June 22nd, 2016 § Comments Off on Council aims to turbo-charge electric car use in Oxford § permalink
Council aiming to turbo-charge electric car use in Oxford
AN ATTEMPT to jump-start Oxford’s slow uptake of electric vehicles is now in motion, with up to 30 new charging points arriving in the next 12 months.
People and businesses across the city are being called on to help develop the plan and find suitable places for the trial stations, which will be bought in the summer.
In April this year Oxford City Council received an £800,000 grant to add an extra 100 charging stations to the city – where only 85 people currently drive electric cars.
John Tanner, the council’s board member for climate change, said: “What we have at the moment is the early adopters, the enthusiasts.
“But with more plug-in points around the city, I think more people are going to take the plunge and buy electric vehicles.”
There are currently 13 on-street charging stations around Oxford, of which three, Summertown Car Park, Cowley Road and Worcester Street Car Park, have reported faults.
It is hoped the 100 new devices will begin to be rolled out in 2018, making make electric vehicle ownership possible for 16,000 extra homes.
Mr Tanner added that another barrier to more people making the switch was the initial cost of a vehicle, which he said was comparatively “quite high”.
But he added: “We have to get into our heads that although these vehicles cost a lot to buy in the first place, they are very cheap to run, and don’t pollute the atmosphere.
“A petrol or diesel vehicle is pumping nitrogen dioxide into Oxford’s atmosphere. To switch to renewable energy from fossil fuel is the right way to go.”
Those already driving an ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) could struggle to get around Oxford due to a lack of available charge points.
Low Carbon Hub CEO Barbara Hammond, who lives in a terraced house on Osney Island, bought a Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid – which can switch between electrical power and fuel-burning – three years ago.
She said: “When we get the space outside we would like to plug in from our house and use a ‘cable gully’ – a safe means of getting the cable across the pavement.
“If you live in a city being able to charge it is an issue. A lot of people would have an electric vehicle if they could be sure of charging it.”
Research recently carried out by the city council suggested one in five people would consider going electric with their next vehicle.
Giles Dobson, 37, the owner of Oxford River Cruises based at Folly Bridge, said he would definitely buy an electric car if there were a place to charge it.
The Lake Street resident said: “My introduction to electric vehicles was the boats we operate – they’re electrically propelled themselves.
“To me the attraction of electric vehicles is the environmental benefit primarily, but also they have company car and tax benefits.”
Mr Dobson was among a small group of Oxford residents who met with the council on June 8 to discuss having a charging point on their street.
He added: “Lake Street is one of the worst for on-street parking because of the community centre, the health centre and the swimming pool.
“This scheme would make it feasible for me to get an electric car.”
June 11th, 2016 § Comments Off on Norway: Why do they love electric cars in the Arctic Circle? § permalink
Tromso, a Norwegian city known as the “Gateway to the Arctic”, receives no sunlight for two months of the year.
Yet this remote, beautiful, snowy city is the unlikely focus of the global electric car industry, attracting the attention of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, founder of electric car maker Tesla.
His company has recently opened a showroom there – its most northerly outpost.
Why? Because Norway, it seems, is simply nuts about electric cars.
The country is the world leader in electric cars per capita and has just become the fourth country in the world to have 100,000 of them on the roads.
When you consider the other nations on the list are the US (population: 320 million), Japan (pop. 130 million) and China (pop. 1.35 billion), then that is quite an achievement for this rugged, sparsely populated country of just five million.
Some of its politicians want to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2025, which prompted Musk to tweet: “What an amazingly awesome country. You guys rock!!”
On an earlier visit in April, he attributed a lot of Tesla’s success to the country’s pioneering stance on electric cars.
So how has Norway managed it?
Elisabeth Bryn helps explain the answer. The 56-year-old teacher enjoys driving in the icy streets of Tromso and she can barely contain her excitement as she misses our turn.
“It is such a good feeling to drive a clean car. It means I have a clean conscience and it works out cheaper in the long run,” she tells the BBC.
But it is economic incentive as much as environmental concern that is fuelling the rise in green cars – Norway introduced a raft of generous subsidies to encourage people to go electric.
