Monthly Archives: June 2016

Businesses lead charge to electric car future

Eleven businesses in the UK have been the first to be awarded ‘Go Ultra Low Company’ status – including Microsoft UK, University of Birmingham and London Fire Brigade.


These organisations are leading the electric motoring revolution by using electric cars and vans, and have pledged to buy even more. This new initiative has been launched to recognise the growing importance of electric vehicles to business fleets as the number of EVs registered to UK businesses has increased by 36% so far this year compared to the same period in 2015.

Go Ultra Low Companies are setting the new standard for greener business motoring. To qualify, businesses must be committed to make up at least 5% of their fleets with EVs by 2020. This mirrors the Government forecast that EVs will represent 5% of total UK new car registrations by the end of the decade.

We’re pleased to announce that the first eleven organisations to receive Go Ultra Low Company status are: AMT Vehicle Rental; Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust; Environment Agency; Fleetdrive Electric; eConnect Cars; Gnewt Cargo; Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service; London Fire Brigade; Manchester Metropolitan University; Microsoft UK and University of Birmingham.

Source: Go Ultra Low

2015 Volkswagen e-Golf

Volkswagen e-Golf: real-world range vs. EPA estimates over six-month test

The reality of range—reproducible, real-world daily-driving range—is one of the most important concepts you have to become familiar with if you’re new to electric vehicles.

2015 Volkswagen e-Golf
2015 Volkswagen e-Golf

Generally speaking, the faster you drive, the quicker you accelerate, and the more accessories (like climate control) you use, the more energy you consume.

But the interface plays an especially important role in how much of the range you use. Each EV has its own way of anticipating the number of miles you have left at any point of battery charge—sometimes optimistic then revisionist, other times surprisingly linear, accurate, and confidence-building.

Our long-term 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf landed soundly in the latter group. Its gauge cluster and trip computer unfailingly suggested a remaining range that was maybe slightly less than what was actually remaining, and nearly as linear as a fuel-range estimation for a gasoline car.

It helped us have confidence in the e-Golf’s range, as we quite easily got more than 80 miles of charge in most year-round driving conditions—and in many cases, a lot more.

The test e-Golf had a 24.2-kwh battery pack and was EPA-rated at 83 miles of total range; but the entire time, that seemed conservative.

Read more: Green Car Reports

A map highlighting the nine locations of the new electric vehicle charging points (Image: ITV Border)

Electric vehicle charging points go live in Cumbria

Cumbria County Council is launching a series of charging points for electric vehicles in the county.

A map highlighting the nine locations of the new electric vehicle charging points (Image: ITV Border)
A map highlighting the nine locations of the new electric vehicle charging points (Image: ITV Border)

Nine sites have been commissioned and are available for use by residents, visitors and businesses.

They are located in Carlisle, Kendal, Workington, Whitehaven, Keswick, Ulverston, Kirkby Stephen, Kirkby Lonsdale and Ambleside.

The project was made possible after Cumbria County Council secured funding of £438,000 to create a countywide electric vehicle infrastructure.

The Government’s Office of Low Emission Vehicles has supplied 75% of the funding through its Local Authority Rapid and Public Sector Estate Chargepoint schemes and 25% match funding has been secured from a private investor.

Charging points for electric vehicles are at the following locations:

  • Carlisle – Lowther Street (opposite Rural Payments Agency)
  • Kendal – Car park at County Offices, Busher Walk
  • Workington – Car park at Allerdale House, Griffin Street
  • Whitehaven – Car park Senhouse Street
  • Keswick – Central Car Park, Heads Road
  • Ulverston – Brewery Street car park
  • Kirkby Stephen – Christian Head car park
  • Kirkby Lonsdale – New Road car park
  • Ambleside – Low Fold car park, Lake Road

I’m absolutely delighted that charging points for electric vehicles are up and running in the county, providing a low carbon transport solution. I’d like to thank our district council partners who played a key role in providing locations within their car parks for the chargers, ensuring they’re easily accessible to the public. This has been a complex project and it’s taken a while to get everything in place but it’s been well worth the wait.

“Up until now there have been limited charging facilities in Cumbria. I’m sure this project will help open up the county to more electric vehicle drivers and make a real difference, both in Cumbria and nationally.”



Electric car chargers spread across Scotland as pumps dwindle

The number of rural petrol stations is about to be overtaken by electric chargers, with plug-in points replacing pumps in some villages.

