Mitsubishi's e-car, the i-MiEV, formally goes on sale in the UK today. You can read Reg Hardware's review of the electric auto, which we found to be genuinely fun to drive, here. Mitsubishi iMiEV The car maker has actually been shipping vehicles to Europe since October 2010, with some 2500 of them arriving on the continent. …
What's the deal with the batteries?
How long will they last? (The warranty is 67,000 miles or 3 + 2 years and covers the 'traction battery' whatever that is - probably not the main li-ion battery).
What is the cost of a replacement battery pack?
What do you think traction means?
Of course it's the main battery!
R.e. What do you think traction means?
Forgive me for being sceptical of the marketing departments and for not having heard the term used outside of fork lifts and milk floats (a traction battery is a deep cycle lead acid battery. Something Li-ion or derivatives are not capable of. Deep cycle a Li-ion and you will likely kill it - hence why Li-ion have BMS). I thought perhaps they were including a separate battery that could be used to provide the initial kick start to avoid hammering the Li-ion cells so prolonging their life and that the marketing department were shifting the warranty to this battery instead of the main battery pack, as Li-ion batteries rarely last more than 3 years...
So no one has any idea what a replacement battery costs?
I ride e-bikes and the battery packs cost between 30 & 60% of the cost of the bike.
Attractiveness aside, you may walk out alive after you smash it
23K??? Petrol and duty for a commuter car which does 20 miles a day cost around 700£ a year. A commuter car in the same class costs around 9K. The 14K difference will pay back in 20 years even with the subsidy and if we follow the assumption that car leccy will not be taxed with any special duties within the next decade.
Err... No thanks... Wake me up when it becomes under 12K.
For £20K you can buy a new Passat Bluemotion. You get a decent sized family car with excellent "Green" credentials (1.5K miles on a tank of diesel) instead of an oversized roller-skate.
To make e-cars worthwhile to the average punter they have to provide an overall saving compared to a similar sized conventional car over its lifetime.
Paying £24K for a vehicle which would cost well under £10K if it had a petrol engine is a non-starter.
Then there's the issue of battery replacement. How much will that cost? Suppose you decide to sell this thing on at, say, 4 years old with its batteries almost at the end of their life? How much could you get for it? Would anyone buy it knowing they will have to fork out several £K for a new batteries?
This has already been discussed, and the costs presented. However an important thing to consider is London congestion and parking charges. A year's working is something like 220 days, which at £10 per day is a couple of grand a year. If you can also wangle free or reduced parking (depending on the borough) you could easily save £4K per year.
Realistically you should be able to save £500 per year on fuel and £100 per year on servicing. I have no idea how much your insurance savings would be, though.
So, over 5 years you are looking at a cost of something like £16K more for the car than for a small diesel runaround, but offset by savings of up to £22,500, with savings of £15K/£16K being fairly certain. Even assuming that your leccy car is now BER due to the knackered battery against a resale value of a 5 year old small car of about £2-3K the difference looks like a total saving of something like £3.5K, and you get to save the planet.
You do need a real car for long journeys though but as a second family car for the London commute the maths is not as bad as it looks at first. For any situation it is a stupid idea though.
As a disclaimer: I am certainly not an eco-warrior: My car tends to get about 32Mpg for normal use and is in one of the top brackets for emissions.
Re: 24K Fail
I had the dubious privilege of driving a new Passat for a while recently while my fleet car was in the shop. I have never driven anything so mind-numbingly and soul-sappingly boring in my entire life. There was nothing to hate about it (even the 'leccy brake thing only qualified as "minor niggle"), but there was absolutely nothing to like about it either. A shining monument to 5 or 6 out of 10 adequacy across the board and thus the automotive equivalent of a provincial Assistant Bank Manager clad in a conservatively cut, off-the-peg, wool mix grey suit. I have never been so delighted to return a car before and I'd cheerfully have my eyes gouged out with hot spoons before ever getting behind the wheel of another.
It did make me really appreciate the (few) qualities and even the (many) shortcomings of the shitbox I have on fleet though. I thank it for that at least.
if this was your second car for the commute, you must live in a better part of london than me!! or have enough money that the congestion charge wouldnt worry you anyway or enough money that you demand more refinement in personal transportation!
The option of parking this second car is next to impossible in Tottenham, which would be as far as Id like to commute into the city centre... parking for just one car is hard enough!
in any case
You need your own driveway for this car, as you can't exactly run the charging cable across the pavement overnight.
It's a toy.
An expensive, stupid, over-priced, idiotic, impractical, toy.
You can only use it in cities because otherwise you'll end up stuck. If you live in a city and want to save the planet, USE THE BLOODY BUS!
Buses are not eco-friendly
Have you seen the amount of shite pumped out of the back of your average bus? The only eco-credentials for a bus is that the emissions per person is lower than for a normal car, however if every bus user drove around in a leccy car (and the buses were withdrawn) then the emissions per person would decrease.
The tube is pretty good, and long distance trains are far better than cars, eco-wise, but if you want to save the polar bears then you should realise that your average bus emissions really do make the baby Jesus cry.
You have buses that run on alternative fuel and you already said the magic word... they are more efficient based on the number of people being served.
I agree electric light rail is a better option and if you live well outside of the city, diesel electric trains make better sense than cars.
