart from the Peugeot 408 which tries a new approach, halfway between the sedan and the leisure vehicle.

Renault Austral. @GREG

If the Renault Austral, the family SUV that succeeds the Kadjar, is the only model not to be offered with an electric powertrain, only with the French manufacturer’s E-Tech Hybrid technology apart from the conventional petrol versions, the Kia Niro is the only offer to be available with the three electrified technologies: hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric.

For its part, the Peugeot 408 marketed at the beginning of next year in a Pure tech 130 petrol version and in a rechargeable hybrid (180 and 225 hp) will be enriched in 2024 with a 100% electric version. Also from the Stellantis group, the Avenger is the first electric Jeep in history. It borrows its technology from the DS3 e-Tense but will also be available in a four-wheel drive version.

Volkswagen ID.Buzz. Volkswagen AG/Volkswagen AG

As for the Volkswagen ID.Buzz, it plays on the springs of nostalgia, wanting to be the Combi of the 21st century. Pending an extended version that can accommodate 7 or 8 people, this vehicle appears to be the first electric minivan on the market. Finally, the last two finalists are also electric vehicles. The Ariya is Nissan’s first electric crossover. It shares its Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance CMF-EV platform with the Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric. Its range is more extensive than that of the French compact.

Last model in the running: the Toyota bZ4X and its cousin Subaru Solterra. These two SUVs do not shine with their autonomy but can flatter themselves with real crossing capacities. The games are therefore open for this 60th election. Verdict on January 13 in Brussels.

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Abarth goes electric


NEW – The Fiat 500e is now available in the Abarth range.

The European Commission’s decision to impose the sale of electric vehicles in Europe from January 1, 2035 obliges all manufacturers to convert to this technology. This is how the Stellantis group is gradually electrifying all its brands. Today, it’s the turn to announce its first battery-powered vehicle. Unsurprisingly, it was developed from the Fiat 500e launched at the end of 2020. Like all the other models in the Abarth range, this new version of the 500 inherits the stylistic attributes of the scorpion-based brand. rocker panels, wide fenders, large wheels and specific bumpers.

Marco De Ponti

Known, the electric technology is borrowed from the Fiat 500e but here the 42 kWh battery powers an electric motor increased to 155 horsepower, instead of 118 hp with the Italian generalist manufacturer. Result: the electric bombinette from Abarth is capable of passing the 100 km/h mark in 7 seconds. The manufacturer even announces performance superior to that of an Abarth 695. It would thus pass 50% faster from 20 to 40 km/h than its counterpart with a petrol engine. The latter takes a second than the electric model to reach 60 km/h. And to continue by assuring that on “the Misto Alfa Handling Track in Balocco, the new Abarth 500e thus beats the 695 by more than a second. But performance is not everything and Abarth has been careful not to reveal autonomy. We know, however, that in terms of charging performance, the on-board charger does not exceed 85 kW. This would be enough to recover around 40 km of range in less than 5 minutes and 35 minutes to recover 80% of the battery. To preserve the accumulators, the driver can play with the driving modes. With Turismo mode, power is limited to 100 kW (136 hp), torque to 220 Nm, instead of 235 Nm. Scorpion Street mode offers peak performance while maximizing regenerative braking. The last mode, Scorpion Track, is intended to maximize performance.

Marco De Ponti

Another specificity of the Abarth, the sound signature has been the subject of particular care. If each power-up of the electric machine is accompanied by the sound of a guitar and exceeding 20 km/h is marked by the scratching of a guitar, the engineers have equipped the 500e with a sound generator reproducing the typical sound of an Abarth.

On the occasion of its launch in the course of 2023, the Abarth 500e benefits from a special edition called Scorpionissima. Available in coupé or convertible version, this edition is limited to just 1,949 units, in reference to the brand’s birth year.

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The queens of the rally in Turin


AGENDA – Until May 2, 2023, the National Automobile Museum in Turin takes us back to the atmosphere of road tests with a selection of cars covering the period 1960-1990.

