Tag: Electric Cars

MPs Want To Ban Diesel And Petrol Cars Much Earlier Than Planned

Government plans to tackle car pollution have been slammed as “vague and unambitious” by MPs who have urged the ban on petrol and diesel vehicles to be brought forward. 

MPs on the business select committee criticised government plans to stop the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040 and said they should be phased out by 2032 to pave the way for greener vehicles.

Otherwise, the MPs said, the UK risked lagging behind “in the passenger seat” compared with other countries racing forward to switch to electric cars, which are vastly less polluting than traditional fuel cars.

The report indicated that the global stock of electric cars rose to over 3 million last year, up from just 14,260 in 2010. It said that figure could hit 125 million by 2030 and that the UK ranked fourth worldwide for electric car sales.

However, the report raised concerns that a lack of infrastructure in the UK – such as charging points – could stifle progress.

Rachel Reeves, Labour MP and chair of the business select committee, said electric vehicles presented an “exciting opportunities for the UK to develop an internationally competitive industry and reduce our carbon emissions” but said the government’s “rhetoric of the UK becoming a world leader” in electric vehicles was not matched in action. 

She also said the government needed to “get a grip” and “lead on coordinating the financial support and technical know-how necessary” for local authorities to install electric car charging points.

Responding to the report, a government spokesperson said: “Our Road to Zero strategy outlined our ambition for the UK to be the best place in the world to build and own an electric vehicle.”

Electric Car Subsidy Cut Will Make Them Unaffordable For The Foreseeable Future

Bad news if you want to go green but don’t have thousands of pounds to spend on a car – the Department for Transport has cut a grant for new electric and hybrid cars making them even more expensive. 

The UK government had been funding a subsidy to make them more affordable, with the most eco-friendly cars eligible for a £4,500 and a discount of up to £2,500 for cars considered category two and three eco-friendly cars.

But it has announced discounts on category two and three cars will be axed altogether, and that the discount for the most eco-friendly cars on the market will be reduced to £3,500 from November 12.

The AA and the RAC have hit out at the move, slamming it as a “major blow” to plans to encourage consumers to buy more efficient cars and slash air pollution by ending the sale of petrol and diesel cars. 

Electric cars – what are the barriers to buying them?

Price is a major factor. Nicholas Lyes, the RAC’s head of roads policy, told Sky News that the up-front cost of buying a greener car was a “huge barrier for those hoping to switch to an electric vehicle.”

“This move from the government is a big step backwards and is in stark contrast to countries like Norway, where generous tax incentives have meant that it has one of the highest ownership levels of ultra-low emission vehicles of anywhere in the world,” he said. “This announcement will simply put more drivers off from buying greener cars.”

And because electric cars are not mainstream, and relatively new, there is also a limited second-hand market. Whereas you could buy a petrol or diesel car for a few hundred pounds, a second hand electric car will cost in the thousands.

And when it comes to the practicalities, unlike petrol or diesel cars, electric cars take hours to fully charge, while a petrol car which can be filled up in minutes.

A recent survey from the AA found half of drivers aged 25-34 said they’d like to own an electric car, compared to 40 per cent aged 18-24 and 40 per cent aged 35-44.

But it also found the “vast majority” of people surveyed think there aren’t enough public charging points. 

Vespa’s Electric Scooter Goes On Sale This October

The Vespa scooter is arguably one of the most iconic vehicles on the road, and yet owning one can come with the knowledge that you’re not exactly helping the environment.

That’s all about to change however as the company’s first electric scooter, the Vespa Elettrica, goes on sale in Europe this October.

Despite being purely electric the scooter looks practically identical to its petrol siblings aside from a shiny new paint job and some blue accents which reveal its eco-friendly credentials.

It’ll be available in two versions the Vespa Elettrica and the hybrid Elettrica X with the former offering 100km (62 miles) and the latter offering 200km (124 miles) of range.

Piaggio says the Elettrica will produce between 2kW to 4kW of power. The company claims that this will give you more power than you’d get on a standard 50cc scooter.

