The Steer | July's motoring news and highlights

In the past month we’ve seen changes in EU law on electric vehicles, an announcement on the new all-electric Jaguar XJ and the title of Top Gear’s best-ever presenter.

EU rules EVs must emit noise at low speeds

A new EU law introduced in July will see all new electric vehicles (EVs) fitted with a noise-emitting device.

An EV charging port on the side of a Ford.

Under a new EU law, EVs must now have a noise-emitting device

The system has been brought in to make the presence of low-speed EVs known to pedestrians and cyclists, after growing concerns over their safety.

Known as an acoustic vehicle alert system (AVAS), the device will operate up to 12mph and emit noise between 56 and 75 decibels.

In addition, all electric cars will require an AVAS from 2021.

Video gamers believe they’re the best drivers

A carwow survey has found that British drivers who play driving videogames every day rank themselves as the best in real-world driving.

A man sitting at the wheel of a realistic driving simulator

Many motorists believe driving games can improve driving - image from

The daily gamers gave themselves the highest rating of 8.7/10, whilst also having the worst record, with 37% of the same respondents admitting to two or more accidents.

Despite that, however, 41% of all participants agreed that playing driving games could actually improve driving-related skills such as reaction times.

By region, North East motorists believe they’re the best drivers with a score of 8.31, while Northern Ireland ranks the lowest with 7.65. 

All-electric Jaguar XJ to be built in the UK

Jaguar Land Rover has announced that an electric version of its Jaguar XJ saloon will be built at its Castle Bromwich factory.

A worker in Jaguar Land Rover's factory

The all-electric XJ saloon will be built in the UK - image from Jaguar Land Rover/PA

Billions are to be invested in creating the blueprint for the model and upgrading the site just outside Birmingham, in turn protecting 2,500 jobs.

The firm’s chief exec Ralf Speth said EV manufacture, drive units and battery assembly are also being located near Coventry “to create a powerhouse of electrification in the Midlands”.

The news was followed by news of Ford and Volkswagen’s partnership on self-driving motors and EV tech.

Jeremy Clarkson voted the best-ever Top Gear presenter

Jeremy Clarkson has been named as Top Gear’s best presenter in a competition.

Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May presenting Top Gear (L-R)

Clarkson, Hammond and May took the top spots in the competition

Almost 5,000 votes were cast on 33 presenters from the show’s 42-year history, with Clarkson taking a resounding 74% of the votes.

James May and Richard Hammond, who’ve worked with the presenter on the BBC and now Amazon’s Grand Tour, came in second and third with 9% and 5%, respectively.

TG’s latest presenting trio of Chris Harris, Paddy McGuiness and Freddie Flintoff also ranked in the top ten, despite only being on screen together for five episodes so far.

Electric Ford F-150 tows over 500 tonnes of train

Ford has done its best to tackle any concerns over EV pulling power by having an all-electric F-150 prototype pull over 500 tonnes.

To be exact, ten double-decker freight trains holding 42 standard F-150s were pulled along by the battery-powered model, amounting to just under 567,000kg.

As the best-selling pickup truck in America, and one that’s been exclusively powered by petrol or diesel until now, the manufacturer may have a task persuading existing owners to make the EV jump.

But if this demonstration is anything to go by, many may be surprised by its ability. A hybrid will also join the line-up next year.

And from the world of Lookers…

Lookers supports North East autism charity

Lookers is helping North East autism charity Awesometistic spread its reach, by providing a bright yellow Ford Mustang stickered with the charity's logo.

Richard Smith, founder of Awesometistic

Richard Smith, founder of Awesometistic, by his stickered Ford Mustang

Richard Smith, who founded Awesometistic and lives with autism himself, supports others with the condition and educates the wider community on the topic.

The car was offered to Richard at a fantastic rate by Lookers Ford Gateshead, as an eye-catching motor to help him spread the charity’s message.

“Living with autism can be a struggle at times, but it can also lead to some really magical moments and this is the message I want to pass on,” he said.

Tranmere fan meets team thanks to Lookers links

A Tranmere Rovers fan met his footballing heroes after a visit to his local Lookers dealership.

Lookers customer Craig met the Tranmere Rovers team

Lookers customer Craig met the Tranmere Rovers team

Craig Kearney has been a Motability customer with Lookers for over six years, and mentioned he’d been a lifelong Super White Army fan on a recent visit to the Vauxhall Birkenhead site.

After striking a sponsorship deal with the club, staff at the dealership were able to arrange a meet and greet for Craig and his family, who were also given a ball signed by the entire team.

“I was absolutely blown away when the guys said that I could meet the team. My family has always been season ticket holders, so to get the chance to shake hands with my favourite players was just amazing,” Craig said.

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