MORE THAN two in five UK households have used their car as a place to work or relax during lockdown, according to a new study.
A survey of 2,000 drivers carried out by Peugeot found that 41% of drivers who live in a household of four people or more began to use their car as a leisure or work space at some point during the three coronavirus lockdowns.
A third of respondents said they had used their cars as a space to work, while 47% of those who admitted retreating to their car said that they did so to catch up on TV. Another 43% said that they went to their car to read a book.
Nearly three in five (58%) of those questioned admitted that they have struggled to find time for themselves during lockdown. Since January 5 UK residents have been under instructions to stay at home, except for certain reasons, and to stay local if the cannot avoid leaving the house, resulting in people spending increased time with partners, immediate family or housemates.
According to the BBC, this has led to a spike in break-ups and divorces, with one law firm recording a 122% increase in divorce enquiries between July and October 2020.
A previous study carried out by Skoda found that a fifth of UK motorists had used their car for an alternative use during the first coronavirus lockdown last Spring, indicating that the number of people escaping to their vehicles has increased during the second and third sets of restrictions.
Car makers are improving infotainment offerings
Some car makers are already beginning to cotton on to the desire for cars that can be as much a place for comfort as travel — Tesla, for example, has upgraded its Model S and Model X electric cars so that they now possess 10 teraflops of processing power (for comparison, an Xbox Series X has 12).
This makes it possible to play new video games including Cyberpunk 2077 (according to Tweets posted by CEO Elon Musk) which has been criticised for a number of bugs, especially when played on machines with low processing power.
The American company also revealed Tesla Theatre as part of its V10 software in late 2019, which gives drivers access to streaming services including Netflix, Hulu and YouTube. The features are only accessible when the car is parked.
Entertainment features such as these are arguably more important on electric cars, which take the duration of an episode or two of television to recharge using a public unit.
More than a third of those who answered the survey told Peugeot that they would be more likely to use their car as a leisure space if it was a zero emissions-capable vehicle.
In January, it was reported that Amazon (whose owner, Jeff Bezos, was briefly overtaken by Elon Musk on the list of the world’s richest people, before Tesla’s value dropped significantly in February) will work with BMW and Fiat Chrysler to feature seatback screens using Amazon Fire TV system in certain models.
It was revealed this week that the first model to be installed with the tech will be the revived Jeep Wagoneer, which is set for US release later this year. It is unclear whether the tech will be used in models previously under the PSA umbrella, now that FCA is part of the Stellantis group.
- After reading that 2 in 5 people have retreated to their car for space during lockdown, you might be interested in what the current lockdown restrictions are for UK drivers.
- When Driving.co.uk contacted authorities about the legality of the new steering wheel that features in the Tesla Model S and Model X, a spokesperson raised issues with the new Tesla Arcade feature.
- We’ve also put together a handy guide to taking care of your car during lockdown.