Monthly Archives: March 2016

Renault BEVs sales – February 2016 (Image: Inside EVs)

Renault Increases Sales Of Electric Cars In February By 60%

For 18 consecutive months Renault has increased sales of its electric cars (not counting the on and off again Twizy).

Renault BEVs sales – February 2016 (Image: Inside EVs)
Renault BEVs sales – February 2016 (Image: Inside EVs)

In February, the French company moved 2,152 cars (125 Fluence Z.E., 361 Kangoo Z.E. and 1,666 ZOE including 19 commercial registrations), which is 60% more than year ago, and an additional 126 Twizy – bringing the EV total to 2,278.

The key player in the Renault fleet is the ZOE, which is still growing by a fast 74% – from 947 in 2015 to 1,647!

Most of ZOE sales, 1,182 of them – or nearly 72%, were registered in France, so the Renault flagship is pretty dependent on its home market and incentives in this market.

Cumulatively, Renault has now sold over 85,000 electric vehicles.

Source: Inside EVs

The planned VED tax system from April 2017 will unfairly penalise low carbon cars (Image: NGC)

Buy your plug-in hybrid before April 2017 to avoid tax hike

Buyers of lower-emission cars are expected to bear the brunt of changes to Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) car tax [if registered after] next April 2017, with those in the 91-100 g/km of CO2 band hardest hit, seeing costs over six years rise from nothing to £820.

The planned VED tax system from April 2017 will unfairly penalise low carbon cars (Image: NGC)
The planned VED tax system from April 2017 will unfairly penalise low carbon cars (Image: NGC)

Research conducted by Parkers suggests that of the estimated £5.2 billion of additional revenue the new VED rules will generate by 2023, £4.7 billion will be from buyers of cars emitting 1-130 g/km of CO2, all of which are currently tax-free for the first year.

Initially, the 2017 VED system appears to be an update of the existing scheme, albeit with new bands created and others combined. Notably, only buyers of cars with zero CO2 emissions will have the ability to remain car tax-free under the First Year Rate, as any model producing even 1 g/km of CO2 will be subject to a charge from next year.

There’s a further surcharge for cars with a list price of £40,000 or higher – regardless of emissions, an annual charge of £310 from year two through to six will be imposed.

Buy a new car emitting just 99 g/km of CO2 from April 2017 and instead of enjoying VED tax-free motoring, you’ll instead be lumbered with an £820 tax bill over the first six years of ownership.

Replacing the Standard Rate sliding scale for year two onwards will hit buyers of cleaner cars and effectively provide a financial incentive to purchase models which pollute most. Zero-emission cars again remain free, but all others face a yearly bill of £140.

Read more: Next Green Car

Electric vehicles are the only solution

Speaking at the New York Auto Show, Ghosn explains why we need EVs


We’ve heard it all before, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy listening to Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn explain why he’s still in favor of electric vehicles. Plus, if we’ve heard it a few times, imagine how many times he’s had to say it. It happened again this morning at the opening breakfast for the New York Auto Show, and it was as clear and concise an explanation as you can imagine.

When asked why people aren’t buying more electric vehicles, Ghosn said that there were a few factors working against EVs right now, but that, “I still think it’s just a temporary slow down.” He then listed the reasons why.

Ghosn started with the two-degree agreement that came out of COP21, the climate change conference in Paris last year. As the UN explained (PDF):

The goal of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of this century was first agreed to in Copenhagen and then by all countries at the Cancun Climate Conference in 2010. It recognizes that climate change is already occurring, but that if we act now, we can avoid the worst impacts of a changing climate.

So, with COP22, which will take place in Morocco this November, not that far away, it’s time to get busy. Transportation makes up 17 percent of all CO2 emissions, Ghosn said, and

“there is no way – no way – we’re going to reach anything around two degrees without the substantial reduction in CO2 from the transportation system. And the only obvious, known technology which allows that is electrification.”

Read more: Autoblog

Audi A3 e-tron, Mitsubishi Outlander and BMW i3 plug-ins

Plug-in Hybrid Sales Are Exploding

People don’t want plug-in hybrid cars, the auto companies said. Plug-ins are just a stop gap solution on the way to real electric cars, the experts said. But guess what? The plug-ins are here and the manufacturers can’t keep up with demand. In Europe and the UK, demand for the new BMW 330e has far outstripped supply, Motoring reports.

Audi A3 e-tron, Mitsubishi Outlander and BMW i3 plug-ins
Audi A3 e-tron, Mitsubishi Outlander and BMW i3 plug-ins

BMW has issued this statement:

“We predicted UK sales of 2,500 for the 330e this year, but the demand was much higher than we originally anticipated. We do have high demand across other PHEV models, but it’s not to the same extent as this. Due to very strong demand, we are indeed oversubscribed on 330e. We’re working with affected parties now and will let you know more when we have it regarding future supply.”

