How far can you go?

Today’s electric cars with the longest range can travel over 250 miles on a single charge. Yet for many potential buyers, a perceived lack of range is still a major barrier to going electric.

To help overcome this misconception and give drivers the confidence to make the switch, the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) and Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) have together produced a ‘Know Your Electric Range’ guide for consumers.

This helps buyers to understand that the new official* electric range figures provided for new electric and plug-in hybrid cars are now much more accurate and reliable and give a better idea of what they may achieve.

This makes comparing and choosing the right car much easier and takes some of the uncertainty out of buying an electric vehicle.

NFDA, which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK, will distribute the guide to its dealer members across the UK to help showroom buyers understand that the improved electric range figures for the latest fully electric and plug-in hybrid cars are achievable in real driving conditions.

LowCVP’s Managing Director, Andy Eastlake, commented: “Accelerating the move to low and zero-emissions transport can only happen if consumers have confidence in the new technologies they are being offered – yet too many are still sceptical about the range capabilities of the latest electric cars and have little faith in the official figures, which have previously proved optimistic.

This guide aims to change this by making motorists (and dealers) aware of the greater reliability of today’s figures and just how capable the latest plug-in hybrid and fully electric cars now are. It also explains why your electric range can differ from journey to journey, just as the fuel economy of a petrol or diesel car does.

Sue Robinson, NFDA Director, said: “As consumer appetite for electric vehicles increases, it is important that motorists have a good understanding of all the benefits and implications of owning an electric car.

Battery range is often indicated by consumers as a barrier to EV ownership alongside access to charging and cost. However, a clear understanding of a car’s actual driving range can boost consumer confidence.

Franchised retailers have a vital role to play in informing their customers about the key aspects to consider when purchasing an EV. It is encouraging that our partnership with LowCVP continues to support them”.

 

You can view and download the ‘Know Your Electric Range’ guide at www.lowcvp.org.uk/ElectricRange

This is the moment the world’s first fully-electric touring car is driven round a racetrack – as manufacturers continue to adapt to the changing face of motoring.

Cupra, which is the performance arm of SEAT, is developing the striking e-Racer – a zero emission track car capable of 0-62mph in just 3.2 seconds.

To showcase the groundbreaking vehicle’s development, Swedish racing driver Mattias Ekström put the e-Racer through its paces at the Montmeló circuit in Barcelona.

Gone is the deafening sound of a roaring petrol engine – with the e-Racer letting off a strange, whistle-like sound instead.

Despite a giant battery making it 400kg heavier than its petrol-powered touring car sibling, the e-Racer’s four electric motors ensure it is no slouch.

With the equivalent of 500 kW (670bhp), the e-Racer accelerates from 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds and from 0-124mph in 8.2 seconds. Top speed is 167mph.

The Cupra e-Racer is a response to a growing interest in electric motorsport – the fifth season of Formula E recently concluded while the electric touring car championship set to start next year.

Mattias Ekström, who is a three-time Race of Champions winner, said: “After a career dedicated to the racing world where I had explored all combustion engine formats I wanted to transition to electric racing with Cupra, which has been a pathfinder in this segment since its creation.

I think the biggest challenge is getting used to driving with no gearbox and without the roar of the engine as a reference for knowing, for example, how fast to go when taking curves.
It felt really good, especially when reaching full power coming out of the slow curves on the circuit.
I really enjoyed the first lap. The second also went well, although I began to notice that I was forcing the rear tyres.
I still need some time to get used to the sound of the engine. It’s much quieter than any other I’ve driven before, and I’m a very emotional driver.

Ekström is working closely with the team of engineers and technicians to fine tune the e-Racer ahead of the launch of the new Electric Touring Car Series which starts next year.

EV charging survey results are in

The first results of Zap-Map’s 2019 EV Charging Survey reveals the top 10 UK charging networks and the factors that make for high user satisfaction.

Zap-Map’s survey panel of more than 1,600 users awarded satisfaction ratings for more than 26 UK networks visited by Zap-Map users. Using a satisfaction score (0-100) based on these user ratings, the top 10 networks identified are:

#1: Tesla Supercharger (94)

#2: InstaVolt (86)

#3: Pod Point (79)

#4: NewMotion (77)

#5 (joint): Polar (BP Chargemaster) / Shell Recharge (73)

#7 ChargePlace Scotland (72)

#8 (joint): Engenie / GMEV (Greater Manchester) (70)

#10: GeniePoint  (69)

Topping the satisfaction ranking in 2019, more than 86% of drivers using Tesla Superchargers report being ‘very satisfied’ and 10% ‘somewhat satisfied’ with the experience. Tesla continues to set the gold-standard for the EV charging experience with its low charging costs (free for early adopters), reliability and national coverage.

