Plug-in car grant extended with extra £400m until March 2018

December 21st, 2015 § Comments Off on Plug-in car grant extended with extra £400m until March 2018 § permalink

The Government have vowed to extend the grants given to electric and hybrid car buyers
The government has announced that it is to extend the grants given to buyers of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) until March 2018, with the extra £400m package aimed at trebling the number of low-emission vehicles on Britain’s roads.

The grants, administered by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), should mean more than 100,000 car buyers should benefit from the grants.

Those purchasing cars with a battery range of more than 70 miles and CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km will receive a grant of £4,500 off the list price (a reduction of £500 compared to the previous £5,000 grant).

Meanwhile buyers of plug-in hybrids – technology that will become increasingly widespread in the next few years, as manufacturers introduce new models – will qualify for a grant of £2,500 (which is half of the previous £5,000 grant) if it falls into two new categories: Category 2 cars will need to have a range of between 10 and 69 miles and emit no more than 50g/km of CO2, while Category 3 vehicles must have an electric range of at least 20 miles and emit between 50g/km and 75g/km.

Hybrid cars GETTY

At least 100,000 car buyers will benefit from the grants
To get the full benefit of owning an EV, a home charger is vital
David Martell, CEO of Chargemaster
However plug-in hybrids costing over £60,000 will not be eligible for the grant (although full EVs with an electric range of over 70 miles, such as the Tesla Model S, will still qualify).

The grant is part of a total £600m investment in supporting the expansion of low-emission motoring, which also includes funding for chargepoints, grants encouraging low emission buses and taxis, and R&D funding for innovative technology such as lighter vehicles and longer-lasting car batteries.

Transport minister Andrew Jones said: “The UK is a world leader in the uptake of low emission vehicles and the plug-in car grant has been key to that success.

Extending the grant in a sustainable way ensures more than 100,000 people will benefit from financial support when purchasing these cheap-to-run and green cars. We are determined to keep Britain at the forefront of the technology, increasing our support for plug-in vehicles to £600m over the next 5 years to cut emissions, create jobs and support our cutting-edge industries.”

Support for electric charging at the homes of EV and PHEV owners will also continue, but is to be cut in half, a move that some have criticised, suggesting that it will reduce the incentive for plug-in owners, in particular, to have a charger installed.

David Martell, CEO of Chargemaster, a provider and operator of charging points, said: “Reducing support for electric car owners to install a charger at home is premature and a step backwards for UK carbon reduction and the necessary push towards air quality improvement.

It means that many plug-in hybrid vehicle drivers will simply not bother fitting a charger at home and run their cars on fossil fuel instead. To get the full benefit of owning an EV, a home charger is vital.”

“Support for home charging offers much better value for money than many other areas that OLEV spends its resources on. It is also most regrettable that this change has been made giving little more than two months’ notice.”

“Until now, the UK government has led the way in supporting charging at home. This move is difficult to understand when the market is still fragile and only just starting to gain momentum.

It is even more surprising considering government’s recent announcement that it will allocate £600m to support ultra-low emission vehicles over the next six years. To reduce its annual support for charging at home from £12m to £7.5m is unfortunate at this stage of the development of the market.”

As Seen on

Bit of both: BMW X5 XDRIVE40E PLUG-IN HYBRID (2015) 85mpg

November 6th, 2015 § Comments Off on Bit of both: BMW X5 XDRIVE40E PLUG-IN HYBRID (2015) 85mpg § permalink

BMW’S X5 was one of the pioneers of family friendly off-roaders. Tall, spacious and bristling with gadgets, it’s a familiar sight the world over, from Austrian ski resorts to American freeways and outside school gates in the home counties.  
The one in the picture may look like its predecessors but it is different. At 70mph there is no sound to be heard other than a gentle rustle of wind and the remote hiss of tyres on asphalt. It is, frankly, amazing. The quiet is so enveloping that the voices of passengers drop to a hushed murmur.

This is the new BMW X5 xDrive40e plug-in hybrid — no noise, no vibration and no petrol being guzzled, even hustling us down the motorway at the legal limit.  

Plug-in hybrids, in case you hadn’t noticed, are all the rage. Audi, Mitsubishi, Porsche and Volvo are using the tech to help sell SUVs. And BMW — which already has several in its range, including the desirable i8 sports car — is harnessing the technology to help ease the conscience, and tax bill, of drivers.

In this case the system teams up a 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with a synchronous electric motor for a combined power output of 308bhp. The key here is that this X5 features a large lithium-ion battery pack that can deliver a pure electric range of up to 19 miles. Top speed on battery alone is 75mph, although you will seriously reduce the range at that pace.

  The X5 has three primary hybrid modes. Get in and start off without selecting anything, as you would in an ordinary X5, and the system will default to Auto eDrive. In this setting it behaves like any old hybrid, using a combination of electric and petrol motivation depending on what you’re doing with your right foot. Mash the throttle pedal to the floor and you’ll get every ounce of power the petrol engine and electric motor can muster, but if you’re pootling around town, the system will give you silent, pure-electric motoring.

So this is the mode for people who don’t want to think about modes; just let the car sort everything out. What you end up with is a fantastically refined SUV — the transition from pure electric running to petrol and electric is seamless. Often the only way to tell that the engine has joined proceedings is to keep an eye on the rev counter, which leaps into life when the car reckons you need a bit of poke. 

 You really have to charge it as much as possible, because if you run around on zero battery you’ve just got a needlessly heavy SUV that’ll get a fraction of the fuel mileage an equivalent diesel will

And it does have a decent turn of performance when you want it; for such a large car, 0-62mph in just 6.8 seconds is good going, by any measure. Power is fed through a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, and this X5 has permanent four-wheel drive.

