Monthly Archives: March 2017

BMW i8 in Sophisto Grey (Image: T. Larkum)

BMW i8 Gallery

During a test drive of the BMW i3 I took the opportunity to photograph a pair of i8’s on show there.

BMW i8 in Sophisto Grey (Image: T. Larkum)
BMW i8 in Sophisto Grey (Image: T. Larkum)

The i8 is a rather good looking car by any account.

BMW i8 in Sophisto Grey (Image: T. Larkum)
BMW i8 in Sophisto Grey (Image: T. Larkum)

Of course, it is marred by the fact that it has a fossil fuel engine as well as an electric motor, giving it only about 20 miles of electric range.

BMW i8 in Sophisto Grey (Image: T. Larkum)
BMW i8 in Sophisto Grey (Image: T. Larkum)

But then no car is perfect.

BMW i8 in Ionic Silver (Image: T. Larkum)
BMW i8 in Ionic Silver (Image: T. Larkum)

My thanks to Vines of Guildford BMW for arranging the visit.

A Look Around my New Nissan Leaf 30 kWh

I just took delivery of my new long range Nissan Leaf and I love it.

Check out the short video. This is the Tekna and the interior shots show the nice leather (heated) seats front and back, and the roomy boot.

New stuff I have noticed:

  • The extra range is wonderful.
  • DAB radio is great and the software interface is much improved.
  • It tucks in the wing mirrors automatically when you lock it.
  • It comes with both 13A and type 2 charge cable as default.
  • It seems to accelerate a little quicker than before in normal mode (in spite of the extra battery weight).
  • It seems to accelerate a little slower in eco mode. I guess that is good for eco.
  • Gun Metal grey looks fantastic.

Smart unveiled its latest ForTwo Cabrio at the Frankfurt show

SMART Electric Drive | Fully Charged

This is the 260th episode of Fully Charged and just possibly, the very first proper, informative and clear car review. This is very much down to the talent and experience of Jonny Smith, his first time on the series (but definitely not the last).

After watching this, I know I have to up my game, I’m so thrilled Jonny could do this show with us and I’m really intrigued to hear your reaction.

Thank you Smart for flying Jonny and Mark out to Toulouse and organising the cars.

London ups congestion charge on older cars

Brexit be damned. In an effort to comply with European Union pollution regulations, London says that later this year it will begin levying a £10 (about $12.50) charge on older cars if they want to drive in the city’s core.

Though not an outright ban on cars, the fee is a step toward creating the

“toughest emission standard of any major city,”

said London mayor Sadiq Khan in a release issued to members of the media.

London plans to implement the new charge on October 23, 2017, the 14th anniversary of the city’s first congestion fee. The city estimates that the fee will apply to about 10,000 vehicles driven into central London on weekdays.

The new “T-charge” is in addition to a £11.50 fee (£10 with automatic payments) that is already collected on all cars driven into central London between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays. While the existing charge applies to nearly all motor vehicles, the T-charge will be levied on cars that do not comply with at least the Euro-4 emissions standards. Broadly speaking, Euro-4 cars date from 2005 or later.

That’s not to say that the new T-charge is not without its detractors. The Telegraph calls it

” a tax on the city’s poorest motorists.”

Khan has also said his administration is investigating a diesel scrapping scheme to pull older, polluting vehicles off of the road and that it is accelerating plans for a separate Ultra Low Emissions Zone that would charge an even larger amount of money to higher emissions vehicles.

Source: The Car Connection

Government Grant for Electric Car Home Charge Point

This is a summary of the UK Government’s scheme for subsidising home charge points for electric cars, known as the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS).

It has been kept relatively simple; if you need detailed guidance you should consult the original document (linked at the bottom).

1. Most plug-in vehicle owners carry out most charging at home.

2. Customers who are the registered keeper or have primary use of an eligible electric vehicle may receive up to 75% (capped at £500, inc VAT) off the total capital costs of the chargepoint and associated installation costs.

3. The key features of the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme are as follows:

  • The grant is a 75% contribution towards the cost of one chargepoint and its
    installation up to a maximum of £500 (including VAT) per household/eligible
    vehicle.
  • Customers must provide evidence of being the primary user of an eligible electric vehicle or have a vehicle on order in order to be able to qualify for the grant.
  • The date of installation must not be more than 4 months ahead of the date
    of delivery or start date of vehicle use.

