Daily Archives: March 13, 2017

Kia Soul EV on charge on a London street (Image: M. Willis/Getty/Go Ultra Low)

The Guardian view of the car industry: an electric future

The world is moving faster than we think towards more automated vehicles powered by renewable energy

Gone are the days when cars made in Britain were British. Monday’s sale of Vauxhall/Opel to Peugeot meant only the transfer of two large English factories from the German subsidiary of an American firm to a French company, accompanied by the ritual promises that jobs would be safe. These seem insubstantial, given that the new management plans to save €1.7bn a year from the old Opel operation, while the Vauxhall factories made a heavy loss after the pound’s post-referendum slide. Yet the contortions of government policy which once accompanied threats to the car industry went quite unseen this time. But there is one small aspect of the deal in which it appears that Mrs May’s industrial strategy might be an intelligent deployment of very limited resources. The future of the car industry is clearly electric, and the development of battery technology – something the government plans to support – will be vital.

Kia Soul EV on charge on a London street (Image: M. Willis/Getty/Go Ultra Low)
Kia Soul EV on charge on a London street (Image: M. Willis/Getty/Go Ultra Low)

Against the protectionism practised by the Chinese government, which is determined to dominate the world market, and to supplant the Japanese and Korean firms which now provide most of the world’s batteries, any effort by the British government is likely to prove inadequate. Especially a British government which has ended its own participation in the single market; but at least it is playing in the right game.

At the moment, wholly electric cars are still a tiny minority of those on the road, but their number is growing very fast as they become more affordable and more practical. Their advantages to society are obvious: they pollute far less than internal combustion engines, and use less energy too. A city of electric cars will be cleaner and quieter than our present stinking streets. And at some stage in the next decade, their advantages to private drivers will become overwhelming. The electric car will become a mainstream status symbol and it is the buyers of internal combustion vehicles who will feel like weird outsiders. The Dutch parliament has considered a measure which would make all cars sold there electric by 2025. A recent thinktank report suggests that 10 years after that a third of all the vehicles sold in the world will be electric.

New electric cars must travel further and need less time to recover from their journeys than those that can be bought today, when long journeys are still fraught with anxiety. This means lighter batteries that hold more charge and can be charged more quickly; they are appearing already and the huge amounts of global investment make it likely that progress will continue and technology will supply what the market needs.

Stepping back for a moment, the rise of electric and largely automated cars might change the world around us almost as profoundly as the internal combustion engine did. Part of this is their obvious role in transportation. All-electric traffic will be faster, reversing the trend of the last century. Lighter cars will accelerate and brake more quickly, while increasing automation will mean traffic moves more freely. If those trends continue, the private car might disappear altogether, replaced by a network of hired autonomous vehicles, at least within cities. The beginnings of this development are already visible in the reluctance of young people to learn to drive.

Less obvious, but just as important, are all the symbolic values of cars. It’s not just for Bruce Springsteen that they embody freedom, autonomy and power. The car that you own says almost as much about your social position and your aspirations as the clothes you wear. Car ownership was for much of the world a mark of status in the way that owning a horse made you a knight. The coming revolution threatens far more than the vehicle manufacturing industry. If cars do come to be valued for their usefulness, not as means of ostentation, the motor car would become only a status symbol for the rich, as useless, if still as loved, as the private horse now is.

Source: The Guardian

Vauxhall Ampera EREV

UK budget announcement on electric vehicles doesn’t go far enough

Specialist management consultancy Baringa Partners has responded to the UK Chancellor’s Budget announcement of support for electric vehicles (EVs) saying the support doesn’t go far enough.

Policies should be designed to support the roll-out of rapid charging access across the UK, according to Baringa. While the Chancellor’s announcement of support for the development of batteries for electric cars will go some way to alleviating customers’ fears about range, more work is needed to change the perception that electric vehicles are not as reliable as their petrol and diesel peers.

Vauxhall Ampera EREV
Vauxhall Ampera EREV

“The Chancellor’s announcement of funding for research into batteries for electric vehicles is a positive first step, but it doesn’t go far enough” said Natalie Bird, Senior Consultant at Baringa. ““The transport sector trails the energy and industrial sectors on decarbonisation. Despite significant uptake in electric cars since 2011, the rate of eligible vehicle registrations slowed substantially last year. Although the UK’s 2050 Greenhouse Gas target theoretically allows for later action, the combination of pressing air quality issues, consumer interest in electric vehicles and advances in self-driving technology provides a real opportunity today to kick-start the decarbonisation of the transport sector, which will reap long-term benefits.”

Ms Bird added that in these early stages, bolder policies that reduce costs and influence public perception are needed if the Government wants to see more people get behind the electric wheel. This means providing more certainty to investors, producers and consumers about the vision for the future of the market. In the longer run, the Government may need to shift the balance of policy away from direct subsidies and towards more technology neutral mechanisms such as a wider carbon tax for the transport sector, to discourage the use of conventional vehicles.

The Government should also recognise the ongoing evolution of the wider transport landscape and the potential shift away from private vehicle ownership towards greater use of ‘on-demand’ flexible modes of travel such as car sharing schemes, and ensure policies take this into account. This may be accelerated by self-driving technology, which in turn could dramatically transform road transport demand patterns, and it would be good to recognise that link in the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Source: Renewable Energy Magazine

Electric Goes Second Hand

Good news for those who want to join the Electric Revolution, but prices have seemed too high. Like any new market, the Electric car market is evolving and changing. As the early buyers of a few years ago are trading in their cars, there is a growth in the stock of high quality, low mileage electric cars.

So, to meet growing demand we are now providing second hand electric cars to meet our customers needs.

Deal of the week: White 2015 Nissan Acenta 24 kWh

£500 deposit, £199.99 per month

Nissan are helping with Dealer contributions on selected cars. This deal therefore has an additional £1000 contribution from Nissan enabling you to get this terrific deal:
White 2015 plate Nissan Leaf Acenta 24 kWh with only 8000 miles on the clock.
£500 deposit, £199.99 per month payment for a 3 year PCP lease with 8,000 miles per year.

Let us know if you want this car

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