If you select Max eDrive the X5 plug-in operates in pure electric mode; it will engage the petrol engine only if you suddenly find you need maximum beans. Around town it works really well — exploiting gaps in traffic is quite good fun as the torque of the electric motor is all there instantly.
The third setting, Save Battery, is self-explanatory; if you’re on a motorway and expect to be driving in a city centre where you might want pure electric motoring, this mode will maintain or even top up a minimum level of charge, which will give you a reasonable range of urban miles under electric power. It’s a handy feature, but the X5 is inefficient in that mode, especially if the engine is acting as a generator to top up the battery at the same time it is powering the car. You’ll feel more sinner than saint using it.

The X5’s cabin is still a good place to spend time, with comfortable seats and masses of space in the back. But if you need seven seats, it’ll have to be a non-hybrid X5, as the rear-mounted battery pack means a third row of chairs can’t be fitted. There is also restricted luggage space — 150 litres less with the rear seats down — although subjectively, the boot still looks quite capacious.

The plug-in X5 is heavier than its diesel equivalent, but because all the extra weight is low the car doesn’t feel unwieldy. You can hurry along a B-road, using its torque to slingshot out of corners, but ultimately, you’ll get early understeer if you’re caning it. And why would you want to do that in a big SUV?

As well as a choice of hybrid power modes, the plug-in X5 gets different driving settings, in common with other models in the range, that adjust throttle response, steering weight and gearshift speed. And while the steering is a little light, it’s perfectly suited in this application; the combination of easy torque response, refined transmission and quiet, smooth running makes the plug-in X5 a relaxing driving experience.

There’s something strangely satisfying about running this car on electric. Not in a polar bear-saving, Swampy kind of way; it’s just a brilliantly relaxing, smooth and quiet way of getting around

It would be a good commuter car for those with a journey combining motorways and city centres. And low CO2 emissions bring the usual tax breaks, although at 77g/km it just misses out on the London congestion charge limit of 75g/km. So close, but no cigar.

There is, though, an obvious drawback to owning a plug-in hybrid. You really have to charge it as much as possible, because if you run around on zero battery you’ve just got a needlessly heavy SUV that’ll get a fraction of the fuel mileage an equivalent diesel will. For the record, the claimed combined fuel consumption for this plug-in SUV is 85.6mpg.
First Drive review: BMW X5 xDrive40e

There are more public charging points, that’s true — and some of them even function — but for most, it’ll be charging at home or at work that’ll be the most sensible routine. That all sounds a hassle, but bear in mind that you can fully charge the X5’s battery on a domestic socket in just under four hours.

I made my last run to Munich airport — about 20 miles — mainly on electric power. And there’s something strangely satisfying about doing that. Not in a polar bear-saving, Swampy kind of way; it’s just a brilliantly relaxing, smooth and quiet way of getting around, in a car that’s as far removed from the ridiculous Reva G-Wiz as possible.

Then, on the last stretch of A-road, I gave it maximum right foot for a glorious surge of acceleration, which was hugely amusing. Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.
2015 BMW X5 xDrive40e rivals

Volvo XC90 T8 Momentum, £59,995 (view cars for sale)
For Beautiful interior; great on the road

Against Expensive compared with rivals

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 2.0 GX5hs, £45,054 (view cars for sale)
For Affordable; impressive range
Against Comparatively low power; performance is on the leisurely side

Chargemaster confirms free wallbox offer to continue

August 12th, 2014 § Comments Off on Chargemaster confirms free wallbox offer to continue § permalink

The company said it will continue to install 3kW wallboxes at no cost to the end user, including six months’ membership to the POLAR charging point network and free online usage monitoring, which usually costs £20 per year.

An extension of the original Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, OLEV provides 75% of the cost of a charging point up to the cost of £900, rather than the original £1,000 cap.
» Read the rest of this entry «

From Across the Pond: Is wireless the future of EV charging?

April 1st, 2014 § Comments Off on From Across the Pond: Is wireless the future of EV charging? § permalink

‘Wireless’ is a pretty fashionable word these days. Go back fifty years and it just meant radio, but in this day and age it’s a buzzword. It started off with wireless landline phones, then we got wireless internet and wireless speakers. Wires are untidy and ugly and the less we see of them the better – at least that seems to be the message from consumers. Found on TheGreenCarWebsite

Normally, this wouldn’t really interest, but the logic we see applied to telephones and internet connections is now affecting electric cars. For years, sceptics have told us that one of the biggest problems with EVs is that you have to plug them in. That could be about to change. » Read the rest of this entry «

#vauxhall #ampera #electricVehicle #review – Finally had a Test Drive of this “legendary” #ev. My Thoughts on it…

February 28th, 2013 § Comments Off on #vauxhall #ampera #electricVehicle #review – Finally had a Test Drive of this “legendary” #ev. My Thoughts on it… § permalink

One Upon Time, i got hands on Ampera built by Vauxhall, Parented by General Motors (GM). In Essence, the Vold by Chrysler. Its the same thing. Parented by GM. same parents, same roots. Somewhat different designs (i prefer Volt Aesthetics)

Moving swiftly on. I will go through this bullet point listed. One event to the next, whatever made me “make the note” as i was testing the vehicle.

I have a feeling this may make its way into the “Fleet”, at my work, but read on…

It was the Ampera Electron (Top Trim. 35k). Big Beast. Nice cosy seats. Big Boot. All very noticeable right away.

Car tends to make good use of the electric charge first before 1.4L (43mpg avg) engine/generator purrs into life. As it should be. Thus all commuting (my journey) to-fro work – some near 30 miles a day is well accomodated. I found that despite the “full charge” delivering 29 miles (hopefully based on profiling) in real life – i DID have full climate control on and heating conveniently switched on as well. It Was 3c outside there

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