Several UK customers have been informed their orders have been cancelled because the factory cannot keep up.

Volkswagen, mired in its diesel cheating scandal woes, has at least one bright spot of good news. It tells Motoring,

“Last year we took around 2,500 orders for the Golf GTE and that number is expected to grow appreciably through 2016. Demand comfortably exceeds supply although we have, of course, adjusted production to accommodate that increasing demand.”

Read more: Gas 2

Jaguar LandRover GroupManager Install (Image: Rolec)

Rolec Launches EV GroupManager

Rolec has announced the launch of its new EV GroupManager system, which has been designed to provide full management control of private Electric Vehicle (EV) charging networks. According to Rolec, the EV GroupManager system has been developed to allow the operator easy management of their entire private EV charging network from a single central computerised location.

Cloud Based System

The system operates by issuing nominated EV drivers with their own secure personal RFID card/fob, containing the driver/vehicle ID. The driver then presents their card/fob to the charging point, which authenticates the card/fob and via GPRS, WiFi or Ethernet communicates with the cloud based back office management system, requesting authorisation to initiate the charging cycle.

Jaguar LandRover GroupManager Install (Image: Rolec)
Jaguar LandRover GroupManager Install (Image: Rolec)

Upon authorisation from the management cloud, which takes only seconds, charging will commence with the cloud recording the driver/vehicle ID, charging start time, the kWh used and the charging end time. This charging information is always hosted in the cloud and can be accessed at anytime, from anywhere, by the system operator to compile management reports, benefit in kind data and billing information. Kieron Alsop, Rolec’s Managing Director, commented,

“EV GroupManager has been designed to enable private enterprises to have full control over their own private EV charging network and is ideally suited to almost any corporate location – or for housing developments, fleet management, staff vehicles, etc.

The introduction of EV GroupManager eliminates the necessity to engage with the public facing charging networks, which are heavily subscription based and operated via third parties. In effect EV GroupManager gives the operator complete control over their own EV charging network and provides them with the flexibility to accommodate both their own, and their EV drivers’, charging needs.”

Read more: Autovolt

Tesla – “Capable Of Greatness” Commercial

Many thanks to Elon Musk for the inspiration of a better world for all of humanity, and the inspirational words of Carl Sagan, one of my favorite astronomers and philosophers.

“We were hunters and foragers, the frontier was everywhere. We were bounded only by the earth and the ocean and the sky. The open road still softly calls. Our little tarraquest globe is the madhouse of those hundred, thousand, millions of worlds. We who cannot even put our own planetary home in order, riven with rivalries and hatreds; are we to venture out into space?

By the time we are ready to settle even the nearest other planetary systems, we will have changed. The simple passage of so many generations will have changed us. Necessity will have changed us. We’re an adaptable species. It will not be we who reach Alpha Centauri and the other nearby stars, it will be a species very like us, but with more of our strengths and fewer of our weaknesses. More confident, far seeing, capable, and prudent.

For all our failings, despite our limitations and fallabilities, we humans are capable of greatness.

What new wonders undreamt of in our time will we have wrought in another generation and another? How far will our nomadic species have wandered by the end of the next century and the next millennium? Our remote descendants safely arrayed on many worlds through the solar system and beyond, will be unified. By their common heritage, by their regard for their home planet, and by the knowledge that whatever other life may be, the only humans in all the universe, come from Earth. They will gaze up and strain to find the Blue Dot in their skies. They will marvel at how vulnerable the repository of all our potential once was.

How perilous our infancy. How humble our beginnings. How many rivers we had to cross before we found our way.” – Carl Sagan

Drought-hit land in Thailand (Image: EPA/R. Yongrit)

February breaks global temperature records by ‘shocking’ amount

Warnings of climate emergency after surface temperatures 1.35C warmer than average temperature for the month

Drought-hit land in Thailand (Image: EPA/R. Yongrit)
Drought-hit land in Thailand (Image: EPA/R. Yongrit)

February smashed a century of global temperature records by a “stunning” margin, according to data released by Nasa.

The unprecedented leap led scientists, usually wary of highlighting a single month’s temperature, to label the new record a “shocker” and warn of a “climate emergency”.

The Nasa data shows the average global surface temperature in February was 1.35C warmer than the average temperature for the month between 1951-1980, a far bigger margin than ever seen before. The previous record, set just one month earlier in January, was 1.15C above the long-term average for that month.

“Nasa dropped a bombshell of a climate report,” said Jeff Masters and Bob Henson, who analysed the data on the Weather Underground website. “February dispensed with the one-month-old record by a full 0.21C – an extraordinary margin to beat a monthly world temperature record by.”