Electric Car Incentive List
- No purchase taxes
- Exemption from 25% VAT on purchase
- Low annual road tax
- No charges on toll roads or ferries
- Free municipal parking
- Access to bus lanes
- 50% reduction in company car tax
- No VAT on leasing
It launched an aggressive tax policy towards high-polluting cars, while offering zero tax on zero-emission cars. This “polluter pays” policy brought the cost of an electric car into line with a conventionally powered one.
Bryn is clearly shrewd about the numbers and says the entire cost of her car will be recouped within eight years thanks to the tax and fuel savings.
But aren’t people worried about running out of power? Lack of range is the electric car’s Achilles heel after all.
This is where Norway comes into its own, as Bryn demonstrates at a public charging point on an industrial estate out of town.
The electricity being pumped into her car is free.
Norway is fortunate enough to have close to 100% renewable and cheap hydro power production.
According to the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association, even if all three million cars on the country’s roads were electric, they would suck up just 5-6% of the annual hydro power electricity production.
Elisabeth Bryn loves her electric car, but some of her friends worry about flat batteries
Rapid charging points can pump her Nissan Leaf with up to 80% charge in just 30 minutes. Alternatively, Bryn can charge her car at home at a much slower pace overnight.
It helps that Norway is also the biggest oil producer in Western Europe and the world’s third largest exporter of natural gas. In other words, Norway is rich enough to subsidise its electric car lifestyle.
But despite these considerable perks, not everyone is convinced.
In Oslo there are more than 14,000 electric cars – about 30% of the market. But in the more northern reaches – cities like Tromso – enthusiasm has been more muted.
This may be explained by the tough terrain and “range anxiety” – concerns that a flat battery will leave them stranded in arctic conditions.
Can electric cars perform as well in far northern climes?
Studies have shown that electric car performance can deteriorate markedly in extreme cold or hot conditions. And Nissan, whose Leaf model is the biggest selling electric vehicle in Norway, admits that the car’s 124-mile maximum range can fall significantly in icier conditions when the heating, lights and demister are all draining the charge more thirstily.
Bryn says such concerns have put off some of her friends: “They have a cabin deep in the countryside and said they just couldn’t trust an electric car to get them there. They said there just weren’t enough charging points.”
Yet Tesla’s new showroom in Tromso, and the steady growth in the number of public charging points, demonstrates the industry’s commitment to spreading the green message no matter how inhospitable the environment.
And the rest of the world is learning lessons from Norway.
Germany has just announced a €1bn (£784m; $1.1bn) incentive scheme to get more consumers buying electric cars, for example.
Christian Ruoff, publisher of US electric car magazine, Charged, sums it up: “Electric car makers in the US see Norway as a window into the future.
“Norway shows that if governments can make electric cars as affordable as petrol equivalents then motorists, even in the Arctic Circle, will buy them.
“It also busts the myths that electric cars and their batteries are only suitable for cities with more moderate climates like Oslo or San Francisco.”
June 4th, 2016 § Comments Off on Twizy Travel: 2 people, 2 suitcase, 1 bag, 1 twizy #electricCar #ev ride #commute #london § permalink
Who said you can go for a quick weekender in a #twizy…
Ok, so we had to get from A to B really, but with 45odd mile range I’d get on my Renault twizy, you can see the convenience,(or not and I won’t blame you) of the ride, vs public transport lugging all this and change several times along the way. And Before you ask: No, I don’t have another car at the moment. So twizy or train&tube&bus.
Cost of this travel option: £1 in electricity.
Cost of would be alternative public travel for two people would be £20 (+ time inconvenience)
Uber equivalent would be £50
—- so, can #twizy holiday be done?
Would I do it again?
Not really – my i3 delivery is nearly upon us. 🙂
April 22nd, 2016 § Comments Off on Sadly: No 200-mile electric car in Ford’s immediate future § permalink
DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. has no immediate plans to chase General Motors, Nissan and Tesla in the electric car range race.