While the range is only 62 miles, that does mean the battery can be fully charged in just four hours making it perfect for city use.

For those that want to travel further, the Elettrica X combines a smaller battery with a petrol-powered generator which then tops up the battery once it reaches a certain level or if the rider manually turns it on.

Both versions will connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth and can turn your phone’s screen into a little digital display for the scooter showing directions, speed and even range.

We do know the Vespa Elettrica is going on sale in October but sadly there’s no word on how much it’s going to cost. All Piaggio have said is that it will be comparable to their top-of-the-range Vespa models.

Uber To Start Focusing More On Electric Bicycles And Scooters

Uber is a brand that’s synonymous with taxis, and yet the company could soon be shifting away from the vehicle that has helped make its millions and instead be offering you an electric scooter or bicycle.Speaking to the Financial Times, Uber&rsqu…

Kalashnikov Unveils CV-1 Electric ‘Supercar’ To Rival Tesla

Kalashnikov, the company behind the AK-47 assault rifle, has unveiled a retro-looking electric ‘supercar’ which it claims will rival the likes of Tesla.

The CV-1′s distinctive design might suggest that the car was built 30-years ago but the company says this was intentional. The car was apparently inspired by the iconic IZH 2126 ‘Kombi’ that was mass produced in the Soviet Union during the 70s.

Despite its retro appearance Kalashnikov claims that this is a ‘supercar’ capable of going from 0-100 km/h in just six seconds.

With a 90kW battery the CV-1 will reportedly have a range of 350 km (218 miles) which would certainly put it in contention with Tesla’s Model 3 and even the Nissan Leaf.

The car features a number of “complex systems” which Kalashnikov says will allow it to compete with other electric car rivals like Tesla and Jaguar.

If you’re wondering when you can get your hands on this unique-looking automobile sadly Kalashnikov doesn’t have a release date nor does it have a price.

The arms manufacturer has spent the last few years trying to diversify its output beyond simply making weapons. In recent years the company has unveiled a clothing line and even produces drones.

The car wasn’t the only major announcement by Kalashnikov. The company also unveiled a giant 13ft gold robot.

Nicknamed Igorek (Little Igor) by Kalashnikov, the company states that this 4.5 tonne manned robot could be used for both “engineering and combat” tasks.

Technically a prototype, the version on show is actually completely immobile and is instead a a demonstration of what the company’s currently working on.

Kalashnikov appears to be swimming against the current trend which is to produce increasingly complex unmanned robots which can operate independently of humans.

The company admits that it probably won’t have an improved version to show the public until 2020.

Electric Cars Could Soon Be Charged In Seconds With New ‘Flow Battery’

A revolutionary new battery technology could allow electric cars to be fully charged in seconds, instead of the hours it currently takes.

Developed by chemists at the University of Glasgow, the ‘flow battery’ contains a liquid filled with nano molecules that can release energy as either electrical power or hydrogen.

As opposed to its solid form, the liquid nano molecules have two clear benefits for electric cars. The first is that it can store up to ’10 times’ the energy as its solid counterpart. The second is that it could in theory allow electric cars to be charged in seconds.

For example when a car needs to be charged the liquid can simply be pumped out of the vehicle and exchanged for charged liquid in much the same way that you would fill up a car with fuel.

The old battery fluid would then be charged and made ready to be used in another car.

Professor Leroy (Lee) Cronin, the University of Glasgow’s Regius Chair of Chemistry lead the team who made the discovery.

“Our approach will provide a new route to do this electrochemically and could even have application in electric cars where batteries can still take hours to recharge and have limited capacity,” explained Professor Cronin.

While it is becoming quicker and easier to charge an electric car the simple truth is that it can still take several hours to fully recharge a vehicle with a range of only a few hundred miles.

The introduction of new ultra-fast charging stations around the country in the future will help to alleviate this but the team at Glasgow believe that their liquid battery solution could solve the problem permanently.

In addition, because it’s a hybrid system the liquid can be used for both electric cars and hydrogen cars which turn the substance back into electricity.

