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National Battery labelling standard - Progress?


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We are campaigning for change right across the battery industry from challenging the NCC's 'verified' battery scheme, taking on Battery manufacturers/retailers that deliberately mis-label batteries to creating a National Battery Label standard.


For the details on our proposed National Battery Label, see the bottom of this page : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/campaign-for-battery-change.php



Alpha Batteries want to be the Battery Retailer that consumers want : Honest, accurate information and keen pricing.

They want to operate using an ethical policy, not the industries apparent current trend of exaggerating battery specifications with intent to mislead.



Just had an email from Alpha Batteries MD, John Gabbott, with feedback from their web site builder on the ideas of presenting the Sales Technical Information pages using 'our' proposed National Battery Labelling idea to present battery technical information using easy to understand Food.Style Traffic Lights.


It is all exceptionally positive.


Full email here :



"Hi John,

I’ve just been reading through some of the notes from the A&N website. I’m with you on this – between us we’ve tried for years to determine the most important aspects for the consumer and the idea of traffic light grading we’ve talked about before, in a sense this is what I’d been hoping to achieve later in the year with the product page re-design. This seems like the ideal opportunity for everyone involved across the industry.

As discussed I’ll spend some time working out our next steps on this, but in relation to the actual technical elements it’d be good if you could start working out some core key specifications along with your contact at A&N.


Based on our previous experience I wonder if it’s unrealistic to think 10 different items can all have equal importance or even work purely in terms of a traffic light approach as there’s just too much for users to take into account then – but 5 could work.



I’ll keep thinking on this anyway but just wanted to drop over my initial musings. Despite what I’ve said above I think you should approach this from purely a data perspective – if 15 technical attributes all need rating then that’s for me to work out how exactly that works for the end user – I’d much rather that than another half baked solution for the sake of convenience.

On a whole I think this is a really positive step towards something we’ve talked about for a long long time.



M. L".



I particularly like the sentence -,

"This seems like the ideal opportunity for everyone involved across the industry"

For an Internet web site designer to see great value, not just for Alpha Batteries, but the whole industry is a fantastic positive that might mean change goes further than just the Alpha Batteries web site.



Manbat have revised their battery labels downwards, most budget batteries getting a new label showing a drop in 5Ah to 10Ah less for exactly the same battery. I have seen the old 85Ah battery next to the new 'downgraded' battery and the batteries are identical, just that the new label now states an honest 75Ah.



We are now testing Platinum Batteries, as initial examination has shown some of these batteries also have overrated labels and NCC specifications.

Sample batteries already on test at a certified laboratory.

We will report back and pass the test results to Trading Standards when we are done.




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We finally got our meeting with the guys from the "Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy" team who are the 'big boys' of Trading Standards. I did not appreciate just how much power these guys have to go in and seize stock and shut a business down. This seems to possible with minimal evidence and without the courts needing to be involved initially.



We made our presentation on what we thought were the issues in the industry. As a result a couple of targets have been added to their list.


A lot of what I was told must remain confidential for the moment, sadly, but I am allowed to tell you that big plans are currently in progress, fighting for the consumer.

In the next few months the batteries they already have on test in Germany and those being purchased in the next few weeks as a result of information we have passed over, will form the basis of an assault on the battery market place like it has never seen before.


Their aim is to hit the operations, large and small retailers included, that are selling batteries with labels that do not accurately reflect the product.

They have been asking nicely for a while and think it is now time to get tough on the unscrupulous.



I don't think it is a co-incidence that the batteries and manufacturers we have previously highlighted, are also known to the DBEIS.


They will issue a serious of 'press releases' on their progress in this battle, that we will be allowed to publish to highlight those companies involved. Lots more opportunities for me to say, "I told you so".

I really do like the idea of that.



They believe the industry is actually 'corrupt', and that was their word not mine.

Interestingly they have already been to see David Reid at the NCC. I wonder if he will get another visit soon?

I am willing to bet 1p that the NCC 'vilainified' scheme is off the air by Christmas. Any takers?




One name that cropped up with favourable feedback was Battery Megastore of Tewksbury. Apparently they have been fighting the consumers corner this year in a very vigorous fashion.