Kevin Layden, Ford’s director of electrification programs and engineering, said the 100-mile range coming this fall in the 2017 Focus Electric — up from the 2016 model’s 76 miles — is enough distance to cover the daily commute of most drivers.
Speaking on the sidelines of the SAE World Congress last week here, Layden said keeping the car’s range at 100 miles will help rein in weight and cost. The lower range enables the use of a smaller, lighter and less expensive battery pack, Layden said.
But during a panel discussion last week on the future of electric cars, several speakers said a range of at least 200 miles is needed to alleviate consumers’ range anxiety about battery-powered cars.
“I think right now with the launch of the Focus Electric at 100 miles, it is going to satisfy a big chunk of the population,” said Layden. “It’s going to be really affordable and a step up from where we are now.”
This fall, GM will launch the Chevrolet Bolt hatchback, a compact electric car that GM says will go at least 200 miles on a single charge, while Tesla is promising its Model 3 compact sedan will be able to drive 215 miles on a charge. And Nissan plans to launch a redesigned Leaf in 2018 with a promised 200-mile range.
In December, Ford committed $4.5 billion to rejuvenate its electrified vehicle lineup.
From : http://www.autonews.com/article/20160418/OEM05/304189970/no-200-mile-electric-car-in-fords-immediate-future
April 19th, 2016 § Comments Off on USA: Wireless electric car charging system revealed § permalink
A wireless charging system has been unveiled in the US that has the potential to match the power output of plug-powered fast-chargers and is capable of charging electric cars on the go.
The 20kW wireless charging system, which is already around three times faster than some plug-in alternatives, has been developed over the past three years by the government-backed Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) with Toyota, Cisco Systems, Clemson University and Evatran.
The system has been demonstrated with a Toyota RAV4 fitted with an additional 10kWh battery, with energy transferred from a transmitting plate in the ground to a receiving plate underneath the front of the car, from where it is then transferred to the battery.
“We now have a technology that is moving closer to being ready for the market,” said Madhu Chinthavali, ORNL power electronics team leader.
ORNL says its next target, along with developing the system’s ability to charge a vehicle in motion, is to up the system’s output to produce 50kW, which would match the power of some plug-powered high-speed charging stations.
Wireless charging of electric vehicles in motion is something which is being developed with a focus on commercial vehicles rather than passenger cars, ORNL says.
Commercial EVs, such as buses, which travel on regular routes and stop at predetermined intervals, would benefit most from wireless charging systems integrated into the road, charging them on the move and also when stationary at bus stops.
The cost of implementing the system is a drawback to more widespread use, though, as it could cost up to $2 million (£1.4m) per mile to incorporate the system into roads, according to ORNL, and the system is still some years away from being implemented.
The institute, which benefited from vehicles and guidance from Toyota in the system’s development, expects to reach its 50kW target this year, but it would take a minimum of a100kW system to make wireless charging viable for bigger commercial vehicles.
The fastest charging station currently is Tesla’s Supercharger, which is capable of delivering up to 120kW and an 80% charge in 30 minutes, while the slowest three-point plug 3kW chargers take around 6-8 hours to deliver a full charge.
Wireless charging systems are set to be tested in the UK, with the government committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050, and Nissan has outlined its plans to implement such a system for its cars.
March 29th, 2016 § Comments Off on …Some Secrets We Think We Know About Tesla’s Model 3 § permalink
Tesla is getting ready for its biggest-ever unveiling: the Model 3, the $35,000 sedan designed to take electric cars mainstream. As the fateful date approaches, the company has been dropping hints about what to expect from a project that has been a decade in the making. With just a few days left before the big show, here’s everything we know, as well as a few things we’ll be watching for on March 31:
Roomy, Like an Audi A4
The Model 3 will be about 20 percent smaller than the Model S, or roughly the size of an Audi A4, said Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk. The A4 is a five-seater that feels a bit roomier than some of its rivals in the compact luxury category. (The Model 3 will compete with BMW’s 3 series in the class of entry luxury cars). Backseat riders might gain some leg room because an electric drive-train obviates the need for a transmission tunnel, the hump in the middle of the floor. There’s also no engine in an electric car, and Tesla likes to use that empty space for a “frunk”—front trunk—for extra storage. Will that feature survive in the smaller Model 3?
