At last, an affordable, practical, decent looking e-car. WOOT
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To argue that the electric car has already failed is farcical. To date only one mass-market EV from an established car maker has been launched in the UK: the Nissan Leaf. Even I’m not fully convinced by the Leaf. I think it’s too big, too ugly and too expensive. A revised, cheaper, longer-range Sunderland-built model will …
I'd buy it and use it to drive down to the inlaws, safe in the knowledge that it would stop 18 miles short of the destination.
Other than that plus point, if I run out of charge on one of the country roads I have to drive down I can't just carry my spare petrol can to a garage and ask them for a few volts of leccy and then walk back and replenish the power.
These cars are designed for the rich and famous who live in city centres so that they can pontificate the benefits of this Eco car and show how wonderful they are in engaging in this 'save the world' practice to the rest of us.
Personally, I will stick with m V8 gas guzzler of a vehicle in the safe knowledge that I can at least drive over a plowed field without getting stuck.
£70 quid a month to rent a battery?
How many central London city cars get through that much juice in a month anyway?
Please remind me the market for this car again?
Wealthy city dwellers who have the space and the will to store and charge it??
Have all three of them been contacted yet?
The scary thing is my Nissan Primera (P12) is full of connectors and devices marked "Renault".
Having said that - the spakry stuff has been extremely reliable apart from water ingress in the rear lamp cluster connectors (Causes a bad earth and in turn interferes with the cruise control and reversing camera. Fix is to clean and fill with vaseline("Water can't irritate where it can't reach"), or run a separate earth line to a mounting bolt. The former has the advantage that the rest of the pins won't corrode.)
OTOH I've seen any number of Renaults with electrical and mechanical problems due to piss-poor assembly practices.Whilst this car is attractive, its main detraction is that it was built by a workforce who make British Leyland's quality control look good.
"All too obvious causes of climate change"? Yes, I suppose the pollution generated from power stations providing the electricity for this car would fall into that category. And the 'tough sh!t' rhetoric at the end of the article shows that the electric car still has a way to go before it can be a realistic alternative. Browbeating the reader isn't going to make this effort look any better.
Who forgets that :-
1) 40%+ of UK power is from low carbon, relatively clean sources.
2) That percentage rises when you recharge off peak over night
3) That any pollution isn't in city centers where it is bad for health
4) That large, fixed power plants can be very much more efficient than small mobile IC engines (80%+ vs 30% max)
5) That improving a fixed generator will effectively improve all existing EVs
That's just un-necessary.
What's the life expectancy of the batteries? (Boeing 787 anyone? How about the exploding laptop?)
How will they be (safely) disposed of? .. somewhere out of sight, no doubt
This car wasn't made in Britain, so your points 1 and 2 might be apt or they might be irrelevant. (Wiki lists burning of coal, gas, and oil as about 65% of electricity generation).
There's a lot more to being green that driving an expensive, impractical, publicly subsidised marketing gimic.
Those batteries are highly recyclable (95%+) and have significant scrap value to ensure that they will be. The landscape won't be laid waste by piles of rotting batteries in the same way that it hasn't been laid waste by the hulks of rusting cars.
Please don't bring the Boeing 787 into this debate.
The B787 battery issue has nothing to do with vehicle batteries... The B787 requires a lot of juice for a relatively short period to start the APU and then provide hotel services on the ground where no ground power is provided. That's why there's been a lot of focus on the battery and its temperature during discharge.
The Zoe would hardly be going nuts in the same way as a B787 would tax the two battery packs (one in the front, one in the aft bay) it has on board.
"The B787 battery issue has nothing to do with vehicle batteries"
I believe it was the boss of Tesla that brought the two issues together...by saying his expert knowledge could fix the issue in no time.
Ultimately, a Li-ion battery is a Li-ion battery. Whether it's a Dell Laptop that's catching fire, a smoking iPhone that's been dropped, or a Fisker Karma that's buring to a cinder, it's still the same tech underneath.
Ah, the obligatory person who claims the other guy is an idiot. They're usually more wrong than the first guy. Time for some corrections.
1) As I type, 65.4% of electricity on the National Grid is coming from coal or gas. Rather less than the 40% you claim is coming from low carbon sources. But this number is irrelevant - I'll explain below.
2) That percentage changes all day. It often goes lower at night as we import spare electricity from nuclear power stations in France which aren't as easy to shut down for the night as our coal/gas fired ones are. But this number is irrelevant - I'll explain below.
3) Whilst some pollution is localised, CO2 is more of a global issue. Where it comes from is irrelevant. Generating electricity in the UK generates on average about 600g of CO2 per kWh. When one kWh is only good for about 3 miles in an EV, that's quite a lot. Additionally a lot of low level pollution in City Centres is, rather amazingly, caused by crappy diesel generators that kick in to provide electricity when power supplies frequently fail. WIthout them, London would be a cleaner place.
4) Efficiency is a non-argument, unless the waste is of concern. EV fans always use the efficiency argument but it simply doesn't apply, unless we're comparing two machines that use the same fuel. We aren't. One machine is 80% efficient at burning cheese and the other is 30% efficient at burning chalk . So what? It's the best use for chalk that we have.
5) Improving the power supply will indeed improve all EVs. That's why we should be investing in a cleaner power supply, not investing in more devices to use the dirty power.
The reason the numbers in 1) and 2) are irrelevant are because EVs are only charged using "marginal" electricity. This is the crap you have left after all the green power has been used up.
