Category Archives: Ampera

10 Best ‘Eco Friendly’ Cars Of 2015

The 10 best ‘eco friendly’ cars of 2015 — as determined by the editors over at the noted vehicle valuation and information source Kelley Blue Book — were recently outlined in an interesting new list.

The top spot for the year was (not completely surprisingly) nabbed by BMW’s all-electric i3 model — following on the i3 grabbing other such honors elsewhere as well, and sitting at the top of all cars in the US in terms of “fuel” efficiency.

image24-e1429804688958_Green_Cars_Kelley

The new list from Kelley Blue Book is part of its yearly practice of compiling a ranking of the most efficient vehicles for the year, across all price ranges and power train variabilities.

“The list of ‘green’ vehicle standouts continues to blossom, and with strict Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements coming down the pipeline, auto manufacturers are making stronger advancements each year in creating more environmentally friendly vehicles,” stated Jack R Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com.

“Topping this list for the second year in a row is the BMW i3 – an electric car that can sprint to 60 mph in just over 7 seconds, and is made in a factory powered entirely by four wind turbines. And if 81 miles of electric range doesn’t work for you, the i3 can be had with a small gas generator that lets you go as far as there are gas stations.”

Other vehicles that were ranked highly by the list include: the Volkswagen e-Golf (2nd); the Nissan Leaf (3rd); the Toyota Prius (4th); the Honda Accord Hybrid (5th); the Tesla Model S (6th); the Chevy Volt [Vauxhall Ampera] (7th); and onwards through the rest of the top 10.

Overall, a pretty ‘safe’ ranking arrangement — the e-Golf, the Leaf, and the i3 all got due recognition, as many other lists have been providing them. I suppose you could always contest Tesla’s position further on down the list, but all things considered, I’d say it’s probably fair. Myself, I’m heavily biased towards the Leaf, and would have placed it higher.

Source: Clean Technica

BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf

Kelley Blue Book Announces Best Green Cars For Earth Day – BMW i3 Declared Winner

April this year, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) compiled a list of the most efficient stand-out cars of the year that are chosen based on efficiency, price, practicality and powertrain, just in time for Earth Day.

KBB’s “Best Green Cars of 2015″ list includes 10 vehicles, 5 of which are plug-in electric cars.

For 2015, the BMW i3 is the repeat winner. It captured the top spot from KBB last year too.

BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf
BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf

In #2, we find the Volkswagen e-Golf, followed by the Nissan LEAF in third. The two other plug-ins to make the cut are the Tesla Model S in sixth and the Chevrolet Volt [Vauxhall Ampera] in seventh.

And here’s the ranking:

KBB.com’s 10 Best Green Cars of 2015

Rank 2015 Model-Year Vehicle

1 BMW i3
2 Volkswagen e-Golf
3 Nissan Leaf
4 Toyota Prius
5 Honda Accord Hybrid
6 Tesla Model S
7 Chevrolet Volt
8 Toyota Camry Hybrid
9 Ford C-Max Hybrid
10 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

2014 BMW i3 REx vs Chevrolet Volt comparison (Image: D Noland/T Moloughney)

Electric Cars Are City Cars? Not In U.S.

Electric Cars Are City Cars? Not In U.S.: They’re Suburb Cars Here

Automotive journalists who write about electric cars hear the phrase “city car” a lot.

As in, “Battery-electric cars are perfect city cars, but [fill in different powertrain] is required for other uses.”

There’s just one problem: No one in the U.S. has ever turned to their better half and said, “Honey, let’s go buy a city car.”

A recent blog post by electric-car advocate and restauranteur Tom Moloughney points out that, in fact, electric cars are largely used in the suburbs here in the U.S.

His article expands on comments to trade journal Automotive News by BMW’s U.S. CEO, Ludwig Willisch, that the company’s BMW i3 battery-electric car has not caught on in the “big urban centers in the Northeast,”

Instead, BMW sells the largest numbers of i3s in areas of California, Texas, and southern Florida.