Alpha Batteries was not known to them, which I was relieved to hear.




I have submitted 'text' to the team that I am hoping they will approve for publishing on our website and will update that when I can.





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Keithl - 2018-08-10 5:10 PM


Fantastic news Allan.


Please, please, please keep up the fight for as long as you are able.


Have you been in touch with Daniel at MMM, it may be worthwhile trying to get him on your side.





Keith, Thank you.

I did get in touch with Daniel a few months ago. But he did not get back to me.


Happy to work with MMM in any positive way they like.

However, I suspect, judging by the sponsorship of two recent 'Battery' articles by battery industry companies, that they have already hitched their wagon else where?



As for keeping the fight going as long as I can, there might be some good news for me and bad news for the battery industry?

I had my second meeting with the Oncologist today and they have offered me chemo which won't produce a cure, it might not even slow the Cancers down, but it could give me months rather than weeks.


It might do nothing to help, but worth a try so starting the Chemo on Wednesday.



However, I think the ball is well and truly rolling. Jaye Libeccio, the Senior Enforcement officer knows my health situation and said he won't promise me to achieve a specific outcome before I go, but he did promise me to do his very best to achieve an outcome I would be pleased with.

You can't ask more than that.


So even if the Chemo knocks me out next week, I think that the next 6 months will see major positive change to the benefit of all, except those that have been taking advantage far too long unchallenged.



Jaye was a lovely man, we got a bit side tracked onto Classic Cars after I said I was a little sad I never got to drive my 'boy hood' dream car, a Fiat 124 Sport Coupe. He then showed me pics of his MGB Sebring and a 3.8 Jag he is restoring.

So it wasn't all work.


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Yer a good man,Allan, and a lovely man too - they are not synonyms - and I truly hope that you live for another decade or two (at least). And I'm not joking.


Whatever happens, I wish you and yours all the best, and if I could give you a reprieve, I would.


I would finish by signing off with a 'God Bless', except that I'm not a believer, but that doesn't mean I my sentiments are any less than serious and meaningful.


Good on yer matey!

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  • 2 weeks later...

What a fantastic day I had yesterday, laughed more than I have in a long time and all because of three extraordinarily appalling batteries.


I still can't stop smiling, in such a great mood that the telling of the tale has to be in line with that, so sorry about that but when you get to the end you might understand why.


The day started with a phone call from a really good friend at a battery retailers.

"Al, it's Owen. How you doing? Are you well enough to drive down here, you won't believe it. You really won't believe it, it's amazing". "I can't tell you on the phone you HAVE to see it".


The Chemotherapy side effects seem to be slower kicking in this time, I was feeling ok so set off in the car.


Dewi was waiting by the door. A real comedian and lovely guy.

"Did Owen tell you, it's fantastic. Isn't it brilliant?


Sorry but I must stop at this point and highlight that my two children's current bedtime book is the Famous Five on treasure Island. So sorry if the style of that author creeps into this text, but the guys at the shop all really were in a high emotional state.


The Ship wreck lay on the bottom.... oh sorry lost my track there.


"Al, quick come on in and see this".

I followed Dewi, Owen and Rob into the back of the shop.


"What do you think of that".

I looked across to the weighing machine that Rob gestured at. I felt they were awaiting my reaction to something momentous but all I saw were three batteries, one on the machine showing 26kg and two to it's side.


I felt like I was being set-up, but to something that would really please me. What was it?


At 26kg L5 type leisure battery on the scales was a good weight but I couldn't see the label so didn't know what it was. I looked closer to see that the top had been cut off and placed loosely back on.

I went to touch it and Owen said, "Lift the top for him Dewi, it will be heavy for Al".

Dewi lifted the top with the flourish of a magician and a "Te Dah".


They were looking at me intently but what I saw didn't make sense and I struggled to work out what I was seeing.

The top of the battery, with the Lead Plates hanging below was out of the case and Dewi was waving it around like it was Aluminium not Lead. The scales still showed that the bulk of the battery was still resting on them.


"Owen, are the scales stuck?".

"Pick the case up and see if they free off".

"Dewi started smiling, he knew I would 'like this bit' but I didn't know what 'this bit' was.