Wind, solar, and other sources do not have fuel you can store. You get "green" solar electricity when the sun shines. You get wind power when it's windy. You can't simply bottle it up. As a result, green suppliers sell every last drop of it at the moment it is generated. It is all pumped directly into the National Grid...and used.
We're currently generating 48,115MW of electricity to meet demand. The entire wind power output of the UK is currently 5,228MW, or just 10.9% of demand. 1.8% (860MW) comes from hydro and solar genaration is so small it doesn't even appear on the chart except as part of "Other", which provides 696MW (1.4%).
As these green sources only make up about 15% of the current demand - or around 30% if we include nuclear - they are all consumed before they even come out of the power plant. If our demand was only 15,000MW maybe that would be OK, but we need more than three times that. The only way to get extra power is to burn fossil fuels - enter coal and gas.
If you plug in an electric car, the grid needs more power. As all the power from wind, solar and hydro is already allocated, the only option is to throw a few more coals on the fire and increase pollution in the atmosphere. This isn't an opinion, it's a fact.
The only way to improve UK air quality is to either a) Use less electricity or b) Reduce the emissions footprint of generating that electricity. As a) is highly unlikely, that leaves us with b).
Once all UK electricity comes from clean or renewable sources, then, and only then, should we start wasting our money on electric cars.
1) this of course would need to be compared to 100% of petrol burned in a car comes from fossil fuels, making the grid about 35% better on this basis.
3) So removign car emmisions wont help?
5) I fail to see your point here. At the moment we've got a lot of cars on the road effectively using dirty power. Hell of a lot easier to do about it when the power is centralised to a few power plants, than smaller petrol engines moving all around the place.
"Wind, solar, and other sources do not have fuel you can store. You get "green" solar electricity when the sun shines. You get wind power when it's windy. You can't simply bottle it up"
Strange, my Aunt and Uncle in Regional Victoria, Australia, were until very recently not on the electrical grid (took years of lobbying for this to happen), their only power source being a few solar cells. Funnily enough, the lights did not go off at sundown. You see, there's this thing called a rechargable battery, perhaps you might have heard of it, that can effectively store electricity. I believe these cars use something a bit similar.
"If you plug in an electric car, the grid needs more power. As all the power from wind, solar and hydro is already allocated, the only option is to throw a few more coals on the fire and increase pollution in the atmosphere. This isn't an opinion, it's a fact."
Its ony a fact in the short term. In the long term, we add more power sources of a different nature to effectively replace the millions of mini plants we have running in cars today.
"Once all UK electricity comes from clean or renewable sources, then, and only then, should we start wasting our money on electric cars."
Methods such as carbon sequesteration are better applied to large central power plants than say a million cars on the road.
"1) this of course would need to be compared to 100% of petrol burned in a car comes from fossil fuels, making the grid about 35% better on this basis."
You're comparing 100% of the chalk with 65% of the cheese again. You can't compare one unit with another of a completely different type.
Sure, 100% of energy in a petrol car comes from petrol. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. I've yet to see a better alternative.
"3) So removign car emmisions wont help?"
There is no means of removing car emissions right now. We're simply moving it from one place (the car) to another (the power station). It would help greatly, but we can't. Unless we walk or similar.
"5) I fail to see your point here. At the moment we've got a lot of cars on the road effectively using dirty power. Hell of a lot easier to do about it when the power is centralised to a few power plants, than smaller petrol engines moving all around the place."
I'm all for fixing the power stations. When they are clean, we can start using more electricity again. All the true eco supporters are turning appliances off at the wall, to avoid standby consumption. They're replacing light bulbs with LEDs etc. Plugging in an electric car increases power usage, the exact opposite way to what we need.
"You see, there's this thing called a rechargable battery, perhaps you might have heard of it, that can effectively store electricity. I believe these cars use something a bit similar."
Whichever way you want to twist it, there isn't a single minute in the day where electricity demand does not exceed generation from renewable power. The only way to provide the extra power needed for electric cars is to burn more coal.
"Its ony a fact in the short term. In the long term, we add more power sources of a different nature to effectively replace the millions of mini plants we have running in cars today."
The thing is, UK power generation is going down not up. People keep pulling out of deals to create power stations and we're being threatened by brown outs. EVs aren't helping this.
"Methods such as carbon sequesteration are better applied to large central power plants than say a million cars on the road."
Sure, but all of the EVs currently on sale will be on the scrap heap long before we have a low carbon national grid.
> I'm all for fixing the power stations. When they are clean, we can start using more electricity again. All the true eco supporters are turning appliances off at the wall, to avoid standby consumption. They're replacing light bulbs with LEDs etc. Plugging in an electric car increases power usage, the exact opposite way to what we need.
There so much wrong with this statement I don't even know where to start.
Fixing cars and fixing power stations are two separate problems.
Leaving aside the fact that a lot of power stations are "dirty", the pollution from cars is a significant problem in itself. The only first step in solving that problem is removing petrol from the car equation and replacing it with something that can be generated elsewhere. Yes, it increases the demand on the power grid, but that is a solvable environmental problem. Solving the problem of pollution and inefficiency of the car (given that there are so many of them) is a much bigger problem and will take a long time.
You argue that shfting the pollution issue from the car to the power station makes negligable net difference to the poluution problem, but it is a necessary step nonetheless. We don't have to wait for environmentally friendly solutions to achieve that first step.
"brown-outs" are a thing of the past.
Lighting mainly being by those eco-friendly twirly bulb things, which do not consume less electricity if the supply voltage is lowered.
Most electric motors in domestic appliances, at least the ones consuming most, like washers, are now electronically controlled....no lowering of consumed power there either.
