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Autocar confidential: Gridserve's name origin, how plastic is helping Audi go greener and more


In this week’s round-up of automotive gossip, we find out why Gridserve is called Gridserve, how BMW and Mini are eying Brexit and how plastic recycling is helping Audi’s factories become carbon-neutral. 

What’s in a name?

Toddington Harper, CEO of Gridserve – the firm behind the UK’s first bespoke EV charging forecourt – doesn’t share his name with one of the country’s biggest service stations by mere coincidence. “My father, Brian, was building petrol stations 60 years ago and decided to name his children after the first service station on the M4 (Heston) and the first on the M1,” he explained. Harper’s middle name? Warwick. As an odd aside, Gridserve’s first charging customer was called Brian, and his father also built petrol stations.

BMW prepare for turbulence 

BMW and Mini are “prepared for any turbulence” next year as Brexit threatens to affect the flow of parts from Germany to the UK, according to production board member Milan Nedeljkovic. Countering many car firms’ views, he doesn’t expect a no-deal outcome to be “trying”, with preparations for the economic impact already made.

Plastic underpins Audi green goal

Audi has taken another step towards its goal of making all of its factories carbon-neutral by exploring a way to chemically recycle ‘mixed’ plastics. Instead of recycling different types of plastic waste (such as fuel tanks, wheel trim parts and radiator grilles) mechanically, Audi and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology will seek to convert them into pyrolysis oil, which can be used to make new plastic for cars, saving energy and cost. Audi’s head of procurement strategy, Marco Philippi, said: “We want to make efficient use of resources, and chemical recycling has great potential for this.”

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