2014 BMW i3 REx vs Chevrolet Volt comparison (Image: D Noland/T Moloughney)
2014 BMW i3 REx vs Chevrolet Volt (Vauxhall Ampera) comparison (Image: D Noland/T Moloughney)

(Willisch also then suggests that Northeasterners aren’t particularly concerned about the environment and sustainability–conflating desire for electric cars with solely environmental concerns, while overlooking the practical challenges of owning and recharging them in city centers.)

Moloughney notes that dense urban centers–like those of Boston, Manhattan, and San Francisco–are some of the most challenging places to own any car, let alone a plug-in electric car that requires a charging station.

The BMW i3 Moloughney drives was originally developed as the “Megacity Car,” intended for use in future cities of 15 million or more people that are even more densely packed than today.

But his arguments underscore a unique challenge to selling electric cars with ranges of 62 to 100 miles to U.S. drivers: We don’t buy “city cars.” We just buy cars.

In Western Europe, where local, regional, and long-distance mass transit is common, clean, punctual, and a regular part of travel patterns, a much smaller car for short local trips can make sense.

That was the idea behind the 8-foot-8-inch-long Smart ForTwo (which has been completely redesigned for the first time since the late 1990s for the 2016 model year).

You see Smarts all over Amsterdam, London, Paris, and Rome, sometimes parked end-in at the curb.

In the U.S., not so much. They’re no cheaper than larger subcompact cars, so they’re almost entirely restricted to those same dense urban centers where minimal length is a huge advantage for street parking, but recharging is scarce and expensive.

In fact, very small cars of any kind have largely been a sales flop in this country. Toyota’s Smart competitor, the Scion iQ “3+1-seat” minicar, has now been pulled off sale.

Moloughney’s post is worth reading because it underscores the challenges facing all automakers as their executives grapple with the very real challenges of understanding who buys electric cars, how they use them, and what specific challenges they face in making them practical.

Upcoming longer-range battery electric cars–including the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, for which 200 miles of range has been promised, and the second-generation Nissan Leaf–may make electric cars more broadly palatable to buyers for whom a range of less than 100 miles is a dealbreaker.

But for North American marketing, we’d suggest that automakers simply eradicate the phrase “city car” from their lexicon.

Thus far, electric cars are largely bought by relatively affluent suburban buyers for whom off-street charging at their homes is possible.

Urban dwellers, meanwhile, are starting to participate in car-sharing programs that eliminate the need for them to pay for and store a vehicle they may not use for commuting.

And until there are far more publicly-available plug-in vehicle charging stations–and most likely the far faster DC quick-charging stations–the city centers of Boston, San Francisco, and so forth will remain a far more challenging place to own electric cars.

In other words: No. More. City. Cars. Please.

Source: Green Car Reports

Fuel Included ‘pop-up shop’ outside Milton Keynes Central railway station (Image: T. Larkum)

Free Electric Car Parking at Milton Keynes Station

One of the best benefits available for drivers of electric cars is that London Midland provides free car parking at its railway stations.

This is particularly attractive at two of its stations, Milton Keynes and Watford, as they have very high parking charges (an annual season ticket at these stations costs £1200 and £1093 respectively).

Fuel Included ‘pop-up shop’ outside Milton Keynes Central railway station (Image: T. Larkum)
Fuel Included ‘pop-up shop’ outside Milton Keynes Central railway station (Image: T. Larkum)

The deal is that London Midland provides a discount off a car parking permit at its station car parks for what it calls an “ECO friendly vehicle”. The discounts are as follows:

  • 50% discount on monthly, quarterly and annual parking permits if the vehicle emits no more than 120g of carbon dioxide every kilometre (120g/km).
  • 100% discount on monthly, quarterly and annual parking permit, if the vehicle is registered with the DVLA and has “Electric” fuel type. This can be checked on the vehicle registration document (V5C) sent by the DVLA.

Full details are given on the London Midland website for the parking permits and their associated discounts; they are very generous. Clearly if someone pays £200 per month to lease one of our electric cars, for example, they can get back half that money just from savings in parking charges.

