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The UK’s first supply of 1,500 VW ID.3 electric cars sold out in TWO DAYS

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If you have an order placed on Volkswagen’s all-new electric car – or indent to put a deposit down soon – you might be waiting a while for it to arrive.

According to one of the German brand’s biggest UK dealer networks, the first allocation of 1,500 ID.3 battery-electric models – which arrive next month – were sold out in just 48 hours when order books first opened back in May 2019, some four months before first images of the production-ready car were revealed.

The UK waiting list now has some 20,000 names on it, suggesting delivery times for some customers could be backed up.

On their way: The first 1,500 VW ID.3 models will be delivered to customers in the UK at the end of next month. They were sold out in May 2019 within 48 hours

On their way: The first 1,500 VW ID.3 models will be delivered to customers in the UK at the end of next month. They were sold out in May 2019 within 48 hours

On their way: The first 1,500 VW ID.3 models will be delivered to customers in the UK at the end of next month. They were sold out in May 2019 within 48 hours

Alan Day Group, which was given just 35 of the first UK ID.3 deliveries, said its allocation was bought up within an hour of being made available online in May last year. 

These cars will be arriving with customers at the end of March – around the 28 or 29, This is Money has been told – as Volkswagen’s ramps-up efforts to sell plug-in models to repair the damage to its reputation as a result of the diesel emissions cheating scandal.

The German company’s Golf-sized hatchback debuts the new ‘ID’ range, which will be made up of 20 electric vehicles released over the course of the next decade as part of a €9billion investment by the manufacturer.

Prices for the ID.3 start from under €30,000 (around £27,000 at current exchange rates) and the debut version – one of three that will eventually be available – can cover up to 261 miles on a full battery.

That means it will has a claimed range that’s seven miles longer than Tesla’s least expensive Model 3 – yet will cost around £10,000 less than its American rival.

With some 20,000 UK orders already reportedly placed, it means there will could be more ID.3s registered in 2020 than there were Lexus models in the whole of last year.

Alan Day Group, which was given just 35 of the first UK ID.3 deliveries, said its allocation was bought up within an hour of being made available online in May 2019 - four months before images of details of the production-ready car were released

Alan Day Group, which was given just 35 of the first UK ID.3 deliveries, said its allocation was bought up within an hour of being made available online in May 2019 - four months before images of details of the production-ready car were released

Alan Day Group, which was given just 35 of the first UK ID.3 deliveries, said its allocation was bought up within an hour of being made available online in May 2019 – four months before images of details of the production-ready car were released

Prices for the ID.3 start from under €30,000 and the debut version - one of three that will eventually be available - can cover up to 261 miles on a full battery charge

Prices for the ID.3 start from under €30,000 and the debut version - one of three that will eventually be available - can cover up to 261 miles on a full battery charge

Prices for the ID.3 start from under €30,000 and the debut version – one of three that will eventually be available – can cover up to 261 miles on a full battery charge

Tesla Model 3 sales in Europe prove electric-car demand

If there was ever evidence that the appetite for electric cars is booming, the sales performance of the Tesla Model 3 is a prime example.

Some 95,013 were registered in total in Europe in 2019.

That made it the most popular ‘D-sedan’ premium model – essentially the best-selling medium-sized family saloon car.

That means it was more popular than some iconic models. 

It outsold the stalwart BMW 3 Series into second place by almost 30,000 units (67,844 3 Series registered).

the Model 3 was also more popular than other premium German cars like the Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4.

To further put this achievement into perspective, look at the comparison to Jaguar XE registrations.

For every Jaguar XE saloon sold, 12 Model 3s were registered in Europe, JATO Dynamics’ figures show. 

Nick Wells, who is head of business at the Alan Day Group, believes the new range of electric vehicles will tempt even the most staunch petrolheads to switch to plug-in cars.

‘To sell 1,500 from a range that hasn’t even hit the market yet is unprecedented and suggests we are on the cusp of an electric vehicle revolution,’ he said.  

‘VW electric vehicles have come a long way in an incredibly short space of time and depending on what battery pack you have users will have a usable range of 280 miles which is more than most customers would drive on any one day.

‘Now people can jump in the car and go without having that range anxiety.

‘Nowadays people – particularly the under 30’s market – want to do their bit for the environment and we often hear people saying buying an electric vehicle is the first step in becoming more environmentally aware.’  

Industry experts claim charging a car will soon be a normal part of life’s routine, no different from charging a mobile phone, as the sector gears up to be more eco-friendly in line with government targets.

The drive towards the electrification of the industry has become more intense since the government brought forward a sales ban of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by five years to 2035 rather than 2040, as initially planned.

Transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said this week that this deadline could be cut by another three years to 2032

The ID.3 is the first model in VW's 'ID' range, that will comprise a mixture of different plug-in vehicles, from SUVs to city cars

The ID.3 is the first model in VW's 'ID' range, that will comprise a mixture of different plug-in vehicles, from SUVs to city cars

The ID.3 is the first model in VW’s ‘ID’ range, that will comprise a mixture of different plug-in vehicles, from SUVs to city cars

The UK VW dealer says there is now a waiting list of 20,000 British customers who have put their name down for the electric Golf-size hatchback

The UK VW dealer says there is now a waiting list of 20,000 British customers who have put their name down for the electric Golf-size hatchback

The UK VW dealer says there is now a waiting list of 20,000 British customers who have put their name down for the electric Golf-size hatchback

If VW can supply orders for all those on the waiting list, the ID.3 will outsell the annual registrations of Lexus as a brand in the UK

If VW can supply orders for all those on the waiting list, the ID.3 will outsell the annual registrations of Lexus as a brand in the UK

If VW can supply orders for all those on the waiting list, the ID.3 will outsell the annual registrations of Lexus as a brand in the UK

Could Volkswagen be hit with the same battery supply issues as rivals? 

Other automakers, including Jaguar, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, have revealed they are suffering bottlenecks in battery supply in recent weeks.

Jaguar has confirmed it will reduced outputs of the I-Pace SUV at its Graz factory in Austria due to the shortage of batteries. 

Could VW be hit with the battery supply issues as other car makers? It is using the same cell provider - Korean firm LG Chem

Could VW be hit with the battery supply issues as other car makers? It is using the same cell provider - Korean firm LG Chem

Could VW be hit with the battery supply issues as other car makers? It is using the same cell provider – Korean firm LG Chem

Among VW’s battery suppliers for European models is LG Chem – along with Samsung and SK Innovation – which is the firm at the heart of the supply shortages for rival manufacturers.

The South Korean provider’s battery cells are are made at a factory in Wroclaw, Poland, which have been subject to ‘temporary supply scheduling issues’, according to a statement by Jaguar earlier this week.

VW has reportedly already made changes to its battery-purchasing plan over concerns over supply from Samsung, Bloomberg reported last May.  

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Scottish Investment Trust manager went on the defensive as crisis hit

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Although manager Alasdair McKinnon was relatively quick off the mark in turning the portfolio of investment trust Scottish defensive, it hasn’t stopped the share price sliding. 

Shares in the global fund are down nearly 15 per cent over the past month. It was in the middle of last month that McKinnon decided to overhaul the trust’s holdings. 

He says: ‘I had been nervous about markets and the constant euphoria for the past couple of years. 

‘Especially when shares in firms such as electric car manufacturer Tesla were shooting up without any supporting evidence of an improvement in its finances. 

‘In February, I was due to go out to Japan on a two-week business trip, but it became obvious it wasn’t going to happen. I then began to think about coronavirus spreading out of China, coming here and causing economic shutdown. 

‘I realised no company in the UK, Europe or the US would be safe financially, but that some would be more resilient than others.’ 

So began a restructuring of the portfolio, a process unprecedented in McKinnon’s five and a half years as lead manager on the £475million stock market-listed trust. 

A number of consumer stocks, retailers, banks and oil services companies were sold – including Gap, Macys, M&S and banks ING and BNP Paribas. 

In their place were bought a number of gold stocks – including AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields – as well as sturdy utility companies Severn Trent and National Grid. 

It means the trust’s top three holdings, among a portfolio comprising 55 stocks, are all gold related and now account for more than 14 per cent of assets. 

