The Steer | June's motoring news and highlights

This month’s key stories include Top Gear’s return to telly, Formula 1 controversy and a first look at this year’s film tribute to Ford’s 1966 Le Mans victory.

BMW and Jaguar Land Rover on joint electric car venture

BMW and Jaguar Land Rover will work together to develop electric vehicle (EV) technology.

BMW and JLR will team up to develop EV technology

The BMW i3's charging port

The firms have said they will save costs through joint research, production planning and sourcing EV components.

Volkswagen and Ford are already working together, while FiatChrysler and Renault weigh up a similar agreement.

The news was followed by Sadiq Khan’s announcement that there’ll be 50,000 more EV charging points in London by 2025, with electric car ownership expected to rise from 20,000 to more than 330,000 in the same period.

Film tribute to Ford’s epic Le Mans win in 1966

In the same month as Le Mans 2019, the first trailer has been released for Le Mans ’66, a tribute to Ford’s famous victory at the French circuit.

Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in Le Mans '66

Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in Le Mans '66 - image from empireonline.com

Starring Matt Damon as the manufacturer’s car designer Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as their driver Ken Miles, it follows Ford’s efforts to disrupt Ferrari’s dominance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The film, directed by James Mangold, follows the development of the iconic Ford GT40 Mk.II and the race itself, which saw the car finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Ford would go on to win it in 1967, 1968 and 1969.

Le Mans ’66 reaches UK cinemas on November 8th this year.

Controversy at the F1 Canadian Grand Prix

There was much to debate after Formula 1’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Formula 1's Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton

Vettel was the focus of F1 controversy in June - image from eurosport.co.uk

After an error on the third turn, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel crossed the grass and then re-entered the track ahead of second-placed Lewis Hamilton.

However, the safety stewards judged it as an illegal move and hit him with a five-second penalty. Vettel finished the race in first, but the penalty allowed Hamilton to take the victory and deny the German his first win of the season.

Ferrari appealed the decision but this was rejected by the FIA, with many taking to Twitter in criticism of the governing body’s handling of the incident.

Overwhelming praise for the new series of Top Gear

The latest series of Top Gear kicked off in June, and after four series of declining ratings, the early reviews indicate it might be moving in the right direction.

Paddy McGuiness, Freddie Flintoff and Chris Harris lead the new series of Top Gear

Flintoff, McGuinness and Harris lead the new series - image from driving.co.uk

The appointment of Paddy McGuinness and Andrew Flintoff was questioned when it was first announced in October 2018, but has been largely praised since the first episode of the new series aired on Sunday 16th June.

Chris Harris, who’s played a part in the last four series, makes up the trio. Many have praised the chemistry and humour this time round, including Lookers blogger Danny, who wrote that it could be the Top Gear we’ve missed since Jeremy Clarkson and co left in 2015.

The fourth episode airs this Sunday at 8pm on BBC2.

Car line-up for Bond 25 announced

The list of cars to feature in Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond has been revealed.

The Aston Martin Valhalla - Bond's main car in the next movie

The Aston Martin Valhalla, Bond's next main motor - image from driving.co.uk

Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer announced on Twitter that the Aston Martin DB5 and V8 will feature in Bond 25, the working title for 007’s next film.

Many were also expecting the all-electric Rapide E to make the cut in Craig’s last appearance as the character, but this has now been announced as the Aston Martin Valhalla.

Fans shouldn’t be too dismayed, however, as the Valhalla is a hybrid vehicle. Power comes in part from a six-cylinder petrol engine, which will couple with electric motors and could produce more than 1,000bhp.

Bond 25 is expected due to be released in the UK on 3rd April 2020.

And from the world of Lookers…

Lookers open second electric taxi dealership

Lookers has opened a second dealership in partnership with LEVC, an electric taxi retailer.

Lookers announces its second partnership with LEVC, the electric taxi firm

Lookers has announced its second LEVC dealership

The site, which is shared with Lookers Volvo Stockport, will act as the area’s main retailer for the LEVC TX, the world’s most advanced electric taxi.

As well as sales, the dealership will provide aftersales support, and follows the opening of a similar site at Taggarts Volvo Glasgow, also part of the Lookers group.

The news comes as the Greater Manchester Combined Authority considers plans to introduce clean air zones by 2021, which would see vans and taxis charged £7.50 for each day they operate within the clean air zones. 

LEVC estimate drivers could save up to £110 per week in fuel costs, in addition to saving on the clean air zone charges. This month the firm also revealed a plug-in hybrid van based on the TX.

Audi dealership backs local hospice

Wearside Audi is supporting St Benedict’s Hospice in Sunderland, as a ‘Team Benedict Sponsor’.

Wearside Audi has become a 'Team Benedict Sponsor'

Wearside Audi has become a 'Team Benedict Sponsor'

The Lookers dealership connected with the hospice after members of staff formed personal links to its services.

St Benedict’s has provided specialist palliative care to the people of Sunderland and surrounding areas since 1984, with care provided by the NHS as part of the South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust.

Staff at Wearside Audi will support the fundraising, starting with ‘Sunflower Day’ on 21st June, which will encourage local businesses, schools and community groups to brighten the area by wearing yellow.

Lookers colleagues also ran in the Sunderland 10K in May this year and are due to take part in the Great North Run in September.

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