Rapid Chargers next to Milton Keynes Central railway station parking (Image: T. Larkum)
Rapid Chargers next to Milton Keynes Central railway station parking (Image: T. Larkum)

We used this idea recently as the basis for a marketing campaign, in two parts. Firstly we set up a small ‘pop-up shop’ outside Milton Keynes Central station. This was done in a similar way to the school event we did late last year, with the ZOE on display and me chatting to passers-by. It ran for a couple of hours in the early evening to catch commuters on their way home.

Renault ZOE in Milton Keynes Central railway station multi-storey (Image: T. Larkum)
Renault ZOE in Milton Keynes Central railway station multi-storey (Image: T. Larkum)

Secondly, we did a pass through the station car park a couple of days later, putting fliers under the wipers of cars with season tickets in the windscreen to give information on the discount and our offers. While there I noticed there was a new pair of rapid chargers installed outside and awaiting commissioning, so it definitely looks like a welcoming location for electric cars.

Vauxhall Ampera in Milton Keynes Central railway station multi-storey (Image: T. Larkum)
Vauxhall Ampera in Milton Keynes Central railway station multi-storey (Image: T. Larkum)

Inside the multi-storey part of the car park there were already a couple of EVs in residence, a Renault ZOE and a Vauxhall Ampera. With a bit of luck there will be a lot more soon.

UK electric vehicle registrations UK (Image: Next Green Car)

Nissan LEAF most popular electric car in UK

Figures recently released show that the Nissan LEAF maintains its position as the most popular electric car or van in the UK, with at least 5,838 vehicles registered by the third quarter of 2014, representing over a third of all EV sales.

The registration data also shows the new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has made a dramatic entry to the UK market; the electric SUV is already in second position with over 2,706 sales less than a year after its UK release.

In third and fourth places are two more established plug-in hybrids, the Toyota Prius PHEV (with 1,226 registrations) and the Vauxhall Ampera (1,039 vehicles). The BMW i3 now ranks fifth with at least 1,029 UK registrations (454 all-electric and 575 range-extender variants).

The Renault ZOE and Tesla Model S are also selling well in the UK with over 775 and 474 sales respectively; the two models in fourth and fifth sales positions across Europe as a whole (YTD October 2014).

UK electric vehicle registrations UK (Image: Next Green Car)
UK electric vehicle registrations UK (Image: Next Green Car)

With the recent announcement from OLEV that 23,083 claims have been made through the Plug-in Car Grant scheme, the number of electric cars and vans in the UK now exceeds 24,500 vehicles for the first time.

Another indicator that the EV market is gaining momentum is the number of fully electric and plug-in hybrid models available in the UK. While only 9 EVs were available for the major manufacturers in 2011 (excluding quadricycles), this increased to 18 models in 2013, and now stands at 24 high-quality cars and vans (in 2014) with more models due for launch in 2015.

Dr Ben Lane, Director of Next Green Car said:

“The strong growth of the EV market in the UK as elsewhere provides yet more evidence that the light-duty vehicle market is undergoing a radical change with consumer preferences changing from petrol and diesel models to electric power-trains. With sales growing exponentially, the EVs are set to become commonplace on UK roads within the next few years.”

Source: Next Green Car

Electric Car Recharging

Why Plug-In-Hybrid Vehicles May Be The Car Of The (Near) Future

Owning a car provides freedom. Drive hundreds of miles if you want. When you’re low on gas, fill up in five minutes. Electric cars don’t work that way. Most modern models can travel fewer than 100 miles on a full charge, and gas tanks fill much faster than batteries charge. But one type offers a compromise that combines the benefits of an electric car with the convenience of a combustion-powered vehicle.

“I come to the conclusion that the main competitor of electric cars is the plug-in hybrids because they offer the best of both worlds,” said Ricardo Daziano, who studies the way engineering and economics affect the adoption and improvement of new technologies at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

“So you can go electric on your daily commute and then you feel good about the environment.”

