Daily Archives: March 2, 2017

First drive: Renault Zoe ZE40 Signature Nav electric car review

Review

Six years after the mainstream launch of the Nissan Leaf, range anxiety is still a barrier for many when it comes to adopting electric vehicles. It’s a barrier Renault hopes to demolish with the updated ZE40 edition of the Zoe compact electric hatchback, which almost doubles the vehicle’s range on the NEDC cycle, from 130 miles per charge, to 250 miles.

In real life, the manufacturer says that means an expected range of 186 miles, which it believes will be enough for many drivers to attempt the switch to electric.

The new battery system occupies the same space as the old one, and is only marginally heavier, but offers substantially more capacity. But, aside from the fancy new battery technology, the car itself is largely unchanged.

Renault has introduced a new top-spec trim level, called Signature Nav, which includes a Bose sound system, rear parking camera, leather heated seats, and some different interior colours.

The top spec trim level seems unnecessary on this car, and the darker interior loses some of the character of lower trim levels. Dynamique Nav, the mid-range spec, remains the pick. The light and airy blue and white interior of Dynamique Nav better fits the character of the car – friendly, accessible and classless.

There is one other area that has been improved that is worth a mention – connectivity. From midway through this year, the car will be compatible with a system called Z.E. Trip, a phone and car app combination that links into real-time charging systems, and shows live charging point availability. When the driver reaches the charging point, the Z.E. Pass will allow them to pay through the infotainment system for their charge.

Renault says the vast majority of Zoes sold in the UK are still bought under the battery lease programme, which will continue to operate.

Battery lease pricing starts from £59 on the new ZE40 vehicle, £10 a month more than the old 22kw model.

After plug-in grant, a battery lease ZE40 model starts from £17,845, nearly £4,000 more than the new price of the old model, which remains on sale. Those opting for full battery-included ownership will stump up £23,445.

Despite the cost premium, the new Zoe ZE40 is a serious contender in the electric vehicle sector. It may be smaller than the Leaf, but it has more range and a more modern interior, and is still significantly cheaper – upfront, at least – than a BMW i3.

Read more: FleetNews

The complete line-up of the Hyundai Ioniq. They are (from left), the Ioniq Hybrid, the Ioniq EV and the Ioniq PHEV (Image: Hyundai)

Hyundai Motor unveils new Ioniq plug-in hybrid

SEOUL, Feb. 27 (Yonhap) — Top South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co. unveiled the Ioniq plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) here Monday, completing its lineup of Ioniq cars.

The new plug-in hybrid is the last and third version of the Ioniq, which was first introduced in the country early last year.

The complete line-up of the Hyundai Ioniq. They are (from left), the Ioniq Hybrid, the Ioniq EV and the Ioniq PHEV (Image: Hyundai)
The complete line-up of the Hyundai Ioniq. They are (from left), the Ioniq Hybrid, the Ioniq EV and the Ioniq PHEV (Image: Hyundai)

Previously, the car was available only in hybrid or full electric versions.

“With today’s launch of the Ioniq PHEV, Hyundai Motor now has a full lineup of the green car,” a company official said.

The PHEV uses both an internal combustion engine and rechargeable batteries to provide a maximum driving range of over 900 kilometers, with an average fuel economy of 20.5 kmpl, the highest among PHEV cars currently available in South Korea.

The latest trim of the Ioniq car also comes with various driving and safety features, including a lane keeping assist system and the autonomous emergency braking system.

Read more: Yonhap News

New electric vehicle charging points have been installed at Heathrow Airport under a new partnership between POD Point, manufacturer of the units, and APCOA Parking

Heathrow Airport installs new electric vehicle charging points

New electric vehicle charging points have been installed at Heathrow Airport under a new partnership between POD Point, manufacturer of the units, and APCOA Parking.

The units are available to all drivers of electric vehicles looking to park at the airport.

New electric vehicle charging points have been installed at Heathrow Airport under a new partnership between POD Point, manufacturer of the units, and APCOA Parking
New electric vehicle charging points have been installed at Heathrow Airport under a new partnership between POD Point, manufacturer of the units, and APCOA Parking

“This partnership agreement has the potential to be a game changer for the EV industry in the UK, and not only in volume,” says Erik Fairbairn, CEO of POD Point. “Working with APCOA means access to EV will be granted to a huge section of the population at various touch points in their daily life, as well as putting a measure in place to generate footfall in retail centres and provide added services that encourage customer retention for businesses. Our mission is to have a POD Point everywhere people park for an hour or more and today’s announcement means we are a step closer to making that vision a reality.”