"I think you will find [brownouts] are a thing of the future."
Not when the UK hits the peak capacity problem in a few years time they're not.
Brown-outs (meaning reduced grid voltage) made sense decades ago when there was a significant proportion of load on the grid that was (a) behaviourally resistive ie supply fewer volts, it consumes fewer amps and fewer watts (b) behaviourally dumb (see below).
Now look around the average home/shop/office/etc.
Anything with a significant power supply in it will be using a modern switched mode supply, which doesn't consume less power as the voltage drops, it will simply consume more amps instead. So no power saving by reducing the voltage there.
Anything with a significant power consumption used for heating is likely to be thermostatically controlled, and because it is not a "dumb" device its energy consumption (over time) will not reduce simply because the voltage is reduced. Instead, it will simply be consuming power a larger proportion of the time. So no power saving by reducing the voltage there.
Because of this, there will not be brownouts, because they will not have sufficient effect. Instead, there will be rolling blackouts. Enjoy your smartmeters, serfs.
"You're comparing 100% of the chalk with 65% of the cheese again. You can't compare one unit with another of a completely different type."
That's because you're comparing the wrong units. If your unit is "driving a mile in a car" then it becomes extremely easy to compare IC cars to electric cars--how much (net) CO2 is produced, pollution, cost, etc.
I've met people like you before. As soon as electric cars are mentioned, you chime in immediately and say "but where does electricity come from!" as if you're the only person in the world who knows electricity isn't made by unicorns and fairy dust, and you consider the discussion over due to your extreme cleverness. It's all very juvenile and unproductive.
Tesla wrote an interesting and informative short paper on the subject in 2006. Of course, one might assume that its numbers are optimistic but even so, electric cars seem like a net win almost any way you look at it, from an efficiency and pollution standpoint:
"Wind, solar, and other sources do not have fuel you can store. You get "green" solar electricity when the sun shines. You get wind power when it's windy. You can't simply bottle it up. As a result, green suppliers sell every last drop of it at the moment it is generated. It is all pumped directly into the National Grid...and used"
Not really: The "used" bit.
Even if it isn't used they get paid.
So if it's windy and the grid doesn't need it the power companies are still compelled to buy it.
As for solar...ditto. Except the person who has it installed gets to have cheap electricity, and since many installations are done "free" the installer gets the extra 8p/unit...
Very interesting. I once did an IT project for a major car manufacturer's farm and construction equipement subsidiary and the joke around the office was that it took more fossil fuel to run the tractors than you got in terms of bio fuel from the crop the farmer grows.
One question: How much CO2 for a petrol car per km vs used in generating the electricity used by an EV per km?
You did a fine job, but your final conclusion is wrong. EVs need time to develop, as well as their supporting infrastructure, so it makes sense to start deploying them even when they make no much ecological or economic sense. Only when you have proved and working technology and consumer acceptance with predictable growth rate you can start investing into recharging and power-generating infrastructure, first of all zero-emission nukes (which make an excellent fit), that could not be constructed overnight. Your analysis is reasoned, but first, tentative generation of EVs serves more to test the market than to move people around.
"1) 40%+ of UK power is from low carbon, relatively clean sources."
And 60% isn't.
"2) That percentage rises when you recharge off peak over night"
Actually I think you'll find its the other way around. Its the fossil fuel stations - mainly coal - that provide most of the base load at night given that we're slowly losing our nuclear ones thanks to pig ignorant hippies such as greenpeace getting hysterical about it and imagining mushroom clouds and glowing sheep everywhere.
"4) That large, fixed power plants can be very much more efficient than small mobile IC engines (80%+ vs 30% max)"
True , but petrol is a much less polluting fuel than coal. Also you're conveniently forgetting about transmission losses, losses when charging the battery itself and leakage of charge from the battery when its not being used. The total of which is not inconsiderable.
"5) That improving a fixed generator will effectively improve all existing EVs"
No sign of that happening anytime soon. Plus the entire national grid would need to be upgraded and it would provide a single massive point of failure. Power cuts are bad enough when you can't heat or light your house - if you couldn't even drive the car, well, you can imagine how much fun it would be.
>>I suppose the pollution generated from power stations providing the electricity for this car would fall into that category
Please learn a little something before making stupid statements like this. It never crossed your mind that the pollution per unit of energy released might differ between burning petrol in your car and burning coal in a power station?
Just as we talk about CPU power per watt these days, we need to compare CO2 per KWh for petrol Vs electric to see which is actually cleaner... it's possible your point might actually be true once all factors are taken into account but only by coincidence.
Plus of course you totally miss the point that lack of exhaust in a city centre is a good thing.
A bit of Googling comes up with this calculator: http://www.carbontrust.com/media/18223/ctl153_conversion_factors.pdf
Using those figures, charging the 22kWh battery would generate 11.54kg of CO2 at an average grid rate of 0.5246g/kWh. Assuming 100% efficiency (there won't be) and the maximum stated range of 150km (your mileage may vary) then that's 77g/km which frankly aint that great. An equivalent 85bhp diesel Clio produces around 100g/km.
OK, for the EV battery the charging is not 100% efficient, but on the other hand if you charge overnight then there tends to be a higher proportion of low-CO2 sources which should compensate somewhat.
It's worth remembering that renewables such as wind and hydro power have the drawback that they still generate power even when there is virtually no demand for it at (say) 3am. There are very few ways to store all that potential excess electricity.. except electric car batteries are one way that it can be done.
>OK, for the EV battery the charging is not 100% efficient, but on the other hand if you charge overnight then >there tends to be a higher proportion of low-CO2 sources which should compensate somewhat.