“This result is a true shocker, and yet another reminder of the incessant long-term rise in global temperature resulting from human-produced greenhouse gases,” said Masters and Henson. “We are now hurtling at a frightening pace toward the globally agreed maximum of 2C warming over pre-industrial levels.”

Read more: The Guardian

Car exhaust pollution (Image: Wikipedia)

Britain’s diesel drivers ‘should pay up to £800 more in road tax’

Study shows that large number of diesel vehicles exceed emissions limits; pressure to reduce environmental impact spurs support for new tax structure

The first year rate of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) for new diesel cars should be raised by up to £800 to help reduce emissions, according to Policy Exchange.

Car exhaust pollution (Image: Wikipedia)
Car exhaust pollution (Image: Wikipedia)

The think tank is proposing HM Treasury increase the first year VED rate for new diesels to reflect the greater air pollution caused, in a bid to encourage people to buy lower emission alternatives such as petrol, hybrid or electric cars, instead. Based on a 50% decrease in diesel car sales, the increase in VED would raise around £500 million a year in additional taxes.

A study launched in January as part of a response to the VW ‘dieselgate’ scandal, found that a large number of diesel vehicles were breaking official emissions limits, despite actually following testing processes.

Richard Howard, head of environment and energy at Policy Exchange, said:

“Air pollution is overwhelmingly a diesel problem. The CO2 advantage of diesels has now been eliminated with data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showing that, in 2013, CO2 emissions from new petrol cars were lower than those of diesel cars (on a sales-weighted basis).

“Euro 5 diesel cars sold as recently as 2014 perform no better in terms of NOx emissions than Euro 1 diesels sold in the 1990s. Despite this, Government policies continue to promote diesel vehicles. Consequently, diesel cars have increased from 14% of the car fleet in Britain in 2001, to 36% today. While the latest Euro 6 diesel cars show some improvement over Euro 5, on average they still emit six times more NOx than the latest petrol vehicles.”

A diesel scrappage scheme is also being proposed to provide grants for drivers who trade in their old diesel car or van for a lower emission vehicle.

Read more: Autocar

Renault could soon offer multiple battery options for the ZOE, as Nissan and Tesla offer for their electric vehicles

Renault hints at 200-mile battery option for ZOE and Kangoo

Renault is planning to offer a range of battery capacities for its electric vehicles in the near future, enabling drivers to choose between long range and low cost to suit their needs.

Renault could soon offer multiple battery options for the ZOE, as Nissan and Tesla offer for their electric vehicles
Renault could soon offer multiple battery options for the ZOE, as Nissan and Tesla offer for their electric vehicles

Eric Feunteun, Head of Renault Electric Vehicles, said the company is working to improve energy density through better cell chemistry, to provide longer-range batteries within the same physical space – just as Nissan has recently started offering two versions of the LEAF, and Tesla has multiple options on the Model S and Model X.

“If you ask somebody if they want a larger range the answer is, of course, yes,” he explained. “Then when you move from emotion to facts, and you have a choice between 100 and 200 miles, and the cars with difference prices, the reaction becomes more rational. Some would definitely need the 200, either because they have less constraint in terms of cost or because they use it for 200. Others say they have enough with 100, and they can manage with it.

“I think two routes that will open, not only for Renault but for the market. One focusing on range, one route focusing on cost of ownership. The two routes are important, especially when you consider in the long term that the incentives might be reduced, so that’s how we see the future.”

Read more: EV Fleet World

On Pretending That What’s Happening Isn’t Actually Happening

In December I found myself sliding into a state of extreme unwillingness to take on new projects, to continue work on those in hand, to write, or do much of anything else, really, at work or at home. I found myself prodded awake in the night by worries about global warming, the tides of war and migration, the ramifications of random, dismal environmental facts come upon during the course of a day’s work, or of social justice problems encountered in the news and on the streets of Chicago; about any of which I can do very little to help. There were too many meetings with environmental groups, and no time for walks. I could not look at a tree without wondering how its species would fare in coming, climate disrupted years. I had reached a state of incipient burnout.

Thus, for a few weeks–a month and more, actually–after the solstice, I went into a state of semi-retreat. I did this by allowing myself to hope that COP21 would help bend the climate curve, and by pretending that our ongoing environmental catastrophe, of which climate change, is, after all, only a pernicious, deadly symptom, isn’t happening. I also attempted to pay less attention to the ever increasing spate of bad news, from war, to race relations, to migration, to the grim presidential race—and on and on and on, much of which is at least partly related to said catastrophe, with some industrial civilizational collapse, resource depletion and overpopulation thrown in.

Read more: Ecological Gardening