Retaining second place for the second year running, InstaVolt leads the ranking within the wider rapid-charging market, with 64% ‘very satisfied’ and 24% ‘somewhat satisfied’ with the charging experience, respondents citing ease-of-use and contactless payments among the most positive aspects of the service.

Third on the podium is Pod Point, whose UK-wide network includes slow, fast and rapid charge devices. As the third most used network within the survey sample, 45% are ‘very satisfied’ and 37% ‘somewhat satisfied’ when charging their EV on one of Pod Point’s units, with many users noting their simple-to-use operation.

ACEA plans for the future

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association is urgently calling for a comprehensive plan to enable the transition to zero-emission mobility in Europe.

This should include a major ramp-up of charging and refuelling infrastructure, as well as meaningful purchase incentives to stimulate sales, helping to achieve the goals set by the EU.

At the Frankfurt Motor Show last week, ACEA launched the first edition of its annual report on the key ‘enabling factors’ for stronger consumer acceptance of electric and other alternatively-powered cars in the EU. If the extremely ambitious 2025 and 2030 CO2 targets set by the EU are to be achieved, sales of such vehicles will have to pick up rapidly.

Our industry is eager to move as fast as possible towards zero-emission mobility. But this transition is a shared responsibility,” underlined Carlos Tavares, ACEA President and Chairman of the Board of PSA Group. “It requires a 360 degrees approach.

Tavares added, “From our side, we are offering an ever-growing choice of alternatively-powered cars to our customers. In parallel, governments across the EU need to match the increasing pace at which we are launching these cars by dramatically stepping up investments in infrastructure. Moreover, they also have to put in place sustainable purchase incentives that are consistent across the EU.

ACEA’s said that in 2018 there were less than 145,000 charging points for electrically-chargeable vehicles (ECVs) available throughout the entire European Union. Although this is three times more than five years ago, it still falls far short of the at least 2.8 million charging points that will be required by 2030, which translates into a 20-fold increase in the next decade and there’s a huge imbalance in their distribution across the EU and which reflects GDP and annual earnings.

Transforming low tech to high tech

Swytch Technology, a London-based Tech Startup, will be unveiling its new “hand-held” eBike conversion kit, the “Swytch Kit” at the Eurobike 2019 International Cycling trade show next week.

The Swytch Kit can transform any bicycle into a state-of-the-art electric bike with up to 40 miles electric range. It is easy to fit, and instantly removable, allowing customers to keep their existing bike, and “Swytch” instantly between regular bike, and eBike.

Statement from Swytch Technology CEO Oliver Montague, “Our mission is to make top-quality electric bike technology affordable for everyone. We went to great lengths to design the product to be affordable, easy to fit, and universally compatible.

We estimate 99% of the 1 Billion bicycles in the world could be converted with Swytch. Doing so, instead of building brand new eBikes, could save thousands of tonnes of Carbon Emissions, as well as saving our customers a lot of money!

Motorsport performance company plugs into EVs

Prodrive has created the first 48V to 12V DC-DC converter targeted at the latest ISO21780 standard for 48V automotive systems.

The unit will be launched at this year’s LCV (Low Carbon Vehicle) Show, which takes place at Millbrook 4-5 September.

With the dramatic projected growth in 48V systems, (predicted to be in as many as a third of all light vehicles by 2030*) enabling mild hybrid systems solutions on cars, the converter provides businesses with a solution in a neat package to provide power to existing 12V systems.

Prodrive’s 48V to 12V DC-DC converter is configurable to suit automotive networks including CAN and FlexRay, and is available in multiple power options from 400W to 2.2kW to suit the application. It can also provide the opportunity to downsize or remove the standard 12V battery altogether.

The architecture of the unit can be modified to include additional digital inputs/outputs or to change the housing to suit a particular application in a vehicle, boat or aircraft. ISO21780 is still under development and Prodrive is at the forefront of understanding and applying such standards.

Motorsport goes electric at Hyundai

Hyundai Motorsport is gearing up to unveil its first-ever electric race car at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt this month.