I picked up the empty case but it was stuck. the beggers had glued it to the scales!! I started smiling at the trick.

"Go on Al, lift it" said Rob. so I pulled a bit harder and it came up in my hands, but it was so heavy.

The scales dropped from 14kg to zero. I dropped the case back on the scales which went back to 14kg.


"Isn't it fantastic", isn't this what you wanted, Al" said Dewi?


It probably was but I couldn't work it out.


The case was 14kg, Dewi was waving the Lead 'bits' around like they weighed nothing, but then he is a big lad.

Only then did I notice that the Lead plates were shorter than they should be, someone had cut them half way down and obviously left the rest of the lead in the case and that was why it was so heavy. Obvious.


I peered into the case but it was empty.

Dewi picked up a screw driver and tapped the bottom of the Case. The screwdriver tip struck Rock.

I took the screwdriver, they were all smiling now, Dewi was chuckling as I tapped the side of the casing which was clearly Plastic, but thicker than usual.

Owen couldn't resist a light laugh as I once again tapped the 'Rock' bottom of the case. I couldn't work out what was different, then realised the case was really shallow.


Dewi couldn't bear it any longer and said "It's concrete". "They have poured concrete into the bottom".

THAT'S why the the Lead Plates only extended down half way!!. What a chump to take so long to see. Even then I couldn't believe what I was seeing.


"But, eh, I don't, eh........"


"Turn it round so Al can see the label".


Dewi passed me the battery top, and started rotating the case while I examined the plates. The Plate construction wasn't great but looked factory made. This was from a big operation.


Then I saw the label and it all fell into place.


Dewi then showed me the other two batteries, another identical and the third more like a 'proper' battery but the case was still really heavy. Only a 21kg battery with really thin Plates, not much Lead at all.

This battery had about a 35mm thick Base and when Dewi had cut it to see why, he had encountered a thick rusty steel plate embedded in the bottom.


"How did you know to target these ones, they look normal on the outside?"

"He didn't", said Rob, "they nearly got him beaten up, I thought there was going to be fight".


Owen explained, "'Scrapper' came round yesterday (he is the local Scrap Dealer, sorry Battery Recycler, and a body builder on serious daily steroid quantities and so a bit prone to flying off the handle at the slightest thing) after he processed our last batch of recycled batteries we shipped, he really wasn't happy." said Owen.


"Scapper was so angry, Owen was so scared he nearly, wet himself", laughed Dewi, "he thought we were ripping him off by selling scrap batteries that weren't worth what he paid because they had no lead inside".


"I was really scared, you should have seen how angry he was, said it was the third time we ripped him off and wanted his money back".

Rob started a fake quiver of fright and he and Dewi started laughing.


"I didn't know what he was talking about, but gave him his money and he dumped the batteries and went".

"Only after he had gone did we realise what he was on about. Overnight we realised what a catch this was for you. Come on, lets go and get a Coffee".


Instead of going to the kitchen we went to the 'Customers' Coffee machine which I had always avoided and my Heart sank. Then I saw the cup had a Kenco label and thought it might not be too awful.

"Ooh, you are honoured, he won't let us touch the customers Coffee machine" started Dewi lightheartedly.


The Coffee was actually very drinkable.

"There you go Al, have a biscuit to celebrate, dunk them they taste brilliant in Coffee" said Dewi as he passed me a pack of Shortbread.


He was right, the combination of the Kenco and shortbread tasted good.

"What do you think then Al?", said Owen.


"Fabulous, the Coffee and shortbread together are..............".

"Not the biscuits, the batteries".



There then followed about 30 minutes of tear rolling laughter as Dewi went from doing impressions of Scrapper and Owen, followed by a Monkey scratching his head and peering into an empty battery case!!


Eventually, the fun stopped and we got back to the batteries.


"So what you going to do?". "Isn't it fantastic it's an NCC Verified battery, though", said Rob.



"It is amazing but I don't know. I need a long think and maybe talk to a few people, those batteries are from a seriously big operation, so probably needs big help".

"Can I have a think and let you know?".



Lots of really grateful thanks from me and I left with a very big smile.



Talked to some people this morning to find it's already being pursued.

