New charge for foreign haulage trucks visiting the UK
New charges are being implemented to hauliers in the UK, which will be charged to use British roads in a new bid to level the playing field for domestic lorries.
It is hoped that the new government initiative, which will be published as a draft initiative next month, will make the system fairer for British lorry drivers, who have to pay to use roads in Europe.
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It is expected that the charge would depend on the size of the vehicle, with British vehicles also being included in the levy, although their fees will be offset by an equivalent cut in vehicle excise duty. Fees are expected to be up to £1000 per annum, which the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has claimed is still not enough to level the playing field completely. In an online statement, the Association’s Chief Executive Geoff Dunning said:
“This is a happy day for road hauliers. We have been campaigning for years to see a system introduced which will lessen the financial advantage currently enjoyed by our European neighbours. UK hauliers travelling to mainland Europe have to pay road charges but foreign registered vehicles travelling to the UK pay nothing.”
It is hoped that the new legislation, which is expected to raise a total of £20m a year, will be brought in by the end of the current parliament at the latest (around 2015).
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany