Mega news roundup: Weather, Driving, Cars, Travel Advice & Ferries

Driving

It’s been a week of extreme weather across Europe – temperatures reached -60° C in Siberia – but is set to get much milder. Not much new snow. It will be dry and sunny in Italy, particularly in Rome, and also Athens. Watch the BBC European forecast here.

Sixt car rental has launched a handy tool for finding the driving regulations around Europe.

Thanks to @sfichele for bringing this to our attention: a how-to article about paying road tolls in the Algarve. The Portuguese system uses in-car transponders rather than toll booths and barriers. You can rent transponders from garages and service stations.

4519Travel advice

The Foreign Office travel advice tweeted regular warnings over the holidays – about frequent police checks on drivers in Romania – a blocked road up to the Riviera ski resorts in France (see @UKinFrance) – following continued arrests that chewing drug Khat, legal in the UK, is illegal in many European countries – protests in Greece neighbour Macedonia over 31% unemployment and the state budget. The opposition called for civil unrest (for latest see @UKinMacedonia) – and the need to register with Croatian police or local tourist centre when visiting. We didn’t in May 2012 (see picture above, near Fužine, approaching the Bjelolasica National Park in northern Croatia) unless the hotel did it automatically…

Cars

BMW is about to launch a mobile 4G in-car router for use by up to eight devices at a time, in Europe and America. It can also be taken out of the car, uses Near Field Communication for instant connection and is likely faster than the one in your home. Compatible with any existing BMW telephone docking station. UK prices and launch TBA. Meanwhile Volvo and Ericsson have announced a new partnership, to provide tailored travel info, navigation and entertainment direct to in-car screens.

Tesla has announced European prices for its upcoming Model S, see our previous report. It will retail from €72,600 when it goes on sale in early 2013. UK prices still to be announced. Interesting research via Fleetnews.co.uk about living with an electric vehicle. Still errs on the side of conventional fuels but increasingly finely balanced. US research says electric car residuals are better than feared while another project says the typical three year buying cycle means drivers will not keep electric vehicles long enough to realise the full savings.

326aSpotted: an original Range Rover Vogue, tragically rotting in a farmyard near Northchurch, Herts. Contact us if you’re interested and we’ll tell you where to find it.

Ferries

Despite adding new ferry travel rights on 18 December 2012, the European Commission is yet to update its Smartphone Passenger Rights App, a quick (and free) way to check what you are entitled to if things go wrong. Will crack onto this in the New Year.

The ferry companies have seen off attempts to privatise Dover port after fears over future price hikes. The news was welcomed by the People’s Port Community Trust who are attempting to buy the port. Plans for redevelopment should still go ahead.

DFDS has announced it will no longer charge admin. fees for debit card and Pay Pal transactions.

Welcome to a new video site on the shipping industry http://www.shippingtv.co.uk (also see @ShippingTV on Twitter). We look forward to having a trawl. Finally, spare a thought for the people working over Christmas on the ferries and trains – Eurotunnel is 24/7 365 days a year for instance. The ferrymen in Malta only got three hours off for lunch. There were few problems over the holidays.

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