Ready to Ride
The Model 3 is now the company’s top priority and is “going to be probably the most profound car that we make,” according to Musk. At this week’s event, a working prototype will be ready onsite to take reporters for “a quick spin,” according to invitations sent out March 15. Musk had previously indicated he might not show the full car, which won’t officially go on sale until late 2017. It will be interesting to see how “finished” the prototype is and determine how much is still being worked out.
A Mini Model S?
The biggest unknown about the Model 3 is its look. Will it have the distinctive oval front end of the Model S or the tight-lipped mouth of the Model X? What about those huge windshields? Tesla may have given a clue with the invitations, which feature pictures of the Model S, the Model X, and a silhouette in place of the Model 3. As some Tesla watchers have pointed out, the silhouette is a perfect match for the Model S. So was the image just a Photoshop trick, or will the Model 3 look very much like a shorter version of the Model S? When asked via e-mail if the company would like to clarify, a Tesla spokesperson simply replied: “Ha.”
» Read the rest of this entry «
February 9th, 2016 § Comments Off on Tesla Model 3: Everything we know about the ‘electric car of the people’ § permalink
The Model 3 would be the most important moment in Tesla’s history to date. It would be the car that takes Tesla from a niche company into the mainstream by offering a fully electric car with a range of more than 200 miles and a price of less than £30,000.
With a release date falling somewhere in 2017, the Model 3 would likely arrive just as traditional car manufacturers get their own all-electric offerings into gear and off the end of the production line. With just a few weeks to go until the big reveal, here is everything we know so far.
The reveal might not be all that big… for now
Last year we heard that the Model 3 was coming in March, and with the world-famous Geneva Motor Show opening to journalists on 1 March, this appeared to make perfect sense. However, now we are not so sure. Tesla is attending the Geneva show – in Hall 4 with Honda, Renault and Toyota – but boss Elon Musk recently said the car would not be revealed until the end of the month.
Furthermore, Musk said the company is being “a little coy” with the Model 3 and would not be showing the car off in full at the late-March event. This could mean we only see a teasing, shadowy photo or that Tesla would reveal an early, non-functioning concept car, possibly with blacked-out windows and no interior.
It is to cost less than £30,000
Speaking at the Prince’s Trust Leadership Dinner in London in January, Musk said the Model 3 would cost less than £30,000. He has also previously said it would cost less than $30,000 (£20,000), but the difference here would be cancelled out by UK tax and the cost of shipping cars over from California.
At this price, the Model 3 will be positioning itself against the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, Jaguar XE and Mercedes C-Class, all of which start between £25,000 and £30,000. This is arguably the toughest market for any car company to crack, and would open Tesla up to fleet buyers looking to order company cars in bulk for their staff.
The Model S currently stretches from £50,000 to a little more than £100,000. We don’t expect the Model 3’s price to double with options, but a spread of £30,000 to around £50,000 sounds reasonable. Will there be an £8,700 Ludicrous Mode to make the Model 3 Ferrari-fast? Possibly not, but…
It is to be faster than all of its rivals
Does anyone really expect Musk not to boast about the Model 3 being the faster car in its class? It might not have the 155mph top speed of some of its rivals, but it would still use that electric motor to launch off the line more quickly than anything else.
We suspect a 0-60mph time of four seconds (or three-point-something, if Musk really wants to brag) would be entirely possible, but don’t forget that a smaller car has to equal a smaller battery and less powerful motor. This is ‘the electric car of the people’, not a hot rod.
Render suggesting what the Tesla Model 3 may look like based on the Model S and XAuto-Moto
It would have a range of at least 200 miles
In March 2015, Musk said that 200 miles is the minimum expectation for an electric car. More specifically, he said this figure must be “real world” and not a case of the car only reaching 200 miles if the air conditioning is off and it is driven on a road as smooth as a snooker table. “Anything below 200 miles isn’t passing grade,” he added. “Most people [are] looking for 20% more than that.”