4. The grant covers up to 75% of the eligible costs of chargepoint installation, the
customer form requires confirmation of who is paying the balance of the
installation costs.

5. The grant for 75% must be claimed against an approved chargepoint and
made on your behalf by a chargepoint installer which has been authorised
by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

6. You must have off street parking facilities suitable for chargepoint installation (a survey prior to installation should be conducted by your installer). If you do not have off street parking, your Local Authority may be able to help via a central Government grant.

7. The authorised chargepoint installer will claim the 75% (capped at £500) on your behalf. How the remaining cost is to be met should be agreed with your installer prior to installation. In any event, you should satisfy yourself whether you are expected to pay the remaining cost, and if not who will be paying for it, before the installation takes place. The grant will only be paid in arrears (i.e. once installation is complete).

8. No more than 2 chargepoints can be funded at one property irrespective of how many vehicles are registered there.

Source: EVHS – Guidance for Customers: November 2016

Electric Cars and why this technophobe has one

I’m a 34 year old woman who is not naturally drawn to technology and yet I am an early adopter of the electric car.

I try to live a simple life, and there is little I enjoy more than a bit of nostalgia and switching off from the modern world, so it was a bit of a surprise to some of my friends and family when I decided to get an electric car.

The truth is, that it’s actually not much different to driving a regular car, except you’re considering your fuel consumption differently and of course you are saving the environment, and those are good things to concern yourself with, right?!

I took my mum and sisters to the spa the other week, it was the first time my older sister had been in the car and she was sceptical “are we going to get there and back OK, is there enough charge” she must have said this at least 4 times before she forgot about range and concerned herself with other aspects of the car. She was like a kid with a new toy, pressing the touch screen display, asking “what does this do”, “what does that do”, then noticing how silently the car moves and yet how quick it is off the mark. She was impressed. On the way home she noticed the remaining range “36 miles, oh we’ll get home on that” – she was getting it.  More at ease and enjoying the ride she asked if I wanted any money towards fuel, I laughed and said “well the journey cost less than £1, so I think I’ll let you off” – she was speechless.

‘Getting over’ the technology aspect of the car is very easy, there isn’t actually much to learn, in fact the car itself makes driving and running it very simple, and I do love a simple life 😊

A Mother’s Tale of Electric Cars

I love my electric car! It’s nippy and smooth to drive, all at the same time. Somehow it seems to glide effortlessly along and I can weave in and out of traffic very easily. I use it for all my local errands – family shop, trips to the gym, plus the never-ending Mum-taxi drop offs and pick ups……At night, I plug it in when I finally get home and it is fully charged the next day, ready to go.

Nissan Leaf – a Perfect Family Car

I rarely use up more more than 30% of the battery going about my usual day, so I don’t really have any concerns about the battery life. It took a little getting used to on longer journeys into London – I learned to drive just a little bit slower to conserve the battery – although when we get our new Nissan Leaf next week, it will have a longer range and I can then really put my foot down😉. The free congestion charge and almost free parking in Westminster always make up for the extra 5 minutes in the car!

Most of all, I enjoy the engine quietness and the ‘smug value’ that comes from knowing that I am doing the right thing for my children by not adding more polluting emissions to the earth’s atmosphere. On top of that, it makes financial sense – a new car (let me say that again, a new car – I have NEVER had a new car before!) for just a little more per month than we previously paid for fuel. It’s a no-brainer for me.

2017 set to be landmark year for electric cars

The future is bright for electric cars in 2017, as new figures released recently indicate that more than 100,000 plug-in cars could be on UK roads by the middle of this year.

This prediction is fuelled by record numbers of electric car registrations in 2016, with volumes rising 29% on the previous 12 months. In fact, every quarter of 2016 produced year-on-year growth, with the total number of EVs on UK roads now at more than 87,000.

More and more UK drivers are becoming switched on to the cost-saving benefits and convenience of electric motoring, which resulted in 36,907 electric vehicles being registered between January and December last year, a number that’s set to grow this year.

The ever-increasing selection of electric cars available in the UK is another factor aiding the rise in the market. More than 35 plug-in models are available at the moment, which is four times the number on the market just five years ago.

Plug-in hybrids were particularly popular in 2016, as registrations rose by over 40%. Models such as the BMW 330e, Volkswagen Golf GTE and Audi A3 Sportback e-tron proved to be among the most in-demand.

Source: Go Ultra Low