Identified a while ago.

I have to keep stum on the details, for obvious reasons, but I truly believe these latest ripoff activities have brought things to such a peak, that while it is wrong for people buying none big name batteries now, the eventual conclusion will be a good one.



I truly hope the NCC get kicked from here to the middle of next year for their part in perpetrating these types of scam without the verification they promised.




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Nice one. Can't help but admire the guts to commit such obvious fraud. Would be interesting to hear from other scrapyards how often this happens.


PS newly registered but been reading for about 4 years now and spreading some of Allans knowledge on the other side of the continent (where your Adria vans come from).

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It is not unknown in the electronics industry for fake parts to appear on the market so just because it says "Bosch","Varta" etc on the label, don't assume it is really from that manufacturer.


The worse case I have experienced was about about 20 years ago when there was a global shortage of Flash memory devices.The company I was working for at the time managed to acquire 1000 parts at around £20 each only to find after we soldered them on the pcbs, they didn't work. When we x-rayed them, we found they were just plastic packages with no chip inside. The part markings looked like the originals.


I guess there could be a small market for a lightweight, low capacity battery in a standard case size and so they could had padded out the case. I can't see a market for a normal weight battery though! Perhaps its main selling point is that when you throw it in the skip, it always lands the right way up?

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John Allen - 2018-08-23 10:10 PM


Allan. The NCC might think their results are set in tablets of stone but they actually meant "concrete"



Thank you John, that made me chuckle.



I will be hoping the authorities find some concrete evidence that can be used to encourage the scheme do what it always promised - to work for the consumers.





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I have had a bit of a miserable night, a complication has arisen with my Cancer that may make the last few days a bit more miserable than I hoped, and I have been trying so hard to make the most of every last day.


Which gave me a lot of time lying awake thinking about the last few days, mostly of the special time with my family, but also the kind things that people say and do.

Plus, a little tiny bit about batteries.


That thinking made me realise that I had seen something marvellous and it had just gone straight over my head.


When the guys at the retailers 'stage managed' showing the horrible batteries they had found, they did it for me. Knew I would be delighted, and I suspect, went out of their way to make it funny.


But it wasn't just for me, it was for all of you as well.



I have become so focused on the budget end of the Battery Industry being in a bad way that I have ignored the fact that there are good guys out there trying to change things from the inside.

They want a living, but not at others cost.



When I next bang on about rogues from battery manufacturers right down to the end of the chain, just remind me there are still lots of good guys out there.





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Just had a nice email from someone "complaining" it is my fault his new purchase Numax battery is 'smaller' than his worn out 2 year old one.

He went into his battery retailer in Cambridge today to replace his Numax 110Ah with a new version, to be told something like,

"because of some company in North Wales Numax have had to revise the capacity of the batteries to make them smaller, so it's now only 105Ah but otherwise same as before".


He asked more details, looked us up and emailed a 'thank you' to us for being part of getting manufacturers to be more honest.


No idea who the battery company is in Cambridge, but I will happily take that 'criticism'.



I still think that even 105Ah is too high for these batteries.

One of my current issues with the NCC verified battery scheme is that it 'allows' a manufacturers battery to pass so long it is within 95% of the label figure. In other words condones mis labelling in an age when manufacturers can get the figures accurate. The relevant NCC scheme section states -

"6.1.10 In order for a battery to be listed in the NCC register, the mean 20-hour capacity shall be no less

than 95% of the labelled capacity".

See full document here : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/campaign-for-battery-change.php



The big battery manufacturers either quote an accurate figure or understate it, as we saw with the Yuasa test results where the battery reached 104Ah/230 cycles, but the label says 100/200.



You have every right to expect a product to deliver at least what the label says.

The Trading Standards battery labelling team are insisting a battery meets 100% of the stated capacity and will pursue those that don't


Another example of the NCC verified scheme serving the Industry and not the consumer.


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Thank you Arthur, it is very nice of you to take the trouble to say so and to everybody who has sent PM's and emails. Like this lovely one yesterday -


"Allan, We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your help and advice that you have given over the last few years. Also thank you for the sterling work you have undertaken to educate us all on suitable habitation batteries and your campaign for improved battery labelling and construction. This should be seen as a testament to your tenacity on behalf of others.