The car, designed and built at the company’s headquarters in Alzenau, will make its debut appearance during the annual motor show’s media day on September 10. The IAA’s slogan, ‘Driving Tomorrow’, makes it the perfect platform for Hyundai Motorsport to showcase its latest motorsport program.

Since its inception in 2012, Hyundai Motorsport has become well established in rallying and circuit racing. The company expanded its operations with a bespoke Customer Racing division in September 2015, from which it developed the competitive i20 R5, i30 N TCR and Veloster N TCR cars.

Hyundai Motorsport’s move into electric underscores the company’s ambition and credentials, its passion for cutting edge technology, all supported by Hyundai’s high-performance N brand.

Teaser video is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Fs6s1xxwgo

Cupra is going green

SEAT’s sub-brand Cupra is gearing up for a greener future.

After unveiling the CUPRA Formentor Concept earlier this year, CUPRA is going one step further into its vision of electrified performance with the CUPRA Tavascan Concept, named after a village in the Pyrenees.

The CUPRA all-electric coupe SUV brings together the silhouette of a four-door crossover, with the presence of an SUV and the sleekness of a sporty coupe, and uses a 100% electric powertrain, with zero tailpipe emissions.

Two motors – one integrated on the front axle, the second at the rear – provide a combined 225kW (306PS) of power to all four wheels, delivering performance. The CUPRA Tavascan Electric Concept can reach 100km/h in less than 6.5 seconds.

But straight line speed is only part of the story. The Concept houses a 77kWh lithium-ion battery pack that can store enough energy to keep the vehicle moving for up to 450km.

A figure based on the stringent WLTP test cycle. The vehicle is based on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform and because the battery pack is housed in the floor of the Concept, its centre of gravity is low, making it a truly dynamic drive.

Getting connected for the future

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, Eurelectric and Transport & Environment are calling on the European institutions to facilitate a rapid roll-out of smart charging infrastructure for electrically-chargeable vehicles.

This is a unique collaboration as it marks the first time that the EU auto industry, electricity sector and the green group have joined forces to push for a common goal.

E-mobility has a crucial role to play in decarbonising road transport and meeting Europe’s climate objective. As Brussels gears up for a new political term, the three associations are therefore urging policy makers to guarantee the ‘right to plug’ to all those who use an electric vehicle, so that everyone across Europe can get access to charging which should be as simple as refuelling today.

This will require a massive deployment of strategically located ‘smart charging’ infrastructure right across the EU. Smart infrastructure will enable drivers to charge without severely affecting, or overloading, Europe’s electricity grids. It provides clear benefits to customers, the power system, the automobile industry and society at large, the associations believe.

UK’s first EV rally in Wales thrills thousands

Thousands of shoppers, holidaymakers and sports enthusiasts saw some of the world’s most advanced cars in Swansea at the weekend for Britain’s first exclusively low carbon rally.
 
Fuel cell models lined up with a wide range of battery electric vehicles from nearly every manufacturer selling in Britain to compete in the Green Dragon EV Rally and Show.
 
Streets around Castle Square were filled with examples of the latest ev cars and competition cars together with demonstrations of electric trials bikes and high performance electric racing bikes which have lapped the Isle of Man TT Course,  along with a futuristic Aston Martin Rapide  e and the e Rally Zoe, the UK’s first homologated rally car. 
 
There was a special Future is Electric Forum at the Dylan Thomas Centre before the event with expert speakers on electric and hydrogen vehicles and on saturday the event’s action began in Swansea City Centre before touring around Gower Peninsula and autotests at Swansea Airport, Fairwood, before finishing in Castle Square, Swansea infront of hundreds of shoppers.
 
The autotests decided the winner of the inaugural Grove Trophy, commissioned to mark the contribution of the Swansea academic Sir William Robert Grove, who created the fuel cell in Swansea in the 1840s and just seconds separated the top three cars.
Victory went to University of Wales Trinity Saint David transport senior lecturer Mark Sandford driving a BMW i3 from BMW Sytner, Swansea, and the specially commissioned and designed glass trophy illustrating a fuel cell was presented by the head of automotive design Prof Ian Walsh.
 
Accepting the trophy, Mark Sandford said, “I think I had the ideal car for the tests with its very tight turning circle and there was still a lot of range left in the car after nearly 60 miles and some performance driving at the autotests.

The event was promoted by the Low Carbon MC and organised by Maesteg MC with support from Swansea Business Improvement District, Swansea City and County Council, Swansea Airport and the Welsh Automotive Forum.