The additional power required can ONLY come from dirty sources. There is no compensation.
>It's worth remembering that renewables such as wind and hydro power have the drawback that they still >generate power even when there is virtually no demand for it at (say) 3am. There are very few ways to store >all that potential excess electricity.. except electric car batteries are one way that it can be done.
At any time of day, day & night, weekday or weekend, power demand always exceeds the amount that comes from renewable or low carbon sources. The only way to generate extra power is from fossil fuels.
"OK, for the EV battery the charging is not 100% efficient, but on the other hand if you charge overnight then there tends to be a higher proportion of low-CO2 sources which should compensate somewhat."
The apparent low CO2 sources are solar and wind. At night, the sun doesn't shine and the wind drops. There is no compensation, so coal and gas sources are even more necessary.
"but on the other hand if you charge overnight then there tends to be a higher proportion of low-CO2 sources which should compensate somewhat."
That might or might not be rtrue now, based on the premise that night time leccy usage is lower and therefore can be addressed with less coal burning.
However if EVs ever become a significant percentage of cars, power use will not drop off during the night and this argument is flawed.
Nope - you can't turn down coal plants. So leccy is cheaper at night because you have all those coal plants running flat out and nowhere for the power to go.
What will make a huge difference is when these car chargers are smart. So instead of having to have a gas turbine plant starting up at 8:50 for the end of "strictly come pop idol in the attic" you can have all the cars stop charging for 15mins or even put power back into the grid.
"you can't turn down coal plants"
Course you can. It just takes them an hour or three to warm up, and a bit less to cool down. It's nukes you can't vary on sensible timescales.
As usual, http://gridwatch.templar.co.uk has the facts (it's a prettified version of figures direct from the National Grid), for coal, nuclear, and the various other sources.
The draw back of fossil fuels is that that they still generate power when there in no demand for them at say 3am. Although they can be turned down a little coal fired stations keep runnning at night because it takes ages for them to get up to temeprature and generate power ready for peak demand.
A hydro plant on the other hand can be stopped at night, you can even happily let the water level behind the dam start to build up and then turn them on almost at at the flick of switch at times of peak demand.
A lot of electrity that is currently generated at night is wasted. Cars being charged overnight would actually help minimise waste by evening out the demand for power!
Where is this "coal is inflexible" coming from?
A unit of a coal fired power station typically has three major states. A typical power station has several units.
1) Cold. Ages before it can generate electricity. This is the state more and more UK coal-fired stations will be in. Permanently.
2) Spinning reserve. It's up to temperature, give or take, but is only burning a minimal amount of fuel because there is no significant energy being supplied to the turbines, because the station isn't supplying the grid. If called upon, it can supply the grid very quickly (seconds or minutes).
3) Generating. Everything is up to temperature and the fuel used matches the electricity output (well, more, because it's far from 100% efficient).
Coal *can* follow the daily demand cycle, but isn't always operated that way as running steady-state is more economical in the present market.
CCGT and hydro can run up and down more quickly than coal, but coal is a lot more flexible than nuclear.
If having our own tiny power plants was a good idea, we'd all have diesel generators at home instead of taking power from the national grid. It's obvious to anyone after a second's thought that large scale power generation that is distributed to the point of usage is most efficient.
The other big change we need is interchangeable battery packs. It's been done in the past. When the driver of a petrol car pulls into the station, they don't wait around for it to be refined. We need a new type of petrol station that exchanges flat battery packs for charged ones and charges the ones it gets. It needs to be robotised and we need standard pack sizes, but it's not beyond the intelligence of man to achieve.
"t never crossed your mind that the pollution per unit of energy released might differ between burning petrol in your car and burning coal in a power station?"
I hate to burst your bubble but burning petrol generates water and co2. Water is not a pollutant. Burning coal just generates co2. Its THE most polluting form of fossil fuel there is. I suggest you re-evaluate your argument yourself.
I suppose real libertarians would say "let the market decide", which is a reasonable attitude, while Gaiaists and Greentards would lay the subsidy hose to mine lithium in Afghanistan after bombing it so that 50'000 cars and its concomitant production chain (the "invested capital" - hold on that has to do with "capitalism" and must be bad, right?) can be shat out at enormous cost while the power magically comes from "somewhere" so that they can drive by gas stations smiling and so feel good about actually NOT saving on the carbon emissions.
I hope that beer gives you the runs.
Or - buy a 3k decent car and:
1- avoid another car being made
2 - use yer car less (cycle, public transport, etc)
I have an 11 year old 4.4 litre V8 X5. I bought it when it was 3 years old - so didn't create the massive environmental ming of a new car being made for me... and I keep the mile down to 4k a year or so. It does 20mpg - but I do very little milage, and when I do, I have a nice luxury motor. Real running costs are far less than any new car purchase... what's not to like
I maintain that that makes me far more green than buying a new electric car.
"That logic forgets that someone has to buy the car new originally, otherwise you will find that the supply of used cars dries up."
There's currently a glut of used cars, which force the prices down to the point that perfectly serviceable and useful vehicles are worth more as scrap or spares.
Making less new cars can only be a good thing IMO, regardless of how 'green' they are.
You are completely correct - i have done exactly the same, with a Jeep grand Cherokee I think i put around £15 of petrol in it a week on average. (I would like to quote clarkson - yes, you can buy a car that does 70mpg, and tell people about it - but you look a giant c**t driving it.)