In 19 cars, the exhibition of the National Automobile Museum in Turin takes us into the golden age of road competitions, which we find between the beginning of the 1960s and the end of the 1980s. of vehicles comes from the collection of the late Gino Macaluso, who died in October 2010. Before becoming the owner of the watch manufacturer Girard-Perregaux and president of the Italian Motorsport Federation, this automobile enthusiast had carved out a fine sports record , becoming European rally champion in 1972, the year the discipline earned the epithet “international”.

Frantic battle against the background of escalating to power

Andrea Guermani

His cars, mostly factory models with gold awards, transport us to the thrilling atmosphere of road racing. They make us relive this pivotal period of the late 1950s when rallies ceased to be regularity events to become pure speed races. We cross the 1970s on the hats of wheels: the International Sports Commission gives birth to a world championship. Alpine upsets the order established by Porsche and Lancia. The catwalks are no longer the preserve of the Scandinavians. The talented German Walter Röhrl leads a new generation of drivers that the Group B cars will bring to power.

Andrea Guermani

Coming into force on January 1, 1982, this new category gives birth to real racing cars. A period marked by a frantic battle between Audi, Lancia and Peugeot, against a backdrop of escalation in power. The best of them exceed 500 horsepower. Some champions will burn their wings. At the end of the 1986 season, Group B was banned. It is this thirty-year adventure that makes us rediscover this splendid exhibition.

National Automobile Museum in Turin. Monday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Prices: €15; 5 € (6 to 17 years old) and 12 € (over 65 years old and 18 to 25 years old).

Andrea Guermani

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Electric cars: a very largely subsidized ecological transition


Public support measures remain insufficient to reduce the carbon footprint. François BOUCHON/Le Figaro

FOCUS- France Strategy questions the fact that registrations of electric vehicles did not exceed 10% of the mix last year. This, despite significant public support measures.

This is Carlos Tavares’ hobbyhorse: the ecological transition risks excluding a large part of the population from mobility due to the much higher price of electric vehicles compared to their thermal equivalents. To provide grist for the mill of the general manager of the Stellantis group, France Strategy wonders, in its note of November, on the fact that the registrations of electric vehicles did not exceed 10% of the mix last year. despite significant public support measures.

Over the first eight months of 2022, they have increased to represent nearly 13% of the market share, but this remains insufficient to reduce the carbon footprint and hope to have a sufficiently large second-hand fleet in a few years. in order to achieve even greater gains. And the recent announcement by the Head of State of the increase from €6,000 to €7,000 in the ecological bonus for the purchase of this type of model will not change the situation.

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Electric car: in use, the approval of the battery seduces drivers


The current network invites drivers of electric models to stop preferably approximately every 250 km. Ake/ake1150 – stock.adobe.com

OUR ADVICES – To try it is to adopt it, however not all models are created equal.

A total absence of vibrations and rocket accelerations to pin you to the seat from the start often accompanied by a sound worthy of a subway train when it is not the artificial rumble of a sports model: the electric car does not has no equivalent on the market. To try it is to adopt it. It is a passport to zenitude.

To these high benefits, we must add much lower maintenance costs than for the gasoline car since the electric takes fewer parts and dispenses with most of the fluids of an internal combustion vehicle.

Serious disappointments

If you want to speed things up, the battery car is sure to impress. Its main characteristic lies in the instantaneousness of its accelerations. No two-wheeler or thermal vehicle can resist it for the first few meters. Observation of the current market even shows, in general, an overabundance of power and torque. Put models in the hands of ordinary mortals…

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Petrol or electric: which car to buy in 2023?


The Renault ZOE (to the left) and the Peugeot 208 (to the right) each have their supporters. The first is the best-selling electric city car in France, while the Sochaux is the favorite thermal model of the French in 2022. JEAN-BRICE LEMAL0683664150jean

TO ANALYSE – Between these two technologies, our heart swings. Which is the most suitable for our needs, the most affordable and the most environmentally friendly? The explanations of Figaro.