Plug-in hybrids, such as the Chevrolet Volt (= Vauxhall Ampera), offer battery power sufficient for commuting. The battery power is often paired with a gas-powered engine that provides either direct propulsion or on-the-go battery charging during long-distance travel. In some cases a plug-in hybrid’s gas engine only charges the battery.

Current battery costs keep electric vehicles expensive and limit their range. But, electric cars don’t require gas and the vehicles themselves emit no greenhouse gases or other fumes. Of course, gas is relatively cheap right now, with oil at about $70 per barrel. Low gas prices could slow the adoption of new auto technology because the most direct benefit of using battery power to propel a vehicle is probably the money they’ll save at the gas pump.

Electric vehicles, in many ways, require a new approach to travel. Drivers can charge at home while they sleep, or at charging stations while at work. They don’t need to go to gas stations. But, if they expect to approach the limits of their range, they need to plan their daily trips carefully. They may even purposely choose busy, stop and go traffic instead of free-flowing highways.

“If people were to use some of these more congested areas, they can regenerate some of that battery charge,” said Srinivas Peeta, a transportation engineer at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. “In some sense, what we are saying is that the range can get extended a little.”

Hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electrics typically recapture as much of the car’s energy as they can. When the driver applies the brakes, a portion of that energy is sent back into the battery for later use.

While traditional vehicles use extra fuel for heating and cooling the cabin, with an electric, all that energy has to come from the battery, further limiting the range.

Recharging an electric or plug-in hybrid is different than the typical routine of filling up a traditional vehicle. There’s not just one pump, like for gas. There are multiple types of charging, ranging from the trickle of a normal household outlet, which takes hours to fill a battery, to fast charging stations such as Tesla’s supercharger that add about half a charge to a battery in 30 minutes. It’s as if some gas pumps drip into the tank, and some are fire hoses. For electrics or plug-in hybrids, the additional time required to charge the car encourages businesses to offer expanded services at highway rest stops, in order to make it more engaging for people who would have to linger to charge a car’s battery.

“You have to come up with compatible services. People wouldn’t just wait there or stand there for 20 minutes, right? Because that doesn’t make sense,” said Eric Huang, a civil engineer at Clemson University in South Carolina, who led a session on electric vehicles and charging at the annual meeting of the professional society INFORMS this fall. He suggested that a company like Starbucks might begin offering outlets to electric vehicle drivers making intercity trips.

“Those fast chargers have to be strategically located along the highway with appropriate services.”

Developing the infrastructure to support intercity travel for electric vehicles will take time. There are other types of engines out there, including hydrogen fuel cells and compressed natural gas, but electrical power is generally easier to access. Developing an electric vehicle with both a moderate cost and a more robust range will take some time.

“You look at a car, whether it’s electric, or fuel cell, or an internal combustion car, you want it to be affordable and you want it to have adequate driving range,” said Cosmin Laslau, a technology researcher at Boston-based Lux Research, a firm that studies emerging technologies. “You can get a very affordable electric vehicle, but it has poor driving range. You can get one with astonishingly good driving range, maybe 300 miles or more, but it is going to be very, very costly. The challenge is to make a car that can drive 300-500 miles for the purchase price of $20,000-25,000. That’s not going to happen for another 10 or 15 years.”

Some experts think it might take longer. But many agree that in the next couple of decades, plug-in hybrids are going to be an important vehicle option. Why? Consumer demand.

Jonn Axsen, who studies the relationship of human behavior, energy technology and environmental policy at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, said that one reason people are attracted to plug-in hybrids is because the first 10-30 miles are completely electric. But, he found that relatively few people are interested in all-electric vehicles.

“It seems no matter how I present it, there are far more consumers that are willing to buy a plug-in hybrid rather than a pure electric vehicle,” he said.

When drivers commute to work in a plug-in hybrid, it’s possible to use gas very rarely.

“Usually Chevy Volt owners drive on the battery alone,” said Laslau. “It’s a really high percentage of their driving pattern that’s battery power alone.”

Currently, these technologies are new to consumers, so experts don’t know how people will adapt to these choices. Also, the relative costs of use for electrics and plug-in hybrids are difficult to project into the future.

