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.”
May 18th, 2016 § Comments Off on Sales of electric cars rise by 120% in a year § permalink
- Number of electric cars on the road has more than doubled in a year
- Figures show 45,326 plug-in and hybrid cars were in service in 2016
- This is compared to just 20,522 vehicles at the start of last year
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3595898/Sales-electric-cars-rise-120-year-45-000-plug-hybrid-vehicles-road.html#ixzz490tjPtwJ
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The number of electric cars on Britain’s roads has more than doubled in the last year, according to new government data.
There were 45,326 plug-in and hybrid cars on the streets at the end of last year compared to just 20,522 the year before – a 120 per cent increase.This compares to just a two per cent rise in the sales of traditional cars over the same period.
It represents a phenomenal growth since 2010, when there were just 134 electric vehicles on the roads, according Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) data.Growth has accelerated rapidly since the Government introduced the plug-in car grant scheme at the start of 2011, which offers up to £4,500 off the price.
However, the number of electric vehicles is still just a tiny fraction of the 31 million petrol and diesel engined cars in the UK.The best-selling fully electric car in the UK is the Nissan Leaf, 11,219 on the road but this is dwarfed by the hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV with 16,100 models.
Edward Jones, electric vehicle manager at Nissan GB, believes the UK electric vehicle market is at a ‘tipping point’.’
Each year we see thousands more motorists switched on to the capability, performance, and reliability of pure electric motoring,’ he said.’ With current electric vehicle ranges enabling more than 90 per cent of daily driving needs, we believe the UK is at a tipping point for mass EV adoption.’ Richard Hudson, sales director at BMW UK, said advances in technology are overcoming the drawbacks of electric motoring.
March 24th, 2016 § Comments Off on Will we See an Electric Jaguar by 2018? § permalink
By RoundAndTrack read original post here.
Electric cars are one of the big things in the auto industry right now, and it looks like Jaguar will be joining the club soon.
Speaking to AutoGuide today, Ian Callum said an electric Jag is probably coming sooner than we would think.
“Within two years, we’ll have something that’s not driven by a petrol engine,” he said before joking that the car would be instead be powered by “just a couple of hamsters.”
A representative from Jaguar wouldn’t clarify what kind of electric car it would be, but did say it’s inevitable considering the direction the rest of the industry is heading. She also said we could probably guess which models will get electrified first.
Presumably, that would mean the F-Pace and the XJ will be first to go, while the F-Type is safe from battery power (at least for now). AutoGuide has also uncovered trademarks Jaguar filed for an I-Type and an I-Pace, which points to an electrified F-Type—and an electrified F-Pace—coming at some point.
Assuming Callum is correct, look for the first concept car to show up in the next year or so.
March 17th, 2016 § Comments Off on Go Aberdeen: Electric vehicle no charge cost to continue in Aberdeen § permalink
People can continue to charge their electric vehicles at no cost apart from the on-street or car park charge for a further 12 months after it was agreed at committee yesterday (Tues 15 March).
Aberdeen City Council’s Communities, Housing and Infrastructure committee approved a report on the service.
Aberdeen City Council’s Communities, Housing and Infrastructure convener Councillor Neil Cooney said: “This is a fantastic scheme and will help to encourage more people to change to electric vehicles.
“We hope many more motorists will go electric and will make use of our facility of not charging for the electricity.”
The report to committee said the supply and installation of the EV Charging Units has, to date, been 100% grant funded by Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government Transport Agency, OLEV, the UK Office for Low Emission Vehicles and the Energy Saving Trust Scotland. Funding has been awarded to Community Planning Partnerships in each local authority area with Community Planning Partners (CPPs) the recipients.
Since the Aberdeen public network was installed in 2013, the cost of providing the electricity for these units has been absorbed by the City Council.
Figures obtained from EDF, the City Council’s energy provider, reveal that, since they were installed, the cost of running the 34 charge points that the Council has figures for is £13,116.
The Aberdeen Air Quality Action Plan (2011) identifies road traffic as the main contributor to poor air quality in Aberdeen. Given that Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEVs) offer zero and reduced tailpipe emissions respectively when compared with 100% Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles, facilitating the use of such vehicles could make a difference to Aberdeen air quality.
The report to committee further said evidence suggests that people choose EVs and PHEVs partly for their environmental credentials and partly due to the low running costs. An 80 mile journey in an EV typically costs around £2.50 in electricity, around a quarter of the price of an equivalent fossil fuelled vehicle. Still, only 1% of new car sales in Scotland are EV and PHEV and it is argued that the current low cost of petrol and diesel at the pumps is doing little to help uptake.
The free use of the charging infrastructure could be considered as a significant incentive to stimulate interest. If this is not offered, the uptake could be limited and this could have a detrimental impact upon sustainability and environmental issues.
Aberdeen City Council won a Scottish Transport Award in 2015 for its work “Powering ahead with electric vehicles”, and is regarded by the Electric Vehicle Association Scotland (EVAS) as the best EV Council in Scotland. By continuing to present the city as EV friendly, the Council aims to uphold this reputation both with users and transport professionals alike.