To be honest, i was thinking what a great EV car, until this paragraph, 'On top of that you’ll need to find £70 a month for the cheapest 36-month battery lease' WTF might as well buy something bluemotion / small. That is just a joke, on top of the electricity you have to pay, made it awesome and cheap to something pointless.
What a stupid argument. Lets all buy 2nd hand cars because clearly then we'll never need new ones.
The point is that the new cars being introduced as old ones wear out should be as clean as possible, not that everyone should ditch their car for a new e-car. It's a long game, there is no infrastructure for everyone to switch anyway.
Stop making ludicrous arguments. Drive your car until you would buy a new one anyway, then switch.
>What a stupid argument. Lets all buy 2nd hand cars because clearly then we'll never need new ones.
good idea. why not ?
>The point is that the new cars being introduced as old ones wear out should be as clean as possible, not that >everyone should ditch their car for a new e-car. It's a long game, there is no infrastructure for everyone to switch >anyway.
does your house wear out ? Do you sell it and get a new one every 5-10 years even ?
no - of course not - you 'maintain' it - and by doing so it last indefinately. Sure, in the end after maybe 100 years there's some 'ship of theseus' going on, but have economically replaced old parts as required, recycling them as necessary.
Do we still need new houses ? sure - growing population, and a small amount of poor housing being renewed - but would you ever even consider knocking a house down after a certain number of years just because it's old ? of course not - it would be mental. And yet we do exactly that with cars.
A modern car is much the same as a new and has arguably no defined maximum lifetime anymore than your house does.
My X5 has done 150K miles and drives like it's just came out the showroom. In other 50k it might need a reconditioned gearbox, perhaps in another 150K miles, a new engine. The bodywork shows no signs of rust whatsoever after 11 year, so I imagine that will be just as good in 10 years time.
The people buying new cars are not the people who have previously run a new car for the last 20 years until it was no longer maintainable - if they were you might have a point. They are people, that 'buy new cars'. They are the main contributors to any environmental pollution. It doesn't matter whether they are buying an EV, a diesel or a ferrari - they are still the no.1 polluters.
The economics of new cars, now only works with a worldwide market because of the longevity of the cars these days. How many 10 year old cars do you see on British roads ? Not a fraction as many as there should be - because they have been shipped out to eastern europe, china, etc.
As long as the supply of new cars continues unabated, the supply of 10 year old cars to china is unabated, and the inefficient recycling of perfectly good 20 year old cars will continue (since who in China will want a 20 year old car, when 10 year old one are coming in all the time).
Have a think for a minute about the different methods of construction used in building cars and building houses.
Now join me in despairing at how horribly inefficient the construction industry is.
Energy use of cars are dominated by use. While low mileage drivers can drive old guzzlers and people shouldn't rush to upgrade for small fuel efficiency gains, putting a high number of miles on a failure-prone, smoke-spewing guzzler is not doing anyone a favor.
Are you actually retarded? A car is not a house. Even boats - which have FAR more longevity than cars - eventually wear out.
And your point still makes no sense because you still need new parts to replace the ones that wear out. You're still building new cars, just in bits. When your engine wears out, you can replace it with a new electric one.
"To be honest, i was thinking what a great EV car, until this paragraph, 'On top of that you’ll need to find £70"
Strangely, it would seem that I don't do enough miles to actually make the car economically viable!
"What a stupid argument. Lets all buy 2nd hand cars because clearly then we'll never need new ones.... Stop making ludicrous arguments. Drive your car until you would buy a new one anyway, then switch."
No, it's not a stupid argument. It's just a stupid argument for *you*. Some of us NEVER buy new cars, which makes it your argument that's stupid for us.
Personally, I drive a thirty year old vehicle that will last another thirty years. Sure: It sucks fuel, but it's by far the most economical approach for me, as I do only 50 miles a week, at most.
My wife regularly gets in excess of 60mpg. It's a Mercedes C-class diesel estate which puts out just 117g/km while still having a 170 horses under the hood. So, you can have decent fuel economy in a decent car (insert obligatory sniping at Mercedes drivers here).
On the other hand, the g/km are only half the story. It really annoys me that cars get taxed on g/km at all. I own a big V6 powered Renault which puts out a frightening 271g/km.. but I don't drive it very much because the fuel consumption is frankly Not Good. The more CO2 you put out.. the more fuel you use. And the more fuel you use, the more tax you pay. And that's the way it should be. CO2 emissions and fuel consumption are directly linked.. if you drive less and drive more prudently, then you will pay less, which is exactly the sort of behaviour that is good. If you have a V8-powered behemoth that you take out to the shops at weekends, then your not doing a lot of harm.. except the people who set the vehicle excise duties will make you pay through the nose.
>Bitching about it makes as much sense as complaining that you can’t get a three-seat sofa and five fat blokes in a VW Up. Of course you can’t, so don’t buy one.
I beg to differ. Until electric cars can go a decent distance then they are completely useless beyond a few niche users. Will they be able to take you and the family for a day out, no, well maybe half way there but you'd have to walk home. Even if they get to a reasonable distance, let's say 500 miles you still have the hours of charging time to continue a long journey. When they do become popular there'll be huge queues for the charging points. It's all utopia now with being the only user.
What use are they as a second car for the office run for example. You spend 13,000 plus inurance and tax to save a few pence. You'd never get your money back, not even if it saved you the London congestion tax or whatever it's called.
At the moment electric cars are like Windows, released before they have been fully developed.
I don't think the range is really a problem. You could, cost permitting, hire a car for longer journeys.
The real problem is that its most suited to city dwellers, who are exactly the sort of people who are unlikely to have a driveway or garage suitable for charging it. Currently, they are a 2nd car for the rich.