McKinnon says he hasn’t traded since shaking up the portfolio. 

‘Markets are impossible to guess at the moment,’ he says. 

‘The fund is now in defensive mode, but anything could happen in the weeks ahead.’ McKinnon says the emphasis is now on capital preservation. 

‘In the months ahead, there will be opportunities in many consumer stocks. But some of these companies, I am afraid to say, will not survive.’ 

The trust has £100million of borrowings waiting to be deployed when McKinnon – and the trust’s board – believe stock markets have hit rock bottom. 

‘It’s part of our firepower,’ he says. While the money sits on the sidelines, it will cost £6million a year in interest charges. 

With the trust having more than two years of income reserves squirreled away, McKinnon is confident its 36 years of continuous dividend increases will not be broken by recent events despite the rash of companies cancelling dividend payments.

‘The board maintains that it is their wish to grow the dividend ahead of inflation,’ he says. 

‘That very much remains in place. The trust has a strong balance sheet.’ 

Despite the difficult times, McKinnon says shareholders are supportive. Like most fund managers, he is working from home instead of the trust’s Edinburgh’s offices. 

With four children aged nine to 13, he has invested in some ‘noise-cancelling’ headphones. 

The trust’s ongoing annual charge is competitive at 0.58 per cent. Income is paid quarterly and is equivalent to 3.84 per cent a year. 

Over the past five years, the trust has delivered a total return for shareholders of just over 19 per cent. This compares with a rise of just under 4 per cent for the FTSE All-Share Index. 

London Stock Exchange identification number: 0782609.

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Electric cars: Five important questions answered by Which?

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Buying a new car is unlikely to be near the top of many people’s to-do lists in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, but time spent at home gives the opportunity to research whether it is time to go electric when you do next upgrade your motor.

With the ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars brought forward to 2035 – and even potentially 2032, according the transport secretary Grant Shapps – more drivers will be contemplating making an early switch to electric vehicles.

While there’s no doubt the UK needs to address its air pollution issue, what are the other benefits and potential pitfalls of owning a battery car?

Consumer group Which? has given us its exclusive expert answers to five of the key questions buyers are asking about electric vehicles right now…

Is it time to buy an electric car? Exclusive report from Which? answers five of the most pressing questions motorists will have about switching to a battery-powered vehicle

Is it time to buy an electric car? Exclusive report from Which? answers five of the most pressing questions motorists will have about switching to a battery-powered vehicle

Is it time to buy an electric car? Exclusive report from Which? answers five of the most pressing questions motorists will have about switching to a battery-powered vehicle

1. Are electric cars really that green?  

One of the biggest arguments between early adopters of electric cars and steadfast combustion-engine fans centres around the environmental benefits – if any – of battery-powered vehicles. 

Various studies have shown that electric vehicles, while not entirely green, are not as polluting as petrol and diesel equivalents.

Analysis by research organisation BloombergNEF in 2019 found that CO2 emissions produced by electric vehicles charged with non-renewable power are still 40 per cent lower than the outputs of cars with internal combustion engines.

Which? said it also knows that battery cars are cleaner because it measures carbon outputs from the exhaust pipe (which electric cars don’t have) and calculates a car’s well-to-wheel (WTW) CO2. 

CO2 emissions produced by electric vehicles charged with non-renewable power are still 40% lower than the outputs of petrol or diesel cars, a recent study found

CO2 emissions produced by electric vehicles charged with non-renewable power are still 40% lower than the outputs of petrol or diesel cars, a recent study found

CO2 emissions produced by electric vehicles charged with non-renewable power are still 40% lower than the outputs of petrol or diesel cars, a recent study found

‘This takes into account the CO2 impact of generating and delivering the fuel, as well as how efficiently the car uses it,’ the product-testing company said,

‘It’s based on an EU-wide average for generating and delivering fuels, so there will be variations. But what’s clear is that getting electricity into cars in general requires more CO2 than petrol or diesel. 

‘However, when you look at how efficiently a car uses its fuel, our independent tests found that petrol and diesel cars have a WTW CO2 average of 188-190g/km, compared with 115g/km for electric.’