It’s almost joking. In his book The car of tomorrow. motoring history, published in 1898, John Grand-Carteret had opened a breach, already explaining, in the light of the experiments carried out by a few engineers and inventors, that, “in general design, the steam engine is the past, the petroleum engine is the present, electricity is the future.” The journalist had simply omitted to add a temporality. The electric car will therefore have taken more than a hundred years to establish itself. By coercion.

Everything remains to be written in this ecological transition that some would like to further accelerate, at the risk of reducing the freedom of movement of citizens and destroying the entire economy of a sector which represents 10% of jobs. Mixture of excitement and apprehension: in just over twelve years, manufacturers will no longer be able to sell internal combustion engine vehicles on European territory. So make way for the battery-powered electric car…

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Rimac Nevera, already a world record


NEWS – While the first deliveries are starting in dribs and drabs, the Nevera has just set a world speed record at 412 km/h.

Almost as fast as a Bugatti Chiron. The Croatian brand Rimac, which took control of Bugatti as part of a joint venture with Porsche, has just caused a sensation by setting a world speed record with its Nevera electric supercar. Thanks to its four motors, one per wheel, this berlinetta claims the phenomenal power of 1,914 horsepower. It is thus capable of passing the 100 km/h mark in 1.97 seconds and reaching 300 km/h in 9.3 seconds.

The show of force does not stop there. For a few days now, we have known that it is not only able to pin down anything that rolls. The Nevera also rivals the best sports cars on the market when it comes to performance. On the Papenburg test track in Germany, the Croatian manufacturer’s electric berlinetta thus exceeded 400 km / h, reaching the miraculous speed of 412 km / h, relying on the two straight lines of 4 km of the circuit.

To achieve this performance, Miro Zrnčević, the test pilot responsible for the development of the Rimac models, activated the mode which reduces aerodynamic drag without degrading downforce in order to ensure perfect stability at high speed. The vehicle was fitted with Michelin Cup 2R tires specifically developed for the Nevera.

As with Bugatti, the top speed of the Nevera requires special preparation. As standard, the electric berlinetta can reach a speed of 352 km/h.

Rimac

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Company Vehicles: Shake Advisories for Fleets


CONJUNCTURE – With the increase in vehicle prices, longer delivery times and the switch to electric vehicles, companies are finding it increasingly difficult to optimize their fleets.

Inflation is catching up with the fleets just as it is poisoning many sectors of activity. First of all, the price of fuel plays like a yoyo, without foreseeable logic. With these uncontrolled movements, fleet managers are unable to anticipate the evolution of this item of expenditure, one of the main ones, since it represents nearly 16% of the cost of using a company vehicle. , according to the Arval Mobility Observatory, think-tank of the BNP Paribas group. According to a study carried out by this structure, the fuel expenditure of companies increased by 21.53% in 2021 and reached its highest level since 2012 and the start of the surveys carried out by this think tank.

The fuel item should not conceal the increase in the price of raw materials. The price of vehicles is rising inexorably and forcing companies to revise the prices of referenced models upwards. “The trading margins are disappearing, and I don’t know if the current grids will be maintained next year”worries Chloé Monthieu, fleet, vehicle and mobility expert within the Epsa group, a consulting firm, one of whose departments focuses on purchasing.

Soaring prices and supply difficulties sometimes lead to the breaking of tripartite agreements negotiated between car manufacturers, long-term rental companies and companies. The discounts negotiated in exchange for large volumes of purchases suddenly disappear and cause an increase in the cost of car parks.

Among the headwinds, companies must also face the shortage of semiconductors. “Electric vehicles have triple the number of semiconductors than equivalent thermal vehicles.explains Marc Mechaï, executive director, head of the automotive sector at Accenture. As for premium vehicles, with their driving assistance, safety and infotainment systems, they mobilize ten times more. However, the automotive industry represents only 10% of the semiconductor market. For producers, and faced with telephony and micro-computing, it is not a priority.

