Do electric cars give you the EVjeebies? The Lincolnite

24 Мар 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Do electric cars give you the EVjeebies? The Lincolnite отключены
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Car manufacturers have toyed with the notion of electric propulsion since the dawn of the automobile back in the late 1800s, yet more companies are now on the electric vehicle (EV) band wagon than ever before. So why aren’t we buying them in larger numbers?

As much as it seems an alien concept to a dyed-in-the-wool geek like me, the majority of new car buyers aren’t enthusiasts. Sure, many want to drive something that reflects their tastes and personalities, so there’s a degree of emotion involved, but little passion.

Consequently, a large swathe of the market sees petrol cars as indulgent and sporty, diesels as pricier but frugal and anything with some kind of electrical drive as, well, like an expensive appliance. The reality is an EV could easily fit into most of our daily lives. Yes, really.

On average UK motorists commute 12.5 miles to work, well within the 80 mile range many pure EVs – ones with batteries and an electric motor – are capable of. Detractors cite what’s become known as range anxiety as a reason not to buy an electric car, playing on the fear that you’ll run out of power before your journey’s end.

Are electric cars like this BMW i3 the future of motoring in Lincoln?

Okay, you might need to give a little more forethought to your routes between charges, but it’s not difficult to manage. You can combat it, and typically double the car’s range, by choosing an EV with a range extender (REX), such as BMW’s i3 or Vauxhall’s Ampera. Although they’re fitted with a small engine, its job is to work as a generator not to power the car: electric motors still drive the wheels.

Driving an EV is a revelation in smoothness. There’s only one forward gear meaning all you have to do is accelerate (which they do surprisingly quickly due to the instant torque from the motors), brake (which cleverly generates more electricity) and steer. Most seat four to five people, have decently-sized boots and create few sacrifices practicality-wise.

Many EVs that are designed from the ground up to electrically-powered look distinctive too, an incentive to drive something that’s unusual and gets you noticed. If conspicuousness isn’t for you, then electric versions of regular cars tend to blend more easily into the cityscape.

Recharging your EV can take up to 10 hours from a domestic socket and is likely to add under £2.00 a time to your energy bill – consider how far the same value of diesel would get you. A rapid charge point at a public car park on the other hand, will generally give you 80% battery replenishment in less than 30 minutes. Not that there are many public charging points in Lincoln yet.

Drawbacks? Well, they’re not cheap to buy. Nissan and Renault can get you into one for about £15,000, but you’ll lease the batteries separately; BMW’s i3 costs upwards from £25,000 with batteries included.

Those prices are with the government’s £5,000 grant for clean cars already deducted.

Plus if you regularly drive beyond the range capabilities of the car, or only have access to on-street parking, they’re not going to be the easiest of things to own either. Extension cables leading to upstairs apartments simply won’t do.

So, are EVs really the future of motoring? Well, they’re one of several futures. Advances in battery technology to increase the range will help convince more people that they can run an electric car, but the internal combustion engine will be around for a while yet.

And I’ve not even started on next year’s hydrogen fuel cell vehicles either

Check out my full road test review on the BMW i3 on Parkers .

February 25, 2014 at 10:31am

Mr Jones, As an EV driver/rider of 3 years I found your article pretty good (for a change) but I d like to add to it a bit if I may.

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The key thing to consider when dealing with range anxiety is this:- most people use their cars for regular trips; commuting, dealing with the children, shopping whatever. Once you have done a particular trip in your shiny new EV and find that, not only can you make it there and back on one charge but have plenty to spare, then the range anxiety disappears. Add to that the ever-more true fact that, even if you get caught out by some sort of unintended extra mileage, there is probably some sort of charging facility that will save you — even if it is some unsuspecting business or homeowners 13A socket (you did bring your extension lead with you, didn t you?).

There are lots of them around these days.

Stuart Price raises an interesting point, which is relevant to the range anxiety issue. Frankly, I had to look up OLEV — such is the significance of this august organisation on my consciousness! What ON EARTH are they doing with all that money if I, having been an EVer for 3 years have barely heard of them?

Interestingly enough, I recently wrote a letter to my MP about the appalling state of the fast-charge infrastructure in the UK. I did 2 x 400 mile trips form home in Herts to the SW along the M$ 5 recently and the only fast-chargers (0 — 80% charge in 30 mins) available are provided by ecotricity, there is only one at each charger (so, yes, on 2 occasions I had to queue!) and some were not even working. In short, a total shambles.

The one thing that some of that money is being spent on is free, domestic, electric vehicle service equipment(s) — EVSEs — basically a wall mounted box which provides a safe supply of mains AC power and a suitable plug to connect to your EV. Unfortunately, they are utterly useless as, for one, they do not have a timing facility so you can t plug in when you get home and know that your EV will automatically charge during the Eco7 hours ready to go in the morning. Sure, some EVs have a timer built in to them instead but these EVSEs are costing £1000+ when a simple weather-proof GFI protected 13A socket would do just as well.

Cost? £25 from BQ. You can even get a timer one for a bit more from Toolstation.

All that said, my current EVs, a Peugeot badged Mitsubishi i-Miev and a Vectrix VX-1 (motorcycle), suit me very well and are an absolute joy to drive/ride. 2 fingers up to Big Oil and the tax man (for now, at least)!

If you want an EV, buy second hand and save yourself a fortune. There are some very good deals to be had on i-Mievs, for example, at the moment as leases are coming to an end for 2011 cars and they are selling at 1/3 of their RRP with only a few k miles on them… grab a bargain whilst you can. Check out eBay… and search for Peugeot Ion … but don t pay any more than £8k5! MW

February 25, 2014 at 10:35am

Oh, and BTW, a hybrid (aka range extended EV ) is *NOT* an EV and never will be. If it s got an exhaust, it isn t an EV! MW

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