It says, based on its tests, electric cars are far from sin-free, but are still ‘substantially less responsible for CO2’ than a combustion equivalent.

And if energy production shifts more towards renewable sources, such as solar, wind or hydopower in the future, WTW figures for electric cars will continue to decline. 

2. Are the ranges of electric models becoming less of an issue?

One of the biggest drawbacks of electric car ownership for drivers is the restriction on range.

However, as battery technology is rapidly developing and makers are bringing new and better models to market with extended driving distances between charges.

You no longer need to spend over £80,000 on an expensive Tesla to travel more than 200 miles on a single charge – more affordable examples from Kia (Kona Electric), Hyundai (e-Niro) and Tesla (Model 3) can achieve these sorts of figures in the real world.

Relatively more affordable models, like the Hyundai Kona Electric, have ranges in excess of 200 miles, even in real-world tests

Relatively more affordable models, like the Hyundai Kona Electric, have ranges in excess of 200 miles, even in real-world tests

Relatively more affordable models, like the Hyundai Kona Electric, have ranges in excess of 200 miles, even in real-world tests

And Which? has found from its own car survey that owners of electric vehicles are doing plenty of miles in their machines. 

Figures show that EV drivers are averaging 9,257 miles a year, which is more than petrol-car owners.

‘That works out at just less than 180 miles a week, which is possible on a single charge these days with some cars, and two charges with just about everything else.’

3. Electric cars have fewer moving parts so must be more reliable, right?  

This isn’t necessarily the case, as Which?’s annual car reliability survey has found that they’re not without their issues. 

In the most recent poll in 2019, it found that petrol and hybrid car owners suffered less faults per car than those driving electric. 

Tesla’s Model S and Model X are top of the tree in terms of electric car range, but they are rock bottom for EV reliability.

And just over one in four owners of electric cars under three-years old had a problem to report. That rises to more than a third in cars aged 3-8 years. 

The consumer group said these older cars also suffer a higher breakdown rate than other fuel types and spent twice as much time in the garage than average.

But despite this overall higher fault rate, you might be surprised to find out that electric car owners are some of the most satisfied car owners going. 

The Tesla Model S has been the most-loved car for years, and the current Nissan Leaf is has been voted the medium-sized hatchback that most satisfying to run.

Tesla’s Model S and Model X (pictured) are top of the tree in terms of electric car range, but they are rock bottom for EV reliability, says owners who filled in the latest Which? Car Survey

Tesla’s Model S and Model X (pictured) are top of the tree in terms of electric car range, but they are rock bottom for EV reliability, says owners who filled in the latest Which? Car Survey

Tesla’s Model S and Model X (pictured) are top of the tree in terms of electric car range, but they are rock bottom for EV reliability, says owners who filled in the latest Which? Car Survey

4. Are electric cars becoming more practical to run? 

If you can charge your car somewhere off the road or at home, then they are unquestionably practical to own. However, that’s still not the case if you only have on-street parking or live in a flat. 

‘If you have nearby supermarkets or car parks with chargers, it makes it easy to do the weekly shop, or whatever you want to do, at the same time as getting a charge to last you a week (that 180 miles), which should make it more convenient,’ the report says.

But it goes on to acknowledge that there are known issues with public chargers, including a lack of accessible charging points and devices not always working. 

However, the biggest bugbear is the large number of different networks, each requiring an app, a website or a radio-frequency identification (RFID) card.

‘To see how feasible it is to run an electric car if you don’t have a charger, we drove an Audi e-tron SUV for a week,’ explains expert Adrian Porter.

‘We ended up with a website and four apps on hand just to use the charging points around us, and that’s a pain.’

This should improve later this year, with the government providing funds for a range of new rapid chargers with pay-as-you-charge facilities using contactless card. 

5. Have we reached a sweet spot where electric cars are less expensive to own than petrol and diesel?

The biggest hurdle stopping this happening is the higher cost of electric models, which still come at a significant premium over a similar car with a combustion engine.

This hasn’t been helped by the government’s recent decision to cut the plug-in car grant with immediate effect following the latest Budget.

