With support from Nissan, Renault and BMW, we hosted our first Milton Keynes multi-brand electric car day at our offices in Milton Keynes.
In a packed two and a half hours of pre-booked drives over twenty people enjoyed the thrills and spills of electric car driving, with 2 Nissan Leafs, 2 BMW i3’s, 1 Renault ZOE and one Nissan EV-200 electric van.
This is the first of many. Please contact us if you have an office that would benefit from a multi-car test drive event.
Facebook Live Video from a BMW i3 test drive
Video walkaround of a couple of our Cars available for test
Uber has a few interesting electric vehicle initiatives, like an all-electric fleet pilot project with 20 Nissan LEAFs in London and they deployed a fleet of Tesla Model S in Madrid, but now they are bringing their first EV program stateside.
The company will help drivers purchase or lease electric vehicles. They are starting the program in Portland, Oregon, but hopefully, they expand the program to other markets.
Not only it will bring more electric vehicles on the road directly through drivers, but they will also incentivize drivers to educate riders about EVs through an
“EV Ambassador program”.
It’s especially important when you consider that the lack of awareness is surprisingly still the biggest problem for electric vehicle adoption.
Uber says that the Portland metro area already had a higher percentage of Uber drivers with electric vehicles (100 out of ~6,000), but they aim to “add hundreds more.”
Uber describes the EV Ambassador program:
“Part of Uber’s new initiative will be opportunities for drivers to serve as EV Ambassadors, a role in which they will help educate riders about the environmental and economic benefits and feasibility of electric vehicles. Drivers interested in participating are invited to share their name and contact information on a new microsite. Drive Oregon will train EV Ambassadors on how to effectively communicate with riders about the benefits of electric vehicles. In the first four months of Uber’s London electric vehicle pilot, 60 EVs gave rides to more than 35,000 riders.”
They will tailor the program to Oregon, which offers a lot of EV incentive, and they will also promote local EV manufacturer Arcimoto. I had a chance to test their all-electric three-wheeler in Las Vegas earlier this year.
Overall, it looks like a force for good to promote EVs. Hopefully, they expand this to other markets soon.
New figures show that 29 per cent of UK motorists are considering making the switch from a conventionally fuelled vehicle to a zero-emissions one or replacing one electric vehicle with another.
As new tax rules punish drivers of all but the lowest-polluting vehicles and cities around the country consider charging drivers of older, more polluting vehicles for using their roads there has been a rapid growth in interest in electric and other ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV).
Industry figures for the first quarter of this year show that sales of alternative fuel vehicles, including all-electric and hybrid engined cars, have risen by 29.9 per cent over the same period in 2016, and now account for a larger share of the market than ever, with 33,405 alternative fuel cars sold.
Neil Addley, managing director of NFDA Trusted Dealers which commissioned the survey, said:
“Our research has revealed that a significant number of car buyers are now seriously considering low emission vehicles for their next car, but are at a loss on where to start. On the Trusted Dealers site we have seen more green cars filtering through to the used car market, with more than 200 vehicles listed on our site.”
Plug-in Prius is a technological achievement, but it’s pricey and we wonder if the regular hybrid is better for day-to-day driving
Toyota has been making huge strides with its latest Prius, managing to improve both the driving dynamics and fuel efficiency over the car it replaced last year. Now the plug-in hybrid version of the new generation is about to land in UK dealers – and although we sampled the car in American form last autumn, this is the first opportunity we’ve had to try a UK-spec model on European roads.
Plug-in hybrids are all about pure-electric range, of course, because if you aren’t bothered by the ability to drive without any combustion engine noise, you’ll just buy the regular hybrid instead. The old Prius Plug-in could manage a claimed 15 miles on electric power alone, but the new model doubles that figure.
The gain is down to a more efficient electric motor in the middle of the 121bhp powertrain, and the latest lithium-ion battery tech; Toyota’s engineers managed to double its capacity compared with the unit in the old car, in fact – but in physical terms it’s only two thirds larger and 50 per cent heavier.
Toyota has also fitted a clutch to its innovative drive system, allowing the generator to be switched into a secondary electric motor; this has allowed engineers to raise the maximum speed in pure-electric mode to more than 80mph.
• Best low emissions green cars
The other significant numbers on the Prius Plug-in are a 0-62mph time of 11.1 seconds, combined fuel economy of 283mpg and CO2 emissions of just 22g/km. A 43-litre fuel tank means that you can still travel a meaningful distance when you’re away from a plug socket, too. A full charge on a rapid domestic charger will take you about two hours; add just over an hour to that figure if you’re going to use a 13A plug.
The Prius Plug-in comes in just two trim levels in the UK. Business Edition Plus brings more than enough kit, with safety features such as rear-cross traffic alert, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, road sign assist and adaptive headlights. You also get an 8in touchscreen with sat-nav, plus dual-zone air-con, a wireless mobile phone charger and heated front seats.
I got pretty excited when I heard that London was committing to buying only 100% emission-free buses for all single-decker city center routes. Likewise, when Eindhoven and Helmond bought 43 extra-long electric buses, it felt like one more step toward cleaner, greener cities.
Given that Paris, Athens, Mexico City and Madrid are pledging to ban all diesel vehicles by 2025 at the latest, the news has been pretty good for those of us who would like to see healthier air and a reduction in emissions.
Now the Financial Times reports that Swiss investment bank UBS is connecting the dots between these trends—making the bold claim that diesel cars will all but disappear from the global car market by 2025.
Not only are individual cities taking up the fight against diesel, says UBS, but countries like Belgium and France are also pledging to fix disparities between gasoline and diesel taxes too. (Lower taxes on diesel have long boosted popularity in Europe.) Add this to the fact that long-range, lower cost electric cars are finally becoming increasingly viable, and that cities are exploring ways to reduce dependence on motor vehicles overall—and you really start to see a convergence of factors which should lead to diesel’s demise in the passenger car market much sooner than many of us would have expected. UBS does expect diesel to continue to be used in large SUVs and trucks for now—but we’ll see if even that prediction really pans out.
