Monthly Archives: January 2016

Ultra-low emission registrations up 386% on first quarter of 2014 (Image: OLEV)

Govt announces winners of Go Ultra Low Cities funding

Four UK cities have been awarded funds from a £40 million government project today (Monday 25th January) as the Go Ultra Low City Scheme has been launched to encourage the uptake of plug-in cars. Bristol, London, Milton Keynes and Nottingham each successfully bid for a share of the funds, with new technology and policies set to be trialled in each city.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced the winners, saying:

“These Go Ultra Low Cities have proposed exciting, innovative ideas that will encourage drivers to choose an electric car. I want to see thousands more greener vehicles on our roads and I am proud to back this ambition with £40 million to help the UK become international pioneers of emission cutting technology.

“The UK is a world leader in the uptake of low emission vehicles and our long-term economic plan is investing £600 million by 2020 to improve air quality, create jobs and achieve our goal of every new car and van in the UK being ultra-low emission by 2040.”

London has been awarded the largest proportion of the money with £13 million allocated to create “Neighbourhoods of the future”, prioritising ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) in a number of boroughs across the city. Plans include installing car-charging street lighting in a number of streets in Hackney to improve access to charging points, while Harrow will develop its own low emission zone with parking and traffic priorities given to owners of plug-in vehicles.

These projects will aim to help London have around a quarter of a million ULEVs on the capital’s roads by 2025 and plans to use ideas and incentives to encourage uptake. Similar plans put in place in Norway have seen the country become one of the most successful in the world in terms of ULEV uptake for residents.

Milton Keynes will use its £9 million fund to open an Electric Vehicle Experience Centre in the city centre. This will provide a one-stop shop for both potential and existing ULEV customers, with advice, and short term vehicle loans available. The city will also set-up all 20,000 parking spaces for free use by electric vehicle owners, and allow ULEVs the use of bus lanes too.

Bristol has been awarded £7 million for its plans to offer residents free residential parking for ULEVs in the city, along with access to three car pool lanes across the centre to improve traffic flow and air quality. More than 80 rapid and fast chargers across Bristol will also be available for use and a scheme to allow residents to lease a plug-in car for up to four weeks is intended to allow potential customers to see what they are like to live with day to day.

Read more: Next Green Car

Ultra-low emission registrations up 386% on first quarter of 2014 (Image: OLEV)

EV buyers encouraged to place orders before end of February

Car buyers wanting to purchase a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) should be aware that some OTR prices may increase from 01 March 2016 due to new grant levels coming into effect in the new financial year.

Ultra-low emission registrations up 386% on first quarter of 2014 (Image: OLEV)

The prices changes are due to forthcoming changes to the Plug-in Car (and Van) Grants (PiCG). From 01 March 2016, two new grant rates will be introduced with the level of subsidy for PHEVs falling by 50 per cent from a maximum of £5,000 to £2,500. All-electric models may also be affected, although to a lesser extent than for PHEVs, with the PiCG for full EVs reducing by £500 to a maximum of £4,500.

The new PiCG rates will be awarded using a new EV classification system, each EV being classed depending on the level of CO2 emissions and the EV-only capable range.

• Category 1: CO2 emissions <50g/km and a zero emission range of at least 70 miles
• Category 2: CO2 emissions <50g/km and a zero emission range between 10 and 69 miles
• Category 3: CO2 emissions of 50-75g/km and a zero emission range of at least 20 miles

Category 1 vehicles will benefit from the full £4,500 grant while Category 2 and 3 vehicles will receive £2,500. The current grant scheme will run until March 2018 or until a certain number of each grant has been awarded.

A price cap will also be introduced in March 2016. Category 2 and 3 models with a list price of more than £60,000 will not be eligible for the PiCG, though all Category 1 vehicles will be able to have the full PiCG no matter what their cost.

Read more: Next Green Car

My ZOE plus an Outlander PHEV and i3 charging at London Gateway (Image: T. Larkum)

Electric cars will become as ubiquitous as the internet

Growth in popularity of electric cars is akin to the spread of the internet in the 1990s, minister claims

My ZOE plus an Outlander PHEV and i3 charging at London Gateway (Image: T. Larkum)
Renault ZOE plus a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and BMW i3 charging at London Gateway (Image: T. Larkum)

Electric cars are on track to become as ubiquitous as the internet, the transport minister has said, claiming plug-in vehicle technology was reaching a “tipping point”.

Andrew Jones, the roads minister, said sales of ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEVs) were “rocketing”, with 28,188 new ULEV cars on the road in 2015 – almost double the number in 2014, and more than the previous five years combined.