Allan you are a great person and you and your family are constantly in our thoughts.

Nick & Chris".



But I also get the odd one that isn't quite so nice, like the one overnight from Mr London who berates me for taking credit for the change over Manbat/Eurobat's Battery Capacity re-labelling break through.



Well Mr London, see my reply to you below :


"Dear Mr London, if you have been following you would have seen very strongly worded posts on here, one of which, ruffled feathers using words like 'Fraud', was removed from view.

I think history has shown that it wasn't too strongly worded, not when the top government team in this campaign subsequently allowed me to quote their description of 'Corrupt' to describe the industry.


If we had no part to play why did our testing of batteries in March 2018 and threats to expose those test results elicit a 'Solicitors' letter from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP on behalf of Manbat? They are listed as one of the top 50 companies legal firms in the World.

I would suggest that the cost of using them cost a penny or two more than mine in Rhos On Sea?


You will find that letter right at the bottom of this page : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/campaign-for-battery-change.php


Just in case you were wondering, my response to them was along the lines they will be wasting their time with a Court action as I neither have any money and am battling Cancer with a poor prognosis.


There then followed a period of negotiation where we announced we were working with Manbat to drive change.

I think that is all documented on this amazing Forum somewhere?


In response to your question, "who do you think you are" - I am just someone who was in a unique position at the right time. Having Cancer made me scared of nothing else. It put me in a not very nice position, but one I was able to exploit to shrug off any Court Action, because they knew I would be gone long before it reached Court.

So I DO think I have made a contribution, and hopefully more is in the pipeline.

I am expecting a similar Solicitors letter from Platinum Batteries. If it doesn't arrive soon, then I will be 'upping the game'.


If you need any more evidence that we played a part, I am happy to supply lot's more emails documenting that.




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Allan might recognize me as someone who emailed with a dissagreement regarding the labeling but I thought it might be useful to expand on this a bit more publicly. For the record, I completely agree the industry needs to be honest and quote accurate data on what their batteries can achieve. On that end I support his campaign completely.


What I'm not a big fan of is his traffic light labelling idea and this is purely from a graphic design point of view. I think it would be a bit misleading itself and visually confusing. My idea proposed to him was along the lines of the European tyre labelling which appears in a very similar form also in home appliances and is thus already familiar to most consumers. These labels have simply defined efficiency categories per testing protocol, highlighted specific parameters (dB rating, kWh per annum etc.) and would probably transfer nicely to leisure and starter batteries as well. I agree it would limit the ammount of information presented on the label itself but it would be hard to argue all parameters are equally important and that extra ones couldn't be presented in the technical spec sheets as with nearly every other device, car etc.


But with you lot so set on leaving the EU I can see why initiating a new European standard would be a non starter ;-) But, and this if from experience and scientific research (in the field of public warnings), standard visual cues perform much better than a mix where every manufacturer, country or industry is free to do whatever they feel like.


I'm offering this idea publicly even though I already know Allan doesn't seem to agree with me. But if anyone else else eventually continues the fight...


All the best Allan, hope you get many more good days.

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I accept the comments and can see the value of your idea.


The problem is there is so much information to display, more than most think.


Did you know that part of the BS EN 50342 test determines the Fluid usage, the Corrosion rate (and subsequent rapid deterioration), a Cyclic test, a separate Deep Discharge test, a Charge Acceptance test (the difference between the best and worst can be more than double the charge time), self discharge test, etc.

That is all good info, no point having a battery that does 300 cycles if it self discharges in 4 weeks.


This info is important because the best batteries, like the Yuasa L36-EFB, achieves top ratings in everything, but the budgets are at the lowest in everything and the contrast is sharply marked.

At the moment there still a strong perception with many that all batteries 'are the same, just get the cheapest' solely because there isn't the info for people to see just how massive the gulf actually is.


All this information has to be collected for a battery to pass a BS EN test, so all readily available for publishing, nothing extra needs to be done.



Yuasa have already done half the work, see photo below, all it needs is a few more 'Blobs' and Colour. Note how they use squared off circles for 'Starter' Battery info and true circles for Leisure info.