“There is so much uncertainty,” said Axsen. “Because you have to have perfect foresight about what the fuel costs are going to be over the next 15 years. And we have no idea.”

“If you’re looking at the whole picture, [a plug-in hybrid vehicle] has greater potential at least in the near term,” said Zhenhong Lin, a senior researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Huang and Peeta, both indicated that electric vehicles will eventually win out. One factor is that by including a gas-powered generator in a plug-in, means that there are two systems of propulsion in the same car.

“Because they have two different power trains and so on, the cost associated with them in the long run is one thing to factor,” said Peeta.

Huang called plug-ins a transition model, and suggested that when the batteries and infrastructure are ready,

“I think battery vehicles are the way to go.”

How far into the future can we expect to observe that transition? As of today, it’s unclear.

Source: Physics Central

Electric Car Recharging

How Much Range Do Electric Cars Need?

Car buyers consider many factors before making a purchase – including comfort, style and efficiency. If they were honest and realistic about how much they drive, a majority of consumers inclined to purchase electric vehicles would choose battery-powered cars that can travel fewer than 100 miles on a full charge, new research finds. And according to the same study, that statistic isn’t likely to change unless battery costs drop dramatically, despite the drastic change that represents from gas-powered vehicles.

Tesla’s Model S has a range of up to about 300 miles on a fully charged battery, and a luxury car price to boot, but most electric-car models can travel no more than about 100 miles on a full charge. The new research finds that most customers will find the 100-miles or less category adequate to meet their daily driving needs, given battery costs now and in the likely near future. This is based on data that shows how far people actually drive each day.

Customers may prefer cars that are capable of driving hundreds of miles without stopping, but they may only rarely need that extra range. It may be more cost-effective to use one car for daily commutes and rent another vehicle for long trips.

However, a sticky question remains: Can car companies count on customers to purchase cars based only on economics-based considerations? Probably not, say other researchers. And, based on plans made available publicly, car manufacturers appear to agree with them.

Zhenhong Lin, a senior researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, was trained as an engineer and now analyzes the economics and public policies related to transportation energy. His study in the journal Transportation Science, released in August, explored the multiple factors behind customer choices, including how far people actually drive on a daily basis, the variation in their driving patterns and how battery costs would have to decrease to promote electrically powered vehicles with longer ranges.

Range Issues

With gas-powered cars, driving range isn’t really an issue. A car that gets 30 miles per gallon and has a 14-gallon gas tank can go over 400 miles without refueling. And if you are about to run dry, it’s easy to find a place to fill up.

Electric vehicles don’t use gas at all – unlike a traditional Toyota Prius or other hybrid, in which various energy-capturing technologies charge an electric battery that then applies that energy to help move the car. Nor do electrics have backup gas engines like plug-in-hybrids do – this category includes one version of the Toyota Prius, the Chevrolet Volt (= Vauxhall Ampera), and others. For plug-in hybrids, the gas engine usually kicks in after a battery powers the first several to couple of dozen miles, depending on the particular model.

The longest range for an electric car is the 400 miles reported for the $100,000-plus Tesla Roadster, after a recent battery update. Most mass-market electric vehicles usually start at about $30,000. Rebates from both the federal and state levels can reduce the cost by thousands. Most of these cars boast ranges of fewer than 100 miles, including the Nissan Leaf, among others. Electric vehicles cost more than their gas equivalents, and there are far more gas stations than electric-charging stations if a driver needs to stop to top up the car’s battery. Most hybrids and plug-in hybrids have ranges similar to cars powered entirely by gas.

Read more: Inside Science

Electric Car Recharging

Is now the time to buy an electric or hybrid car?

Best cars and options explored

The future of driving appears to be electric, with Formula E in full effect, supercars adopting hybrid drive systems and range getting further all the time. Fuel powered engines may have their days numbered. But is it time to make the change to electric?