Maybe they'll take off if we have a "Boris Bikes" style car hire system. If you live in a city, hiring a pre-charged electric car by the hour might by appealing, and you could always opt for petrol/diesel for longer journeys.
> You could, cost permitting, hire a car for longer journeys.
Only if there are just a few electric cars around. If most people had electric cars there wouldn't be enough "long journey" cars, because it would be uneconomical to maintain a hire fleet.
Besides, price is irrelevant here. Electric cars are only cheaper than diesel/petrol ones because:
1) Other taxpayers subsidise your purchase. That won't last.
2) Electricity isn't taxed at the same rate as road fuel (of which > half the pump price is tax)
The moment a government realizes that tax income has fallen because too many people are driving electric cars, it'll find a way to get the same per-mile income from them as it does from diesel or petrol ones.
There are sound reasons not to extravagantly burn finite resources like petroleum, but plug-in electric cars aren't a solution.
"The real problem is that its most suited to city dwellers, who are exactly the sort of people who are unlikely to have a driveway or garage suitable for charging it. Currently, they are a 2nd car for the rich."
THIS is the main problem I've seen with EVs. My current apartment block lacks charging points in the parking lot, and I guess the same applies for most apartment block dwellers in large cities ... the very ones that would benefit from EVs.
By the way, Mexico City now has a car hire system since last year, and they do rent out both petrol and EV cars by the hour. This is how I finally got my hands on a Leaf, and I was actually surprised to find out that the Leaf's range will exceed by far my daily commute requirements. It did 75kms and it still had half the battery charge left. Given that my regular commute is around 20km, I'd easily get Monday-Friday covered with a single charge. Mighty appealing, though I'll probably stay with the car hire system.
"Until electric cars can go a decent distance then they are completely useless beyond a few niche users"
Well, I beg to differ from your deferral. Firstly, your "niche users" argument is bollocks. I could just as easily say: "until Ferraris and Aston Martins can be bought for £20k, they are completely useless beyond a few niche users". The point is that, for those "niche" users, the cars are completely useful, and they don't need to be useful to anyone else. If they are not useful to you, OK, don't buy one. But complaining that they are not useful is akin to complaining to rich folk that their Ferrari is useless because you can't afford one.
Secondly, what is a "niche" user anyway? I don't have exact stats, but I would expect that a large proportion of families already have 2 cars. So having an e-car as a second car is not an extra expense, and 1 petrol + 1 e-car will not in any way change their mobility options with respect to having 2 petrol cars. Secondly, I think there's also a fair few people who habitually drive less than 80 miles a day, and only drive more than 80 miles a day a handful of times a year. These people can own an e-car and rent a petrol car for their long trips, with the petrol savings from using the e-car day-to-day offsetting the rental costs.
I think that those 2 categories combined make up a lot, lot more than a "niche"
You mean the few million 'niche users' who live in cities and drive only a few miles every day? How many people exactly do you think live in Greater London alone and drive to work?
It's good to see that just as Londoners are ignorant of everywhere else, bumpkins also assume everyone is just like them with their 50mile commute.
>You mean the few million 'niche users' who live in cities and drive only a few miles every day? How many people exactly do you think live in Greater London alone and drive to work?
Probably far too many so explain to me why there aren't long queues to buy these cars even when they are subsidised and currently have low running costs because while you're thinking about an answer here's another reality. Once electric cars do become popular the government will find a way to put a fuel tax on the electricity used to charge them.
So in the future you can look forward to unsubsidised cars, similar per mile fuel costs and higher insurance premiums as inurers are still wary of batteries bursting into flames in an accident.
"So in the future you can look forward to unsubsidised cars, similar per mile fuel costs and higher insurance premiums as inurers are still wary of batteries bursting into flames in an accident."
Not really. It's all about the battery prices. Cheap batteries mean success for PEVs, expensive batteries mean failure and moving on to natural gas. Insurers don't worry about battery fires, because they aren't a problem, they only care about the cost of repair and trying to screw customers who've bought more expensive cars.
For us bumpkins the nearest bus/tram/tube stop is probably further away than our destination.
Actually, in fairness to rural bus services, there probably is a bus stop nearby, so as long as you only want to travel to your destination or back again on any given day, you'll probably be sorted.
Bus and train services in Cornwall are available but less than practical...
To get to Truro from where I live on a bus will take over 2 hours and require 2 changes
And there is only one bus service that can get me there for 9am (start of work)
To take a train takes 30 mins minimum, and I still have to get to a station - 20 mins average
The cost is also so high, that driving makes it cheeper and I can choose when I leave home or work
I tested an Electric Car a while back, for a week, it costed a lot to recharge at home - approx £3.80 per night
And to recharge at work approx £5.60 (Tarriff thing I guess)
So altogether approx £9.40 a day total and the round trip was 48 miles
My petrol car does 40mpg approx, so a tank (£60) will last all week, with shopping trips etc
An EV would cost me £47 just to get to work, never mind anything else.
If I had to go to a site visit, it just wouldn't be practical. 150 mile range is rubbish
What the heck were you testing? That has to be about the least efficient EV I've heard of. £3.80 is about 25 kwh of power. Most EVs should get 75-100 miles out of that. Call it 150 miles both ways then that's a minimum of 2.5 gallons from a 60MPG car. 2.5*4.5*1.40 = £15.75 for your daily round trip. Charge off of Economy 7 power and the EV price comes down by 1/3rd.
Stretching it a bit aren't you? I think you're making things up.