Again over on the right they use clear graphics to show it is suitable for Motorhomes and Boats.



I would like to go one further and the battery manufacturer tell us the minimum recommended discharge voltage for that battery, like no lower than 12.2v as many are being over discharged.


How often should I recharge it when not in use.


The ideal charge/discharge current and the maximums.


What is it's resting voltage, is it an old fashioned batteries 12.6v or a modern technologies 13v?


Manufacture date,



Someone PM'd me yesterday and said if we recommend no more than 50% DOD, is that the same as discharging it to 6v, half the battery.

So lots to do.


Alpha Batteries are going to map it out with a view to using it on their sales pages, so lets see what they discover.


As for a European standard? I would be happy to just create a Welsh standard!!!





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I don't think you fully appreciate the larger picture of what you started. Since these are all global/european manufacturers anything they do in UK market will most likely spread elsewhere.


Without going into specifics, it took me one conference and one paper to start a process that resulted in a new european standard a few years later. All I needed to do was get the right people to see why it made sense to agree on a single approach and they eventually did. I see something very similar happening here.

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  • 3 weeks later...
chris-6777 - 2018-09-10 10:34 PM


Hi Allan

Ref The NCC, I emailed them about their Approved Dealership and stated that their company was a sham. They did not deny this. Reading your post it would appear to support this statement.


Chris, The NCC don't seem to be denying or even really acknowledging anything at the moment, I think they believe they are just 'administrators' and the real owners are the Camping & Caravan Club and the CAMC who set it all in motion.

They are the ones who should be driving change in the scheme and looking after the people who are being sucked into buying rubbish batteries.



We have pretty much rewritten the Battery Campaign web page and it now contains a comparison between a battery 'verified' by the NCC scheme versus the best in Class Varta LFD90/Bosch L5, see : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/campaign-for-battery-change.php


It uses information, now all public knowledge thanks to Alpha Batteries, to show how a Platinum Budget at £109 would actually cost hundreds more to match the life of the £105 Varta.


I think the rewritten page shows not only how the scheme fails to show diligence in blocking blatant marketing lies, (just checkout the claims on the batteries label in the comparison) but how the battery breaks the NCC's own rules yet still achieves a 'verified' rating.



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  • 4 weeks later...

I have had little to report until Monday when contacted by the DBEIS, the more powerful arm of the Trading standards team.


Much of it was about my health, which I am delighted to say has improved slightly.

So for the many who have sent good wishes, an update on that first.


There have been ups and downs with the Chemotherapy, but despite being told I didn't have long left, there are signs the Liver tumour is shrinking, I am getting more breathless, suggesting the Lung Cancers are not responding so well and seemingly no change on the Spleen tumour. I have a CT scan in about 8 weeks, so see then.

My two children love me having a Blue disability badge for the car (when you are marked off as terminally ill the Doctor does a DS1500 form which gets you all sorts of benefits) because, "Dad, you can park anywhere".

I actually think they will be sad if I recover fully and have to give the Blue Badge back!! *-)


One fantastic man from this forum and his wife brought their classic Triumph Vitesse all the way across the country for me to make my day. See the beautiful car below.

And no it isn't me that has shrunk from the chemo, that is my son Adam in the drivers seat with daughter Sophie in the background. As you can see we all had a great day.

Thank you so much.




But back to the Batteries.

The DBEIS have added the safety of Lithium batteries to the scope of the work which is good news.



The DBEIS battery testing is still in progress, however results are due before long so they have already written to several companies stating dates they intend to visit.

Roadpro contacted me today to say they had received a letter requesting a DBEIS visit this week.


One of the Roadpro senior men wrote,

"Like you, I think that the NCC scheme is little better than nothing. If Platinum batteries can achieve class “A” status or whatever it is and Banner Energy Bulls are “C”, it ain’t worth a hill of beans in my opinion".


He said more than that, but I don't want to put too much in print.


I think he will be one of the few actually looking forward to the DBEIS visit.

We have invited Roapro to join us and speak out for the NCC Verified battery scheme to develop and be what it has always promised for the buying public.


I can think of a few companies who will not be so happy about the DBEIS visit.

An interesting few months ahead.









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