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Electric cars accounted for an astonishing quarter (26 per cent) of total car sales last month. This bucked the trend of low new car sales for the whole of 2021 — 1.65 million and the second worst performance since 1992. 

But a shortage of on-street chargers risks putting a brake on the Government’s electric ambitions in the run up to the sales ban of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, says the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 

After 2030, only the longest-range hybrids (as yet unspecified) will be available until 2035, after which only pure electric cars will be sanctioned for sale. 

Leader of the (battery) pack: The Tesla Model 3 outsold all its rivals in 2021

Leader of the (battery) pack: The Tesla Model 3 outsold all its rivals in 2021

The 191,000 pure electric cars sold last year (up from around 108,000 in 2020) was more than in all the previous five years combined and means nearly one in nine cars sold last year was fully electric. 

Top electric seller for 2021 was the Tesla Model 3 followed by the Kia e-Niro and Volkswagen ID.3. Making up the top ten were the Nissan Leaf, Audi e-tron, Hyundai Kona, Renault Zoe, Mini Electric, MG ZS and Vauxhall Corsa-e. 

The top three plug-in hybrids were: the BMW 3 Series; Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Volvo XC40. 

The best-selling vehicle overall was the Ford Transit Custom van range, with nearly 54,000 sales. 

Petrol cars still accounted for almost six in ten sales and diesel for around one in seven (just over 14 per cent). 

This suggests pure-electric car sales should overtake diesels for the first time this year. 

But Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, says the Government’s rollout of vital on-street charging points is failing to keep pace with electric car sales. 

Also, the decision to slash the plug-in car grant to £1,500 and lower the price-cap eligibility means buyers are being denied a vital incentive to switch. 

Regional disparities, particularly in the North and Wales, where there are fewer public charging points than in London and the South-East, risks an electric car North-South divide. 

Other key challenges include the global shortage of computer chips needed in modern cars, the effect of Covid on production schedules and tougher trading arrangements due to Brexit.

Record global sales for Bentley

British luxury car-maker Bentley has announced record global sales — up nearly a third — as it charges ahead with ambitious plans to electrify its entire range. 

The company highlighted ‘unprecedented’ demand for its petrol-electric hybrid models — spearheaded by the Bentayga SUV priced from £158,000 and the new Flying Spur limousine from £164,000 — as it announced record deliveries of 14,659 cars to its customers worldwide in 2021. 

Charging ahead: Bentley highlighted 'unprecedented' demand for its petrol-electric hybrid models - spearheaded by the Bentayga SUV (pictured)

Charging ahead: Bentley highlighted ‘unprecedented’ demand for its petrol-electric hybrid models – spearheaded by the Bentayga SUV (pictured)

Bentley plans its first fully-electric car in 2025 and a fully-electrified range by 2030. 

The Bentayga SUV achieved a 40 per cent share of sales while the Continental GT luxury grand tourer (from £170,000) accounted for a third. The imminent launch of the new Flying Spur Hybrid variant is set to boost the model’s 27 per cent of total sales even further this year, it said.

Books help fight bureaucracy

Battling against faceless, unyielding bureaucracy is one of the most frustrating, dispiriting and energy-sapping exercises, as I know from my own experience and that of readers

So I’ve just invested some of my own money in two really useful books that help arm the lone individual with consumer law and practical tips to take on parking firms, councils and car giants. 

Consumer rights: Two really useful books help arm the lone individual with consumer law and practical tips to take on parking firms, councils and car giants

Consumer rights: Two really useful books help arm the lone individual with consumer law and practical tips to take on parking firms, councils and car giants

Consumer rights champion Scott Dixon’s The Consumer Guide To Resolve Complaints And Motoring Disputes is a handy, no-nonsense guide to your rights, with plenty of case histories and model letters. 

The Consumer Guide To Cancelling Parking Tickets And Winning Pothole Claims, also by Mr Dixon, helps challenge those who treat motorists as easy pickings. 

Both books are available from thegrumpygit.com 

SAVE MONEY ON MOTORING

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A quarter of parents admit to flouting school admissions criteria to get their child into their preferred local school, new Zoopla research suggests. 

The survey of parents with school age children comes ahead of the primary school application deadline on January 15.

It revealed the true extent of the lengths that parents are willing to go to in order to secure a place at the best schools.

And this may not be surprising, as they could face paying an average of £82,960 more for a property in a catchment area of a high-performing school, or a premium of £200,000 in London

A quarter of parents admit to flouting school admissions criteria to get their child into their preferred local school, new research suggests

A quarter of parents admit to flouting school admissions criteria to get their child into their preferred local school, new research suggests

The research also revealed that 17 per cent of parents of school aged children admit they lied, bent or broke school application rules to get their children into their preferred school, while a further 7 per cent say they ‘played the system’.

It means that one in four parents are going to extreme lengths to secure preferred school places for their children.

Bending the rules takes many forms. Among the parents who have, 27 per cent admit to exaggerating their religious affiliation or pretending to be religious in order to get into a faith school.

And 21 per cent say they registered their child at a family member’s address that was closer to their preferred school.

Some 10 per cent simply lied about their address, while 8 per cent said they temporarily rented a second home – that they child never lived in – within the catchment area.

Parents are willing to pay an average of £82,960 more for a property in a catchment area of a high-preforming school

Parents are willing to pay an average of £82,960 more for a property in a catchment area of a high-preforming school

Money and school donations also play a key role, with 16 per cent of parents who admit they bent the rules saying that they made a ‘voluntary donation’ to a particular school ahead of applying,

Others offered their time, with 20 per cent saying they volunteered at or became involved with a school ahead of applying for their child’s place, while 14 per cent say they became ‘friendly’ with senior figures at the school in order to curry favour.

Of course, many parents do not bend the rules – some are simply able to move into the catchment area of the school they want their children to go to.

In total, 28 per cent of parents who currently have school aged children said that they did this.

However, the research found that there is a huge premium attached to doing so, which might be prohibitive to some.

Among those who bought a home in a good catchment area, the average premium they paid was a huge £82,960, with the figure rising to £209,599 in London.

Some 21 per cent said they registered their child at a family member's address that was closer to their preferred school

Some 21 per cent said they registered their child at a family member’s address that was closer to their preferred school

The majority of parents are against bending or breaking rules to get children into a good school.

A total of 55 per cent said they feel it is an ‘unfair practice which should be stopped’ and 56 per cent who have done so, admit they feel guilty about it.

A further 6 per cent of parents admit they are so fed up with the practice that they have ‘grassed up’ another parent and reported them to the school.

However, 11 per cent believe it is acceptable and a further 19 per cent admit it isn’t fair but ‘everyone does it’.

Daniel Copley, of Zoopla, said: ‘We were blown away by the figures showing just how many parents are going to extreme lengths to get their kids into the preferred school, which suggests the practice is endemic to the application process and widespread across the country.

‘But even more parents move into the catchment area of the school they want their kids to go to – and we are poised to support them every step of the way.

‘While the premium on a property in the catchment area of a popular local school might appear steep, we know that many homeowners have far more equity tied up in their home than they realise, which could make a move into a good catchment area a possibility.’

The Department for Education was approached for a comment about how easy it is to break the rules and the lack of penalties among those who do, but it declined to respond. 

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