Now that the big car manufacturers are creating hybrid and electric cars we can be assured that it’s the future. And thanks to infrastructure improving all the time for charging stations range isn’t becoming such a big issue. But last year’s Tesla owners won’t get updated with the latest self-driving tech of this year’s Tesla, not a very nice reward for early adopting.

So is it still too early to adopt? Are batteries in cars suddenly going to improve to make current models a joke? We’ve looked at what going on to help give you a clearer idea of what to do.

Pure electric cars right now

The selection of pure electric cars right now isn’t huge, but it’s more than ever before and range is now good enough for day-to-day use. Prices, in the UK at least, are kept reasonable thanks to government assistance taking £5,000 off the price and offering free tax. If you offset petrol costs too you’re saving even more.

At the top end there’s Tesla with its Model S boasting all wheel drive and self-driving smarts starting at around the £50,000 mark. But this is in a league of its own with sports car performance, plus the latest model is not actually going to be in the UK until July 2015, even if you can buy yours now.

Then there are established brands like BMW, Ford, VW, Nissan and Renault all making fully electric cars at affordable prices right now.
Range, charging times, price and power

When going electric most people will be juggling these few key numbers: range, charging time, price and power.

PRICE: Firstly there’s price, at which the Renault Zoe wins by a fair margin starting at £14,000. Nissan’s Leaf can be bought from £16,500, Kia’s Soul EV is £25,000, the VW e-Golf is from £26,000, and BMW with its i3 is from £31,000.

RANGE: The range winner, from the reasonably priced cars, is the Kia Soul EV with 135 miles. In close second is the Nissan Leaf with 124 miles. Coming in behind them is the BMW i3 with a 118 mile range along with the VW e-Golf also sporting a 118 mile range, followed by the Renault Zoe with 93 miles.

Of course if you include the Tesla Model S that wins with its base model eeking out an impressive 240 miles on a charge and its top end offering 312 miles a go. But you get what you pay for.

CHARGE: This is a fairly even playing field with the cars all offering a rapid charge to 80 per cent in half an hour. Across the board it’ll cost you to upgrade your home charger for faster charging but this can result in as fast as a 3-hour charge to full.

POWER: Electric cars deliver all their torque instantly and the engine directly powers the wheels, this means they feel really nippy pulling away. The Nissan Leaf utilises 107hp to do 0-60mph in just 7 seconds making it the quickest of the lot off the mark.

The BMW i3 has 170hp for a 0-60mph time of 7.2 seconds, the Renault Zoe has 83hp for a 0-60mph time of 8 seconds, and the VW e-Golf manages 0-62mph in 10.4 seconds thanks to its 114hp motor. In last place is the Kia Soul EV with its 108bhp delivering a 0-60mph time of 10.8 seconds.

So for price the Renault Zoe wins it, but for range and power the Kia Soul EV comes out on top.

Plug-in hybrid electric cars right now

Hybrids have been around for years with the Toyota Prius leading the way with its dual-drive system. These are now more common than ever with Uber drivers using Prius as the car of choice.

But the market has grown, especially recently, with plug-in hybrids that allow drivers to charge at home so they may never need to use the fuel engine, instead reserving that for long distance journeys only.

From the Volvo V60 Plug-in and Ford Mondeo Titanium Hybrid to the Golf GTE or the BMW i3 with range extender, hybrids are fast becoming viable alternatives to single engine cars. The extra you may spend on the new technology can soon be made back in the petrol and tax savings they offer.

Range, charging times, price and power

Plug-in hybrid cars mean less of a worry about range than pure electric while also offering power and a reasonable price.

As with the Tesla we’re not going to include the likes of the McLaren P1, BMW i8, Porsche 918 and Ferrari LaFerrari as they’re all reserved for the super rich. And we’re only using plug-in hybrids as straight hybrids are fast becoming outdated in favour of the electric only options and extended range of plug-in hybrids.

PRICE: The plug-in hybrid range have all arrived at a similar time with manufacturers savvy to the government’s £5,000 contribution. For this reason they’re all very similarly priced.

