Daily Archives: April 6, 2017

eVolt charge points support new fleet of EVs at Taxi Central

eVolt, the Electric Vehicle (EV) charge point supplier, has completed the installation of three chargers to assist a Kirkcaldy-based taxi business in achieving its environmental ambitions and support its five new private hire Nissan Leaf EVs, which are now fully operational.

Taxi Central has installed one of eVolt’s Rapid Chargers, which can charge the 30kWh Nissan Leafs to 80% battery life in 30 minutes, to provide on-shift EVs with essential charging capability; and two eVolt AC 7kW Wall-mount Chargers that fully charge the EVs in around 5 hours.

Nissan Leaf charging at an Evolt Charge Point (image: Evolt)

“This charging structure is working excellently, and ensures that our new EVs are well-supported,”

says Mike Brown, Owner of Taxi Central. “We are a 24-hour business and conscious of our environmental foot print. EVs are cheaper to run in the long-term and have a lower maintenance cost, particularly since our taxis travel over 1,000 miles a week.

“eVolt’s chargers are high quality and very reliable, the installation was efficient, and its support network of local engineers gives me peace of mind that should there be a problem, it will be quickly resolved,”

he adds.

The funding for the charge points came through the Energy Saving Trust (EST) and Transport Scotland, and eVolt achieved its status on the latest EST Scotland-wide charge point framework in 2016.

Matthew Eastwood, Head of Transport – Scotland at EST, says EST is pleased to have provided grant funding on behalf of Transport Scotland to support this installation:

“By facilitating the introduction of EVs into the Taxi Central fleet, these charge points will help Kirkcaldy’s residents experience the benefits of EVs, reduce their exposure to harmful emissions and support the Scottish Government’s aim of decarbonising Scotland’s road transport.”

Stephen Rennie, Business Development Manager – Scotland at eVolt, says the Private Hire and Taxi market is one in which eVolt is enjoying considerable success: “More and more businesses are bringing EVs into their fleets as they are seeing its benefits in affordability and sustainability.

“Firms like Taxi Central understand and appreciate that eVolt chargers perform reliably and quickly when used multiple times, and help protect the environment as well as revenues.”

Source: Plug-in Magazine 

Will the diesel car you are driving be worthless in five years’ time?

Is this the nightmare future for owners of today’s diesel cars? It’s 2020 and you are already taxed out of driving into the city centre. At the pumps the price of diesel has soared. The low-emission zone has extended to your suburb. Do you carry on paying extra, or sell for a small fraction of what you paid?

The mayor of London has effectively banned older diesel cars from central London from next October, and the same drivers face a wider ban from a larger area, possibly as soon as 2019. Meanwhile, a report this week by the mayor’s office proposed higher parking charges for diesel owners across the capital.

Things could also be even worse after next week’s budget. After years of pro-diesel policies, chancellor Philip Hammond could be selecting reverse, announcing a major shift in the way both diesel fuel, and the cars, are taxed.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders this week issued a plea to the government not to come down hard on diesel, as it revealed figures suggesting Britain’s love affair with such cars is already slowing. In January registrations were 4.3% lower than the year before, while those of petrol cars grew 8.9% – unthinkable two or three years ago. British Car Auctions, meanwhile, says the traditional price premium commanded by used diesel cars has narrowed considerably in the past 12 months.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, predicts price falls.

“Will all diesels be worthless in five years? Most unlikely. Will some of them be worth significantly less than they otherwise might have been? Almost certainly.”

He says that while the sale of new diesels in the UK has barely been dented, the market for new and secondhand vehicles looks “a lot less certain”, and in continental cities that have seen restraints on diesel use, older car values have fallen.

“It could be a bonus for high-mileage, bargain-seeking motorists who mostly drive out of town, but that will be scant comfort to the out-of-pocket urban vendor who probably thought they were doing the environmentally correct thing in choosing diesel.”

There is a precedent of sorts for price falls. Back in 2012, drivers of older diesel-engined campervans and a host of other older vehicles, including minibuses, saw values plummet after their use was included in London’s Low Emission Zone covering most roads inside the M25. Owners had to either install new exhaust systems, or sell to avoid paying a £100 or £200 charge for every day the vehicle was driven.

Read more: The Guardian

The Engineer drives: going electric with the Renault Zoe Z.E. 40

Renault has almost doubled the battery capacity of its electric supermini, the Zoe. Chris Pickering puts it to the test

Could it be that the electric car has finally come of age? Stepping into the new Renault Zoe Z.E. 40 I would be inclined to argue it has. In some respects, this unassuming little car might seem like an underwhelming choice to back up that claim. After all, it takes more than four times as long to crack the 0-to-60mph sprint as the Tesla Model X we featured last month.

If you look at what‘s kept drivers from going electric in the past, though, the Zoe now ticks an awful lot of boxes. Renault has virtually doubled its range with the launch of this new 41kWh version, which is good for 250 miles on the NEDC test cycle. That’s said to equate to around 186 miles of real-world driving in good conditions – nearly 20 times the length of the average British commute.

The 41kWh version of the Zoe is comparable to a well-specified Ford Focus

This extended range has been achieved without changing the physical dimensions of the battery and with only a 15kg weight increase. It still contains 192 cells arranged in 12 modules, but battery developer LG Chem has managed to pack more active materials into each one. Meanwhile, the surface area of the electrodes has been increased by some 10 per cent and a new cooling system aims to ensure more consistent performance across the temperature range.

The next obstacle has traditionally been cost, but while the Zoe is somewhat pricier than a conventional supermini it’s an order of magnitude cheaper than offerings from companies such as Tesla. Starting at £23,445 (including the government’s Plug-in Car Grant) the 41kWh version is comparable to a well-specified Ford Focus.

That said, over 90 per cent of buyers choose to lease the battery separately (priced at between £59 and £110 a month, depending on the mileage), which drops the purchase price to £17,845. Opt for the entry-level 22kWh version and that figure falls to just £13,995.

The Zoe comes with a clever onboard charging system, dubbed the Chameleon

Finally, the Zoe comes with a clever onboard charging system, dubbed the Chameleon. This means it can draw the maximum power from virtually any charging point, including the 43kW fast chargers that are increasingly found in motorway service stations. As a result, the Q90 version – more on that in a minute – can fill 80 per cent of its battery in just over an hour. Renault even includes a fully installed 7kW Chargemaster home-charging system with each car.

Read more: The Engineer