The subsidy has been reduced from £3,500 to just £3,000, and is now only available for electric models with a purchase price under £50,000 – eliminating the likes of Tesla.

Running costs can also be high if you can’t charge at home. 

Those with an off-street charger are able to switch tariffs to competitive rates so the can keep bills low.   

And while some charging points are free, the rates being charged by some public charger networks can make it very expensive – as What Car? discovered in a recent market report. It said some public networks can be up to 10 times as expensive to use than charging at home.

And while electric cars with zero CO2 emissions are – in theory – exempt from road tax, you’re still likely to be stung by Vehicle and Excise Duty.

Any new model bought for more than £40,000 (which will be the case for many EVs) is subject to a higher rate tax for five years (staring in the second year), costing a staggering £320 a year. 

Is it time to contemplate making the switch? Only if you can charge at home, says Which?'s report

Is it time to contemplate making the switch? Only if you can charge at home, says Which?'s report

Is it time to contemplate making the switch? Only if you can charge at home, says Which?’s report

The Which? verdict… 

‘You can and are able to swap to an electric car in the knowledge that it really is better for the environment, at least in terms of running it, given our WTW CO2 figures. 

‘There’s no denying it’s much easier and cheaper if you charge it from home, but this requires offroad parking you can get power to, which not everyone has.

‘The initial cost of buying an electric might be high, but keep an eye out for reducing prices.’ 

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JEFF PRESTRIDGE: We are here to help with the financial turmoil

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First, I trust that you are well and withstanding the turmoil brought to all our lives by this wicked coronavirus. 

In this time of great uncertainty and worry, we need to look after each other like never before. 

Make it your daily responsibility to send a card – or make a telephone call – to those important in your life (I’m working my way through a box of postcards that celebrate 100 years of style through the pages of Vogue magazine). 

Although lockdown seemed inevitable this time last week, it didn’t make its announcement any the easier to deal with. 

Looking after each other: Community spirit will help us all get through the Coronavirus epidemic

Looking after each other: Community spirit will help us all get through the Coronavirus epidemic

Looking after each other: Community spirit will help us all get through the Coronavirus epidemic

My partner’s instant response was to burst into tears, a result (I fear) of the fact that she dreads the next few weeks with me invading her space – she normally works from home with only cat Pumpkin for company. 

Working from home for the first time in my journalistic career has not been easy with new technology to conquer and everything taking a little longer to do. But the fact that you are reading this column is proof that all is well in many ways at least. 

I’ve even managed to go out for the odd run – and occasional cycle ride on board a bike that was trendy 20 years ago, but now looks rather passé. The past week has not been without its ups and downs on the personal finance front. 

On the up front, we’ve seen the Government come up with a more than generous compensation scheme for the country’s army of self-employed (my partner is among them). 

Of course, a few people will fall through the scheme’s cracks while there will be inevitable frustration at the fact that payments will not start being made until the end of June (at the earliest). 

But Chancellor Rishi Sunak deserves all the plaudits going for ensuring the Government’s financial safety-net to workers is as inclusive as possible. 

Although the stock market had a better week, it ended with another sharp fall, reminding all of us that share price volatility will remain the order of the day in the weeks ahead. 

Dividend cuts abound – bad news for those who rely on these payments to part support retirement income – and more will be announced in the days ahead. Also on the down front, banks – rarely our friends these days – have hardly covered themselves in glory. 

Although it’s good that they have stepped back from introducing onerous overdraft charges – fees resulting from crass intervention in the market from the Financial Conduct Authority – they need to do more to assist those with debts. 

For example, interest charges on uncleared credit card balances should be cut – preferably so they are aligned with a Bank Base Rate that stands at 0.1 per cent. Interest in the high teens is simply indefensible. 

I can’t currently get online access to my bank account – and spent two hours trying to get through to customer services last week. In the end I gave up. On Friday, when I did establish contact, they asked me what my balance was. 

When I said I didn’t know because I don’t have online access, I failed ‘security’. 

Frustrating. If you have any personal finance queries you want us to answer, please email me. As ever we’re here for you. Around the clock. 

> Your questions answered: Read our coronavirus Q&A 

jeff.prestridge@mailonsunday.co.uk 

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