The winner, by a narrow margin is the Ford Mondeo Titanium Hybrid from £25,000, with Mitsubishi PHEV GX3h from £28,250 in second and closely followed by the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid from £28,395.

Then we have the Vauxhall’s Ampera from £29,000, Audi A3 Sportback e-tron from £35,000, BMW i3 Range Extender from £34,000 and Volvo V60 Plug-in hybrid from £45,000.

RANGE: Winning with an impressive 967 mile range is the Ford Mondeo Titanium Hybrid but it only manages around 20 miles on electric alone. Closely behind that is the BMW i3 with range extender that offers a 930-mile top end with pure electric for 105 miles, making it overall cheaper to run than the Ford. The Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid can manage up to 700 miles in one journey but loses on electric alone with just 15 miles on a charge.

Audi’s A3 Sportback e-tron can last for 585 miles with 31 of those miles on electric alone. Despite its size the Mitsubishi PHEV GX3h manages 500 miles with 32 on electric alone. Vauxhall’s Ampera eeks out 310 miles with between 20 and 50 of those miles on battery.

CHARGE: As in pure electric cars this is a fairly even playing field with the cars all offering a rapid charge to 80 per cent in half an hour. Across the board it’ll cost you to upgrade your home charger for faster charging but this can result in as fast as a 3-hour charge to full.

POWER: The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, as the name suggests, wins this with a 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds thanks to 204hp. The BMW i3 Range Extender model is second offering 170hp for 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds.

The Vauxhall Ampera does 0-60mph in 8.7 seconds with 148hp, despite having 178hp the Ford takes 9.2 seconds to get from 0-62mph, the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid gets from 0-60mph in 11 seconds from 134hp, the Mitsubishi PHEV GX3h does 0-60mph in 11 seconds and has 186hp.

The winner for price is the Ford Mondeo Titanium Hybrid but the BMW i3 takes it for range with the Audi offering the most power.

Future electric and hybrid cars

The future of electric cars and hybrid machines is looking positive. Charging infrastructure is cropping up all over the country with Tesla’s Elon Musk promising to install his Supercharger network UK wide by the end of next year.

Crucially, right now, it’s possible to drive pure electric all the way from the top of Scotland to the bottom of England thanks to fast chargers along the way. It might take a little longer than petrol cars since you have to stop for half an hour to recharge, but it won’t cost as much by a long shot. So adopting right now, especially if you’re going for a hybrid, isn’t as risky as it once was.

Another issue is batteries. Developments are being made more and more regularly as car manufacturers pour money into research. But worrying about having an older battery shouldn’t be an issue as, hopefully, manufacturers will be able to swap out old for new future-proofing any car you buy now.

Next year Tesla hopes to offer a car which is nearly completely self-driving. But since that’s out of the price range of most people current electric car offerings are plenty futuristic.

If you’re already driving a car and the cost of petrol and tax are proving too much then electric or hybrid could be your way out.

Source: Pocket Lint

Carol Vorderman trials Vauxhall Ampera (Image: Vauxhall)

Carol Vorderman trials Vauxhall Ampera

Carol Vorderman has become the latest ambassador to test the Vauxhall Ampera extended-range electric car in support of the Go Ultra Low campaign.

Carol Vorderman trials Vauxhall Ampera (Image: Vauxhall)
Carol Vorderman trials Vauxhall Ampera (Image: Vauxhall)

Go Ultra Low, a partnership between the UK automotive industry and Government, is designed to encourage more drivers to consider ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs). Vorderman was keen to get involved with the project, commenting:

“I’m obsessed with engines, cars and aeroplanes, and with a degree in Engineering, I’ve always been fascinated by how things work.”

As a busy working mum, the TV star was initially wary that driving a ULEV would just add to her to do list. However, after a couple of months trialling the Vauxhall Ampera she said:

“Actually quite the opposite is true, it’s easy. You come home, plug it in, you go away and come back in the morning and it’s fully charged. It gets me through the day and I don’t have to go to the petrol station which long-term, saves me a considerable amount of money.”

Read more: New Car Net