Plug-in points will replace pumps in some villages. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
Plug-in points will replace pumps in some villages. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

There are more than 550 charging points across Scotland but fewer than 700 non-supermarket filling stations.

There were virtually no chargers five years ago, while petrol forecourts have declined by a quarter over the last decade.The Petrol Retailers Association said one third of independent filling stations, many rural, had closed.

By contrast, the Electric Vehicle Association Scotland (Evas) said the number of rapid chargers, which take around 20 minutes, had doubled in the last year alone to around 150.

Carplus, which promotes car-sharing clubs, said one in five of their vehicles were electric – the highest in the UK.

Spokeswoman Beate Kubitz said:

“Many rural filling stations have disappeared, so people living in remote areas have to plan and make detours to fill up with petrol and diesel.

“The charge point network is growing rapidly and makes driving an electric car longer distances possible.”

Read more: Scotsman

Evolt wins a place on the new Scottish Framework to install EV charge points

Evolt, the electric vehicle (EV) charge point supplier, has been selected by the Energy Saving Trust Limited (EST) as one of the companies to provide EV charging solutions on a new Scotland-wide framework agreement.


The new framework includes the right to tender, be selected, or quote for the installation of rapid, commercial and domestic charging units on the mainland and in the Highlands and Islands. The announcement follows a full tender and is effective immediately to an initial expiry date of December 2018.

Having established itself as a significant player on the Scottish EV charge point supplier market over the past five years, Evolt has supplied in excess of 1,100 charging points to 24 local councils and many private businesses in Scotland.

Justin Meyer, General Manager at Evolt, says its commercial charge points’ reliability was a key factor in being selected for the new framework:

“Our equipment is installed in both urban and rural environments, including on remote islands such as the Shetlands, and has helped to drive forward Scotland’s sustainability agenda over the past five years.

“As a part of the new framework agreement we remain in a strong position to encourage and facilitate the ever-increasing take up of EVs in Scotland.”

Included in the 1,100 Evolt charge points installed in Scotland are 85 of the top-of-the-range Evolt Rapid chargers. Each unit can efficiently charge two EVs to 80% of their battery life within 30 minutes through a 50Kw DC and 43Kw AC outlet.

Justin adds that the units are user-friendly, tamper proof, simultaneous charging functionality on both fast and rapid charge points and contain a built in 3G communications modem enabling remote monitoring of the charging process and charging data collection:

“This functionality enhances our strong reputation for offering a high quality charging solution that is backed up by an efficient and effective service support.

“It is a testament to the durability of our technology that we have been able to successfully install and maintain our equipment in the testing weather conditions experienced in the highlands and on remote islands.”

Source: Evolt press release

Renault ZOE Price Increase

There is a rumour going around that Renault will be increasing the cost of the ZOE significantly after 30 June, in other words there will be new prices from Friday.


The figure suggested is about £30 per month, so a big rise.

The report is as yet unconfirmed, but of course it ties in with the start of the next sales quarter so it is credible.

It also matches our experience of the prices rising every couple of months so far during 2016.

For example we have previously reported price changes as follows:

These were all about two months apart so the next increase occurring in early July would be consistent with these previous events.

If the amount of increase is correct, however, then it’s significantly more than we’ve seen before.

As ever, we will report as soon as we have any more information. Until then, our current prices are here: Renault ZOE Offers.

Update 6 July 2016: The price increase happened just as predicted, and it was pretty big at around £30 per month. As we’ve said before, if you’re thinking of getting a ZOE you should do it quickly as its price is going up rapidly.

SmartFlower solar PV (Image: Green-Mole)

Launch of Solar SmartFlower

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if each of us could produce all clean energy we need
right in our backyards? And wouldn’t it be a cherry on the top if the same photovoltaic
system could simply be plug-&-play like any other normal home appliance?

SmartFlower solar PV (Image: Green-Mole)
SmartFlower solar PV (Image: Green-Mole)

At smartflower, we have stopped asking such questions. Instead, we have
answered them – with smartflower POP, the world’s first all-in-one solar system.

Thanks to its extraordinary construction and the perfectly synchronised components,
the system delivers, on an average, approx. 4,000 kWh per year, thus
fulfilling the complete average electricity requirement of a household in the central
European region.