So let us take that to mean the Model 3’s target range is 240 miles – not far shy of the 275 quoted range of the cheapest Model S, the 70D, but a comfortable way behind the 340 miles of the 90D, which is twice the price of the Model 3.
But the Model 3 isn’t on sale yet, and battery technology is improving at an accelerating pace. The 200-240mph claim was made almost a year ago, and once the Model 3 goes on sale it would be two years old. Improvements between now and 2017 would likely see longer ranges across the board – but there is always be a gap to justify the higher prices of the S and X.
It is on schedule – for now
Momentum built up by the Model S was knocked back a peg by delays to the Model X. Adding cool but complex details such as the ‘falcon wing’ doors swallowed up time and money, delaying the new model and disappointing investors and consumers. Delays for six-figure cars built in small numbers by a niche company and sold to wealthy early adopters are to be expected – but Tesla wants the Model 3 to be its biggest seller and take a large slice of a forecast 500,000 annual sales by 2020, up from 50,000 in 2015.
Consumers do not expect delays when they order a new Ford, BMW, VW or Audi. In switching to Tesla, they are already taking a gamble that a small company will whisk them into the future; the last thing they will want is a delay – especially if a novelty feature such as a complicated door hinge is to blame.
The Model 3 platform is to be shared with the Model Y
Rumours spread in early 2016 claimed that Tesla was ready to announce two versions of the Model 3. This now seems unlikely, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the Model 3’s platform could be shared with other Tesla vehicles in the future. Cars made by the Volkswagen group – VW, Audi and Seat – have shared platforms and common components for some time. It’s an obvious cost-saving measure, and something that Tesla should also do. I would expect the Model 3 to be a small five-door saloon, followed by an SUV crossover like the Nissan Juke, entitled the Model Y.
In October 2015, Musk tweeted a fan asking if the “Model 3 crossover” would have falcon-wing doors. He said: “There will be a Model 3 and a Model Y. One of the two will.” Musk’s tweet was then deleted, but the story is a simple one: the Model Y will be to the Model 3 what the Model X is to the Model S.
It was supposed to be called the Model E
That last sentence made me angry at why carmakers don’t use fun, dynamic and interesting names any more. Instead of Daytona, Thunderbird, Cerbera and Spitfire, we have F12tdf, i10, C4 and Tesla’s range of seemingly unrelated Models. But hold on. In Tesla’s case we actually have Ford to blame for spoiling Musk’s joke: he originally wanted a line-up of Models S, E, X – with Y coming later. Geddit?
Well, now it’s S-3-X-Y because Ford’s lawyers came knocking, reminded Tesla that it owns the Model E trademark, and that no, it isn’t for sale. Ford also produced a Model Y, back in the 1930s, so Musk’s plans might have been thwarted there too. Sorry, Elon.
December 21st, 2015 § Comments Off on UK to have Tighter rules for Plug-in Car Grant § permalink
The UK Government is to continue its Plug-in Car Grant, intended to encourage motorists to buy electric cars – but the criteria are being tightened up.
Introduced in 2011 and previously extended until February 2016, the scheme will now continue until at least the end of March 2018.
However the most an electric car buyer will be able to claim back will be £4,500, instead of £5,000 as currently.
Also from March 2016 grants will be made in two categories. Cars offering a zero-emissions range, effectively all-electric, of more than 70 miles will be known as Category 1 and qualify for the £4,500. The vast majority of today’s plug-in hybrids, however will qualify for Category 2 and 3, in which the grant will be worth only £2,500.
Also Category 2 or 3 vehicles retailing at more than £60,000 will not be eligible for any grant.
According to Government figures around 50,000 owners have claimed payments under the grant since it was introduced, with numbers growing – 29 ULEVs (Ultra Low Emission Vehicles) are now available on the UK market, some five times more than in 2011 when the grant was introduced.
“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,” Transport Minister Andrew Jones says.
“We are determined to keep Britain at the forefront of the technology, increasing our support for plug-in vehicles to £600 million over the next five years to cut emissions, create jobs and support our cutting-edge industries,” he adds.