Renault Zoe 2018 Review: So Good You’ll Forget It’s Electric – HuffPost Verdict

K E Y   P O I N T S

  • The new Renault Zoe 2018 is a fully electric car with a powerful new R110 motor and a real-world range of around 180-miles.

  • It’s the smallest of the electric cars but it’s also the cheapest, with the base Dynamique Nav model costing just £18,420. By comparison Nissan’s cheapest Leaf starts at around £21,990.

  • You get a fantastic amount as standard including a 7-inch touchscreen with TomTom navigation, rear parking sensors, automatic lights, DAB radio, keycard entry system and cruise control.

  • It feels great to drive in the city thanks to its incredibly light, precise steering and perky acceleration at low speeds.

  • The Zoe is less suited to motorways thanks to sluggish performance a high-speeds and some stability issues when hitting bumps or dips.

  • The touchscreen multimedia system is hit and miss. TomTom navigation is great but annoyingly every time you go past a speed camera an audible alert temporarily pauses the music you’re playing. It’s infuriating.

  • Interior feels a bit cheap however the Zoe has a huge boot that beats even the Clio for storage space.

V E R D I C T

The Renault Zoe might not get as much publicity as the Tesla Model S or the Nissan Leaf but it has quietly been winning the public over to the idea of electric cars since 2013.

This new 2018 model is the culmination of years spent working towards what feels like its single objective: for you to forget that you’re driving an electric car.

This new model comes with Renault’s new R110 electric motor and its 40kW battery. Combined this gives you acceleration of 0-60 in 11.9 seconds and a real-world range of around 180-miles.

Despite those sluggish figures the Zoe felt incredibly nippy around the city, thanks in part to that instant acceleration you get from an electric motor.

Where the Zoe struggled was at higher speeds. It is not by any means an overtaking car and putting your foot down on the motorway provides you with only a small speed increase and a very large drop in range.

Renault claim this little five-door supermini has a range of around 186-miles. Over the week it became clear that by keeping the Zoe at low speeds up to around 50-60mph you can easily get 150-160 miles per charge. Go even a few mph higher though and the range can start to drop dramatically, at one point on the A12 we were losing around 2 miles of range for every real-world mile.

This tale of two halves applies to the handling as well. As we drove through London and then Colchester, the Zoe felt in its element. That zippy electric acceleration combined with its effortlessly light steering made navigating both urban centres a complete doddle. The suspension was also very forgiving, absorbing all but the worst road bumps without too much drama.

Out on the motorway and it’s a different story. Hit a dip or bump at around 65mph and you’ll be acutely aware of it. The car’s light steering also starts to play against it as well, taking away some of that connection to the road’s surface.

The Zoe’s interior is simple, modern and feels like it was made for handling everyday life. There’s acres of plastic so while it doesn’t exactly look premium, it does feel capable of handling trainers up on the dashboard or the occasional spilled drink.

The seats are comfy enough however one thing that almost immediately annoyed me is the fact that you can’t change the height of the driver’s seat. It’s a baffling omission, especially when you then can’t change the angle of the TFT colour display behind the wheel.

This meant that for most of the journey I had to ever so slightly dip my head just to see what my current range was.

The Zoe comes with a 7-inch multimedia system with TomTom navigation as standard. On paper it’s a great package, but in reality the system is very hit and miss.

The positives are that the screen is bright, responsive and relatively easy to use. You also get Android Auto which means if you have a compatible Android smartphone you can use a whole range of apps through the car from Spotify to Google Maps. Sadly there’s no Apple CarPlay support.

The TomTom navigation system is excellent, if a little fiddly to use. It also comes with a number strange quirks the most annoying of which is the speed camera warning system.

Any time you have audio playing (in our case an iPhone through a USB cable) the car will temporarily pause the audio to play a loud alert when you get near a speed camera, it then goes silent for three seconds and finally resumes the music. After just a few speed cameras this becomes quite remarkably annoying.

I did eventually turn it off, however you then have to do it every single time you get into the car. Yes it’s a small issue but it’s one that becomes annoying very quickly.

