How Secure Are The Apps That Control Your Car When Sold On?

Thursday, 25. August 2016

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

Years ago Ford had a reputation for announcing new models long before they were in a position to launch. As a result pressure was on them to get the car into the marketplace whilst interest was at its highest. Subsequently, anyone who bought the brand new model with lots of new features became Ford’s own testers.

My ex wife became one of them when they brought out a brand new shape Fiesta. It looked great and the Ghia had loads of brand new features. Unfortunately the car spent more time in the local dealers during its first 6 months than in the hands of my ex.

But as newer cars rolled off the production line all of the faults were fixed and eventually my ex ended up with a car without rattles, windows that worked, no oil leaks and a rear window that didn’t drip water onto her shopping every time she operated the rear wash/wipe. Whilst it was irritating there were no health and safety or security issues just minor irritation that got sorted. Scoot forward a few years and you find Apple uses the same principle whenever they have a new iPhone to launch.

Remember the bendy big phone and the phone with the aerial built around the phone that lost the signal if you held it? So it should come as no surprise that when the recent head of steam started to build up around the desirability to have ‘Connected Cars’ that stuff would be released before being fully considered and fully tested. What us cost accountants would refer to as the ‘what if’ considerations. Many manufacturers have rushed to release apps that can be downloaded onto your phone that will remotely connect to your car.

The app will remotely monitor and control the car, locate it and even lock and unlock it. Yes I did just say that. The trouble is that not enough ‘what if’s’ were considered before the products launched leaving the new owner and the car vulnerable when sold. Fleet operator Ogilvie found that they still had access via their apps to a Tesla, BMW i3 and a Nissan Leaf after the cars had been sold although they pointed out that the Nissan could not be stopped or started via the app.

As more manufacturers join Jaguar Land Rover with their inControl, Tesla with MyTesla, Volvo OnCall, Vauxhall’s OnStar and Nissan Connect less attention could be given to security if it meant that the technology could be launched in no time flat. Some manufactures say they will delete the old account once the car is sold and one amazingly said that if they are called by the customer or fleet manager they can disable the App. Really? That sounds pretty secure – not! Tesla said that it is up to the old owner or new owner (or thief) to advise the change of ownership.

To prove the point Fleet News reported one ex Tesla owner able to access his MyTesla account a year after the car was sold. It is only now that leasing companies are discussing the end of lease procedures and a resolution that would see the disabling of apps. As part of the handover process. But what about private owners? Who will instruct those with Connected cars how to protect their privacy and new owners make sure that the previous owner no longer has access to their car. What a mess! By Graham Hill

GH Questions The Environmental Benefits of Plug In Hybrids

Thursday, 26. May 2016

There is no industry that I know that surrounds itself more with mystery and ‘smoke and mirrors’ than the motor and associated finance industry. Emissions, fuel consumption, APR, PCP, warranty the list goes on. These are all provided by manufacturers, dealers and funders in ways to totally mislead you.

We are now being fed a pile rubbish as we see the growth in plug in hybrid cars. We are told that they are great for the environment and you get a zillion miles to the gallon, as a result the Government gives you a chunk of money off the new car cost as they ‘apparently’ create less carbon dioxides than diesel and petrol engine cars.

We are told that the Government applies a grant of £2,500 if the electric part of the drive unit can achieve a range of up to 70 miles. More than 70 miles and you can have a grant of £4,500 but you have to bear in mind that the hybrid car is much more expensive than its petrol or diesel equivalent in the first place, certainly much more than the grant provided as an incentive.

Plug in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) look very impressive, low fuel cost and tax incentives are grabbing the attention of fleets as well as consumers but the problem is that not all drivers are driving these cars as they should be. The most common omission is the recharging of the car on a regular basis. This in itself can increase the whole life cost by 15% according to Wayne Millward, Fleet Consultant at contract hire company Arval.

For fleets the low benefit in kind tax is very attractive to employees but equally the employees aren’t that interested in efficiency. Even more so if fuel is provided as part of their employment package so they don’t ever plug in their cars to an electric charger. There are of course others who don’t have regular access to charging points, either at home or in the street where they park, making it virtually impossible to charge the batteries using the plug in option.