Without electronic components, it became difficult to fulfill orders. Some manufacturers warn their customers of their inability to deliver a particular vehicle. Delivery times now vary from four months to one year with an average of seven months.

A subsidiary of Société Générale, ALD Automotive finances and manages a fleet of 1.448 million vehicles worldwide. For its customers, delivery times reach 200 to 220 days.

More affected by the microprocessor crisis, fleets are not among the priorities for car manufacturers. With less inventory, brands favor customers with whom they make more margin, mainly individuals. Under these conditions, the protocols signed with long-term rental companies are renegotiated and discounts melt like snow in the sun.

Short-term rental companies are suffering even more than businesses. To break the impasse, they appeal to Chinese manufacturers, whose vehicles are less expensive while remaining well equipped. Sixt has therefore committed to buying 100,000 vehicles from BYD by 2028. Another initiative, Hertz Corse has joined forces with Aiways to electrify its fleet with the delivery of 500 U5s, its electric SUV. “If the Chinese enter European territory en masse, through short and long-term rentals, we can expect a new price war”anticipates Marc Mechaï.

In the United States, another operation questions the world of car fleets. In 2019, the Climate Pledge fund of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, invested in Rivian, an American manufacturer of electric vehicles. By 2030, 100,000 zero-emission vans will be delivered to the American giant to ensure its deliveries. “This operation could serve as a model for companies for which delivery is at the heart of their business model. The acquisition of a stake would make it possible to secure their supply of vehicles”explains Marc Mechaï.

In a particularly complicated context, companies must also negotiate the energy transition. The mobility orientation law (LOM), the climate and resilience law and the tax framework (read box below) strongly encourage them to green their mobility. The pressure is reinforced by the rise of low emission zones (ZFE). Already deployed in 14 conurbations, these areas reserved for the most fuel-efficient vehicles will concern all conurbations with more than 150,000 inhabitants by the end of 2024.

Companies are reacting and electrifying their fleets at high speed. They are even going beyond the renewal percentages required by the LOM (10% from 2022, 20% from 2024, 35% from 2027 and 50% from 2030). At ALD Automotive, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles account for a third of orders. Over the first nine months of the year, company registrations of electric vehicles increased by 21%. This technology now represents 8.2% of the fleet market. With hybrids, themselves up 5%, electrified models represent 38.7% of car purchases by professionals. Gasoline fell by 8% for a market share of 30.3%, when diesel continued to drop with a drop of 26.3%. Diesel only represents 30% of company fleet registrations.

After peaking, sales of plug-in hybrids fell like a breath. Presented as a panacea, this half-thermal half-electric technology does not pass the test of facts. For daily journeys of 20 kilometers and regular recharging, the plug-in hybrid is a relevant solution and allows drivers to have the autonomy of the internal combustion engine for holidays and weekends. On the other hand, when the batteries remain discharged, when the driver mainly drives on the motorway and travels tens of kilometers each day, consumption soars and, with an overweight of several hundred kilograms, exceeds the consumption of equivalent thermal models. For fleets, the plug-in hybrid represents a transition technology before the switch to electric. Today, the pendulum swing is accelerating.

Taxation favorable to electricity

Two million electric vehicles in 2030. This is the production target in France set by Emmanuel Macron during his visit to the Paris Motor Show held in October. The President of the Republic also announced the increase from €6,000 to €7,000 for the ecological bonus linked to the purchase of a zero-emission model. If this measure concerns the poorest households, the fleets are not forgotten. Even though it dropped the 1er July for legal persons, the bonus still reaches €3,000 and will be maintained as it is at least until the end of the year. As for plug-in hybrids, the €1,000 bonus has been extended until December 31, when it was to disappear on December 1.er July.

The bonus can be combined with the conversion bonus, and electric vehicles do not pay for registration. They also escape the annual tax on CO emissions2 and the annual tax on the age of vehicles, the two components of the former TVS (tax on company vehicles). Currently in force, these rules could change next year depending on the 2023 finance law.

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