What we can very much recommend is the optional £350 Bose sound system. Considering how much high-end sound systems cost on most cars this not only feels pretty reasonable, but it sounds absolutely superb. Small warning though, it does take up a little bit of space in the boot for the bass speaker.

Located behind the Renault badge at the front is a Type-2 connector for charging. Our model charges from 0-100% in a little over 7 hours using the installed wall socket at home. That goes down to just 4 hours if you use a 11kW public charger and just 2 hours 40 mins if you use the 22kW rapid chargers found in most service stations.

If you want an even quicker charge time at those service stations you can pay £750 extra for Renault’s Q90 Chameleon charger which supports up to 43kW and a charging time of 1 hour 50 minutes.

Finally, one of the reasons the Zoe is cheaper than its rivals is because you don’t actually own the battery. Instead you’re leasing it from Renault for around £59 per month.

Yes that’s a lot of money but when you factor in weekly fuel costs (just £5 to charge the Zoe) and the fact that Renault will service or replace the battery for free should it fail you’re actually getting a pretty good deal.

S P E C I F I C A T I O N S

  • Car tested: Renault Zoe Dynamique Nav R110 Z.E.40
  • Engine: 40kWh battery
  • Range: 186-miles
  • Top Speed: 89mph
  • 0-60mph: 11.9 sec
  • Cost: The model I drove costs £19,770
  • Features: This model came with metallic paint (£650), Bose premium sound system (£350), 17-inch alloy wheels (£310) and purple interior touch pack (£175) as added options.

T A K E   H O M E   M E S S A G E

The Renault Zoe isn’t perfect. It struggles on the motorway, features some questionable interior design decisions and has a multimedia system that’s obsessed with speed cameras.

What it gets right though far outweighs these negatives. It’s absolutely fantastic for everyday driving, whether it’s the school run, going shopping or popping into town. The light steering, instant speed and fantastic boot space mean that for 99% of the time you’re driving it you’ll forget that this is an electric car. 

Instead this is a brilliant little supermini that’s great for the environment and thanks to its low charging costs, could be just as great for your finances over the long run.

Road Signs Could Be Ditched And Beamed Straight To Your Car

Highways England are reportedly trialling an innovative new system where instead of using physical road signs, all the traffic information is beamed straight to your car.

The technology works using the next generation of phone signals known as 5G and would allow cars to be given the latest speed limits, accident warnings and the latest traffic information.

Physical road signs might be vital, but according to Auto Express, Highways England believes that this new system could make the roads safer to use,

Many modern cars now have digital dashboards and touchscreens and can be updated with live information at a moments notice.

Many modern cars already use primitive versions of this technology to pull through the latest speed limits whether it’s beamed to the car or recognised by the car’s sign-recognition cameras.

The trial will take place from 2018 all the way through to December 2025 on the A2 and M2 on the way to Dover.

Sadly the public won’t be able to take advantage of the technology, instead specially equipped vehicles will be travelling up and down the motorway testing it for accuracy, reliability and more.

In much the same way that fibre optic broadband is considered the next generation of internet speeds, 5G will soon replace 4G as the future of mobile networks.

With companies like EE working on the infrastructure and handset manufacturers like LG and Samsung working on 5G smartphones the technology might not be as far off as 2025.

Cars however have a habit of moving at a much slower pace than smartphones, so while Highways England might be testing a 5G connected car now it’s unlikely we’ll see them tearing down road signs any time soon.

That being said, if the trial is a success and the advent of self-driving cars it’s not a future that can be completely ruled out.

Road Signs Could Be Ditched And Beamed Straight To Your Car

Highways England are reportedly trialling an innovative new system where instead of using physical road signs, all the traffic information is beamed straight to your car.

The technology works using the next generation of phone signals known as 5G and would allow cars to be given the latest speed limits, accident warnings and the latest traffic information.

Physical road signs might be vital, but according to Auto Express, Highways England believes that this new system could make the roads safer to use,

Many modern cars now have digital dashboards and touchscreens and can be updated with live information at a moments notice.