Spending nearly £10 on electricity even at an eye watering 20p/unit is ~50kw/h. Drive an EV like a complete loon an you'll still get 50 miles per 20kw/h charge. So, what were you doing with the other 30kw/h?
Do you work on a drag racing strip?
One word: explains poor range in cornwall: Hills.
You don't need to drive like a loon. A few steep hills put a big dent in EV range even with regenerative braking (steep declines overwhelm regeneration systems). I found the same problem when I tested an EV for commuting.
Quote: "I beg to differ. Until electric cars can go a decent distance then they are completely useless beyond a few niche users."
Erm, you are aware the 'niche users' are the ones that need to do 'a decent distance', this car is aimed at normal people, not the niche high mileage crowd?
Most users have the common sense to have home and work within a reasonable distance, i.e < 10 or so miles and most other journeys will be even less (supermarket, cinema etc.).
So a 70 mile range in a car would probably be enough for the vast majority of most car users.
It's the people doing the 50+ miles commutes every day that are the odd ones here, and it'll be some time before an EV car can cope with that type of journey.
But we have to start somewhere. so aim for the majority low mileage users first, then deal with the niche high mileage users later when the technology has matured some more and economies of scale start to improve costs etc.
Do the charger leads on this (and others) lock when connected?
If not whats to stop the old bike thiefs trick (adding a lock to your bike then nicking it when you have walked home) of unplugging you when your at work and then flatbedding the thing at 3am. Or some git unplugging yours and plugging into his? or just the usual gits who would unplug it for fun (like the dipshits where i used to live who would pull bins over, fine if your 15 these people were more like 35!)
One of the things that puts me off an EV is the business of the charger cable and what happens when it rains and your lovely connector cable and socket get wet. I understand that there are safety protocols built in to stop you frying yourself, but the image of struggling in the rain to hook up my nearly-flat EV doesn't appeal.
If you park your EV in a garage or undercover then you won't have that problem. But with the bloody awful British weather you might. Perhaps the next stage is to introduce a contactless charging plate?
First of all, welcome to Lisbon. I hope you liked our capital.
Driving around downtown Lisbon is no small feat for your mental health, so I'll gladly buy you a beer.
Second, I love the idea of an electric car, but please, leave the interwebs out of it. After seeing everything that can be done thru a simple socket ( and i mean socket as in a TCP or UDP one, for example ) I'm kinda terrified with the idea of a interweb-controlled-car.
Also, after buying the car, one must pay 70£ per month for the battery? What? That added to the electricity costs to feed it will be more expensive than my gasoline fueled Fiesta. ( I spend around 100€ a month in gasoline ).
I will say one thing.
At least it looks like a bloody car and not some 60's sci-fi idea of what cars in the 21st century will look like.
Practical for me? No, not personally, due to my nomadic choice of career. For the wife though? Well at last check she drove less than 1600 miles a year so very probably.
I do like the battery lease idea too - batteries degrade and until now I wasn't aware of any other company offering that. Mind you, what would the range in a cold and wintery UK drop to?
Battery lease idea is great. Instead of pying 20% more than the cost of an equivalent petrol car to buy car+battery, you pay teh same as an equivalent petrol car, plus the battery lease costs are less than what you would spend on petrol. There's also the charge for electricity consumption for this, but I think they would be just a few quid a month.
problem is on battery lease alone for 30mpg at 1.40 a litre you need to travel 385miles just to cover the battery lease costs. that is on top of the actual electricity. Obviously you have teh car tax difference but on an average diesel 150g car the tax is £11 a month. I suppose if you paid congestion charge this may be viable but for me I wont bother.
385 miles a month is less than 13 miles a day, or about 17-18 miles per working day, I think most commuters do more than that. Of course many people have petrol engines that do better than 30mpg. The point is that for previous generation e-cars, the petrol version was far cheaper as down cost+running cost even after subsidies, with this, maybe it depends on teh excat situation of teh consumer but at least it's comparable.
say you do do 35 miles per day though. I can only extrapolate from charging values but as an electric car you charge (for free? how do these charging posts work?) in town and charge at home overnight. so 7.3 hours would normally give you 70 miles so you'll need a quarter of this for 17.5 miles actually charged to you. Thats 1.8 hours at 3kw draw or 5.5kwh at about 13p per kwh thats about 70p. 70p for 17.5 miles is hardly "cheap" running and that is assuming you can charge for free at work. LPG probably costs about the same.
Obviously there is a lot of extrapolation. Im assuming a full 3kw draw from the socket for the 1.8 hours. I couldnt find any figures other than multiply the 22kw x 60 mins out by 7 for an 80% charge. also you will probably look at getting the cheapest possible electricity tariff, I just picked a scottish power saver one at random, im sure there are cheaper ones. Even so, at a MIGHTY cheap 10p kwh 55p is STILL not a cheap 17.5 miles considering your battery lease cost on top (and assuming you can charge for free at work for half your journey)
better off getting an LPG car or a really cheap runabout with eco engine.
There is no need for this kind of language on a professional web review.
"If in two years’ time global sales of these two are still 'piss' poor then, and only then, will I discuss the “failure” of the e-car."
I am sure the author is mature enough to be able to express their opinions in a more non offensive manor.
Please remove it.
Yes this is a "professional web review" but no this isn't the Daily Fail so if you're lost then this is a tech site with a less serious and even humorous angle. I'm confident that most readers will not have found the wording offensive.
Incidentally I think you mean "manner" since an offensive manor would be one like this :
(offensive to many poor people at the time it was built anyway)
I bet you don't like dongles either do you Leona A?