Kim Challis, Regional Managing Director for UK & Ireland, APCOA, adds: “At APCOA we’re passionate about sustainable travel and the future of electric vehicles. I’m proud to be embarking on this exciting new partnership with POD Point. APCOA is the parking provider of choice to hundreds of organisations across the UK and Ireland, and our broad network will open up EV chargers to new motorists and support the wider take-up of electric vehicles.”

Source: Airport Business

Nissan LEAF hails new opportunity for The Taxi Centre

THE Taxi Centre – one of the UK’s leading suppliers of cars to the taxi industry – has taken delivery of its first batch of 100 percent electric Nissan LEAFs as it predicts a major surge in demand for the market-leading model during 2017.

The Glasgow-based company – part of Vertu Motors plc – has taken an initial batch of 15 LEAFs but forecasts making more than 100 sales in the next 12 months and more than 300 the year after.

Allan McGinness, General Manager at The Taxi Centre, said:

“The LEAF has a proven track record in service with taxi operators large and small across the UK and can really help them achieve massive savings.

“We’ve been waiting for the right electric vehicle for the taxi industry and we’re convinced the LEAF is that vehicle.”

There are currently more than 200 Nissan EV taxis in operation across Britain, with dozens more on order and many taxi companies and local authorities taking steps to replace diesel and petrol equivalents with cleaner and cheaper EV alternatives.

Last year it was revealed that more than three million UK taxi miles had been clocked up in all-electric Nissan taxis. Had the same distance – equivalent to six journeys to the moon and back or 120 times around the world – been covered in the diesel vehicles the Nissan EVs replaced, it would have cost an estimated £350,000 in fuel.

However, with average running costs of just two pence per mile, covering three million miles in the LEAF would have cost around £60,000 – a massive saving of £290,000.

With zero tailpipe emissions, the model would also contribute to improving air quality in the towns and cities in which they operate.

Source: Nissan Insider

A Mini comes off the assembly line at its factory in Cowley, near Oxford (Image: L. Neal/AFP/Getty)

BMW considers making electric Mini outside UK due to Brexit worries

Suggestion that carmaker could produce vehicle in Germany instead of Oxford comes amid fears over Vauxhall’s future

The new electric Mini could be made in Germany rather than the UK because of the uncertainty caused by Brexit.

Most Minis are manufactured at its plant in Oxford, one of the biggest factories in the country, but BMW, the owner of the brand, is considering making the electric version of the car in Germany.

A Mini comes off the assembly line at its factory in Cowley, near Oxford (Image: L. Neal/AFP/Getty)
A Mini comes off the assembly line at its factory in Cowley, near Oxford (Image: L. Neal/AFP/Getty)

If BMW decides to make the Mini outside of Britain then it would be a major blow to the government. Greg Clark, the business secretary, wants to put electric vehicles and battery technology at the heart of the UK’s industrial strategy, describing the sector as an “emblematic area of focus”.

The doubts about where the electric Mini will be built is one of a number of issues threatening to derail the revival of Britain’s car industry. The government persuaded Nissan to commit more investment for its plant in Sunderland but there are fears that jobs could be lost at Vauxhall’s factories in Ellesmere Port and Luton if PSA Group, the owner of Peugeot, completes a deal to buy General Motors’ European business, which includes Vauxhall and Opel.

BMW announced the launch of the battery-powered Mini last year and it is scheduled to go on sale in 2019. The German company says it will make a decision this year about where to produce the car. However, the German newspaper Handelsblatt has reported that BMW is considering building the Mini at its plants in Regensburg and Leipzig rather than Oxford. Another option for BMW is to produce the car in the Netherlands, where roughly one in three Minis are already made.

The German carmaker is likely to hold talks with the British government before making a decision but is concerned about the prospect of the UK leaving the single market and being charged tariffs on imports and exports.

The company insisted it was business as usual at its four sites in the UK. In a statement, it said:

“The decision on where to build the full-electric Mini will be taken this year.

“As formal negotiations between the UK and the EU have not even begun yet it is too early to comment on what Brexit will mean for our business.

“The BMW group has always made clear that we believe integration of the UK into the EU single market, maintaining free movement of goods, services, capital and talent, would be best for business. What’s important for us is that the UK’s negotiations with the EU result in uncomplicated, tariff-free access to the EU single market in future.

“As a major investor and employer in the UK, the BMW group urges the government to take the concerns of international business into account. Not only free trade but also cross-border employment opportunities and unified, internationally applied regulations are of proven benefit to business, the economy and individuals.”

Source: The Guardian