The announcement is being welcomed by UK motor industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders, CEO Mike Hawes saying the grant has helped Britain become the fastest-growing market for ultra-low emission vehicles in Europe.
“The recently agreed global climate change targets underscore the important contribution ultra-low emission vehicles make – and will continue to make – to reducing carbon emissions,” Hawes adds.
“Manufacturers are offering increasing numbers of these vehicles – but a consistently applied incentive regime is still needed over the coming years to help consumers adopt these ground-breaking technologies.”
Those who want to charge at home will still be supported, but with less money.
Those who want to charge at home will still be supported, but not to the same extent as previously.
Home charge grant cut
The Government has also said that it will continue to offer ULEV owners who want to install a home charging point a grant of up to £500 towards the cost. This is around half of the likely cost and down from the current £700 maximum grant, and has been criticised by David Martell, CEO of Chargemaster, the largest provider and operator of charging points in the UK.
“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,” Mr Martell says.
“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 homecharger is vital.”
September 15th, 2015 § Comments Off on #ev proud: Scotland hosts first electric car rally § permalink
The sixty mile round trip cost drivers around £1.50 compared to £9 for a petrol-powered journey.Sixty electric cars took part in a rally between Stirling and Glasgow over the weekend to celebrate the launch of a new electric vehicle (EV) subsidy.
The sixty-mile round trip, led by Scrapheap Challenge presenter Robert Llewellyn in his Tesla, cost drivers around £1.50, compared to £9 for a petrol-powered journey.
Taking place on Saturday, the convoy set off from George Square in Glasgow, and toured Stirling, before returning to Glasgow.
The rally was hosted to promote the recent launch of a £2.5m electric vehicle loan fund from the Scottish Government. Businesses can now receive interest-free loans up to £100,000 to cover the cost of an EV, with individuals qualifying for loans up to £50,000.
The new Scottish loan can also be used alongside the existing UK Government Plug-In Car and Van Grant scheme, which offers grants of up to £5,000 for those buying a new electric car and £8,000 for a van.
Scotland’s Transport Minister Derek Mackay said: “It is fantastic to see so many enthusiastic participants and such a variety of cars taking part in Scotland’s first ever electric vehicle rally. With no dirty exhaust fumes or revving engines, this must be the quietest and most environmentally considerate rally spectators will see this year.
“This event challenges old perceptions about the range and performance of electric vehicles and may perhaps encourage those in the market for a new car to consider going electric.
“The recent launch of the £2.5million EV loan fund means we’re enabling even more people than ever before to make the switch and buy one – saving money, reducing emissions and making our communities greener, cleaner and healthier.”
The rally was born from the same concept as Formula E – using motorsport to help change perceptions of EVs. These tactics, along with subsidy support, saw UK sales of EVs triple in the first half of 2015, from 4,096 in 2014 to 14,126 in 2015.
Last month, a Government study also found that ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) are increasingly being used like ‘normal’ cars. In households which own ULEVs, 82% use the low emission car as their main vehicle, while 20% of people who own electric vehicles use it as their only vehicle.
Electric vehicles are also steadily increasing in range, with Nissan announcing last week that its flagship LEAF model now has a single-charge range of 155 miles.
Since the Plug-In Car and Van Grant scheme was introduced in January 2011, more than 34,000 eligible vehicles have been registered across the UK.
September 5th, 2015 § Comments Off on Santa Pod Raceway hosts Enfield 8000 electric car’s record bid § permalink
A street-legal electric car built in 1974 is aiming for a European speed record this weekend.The cult British-built Enfield 8000 was built as an attempt to woo drivers during the decade’s oil crisis, but only 120 were built before cost killed off production.
Motoring journalist Jonny Smith is hoping to beat the 11.5 second record for a 1/4 mile dash in his car – The Flux Capacitor – at Santa Pod Raceway, on the Bedfordshire-Northamptonshire border.
Smith spoke about his record attempt during qualifying with BBC Look East’s Jonathan Park.