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

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

Graham Hill Explains The Latest Tyre Developments

Friday, 13. June 2014

If you are a Formula 1 team boss you will be spending small fortunes to squeeze a little extra out of your cars in order to win races. The component parts they spend most time developing their cars around are the tyres whilst, at the same time, the tyre manufacturer providing all the tyres to the teams, is looking at ways to improve grip and thereby handling whilst reducing drag.

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.

Tyres are a very critical part of an F1 car and with the new limits on the amount of fuel you can start a race with the tyre manufacturer has also to consider fuel consumption. But what does all this mean to the likes of you and me?

If you are anything like me, when you need a couple of tyres, you search the Internet for the cheapest premium brand with little regard to the characteristics of the tyre and whether the tyres will provide optimum performance, grip and fuel consumption without the noise of tyres on road drowning out the soft sounds of Luther on the stereo system.

So do we know and understand enough about the tyres we have fitted on our car? I would suggest not because at some point our lives may actually rely upon our choice of tyre. So let me enlighten you with a few of the basics and some of the latest developments, some of which we should thank F1 designers for.

Our first consideration is price which can vary considerably, not only between tyres but at different times of the year. This is because the price of the three most important component parts fluctuate massively in the open market, independent of each other, these being rubber, steel and oil.

In order to make tyres more efficient, long lasting and safer more and more money has to be invested each year which adds to the cost of the tyres. Legal demands such as the fitting of Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) to all cars manufactured after November 2012 adds to the cost.

The current systems rely upon a transmitter fitted to the valve and powered by a small battery but the latest developments will result in a microchip being embedded within the tyre without the need for a battery. But this type of development costs a fortune which has to be recovered out of the price that tyres are sold at.

Not only will the microchip satisfy the legal requirements it will also monitor tyre temperature and performance that will allow the car settings to be optimised. In future the chip will also interact with weather conditions to influence the car’s behaviour. As the chip tells the car about the tyre’s temperature and pressure this information could then be used to adjust braking, steering and ESP responses.

Dunlop are looking at how the chip technology could be used to manage the tyre throughout its life, telling the driver about tread wear and condition. Even better news is that the tyre manufacturers believe that the new chip technology will be cheaper to fit that the current tyre pressure monitor systems required by law.

The main problem is that of retro fit, whilst the manufacturers agree that the new technology can be easily integrated into new cars it is proving to be a challenge to fit into existing cars – but it is being worked on. As mentioned earlier the component parts of the tyre come at a highly fluctuating cost so the manufacturers are looking at ways alternatives can be used.

Currently they are working on alternatives to oil, something that has been ongoing for many years but the latest advances in replacement commodoties have been made in the development of alternative and more sustainable rubber. The new rubbers are being extracted from maize, soya and even dandelion plants.

The rubber is extracted from the dandelion roots and believe it or not, according to Continental brand manager, Peter Robb, ‘It offers the most potential for the biggest impact on tyre manufacture for years.’ One of the biggest advantages is that the plants can be grown close to the manufacturing plant reducing delivery time and costs.

They reckon that they will have tyres using this new rubber by 2020. The new type of natural rubber will also have the benefit of being harder and longer wearing and some claim that CO2 emissions could be cut by 10g/km. Also the harder compound will reduce road noise. Another area of development at the moment is airless tyres being held up by a series of vanes.

This development is being pioneered by Bridgestone but it is suggested that this is years away from fruition as the development so far has produced tyres with a maximum load capacity of 410kg and a top speed of 37mph. Way to go methinks! Another challenge faced by manufacturer is the desire of drivers to have large, more aesthetically pleasing wheels fitted to their cars.

Apparently this is particular to the UK. The rest of Europe is not so concerned so the manufacturers are trying to come up with a solution that still makes the car look attractive but makes the tyres more environmentally friendly with lower rolling resistance, lower road noise, better fuel consumption and using less materials.

Electric vehicles may lead the way with the new BMW i3 having 155/70 R19 fitted. Quieter tyres are also on the way as the demand from drivers increase and legislation tightens. Continental developed the Contisilent tyre originally for the Audi RS6 fitted with very wide and low profile tyres.

Dunlop Tyres

Dunlop Tyres (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They managed to substantially reduce the noise by fitting a foam strip to the inner surface of the tyre circumference. This acted like a damper reducing vibrations that transmit through the suspension and body into the cabin. The manufacturers will be paying more attention to this technology as legislation becomes stricter. So there you have it a roundup of the latest tyre technology. Airless tyres and dandelion rubber. By Graham Hill