Smartflower Promo from ImagePlay on Vimeo.

smartflower POP represents changing times. The size of the system alone is no
longer the measure of all things. What counts is a fairly constant production
rate during the course of the day, in order to enable a more effective use of the
produced energy. smartflower POP achieves a degree of self-utilisation of
around 60% – a significant improvement over a comparable rooftop unit, which
averages just around 30%. Now that is what we call smart!

Source: Green Mole press release

The Route 57 car at Beaulieu Motor Museum in the New Forest

2,500 mile Electric Car Road Trip through UK & Ireland

On 6th April 2016 Jess Shanahan set out from Plymouth on a 20 day journey across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland – finishing in Galway on 26th April.

The Route 57 car at Beaulieu Motor Museum in the New Forest
The Route 57 car at Beaulieu Motor Museum in the New Forest

The road trip, named Route 57 for its 57 ‘must see’ destinations along the way, included stops in cities, villages, forests, and national parks – documenting the journey with photos and video.

The route was designed by Jurys Inn Hotels, and driven in a Kia Soul EV supplied by DriveElectric, using electric car charging points (mapped out by ZapMap). The electric car saw the capital cities of four countries, was welcomed by 17 town and city mayors, stopped at motor museums, iconic landmarks, and drove through scenic landscapes including Dartmoor, the Brecon Beacons, the Lake District, The Cairngorms, Wicklow Mountains and more.

Source: Agenda21 Digital

Fuel prices have risen as oil recovers to $40 per barrel (Image: N. Ansell/PA)

VW and Shell accused of trying to block EU push for electric cars

Industry giants’ call for biofuels over electric and fuel-efficient cars puts Europe’s carbon emissions targets at risk, say experts

Fuel prices have risen as oil recovers to $40 per barrel (Image: N. Ansell/PA)

VW and Shell have been accused of trying to block Europe’s push for electric cars and more efficient cars, by saying biofuels should be at heart of efforts to green the industry instead.

The EU is planning two new fuel efficiency targets for 2025 and 2030 to help meet promises made at the Paris climate summit last December.

But executives from the two industrial giants launched a study on Wednesday night proposing greater use of biofuels, CO2 car labelling, and the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) instead.

In reality, such a package would involve the end of meaningful new regulatory action on car emissions for more than a decade, EU sources say. But Shell insisted it is not trying to block an EU push for electric cars.

Ulrich Eichhorn, VW’s new head of research and development, said that plug-in hybrids and more efficient vehicles were “building blocks” for the future, but that “higher shares” for biofuels would be needed in the meantime.

He told a meeting in Brussels:

“Modern diesel and natural gas engines will absolutely be required to deliver CO2 targets until 2020 and they will also contribute to further reductions going on from there.”

In meeting the Paris goals, “societal costs need to be minimised to keep our industrial strength and competitiveness,” he said.

The Auto Fuels Coalition study, written by Roland Berger, makes a series of highly pessimistic assumptions about the costs of fuel efficiency improvements, and equally optimistic ones about greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels. A recent EU study found the dirtiest biofuels three times more polluting than diesel.

An EU source said:

“these two industries have realised they have a shared interest. When you saw who was paying for the study, you knew what the answer would be.”

Read more: The Guardian

Global land and sea temperature was 1.11C warmer in April 2016 than the average temperature for April during the period 1951-1980 (Image: S. Mahe/Reuters)

April breaks global temperature record, marking seven months of new highs

Latest monthly figures add to string of recent temperature records and all but assure 2016 will be hottest year on record

Global land and sea temperature was 1.11C warmer in April 2016 than the average temperature for April during the period 1951-1980 (Image: S. Mahe/Reuters)
Global land and sea temperature was 1.11C warmer in April 2016 than the average temperature for April during the period 1951-1980 (Image: S. Mahe/Reuters)

[16 May] Last month was the hottest April on record globally – and the seventh month in a row to have broken global temperature records.

The latest figures smashed the previous record for April by the largest margin ever recorded.

It makes three months in a row that the monthly record has been broken by the largest margin ever, and seven months in a row that are at least 1C above the 1951-80 mean for that month. When the string of record-smashing months started in February, scientists began talking about a “climate emergency”.

Figures released by Nasa over the weekend show the global temperature of land and sea was 1.11C warmer in April than the average temperature for April during the period 1951-1980.

It all but assures that 2016 will be the hottest year on record, and probably by the largest margin ever.

Read more: The Guardian