Even more exciting than the demise of diesel cars, to me, is the fact that this demonstrates how the broader transition to a low carbon economy will ultimately come about. Just as US utilities are pressing ahead with phasing out coal, regardless of what short-term electoral politics might look like, diesel is not falling victim to any single policy or initiative. It’s simply facing a perfect storm of headwinds that will ultimately bring about its demise.
My brother-in-law sent me a video this morning of a talk given by Tony Seba at the Swedbank Nordic Energy Summit in March of last year. I started watching it with mild interest, as it covered many of the topics I’ve already been harping on in recent posts:
• Solar power will keep getting cheaper
• Batteries will continue to become more commonplace
• Electric vehicles will soon become a mainstream transport option
• This confluence of technologies will begin to disrupt the economics of our existing energy system
Then, about halfway through, Seba made a claim that I had to stop and rewind: He believes that all new road vehicles—buses, cars, vans, trucks etc—will be entirely electric by 2030. That’s a pretty astounding prediction. Made even more astounding because he’s not talking about one country—he’s talking about the entire world.
The whole talk is very worth watching, but to give a very brief summary, there are two factors coming together to make such a shift possible.
Firstly, from battery tech to solar to autonomous vehicle components, technology is improving and getting cheaper following the same “Moore’s Law” curves that have made computes so cheap and powerful. The LIDAR—a laser and radar system used for autonomous vehicles—sed to cost $70,000 in 2012. By 2016, we’re looking at a LIDAR that costs in the region of $250 and will soon be down at $90. Similarly, says Seba, solar power won’t soon just be cheaper than coal, wind, nuclear or natural gas. By 2020, it’ll be cheaper than the cost of transmission—regardless of any subsidies. Meaning a utility could generate electricity for free, and still not be able to sell it because panels on your roof would still be more competitive. And long range EVs are becoming affordable and mainstream too—providing better performance and lower cost of ownership than their gas-driven counterparts.
Secondly, new technologies are enabling new business models: When a car sits idle in the driveway 96% of its life, that’s a massive opportunity for business model disruption that could change how we think about our relationship to vehicles. From Uber to Lyft, such changes are already taking place in many cities.
We are offering a Hyundai IONIQ Electric on 3 year PCH (3+35); this stands for Personal Contract Hire and is a personal lease. You put down an initial payment and then pay a monthly fee, and drive away a new carwith fuel included. At the end of the three year term you just give the car back and upgrade to the latest model.
It’s like a mobile phone contract, but with miles rather than minutes included.
The new IONIQ Electric comes in two versions, the Premium and the Premium SE. The Premium is well specified with TomTom® satnav, climate control, electric windows, heated and folding mirrors, adaptive cruise control, Bluetooth, 16″ alloy wheels, auto lights and wipers, leather steering wheel, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, LED headlights, wireless phone charging, autonomous braking, and rear parking sensors.
The Premium SE adds ventilated and electrically adjusted front seats, heated rear seats, leather seat trim, front parking sensors, and rear camera.
The other terms are as follows:
There’s an initial payment equal to 3 times the monthly payment.
All prices include VAT (these offers are only available to private customers).
Fuel included: you get free electricity over the contract term as listed above (this is at the Economy 7 rate but you are not required to switch to Economy 7).
You get free road tax and congestion charge exemption.
Coverage: We have bases and electric car suppliers in Milton Keynes, St Albans, London, Northampton, Bedford, Cannock, Leicester and Liverpool allowing us to supply all around the Midlands (including London, Luton, Oxford, Rugby, Kettering, Coventry, Nottingham and Birmingham). However we can deliver all around the country – just contact us for details.
If you have a garage with a power socket, an electric car makes an awful lot of sense. If you park on the street, however, the infrastructural challenge of keeping your electron-powered vehicle topped up becomes complicated enough that perhaps sticking to driving on squished dinosaurs makes sense for a while longer. Until Char.gy comes along, that is.
“Seventy-two percent of drivers in London don’t have off-street parking,” says Richard Stobart, CEO of the London-based Char.gy. “If you want an electric car, not being able to charge at home is a major disincentive.”
So, in a world where people want to drive electric cars, cities are trying to clean up the air and car makers want to sell electric cars, how do you take on the not insignificant challenge of charging car batteries in a dense and fast-moving city such as London? You tap into other, already existing infrastructure, of course.
“People want to charge their cars while they are doing something else, preferably when they are parked at home and asleep in their beds,”
Stobart points out, and offers a solution. The company has developed charge points that connect to the existing street furniture: Lampposts. Makes sense: The cables are already there, the local government owns them, and once you’ve gone that far, you may as well make the next couple of logical steps
Ford says US forces with fleets of more than a thousand vehicles will save millions of dollars a year using “gas-electric” cars.
US police will soon be saving the environment as well as fighting crime thanks to a new hybrid car powered by both petrol and batteries.
The Ford Motor Company says its new Police Responder hybrid sedan – a modified Ford Fusion – is the first “gasoline-electric” car to be “pursuit rated”, which means it can race through city streets and navigate crowded areas or high kerbs.
The car averages 38 miles a gallon when driven in the city and on highways – more than twice that of the current Police Interceptor model.
Ford estimates police forces will save more than £2,000 on fuel for every car over a year, which would translate into savings of millions of pounds for forces with fleets of more than a thousand cruisers.
The new car, which was unveiled in New York and Los Angeles, will be on the streets in the summer of 2018 and can go from zero to 60mph in 8.7 seconds.