Although this remains a tiny fraction of the overall car market – with a record 2.6 million new vehicles sold last year – the Government believes by 2050 it can get “virtually every car and van on the road to be zero emission”.

In a speech this week, Mr Jones said:

“The shift we are seeing reminds me of the spread of the internet in the 1990s.

“The internet started small, as a niche interest, but then it snowballed, and now it’s hard to imagine being without it.

“I think we are seeing a similar picture emerging for ultra-low emission vehicles in Britain today.

“ULEV sales are not just growing rapidly, they are rocketing.”

Read more: Telegraph

Electric vehicle sales to boom in 2016

2015 proved to be an interesting year for energy and climate issues both globally and in the UK. Will 2016 hold more of the same?

Forecasting is a dangerous business, but here are six predictions you should keep an eye on.

1) The showdown on oil prices between Saudi Arabia and the US will intensify, and the Saudis will eventually break.

It looks like oil and gas prices are going to remain low for the foreseeable future, panicking both the oil industry in Saudi Arabia and the shale gas industry in the US.

The big question is whether Saudi Arabia can keep production high and prices low long enough to bankrupt enough of the American shale industry. The answer may come by the end of 2016 and several factors point to the Saudis breaking first.

For one, despite losses for the oil industry, low oil prices benefit many sectors in the US, especially as consumers now have more spending money in their pockets. However for Saudi Arabia, an oil-dependent economy, low prices are a clear loser.

4) Hybrid sales will fall; electric vehicle sales will boom and become the hot energy news item of 2016.


More so than renewables, low-carbon vehicles are an area where you might expect low oil prices to present a difficulty as they will encourage more people to stick with their regular car.

Sales of hybrid vehicles, which many people do compare to standard combustion vehicles in purchasing decisions, will likely fall. Conversely, electric vehicle purchases tend to be made by consumers who are less sensitive to price changes, evidenced by increased EV sales in 2015 despite low oil prices. In addition, a significant portion of EV sales are in industrial, commercial and public sectors where EV mandates play a strong role.

This prediction, like most others included here, differs significantly from OPEC’s delusional World Oil Outlook. On EVs it forecasts only a moderate increase in sales all the way out to 2040. OPEC dismisses EVs as a threat because it says it will take until 2040 for battery costs to fall by 30-50%, enough to make them viable options. It’s a particularly bold prediction as battery costs have fallen by about 50% in last five years alone.

Expect to see media interest in head-to-head races between the silent rockets and a lot of interest in three big 2016 releases: the Chevy Volt, the Nissan LEAF and the Tesla Model X.

Read more: New Economics

Renault ZOE (Image: Green Car Guide)

Renault leading electric vehicle market in Europe

  • In 2015, Renault was the best performing brand in EV sales in Europe
  • Renault’s EV sales rose 49 per cent to 23,086 units in 2015, with a 23.6 per cent market share
  • ZOE is the best-selling all-electric car in Europe
  • Kangoo Z.E. is the best-selling all-electric LCV in Europe
Renault ZOE (Image: Green Car Guide)
Renault ZOE (Image: Green Car Guide)

Renault is the best performing brand in Europe in electric vehicles sales, with a market share of 23.6 per cent (or 25.2 per cent including Twizy) and 23,086 units registered in 2015 up 49 per cent on 2014. One out of five electric cars sold in Europe was a Renault Z.E. vehicle in 2015.

The European all-electric vehicle market stands at 97,687 units, up 47.8 per cent compared to 2014. In Europe, the EV market represents a 0.61 per cent market share (up 0.16 per cent compared to 2014) of the overall car market.

Renault ZOE is the top-selling all-electric passenger car with its market share increasing by 2.2 percentage points to 19.2 per cent and 18,453 new registrations in 2015. It performed particularly well in France, where it recorded a 48.1 per cent market share (versus 41.2 per cent in 2014) and 10,670 units sold, thanks to the “superbonus” incentive set up by the French government in April 2015. More than half of ZOE sales in France benefitted from the incentive.

Renault Kangoo Z.E. is the best-selling electric LCV in Europe with 4,325 units sold in 2015, accounting for 42.6 per cent of the all-electric LCV market.

Renault has sold the most EVs between 2010 – the year the first EV was launched in Europe – and 2015, with a record of 62,228 units sold. Since its launch, 16,331 units of Renault Twizy were sold.