Many modern cars already use primitive versions of this technology to pull through the latest speed limits whether it’s beamed to the car or recognised by the car’s sign-recognition cameras.

The trial will take place from 2018 all the way through to December 2025 on the A2 and M2 on the way to Dover.

Sadly the public won’t be able to take advantage of the technology, instead specially equipped vehicles will be travelling up and down the motorway testing it for accuracy, reliability and more.

In much the same way that fibre optic broadband is considered the next generation of internet speeds, 5G will soon replace 4G as the future of mobile networks.

With companies like EE working on the infrastructure and handset manufacturers like LG and Samsung working on 5G smartphones the technology might not be as far off as 2025.

Cars however have a habit of moving at a much slower pace than smartphones, so while Highways England might be testing a 5G connected car now it’s unlikely we’ll see them tearing down road signs any time soon.

That being said, if the trial is a success and the advent of self-driving cars it’s not a future that can be completely ruled out.

Volvo’s First Fully Electric Car Will Have A 350-Mile Range

Volvo’s COO Jonathan Goodman has finally spilled some of the beans about the company’s highly-anticipated first fully electric car.

Speaking to Autocar, the executive revealed that rather than use Volvo’s branding, the Tesla-rival will reportedly be called the Polestar 2 with a design that’s heavily based on the company’s stunning 40.2 concept.

It will reportedly boast an impressive 400bhp and feature a 350-mile range putting it ahead of the Model 3 and even Jaguar’s brand-new I-Pace SUV.

Despite these rather enviable figures Goodman says it will still only cost between £30,000-£50,000 placing it smack bang in the middle bracket of the current electric car lineup.

While £30,000 isn’t exactly budget, it does put the Polestar 2 in contention with the likes of Tesla’s Model 3 and even at a squeeze Nissan’s top-of-the-range Leaf.

The Swedish carmaker has been particularly bold in its plans to adopt electric vehicles, promising that starting next year it would only make and sell new cars that are either fully electric or feature a hybrid motor. No other established car brand has made that claim.

The Polestar 2 then will just be the first of what will be a new range of electrified vehicles from the Swedish car manufacturer.

Earlier this year Volvo unveiled the Polestar 1, a stunning hybrid interpretation of the classic American muscle car featuring a combined electric motor and petrol engine that will give it 600bhp.

This is no novelty hybrid engine either thanks to a large 34kWh battery that will give the Polestar 1 almost 93-miles of purely electric range should you want to go all-in on the eco-friendly driving.

Half Of Young People Are Ready To Embrace The Electric Car ‘Revolution’

Younger people are far more likely to want to buy an electric car but are being put off by “barriers” to running them, new research by the AA has suggested. 

Half of drivers aged 25-34 said they’d like to own an electric car, compared to 40% aged 18-24 and 40% aged 35-44, the AA said.

The proportion reduced to a third of people aged 45-54 and just a quarter of people aged over 65, indicating younger drivers are far more likely to adopt electric cars. Overall, 35% of all respondents said they expected to own an electric car within 10 years. 

“The younger generation in particular are ready to embrace the electric revolution,” Edmund King, AA president said.

However, the AA said the “vast majority” of people surveyed think there aren’t enough public charging points, and three quarters worry an electric car can’t go far enough on a single charge and are also too expensive. 

The government plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 as part of its Road to Zero strategy to cut down on sometimes dangerously high air pollution. Currently, alternatively-fuelled vehicles, such as hybrids and pure electrics, hold just 5.5% of the UK’s new car market.

But as the AA research indicates, a lack of charging points could be a problem.

The mass market appeal of ultra-green vehicles may be restricted without widespread, reliable and easy-to-use charging points, a separate recent report by RAC warned.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling set out a range of proposals earlier this week aimed at addressing this, including plans to assess whether new homes and offices should be required to install charging points as standard and whether street lights should be fitted with charging points.

King added: “In order to meet the government’s Road to Zero targets a concerted effort is required to demonstrate the benefits of electric vehicles and dispel some of the myths.