The one thing about buses over rail is that they can drive anywhere. Even a light rail needs to have tracks laid down... But there's a solution for that... Electric buses which use overhead cables for power. (50's tech) Just go nuke for your power and you're clean... ;-)
Plan now for nukes because it will take 10-15 years to build a power plant and you'll need them if everyone wants electric vehicles...
USE THE BLOODY BUS!
When the bus goes between my home and my work then I will. until then I have to walk/cycle/car
I've still not seen any of these new pollution free electric busses mind...
@Ian Michael Gumby
"You have buses that run on alternative fuel"
They are still the exception rather than the rule though.
"and you already said the magic word... they are more efficient based on the number of people being served."
Only in comparison to similar fuel individual use vehicles. Replacing diesel buses with leccy cars would produce less pollution, both in general and certainly at the point of use.
"The one thing about buses over rail is that they can drive anywhere. Even a light rail needs to have tracks laid down... But there's a solution for that... Electric buses which use overhead cables for power."
Um, if you need to rely on overhead power then you remove the option to drive *anywhere* so you may as well put down electric light railways, such as the trams already in place in Manchester, Nottingham etc. Not sure we would be happy with overhead power stringed throughout our towns and cities - not only is there an inherent danger (for full coverage these things would have to pass right by people's 1st / 2nd floor windows) but also with the commodity price of metals they would cost a fortune to install and then they wouldn't last very long.
"Plan now for nukes because it will take 10-15 years to build a power plant and you'll need them if everyone wants electric vehicles..."
I absolutely agree. If anything I would go further and say we need to move pretty much all of our leccy generation over to nuclear, not just for cars and light rail.
Electric cars may not release any CO2s out of the exhaust pipe, but the power station the electricity comes from almost certainly does.
Also, long distance trains aren't always that eco-friendly. CrossCountry Voyagers emit more CO2s per passenger km than a Land Rover.
Best Fun was....
Having spent a fun evening driving in and out of Coventry in one of the pilot I-Miev's.
I can safely say the high point was the look on the BMW M3 Owner's face when the massively "I'm an Electic Vehicle" stickered people carrier totally smoked him from the lights.
Also as I remember it didnt take too much damage when someone decided to back into it some months later ... actually the other car came off worse as I understand it.
All in all as someone who has actually been in one on motor way and urban roads, gotta say I was very very impressed and suprised... this was the first experience of an Electirc Car that made me start thinking maybe I should get one.. though not sure that this will be the one I go for.
Re batterys my understanding is that these
nobody ever mentions....
How much co2 per km these things emit (assuming grid-fed power)
How much to charge it up and what would the equivalent cost be if taxed in the same way as normal fuel? Sooner or later hmrc are going to have to tax these things....
... somebody worked out the CO2 emissions of some battery car or another a while ago. They based their calculations on the power going into the grid in the previous year includign all the proportions of fossil fuels, nuclear, hydro, wind, yada yada yada. And guess what? The CO2 emissions were, while not spectacularly high, high enough not to put it in the bottom tax band.
It's a similar game with hybrids. They are exempted from the congestion charge on the grounds that they are more environmentally friendly and yet their CO2 emissions are not spectacularly low.
That's the worrying thing about the congestion charge. The clue should be in the name. It was supposed to reduce congestion - no mention of CO2 emissions. Either they need to rename it as yet another stealth tax on CO2 emissions or they need to turn it back into what it was.
Electricity has to win
Surely they're more efficient overall?
The electric motors transfer vastly more of the input power to the wheels than a combustion engine can (90% vs 30 or so).
Large scale electricity generation is more efficient, although there are the transmission losses. But the big difference is that a petrol powered car will always have the same emissions, but as the Grid (hopefully soon) starts to move to more nuclear/renewable sources, all the electric cars already sold also become cleaner.
Taxed as domestic fuel
Gas costs about 4p/kWh
Diesel costs about 6p/kWh
Electricity costs about 14p/kWh
Diesel for domestic fuel costs 62p/l. For use in a car it costs £1.32/l
Excluding VAT, domestic is 59p, car is £1.10. Additional excise duty is 51p
Applying the same differences to Electricity, I make it about 22p/kWh taxed as road fuel, or about £2.27 for the equivalent energy of a litre of diesel.
Re: Electricity has to win
No it doesn't. If we all converted to plug in electric vehicles tomorrow the national grid would collapse overnight. Unless we upgrade the infrastructure and increase generating capacity significantly and quickly we are not ready for a large scale uptake of battery powered cars.
It's not that I think the battery powered car is necessarily a bad thing. I do however think the government are going about things the wrong way. A £5K subsidy for every EV sold, but no investment in the generating and distribution infrastructure? It's got fail written all over it.
Rather than giving away the £5K to the retailer why not spend the cash on solar panels for the roof of the buyers house? Get that to charge a big battery pack during the day which can be used to charge the car's batteries overnight? It's a start, but a decent solar panel installation would probably cost twice that and would only work on the right roof.
Personally I think the solution may be those lovely solar powered gadgets that synthesize petrol from the carbon dioxide in the air using solar power. Lovely idea they are, carbon neutral and they don't require us all to change our cars. Get the hydrogen from water and you would have oxygen as the main byproduct. Neat.
Scrap the subsidy
I am sure the end user price of £23,900 was selected to make the car competitive with a cheap diesel paying the congestion charge. If the £5000 subsidy disappeared, the price would still be about £24000. If the congestion charge exemption disappeared, the end user price would fall.