Renault Z.E. models sold in Europe in 2015:

  • ZOE, a compact hatchback launched in 2013;
  • Kangoo Z.E., the electric version of Renault’s LCV launched in 2011;
  • Twizy, an urban two-seater quadricycle, launched in 2012

In the UK, ZOE sales were up 102 per cent in 2015 to 2,053 vehicles, significantly outpacing the UK electric vehicle market, which was up 48 per cent (including Twizy) on 2014. ZOE is the second best-selling electric car in the UK representing one in five EVs sold.

Source: Renault Press Release

Electrification of UK roads hits new peak

The UK government’s initiatives for the ‘electrification’ of the country’s roads appear to be paying off, with the news that plug-in electric vehicle (EV) registrations reached a record high in 2015, as 28,188 new ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) were licensed, which is more than the past five years’ totals rolled into one.


The switch to electric power marked a 94% annual rise compared to the previous year, while the popularity of plug-in vehicles shows no sign of slowing, with an even greater selection of ULEVs due to be launched in 2016.

Read more: Traffic Technology Today

(Image: Razzouk/Shutterstock)

2016 Will Be the Year the Fossil Fuel Era Enters Terminal Decline

This year is set to be even warmer than last, but there are reasons to believe the shift to clean energy will gain serious momentum in 2016.

(Image: Razzouk/Shutterstock)
(Image: Razzouk/Shutterstock)

2015 was a landmark year for climate action. Its many highlights were topped by a Paris agreement where 195 countries set themselves on a low-carbon path via economy-wide plans sure to be developed and strengthened every year.

In the meantime, climate chaos continues to build: 2015 was the warmest year of the warmest decade since we started recording temperatures. 2016 is forecast to be even warmer. The number of climate refugees are swelling and everywhere popular movements against more pollution and irresponsibility are strengthening.

Expect the following broad trends to accentuate in 2016.

Clean Energy can no Longer be Stopped

Notwithstanding the low price of coal and oil, solar power and other forms of clean energy will continue their onward march in 2016 and quasi-monopolize additions to electricity supply worldwide.

Order books for new clean energy power plants are up sharply in the United States, China, India, as well as in the developing economies of Africa and Latin America. India, for example, with current electricity grid capacity of less than 300 gigawatts (GW), is on its way to building 100 GW of solar power by 2022 (from 5 GW currently), double the current solar capacity of China.

Meanwhile, cheaper battery technology will continue to drive clean energy costs down, while changing the way people think about energy: We will produce more electricity from solar power, but also store and manage it ourselves. This foretells nothing short of a revolution in the way our modern society fuels itself, upending previous assumptions about the need for large fossil fuel plants connected by an expensive, inefficient electricity grid.

Read more: Alternet

2014 BMW i3 REx vs Chevrolet Volt comparison (Image: D Noland/T Moloughney)

Plug-in car sales charge ahead

The UK saw record sales of plug-in cars last year.

BMW i3 Goes Head-to-Head with VW e-Golf (Image: AutoExpress)
BMW i3 Goes Head-to-Head with VW e-Golf (Image: AutoExpress)

According analysis by the government and the Go Ultra Low campaign, which is backed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, as well as leading companies in the industry, plug-in sales for 2015 exceeded the total for 2010 to 2014 combined.

In all, 28,188 new ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) arrived on UK roads in 2015, a rise of 94 per cent compared with the previous year.

Fuelling the demand is a greater choice of models, with thirty pure electric or plug-in hybrid cars now available in the UK, ranging from high-performance sports cars to family run-arounds – and more are on the way in 2016. Last year, the plug-in hybrid vehicles proved most popular among motorists, with 18,254 registrations, a 137 per cent increase on 2014. Fully electric vehicle sales increased 48 per cent to 9,934 registrations.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP said,

“The UK has one of the fastest growing ultra-low emission vehicle markets in the world and these record figures show more and more people across the country are enjoying the benefits of this cheap-to-run and green technology.

BMW i3“British drivers have a wider choice of vehicles than ever before and we have increased our support for plug-in vehicles to £600 million over the next five years to cut emissions, create jobs and support our cutting-edge industries.”

Head of Go Ultra Low, Poppy Welch, said,

“This sustained level of growth represents how plug-in vehicles are becoming the norm for drivers who want to buy a fun, economical, stylish new car. Now, instead of facing high running costs, motorists can reap the rewards of an economical ultra low emission vehicle, which can save the typical car owner hundreds of pounds every year. With this growth showing no signs of stopping, it’s proof that electric car ownership is the new normal. Now, it’s not a question of will motorists choose electric, but when.”

Read more: Diesel Car