Either way, when the car moves over from the electric motor to the petrol engine, fuel efficiency plummets and CO2 emissions increase. So unless you or your company drivers use the cars as intended you could be vastly out of pocket. From a running cost point of view if a PHEV is not used as was intended the costs soar and the atmosphere suffers. You would be better off driving a normal diesel or petrol.

So why don’t the car manufacturers do anything to address this issue? I’ll tell you why, because the more hybrid cars they sell the lower the declared average CO2 emissions of all the cars they provide across Europe. In 2015 they had to get the average emissions down to 130g/km which most did.

However, this was based on the manufacturer’s claimed CO2 emissions for PHEV’s being included in the mix, assuming that the cars were regularly plugged into the mains. The fact is that very few were and is yet another con trick perpetrated by the car manufacturers as they know this is what happens! By Graham Hill

A BMW That Achieves 148 MPG!

Thursday, 25. February 2016

How do you fancy driving an executive car that achieves 148 miles to the gallon? Well you can with the new BMW 330e M Sport which we just happen to have on offer at the moment. It is BMW’s entrée into the Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV).

Whilst the new tiered Government Grant scheme has dropped the grant from £5,000 to £2,500 it is still good value for money on a lease. You will need a means to re-charge the car from an electric charge point that can be installed in your garage (grants available) or via charging points now available at services on motorways, some hotels and on certain streets.

The electric motor starts you up and moves you off whilst the 2.0 petrol engine takes over to boost power or take over when the 87bhp electric engine starts to flag. In EV mode the car has a top speed of 80 mph but switch across to petrol and you increase the top speed to 140 mph. The car has all the usual refinement of a 330i but with all the economy of a hybrid, the general consensus is that the car is a definite winner leading the way for other hybrid cars across the BMW range.

Oh and another piece of breaking news, Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin has announced plans to allow PHEV vehicles to have access to bus lanes in the eight Go Ultra Low cities across the UK as part of a £40 million investment plan in readiness for electric and hybrid vehicles. Some of the investment will be used to provide rapid charging hubs and plug in points at street lights. Time to make the move? If not we are certainly getting close. By Graham Hill

Should You Now Be Considering Driving An Electric Vehicle More Seriously?

Tuesday, 13. October 2015

With so much in the press of late regarding emissions, thanks to the VW group of crooks, oops I mean vehicle manufacturers, there seems to be a new tidal wave of opinionated experts who say that we should either all walk, ride bikes or at worst drive electric cars.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

And we recently had a great deal on the BMW i3 that didn’t reflect its massive £30,000 + price ticket, it was remarkably cheap to lease. But before you join the queue of tree huggers outside your local BMW dealership you should be aware of some of the facts that you might like to consider.

You can get yourself a subsidy to install a charger at home, which is fine unless you are restricted to on-street parking, the local authorities won’t allow you to run electric cables along pavements unfortunately. A home charger operating from a standard 13a supply, I’m told, can take up to 8 hours to re-charge the car.

An installed fast charger can re-charge in a couple of hours whilst the industrial sized roadside fast-chargers can recharge the car in 20 minutes. Still a tad longer than sticking a petrol or diesel nozzle into your tank. But let’s not be negative, London, like other cities are planning on installing hundreds of fast chargers throughout their centres but if someone leaves their car charging for a couple of hours how do you get their car out of the way to allow you to get your car onto the charger?

There are also three different connectors that fit either the BMW i3, the Nissan Leaf/Mitsubishi Outlander or the Renault Zoe/Teslar S etc. depending on whether the cars are all electric or hybrids. Brilliant, they couldn’t even get some form of standardisation there – where is the EU when you need it?

Easy payments, even cameras that identify your car registration as you pull up and ready the charger before you even get out of your car speed up that part of the operation but the real sticking points are the time it takes to charge and the range. Until such times as these problems are overcome I feel that electric cars will remain last choice for most of us. By Graham Hill

Electric Cars Considered Dangerous

Thursday, 21. October 2010

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Electric vehicles are too quiet! I mentioned this in one of my very early articles about the introduction of electric vehicles. With no engine, only a fairly quiet motor, electric vehicles could pose a danger to pedestrians and cyclists. Modec, manufacturer of electric commercial vehicles has said that of all the vehicles built over the past 3 years, only one customer, Royal Mail, has asked for noise awareness equipment to be fitted. They say this is because the vans are being used in large hangers so Read more