February 12th, 2016 § Comments Off on 98% of England’s motorway network’ within 20 miles of electric car § permalink
Some 98% of England’s motorway network is no more than 20 miles from an electric vehicle charge point, according to new research.
A study by motoring organisation the RAC Foundation found that the proportion of service stations offering the facility has risen to 72%.
It stated that the vast majority (92%) of the individual charge points are rapid, meaning batteries can be almost fully replenished in around half an hour.
When the analysis was extended to include major A roads managed by Highways England (HE), it was calculated that 82% of the strategic road network is within 20 miles of a charge point.
There are currently just over 20,000 battery-only vehicles licensed in the UK.
The report found that just 28% of the major road network in Scotland is within 20 miles of a charge point, and 45% in Wales.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Electric car drivers might still struggle to drive from Land’s End to John O’Groats but they can now travel from Southampton to Perth in a relatively straight line and be confident of being able to ‘fill up’ along the way.
“The growing charge point network is good news but there are important caveats.
“Though many of the charge points are rapid, it will still take about 30 minutes to fully replenish a battery. This is fine if you’re first in the queue but could be a challenge if the hoped-for take up of electric cars materialises and you’re stuck at the back of a very long line.”
Research previously published by the RAC Foundation suggested that a third of charge points in London were not working at any one time.
From next month the £5,000 subsidy for electric cars is being reduced and replaced by a tiered system.
Vehicles with a zero emission range of over 70 miles will be eligible for up to £4,500 while those with a shorter range – such as plug-in hybrids with a petrol or diesel engine – can receive £2,500.
January 3rd, 2016 § Comments Off on How much I’ve saved in petrol/diesel fuel cost while driving an electric Nissan Leaf? § permalink
Just completed my second service here for my Nissan Leaf,
– major service £149
– New Set of Tyres £ 139
All good, fair play. Good job. Now all this made me stumble across another point, it appears we have covered a lot of miles in 2 years and 3 months of our lease. Never mind the excess pm charge of 4.8p/pm we gonna cough up (over 10k/a x3)
Quick calculator check – see menu on left or click here
Indicating Saving of £2,800 in fuel costs over that period…
That’s nearly £110/month saving. So effective lease figure of £290/month is actually £180/month in real terms.
December 21st, 2015 § Comments Off on Breathing batteries for electric cars § permalink
On paper, electric cars sound so good; cheap to ‘fuel’ and packed with green credentials. But there is one major downside, you can’t get very far.
For example, the Nissan Leaf – one of the most popular electric cars – has a maximum range of 155 miles. This plummets if you don’t drive at a ‘leisurely speed’ or use heating or air con. To ‘refuel’ the car needs plugging in. A rapid charger – now installed in many motorway service stations, supermarkets and city car parks – takes 30 minutes to get to 80% of full charge. Plug it in to a standard socket at home and a full charge takes nearly 12 hours. In short: they don’t suit everyone’s needs.
» Read the rest of this entry «
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
September 15th, 2015 § Comments Off on Land Rover reveals EV-hybrid concepts § permalink
Jaguar Land Rover has previewed its upcoming electric vehicle technology with hybrid and EV versions of the Range Rover Evoque. The in-house developed electric motor will be seen on three of its zero-emission and electric vehicle concepts, that shall pave the way for future hybrid and electric vehicles.
Under development for the past two years, the battery designs allow for easy integration with any engine and transmission combination, or independent use in all-electric vehicles. Also, the batteries are capable of producing twice the torque as any currently in production.
The first car called the Concept e MHEV, is an Evoque that pairs a prototype three-cylinder, 89bhp diesel engine with a 48V lithium-ion battery pack. The second, a Range Rover Sport-based Concept e PHEV uses a 296bhp petrol motor and a larger 150kW, 320V lithium-ion battery. The petrol engine uses a standard eight-speed automatic gearbox with a full-time four-wheel drive system.
The third concept based on JLR’s new aluminium platform packs a 70kWh lithium-ion driving a 145kW motor on the rear axle and an 85kW electric motor on the front axle. The electric drive module is deemed suitable for every vehicle architecture, and fits between the engine and the transmission. A two-speed transmission mated to the electric motors aids low-speed traction.
The company has also developed a low carbon-emission Evoque called ‘Provoque’. It is powered by an electrically supercharged 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine coupled with a 48V mild hybrid system that also drives the supercharger for producing low-end torque.
JLR is yet to reveal the performance details of the vehicles. Production-ready cars based on the display concepts are unlikely to go on sale before 2020.
August 23rd, 2015 § Comments Off on Warrantywise to offer cover for electric cars § permalink
The first warranty cover for EVs has been announced by Warrantywise
Warrantywise has announced the first warranty designed for used electric vehicles. The news comes as thousands of electric cars in the UK are reaching the end of their manufacturer’s warranties.
Electric vehicles are growing in popularity in the UK due to their low running costs, quiet rides and drivability, and zero emission powertrains. The Nissan Leaf is the most popular, with over 10,000 being sold since its 2011 release. Other manufacturers are also selling EVs with success including the Renault Zoe, Tesla Model S, and BMW i3. » Read the rest of this entry «