“The range, charging speed and charging point infrastructure are all on the increase. There needs to be a more concerted effort by us all to sell the benefits of electric vehicles.

“The electric vehicle revolution hasn’t perhaps taken off as quickly as we would have liked but now we have a firm commitment to the charging infrastructure.”

Electric Cars Are The Future. Here’s Why You Should Be An Early Adopter

The chances of your next car being electric are pretty high.

The Government has committed to prohibiting the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 – although there’s serious motivation to bring this forward, with a March 2018 report from Vivid Economics on behalf of the WWF predicting that a 2030 phase out could result in the UK could becoming the dominant location of electric vehicle (EV) sales in Europe. Right now, Norway are the ones to beat – in 2017 nearly a third of all new cars sold in the country were petrol-free. 

And this is all good news in terms of cutting our carbon: the majority of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions now come from transport, which contribute 26% of our total, according to the latest Government figures.

Adopting more eco-friendly cars is a key part of the puzzle, when it comes to meeting climate targets – the Government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change has previously said that transport emissions need to fall 44% by 2030 to keep the UK on track to meet its goals.

Change is happening. UK sales of EVs have risen 11% on last year, there were 1.2 million EVs in use globally in 2016 andThe Bloomberg New Energy Finance report 2017 stated that: “Tumbling battery prices mean that EVs will have lower lifetime costs, and will be cheaper to buy, than internal combustion engine (ICE) cars in most countries by 2025-29.” All good news. 

As to the benefits of switching to an EV? They’re serious. Liverpool-based EV driver Chris Dankshas owned three petrol-free cars and says he would never return to a gas-powered model.

I drive around 20,000 miles a year, and with the ever-rising price of petrol, it was costing me a lot of money each month to fill up my car. I now own a Tesla, and it costs me around £2-3 to fill my car,” he told HuffPost UK. Add on to this the fact that there is no road tax on EVs and it’s clear that there are serious savings to be made.

(On this, theGo Ultra Low campaign – a national effort to encourage the adoption of EVs – is an invaluable resource when it comes to seeing the benefits of going green, as well as where to charge up – plus information on the potential of EVs for UK business.)

Another reason to get on the EV hype early? The chance to try a whole other way of transport. Step up: electric motorbikes.

Richard Jordan, director of Super Soco, supplies 22 motorcycle dealers with his brand, which has been dubbedthe ’Tesla of motorbikes.

“Our bikes are legally the same as a 50cc motorbike, so they’re light, nimble and nippy through traffic – the ideal commuting machine.”

“Cost per mile is tiny – around 1p – so commuting into London costs under 10p, compared with a travelcard cost of around £7 per day [based on a weekly card]. The battery is removable, so can be charged from the wall at work, or at home.”

As to any downsides? For Nayan Patel, an engineer in autonomy, advanced sensing and electrical research at Jaguar Land Rover, one issue around moving to EVs is the question of charging. 

“The number of charging locations in the UK desperately needs improving. Due to the limited miles available per charge, more frequent charging spots are needed,” Patel, who is also developing an A-level electronics course at Learn Dojo, told HuffPost UK. (There are currently 14,344 charging points in the UK, according to ZapMap, which monitors the country’s network of charging connectors. The points serve around 132,000 vehicles.)

“There have been discussions about charging lanes, which would allow drivers to drive across a specially made road which allows wireless charging, but this would require more infrastructure,” she added. 

So: getting an EV is great, with the only potential barrier in place being a current lack of charging points. But this slight niggle could present an innovative way to upgrade how green your business is.

Energy provider E.ON is already offering charging solutions, which are all powered by renewable energy, designed for businesses with destination charging. We’re talking retailers, hotel and leisure destinations and large car parks, looking for larger numbers of charging points, to satisfy the increase in demand.

Not only does this mean being a part of the switch to electric, but they’re also a chance for businesses to showcase sustainable practices by transitioning to cleaner energy.

As to what Danks would say to anyone thinking about going electric and creating an EV charging hub?

“Go for it. Say ‘goodbye’ to exhaust fumes and ‘hello’ to zero road tax.”