What kind of terrible person would complain about "piss poor"? People with such horrid, unrealistic, puritanical attitudes prevent a lot of people from getting jobs due to terrified HR Droids and cause untold woe throughout the world with petty lawsuits and formal grievances.
You don't want to hear piss poor? Well, piss off then.
Thumbs down! Really.
What, just because I have a wheelchair, I don't get to criticise an electric car! Or do I not deserve one? Or is it just the whining you're objecting to?
I could understand not bothering to click anything, I'm aware that needing to carry a wheelchair is a specialised job, but thumbs down!!
So, like all electric cars, this is only good for shortish journeys, round trips of say 60-70 miles, commuting and all that. But aren't all the greenies insistent we should use public transport for those? I'll bet a diesel bus produces less CO2 than a fleet of commuters driving Zoe's, and even a train is probably superior.
Actually, poster Fiennes puts forward an interesting point. Are these electric cars from mainstream manufacturers (i.e., not counting Tesla) competing against urban public transport?
I do not have an opinion on this and is not a subject that I'm particularly concerned about, but I believe he does pose an intriguing question.
Don't know why you're getting downvotes, you've proposed an intelligent question, and I'll attempt to rebut with a reasonable answer rather than protest:
For short inner-city journeys of <10km round-trip, you're right, public transport is probably a better option anyway. Mostly, I would argue, because you don't need to worry about parking rather than how much CO2 your e-car produces with respect to a bus.
For short commuter journeys between 10 and 80 km round-trip, a bus and train might be greener but they are considerably less convenient in terms of schedule, exact point-to-point journey, and (if needed) load-carrying.
People who would prefer bus/train over e-car would aslo definitely prefer bus/train over petrol car, and therefore will ALREADY be using bus/train. People who currently use petrol car, on the other hand, have already shown not willing to use bus/train, but would be willing to go e-car if the range is good enough
I suspect an e-car might actually stack up very well against a bus for short journey's, and look really rubbish for longer ones, for two reasons. Firstly, because the longer the journey the greater the road use, impacting congestion (unless it's piled high with sharers), and secondly because the shorter the journey, the the wait to access public transport becomes as a proportion of the journey becomes "wasted time". E-Cars won't have the petrol/diesel issue of being less efficient while warming up either. In the long run, you could perhaps go the route of reducing bus frequency to take account of this.
I agree as to your idea of the target market. Again, not seeing much of a market yet, and until range improves to at least 150 miles, combined with a recharge possible in say 10-15 mins, I can't see anyone other than those with more money than sense wanting to buy one. E-car's fuel is cheap, but that puts an incentive on using them a lot...which is impractical. And the greenies will hate you anyway; their idea is more about insisting on enforcing their wishes as to how you live than "being green". If we're all on public transport, they have us where they want us :-(
PS I cycle. But that's because I like the exercise, plus it's still faster than the train :-)
I would have thought that people who could afford one of these and currently travel by public transport or cycle are travelling that way because it is more convenient and not because of the cost. Even on cost - the leasing plan racks the running costs on this up there against other city vehicles (and probably doesn't score too well starting at minimum £70 per month). The other major users of PT couldn't afford one of these anyway. So I don't really think that they compete against urban PT.
Preferential treatment will be the big selling point for these vehicles. Currently it is only stuff like the huge subsidy, congestion charging and road tax but I can see that being backed up with reserved parking in cities. UK local authorities have emmisions targets to meet and very few ways of meeting them - but they do control huge amounts of parking space.
@Rupert F - Yes, congestion is another issue where train / bus improves on car of whatever motor. I also cycle round city, good excercise + faster than all public transport + point-to-point. For mild climes is ideal, for hilly places / longer distance can go e-bike.
re target market, current production runs of ecars are anyway small, definitely enough for target market of people for whom 80mile limit is not a problem. As tech improves, so will range, and therefore also target market will increase. Bigger problem for me isn't range but charge time. Increasing range is easy, plonk in a bigger battery, and slightly bigger motor to compensate for weight... but this also increases the charge time.
Doubly more worrying for me is the link some other poster sent to Bjorn Lomborg's article for FT that e-car takes double the CO2 emmissions to produce than normal car (just saw today for first time, not sure if true but it's credible).
... we're just not going to have a good enough EV.
Even fuel cells suffer from hydrogen storage issues, not to mention the catalyst in fuel cells is basically one of the rarest elements on earth (platinum). So until they find an alternative catalyst and storage method, that ain't gonna work either.
The super-supercapacitor graphene batteries are looking promising though, but years off this scale of production.
For the geeks: http://www.graphenetracker.com/graphene-super-supercapacitor-an-energy-revolution/
The mileage / charge issue doesn't really bother me, my 'average' driving pattern probably suits an EV, and with a decent extension lead, I could probably charge it up.
What I amm interested in is how much it costs to charge one of these things. The article mentions £70pm for the battery lease. What kind of increase to your electric bill on top of that are you looking at to charge one of things things up, from flat once a week or so?
My current petrol costs are (roughly) £40 every couple of weeks, (unless I'm doing any long driving, like going on holiday, which (currently) an EV would be no good for anyway). So if the charging+lease costs come in at more that say £85 a month, then there really would be no point in this.
I was thinking the same thing. I do 6 miles each day to and from work, with some weekend visiting/ shopping etc. My 6 year old Mondeo diesel gets 45-55mpg, and my monthly spend on fuel is around £70. So with the cost per charge added (£2, £3 per charge perhaps?), buying a smaller, more 'frugal' e car would incur higher monthly fuel costs than my dirty 2.0 TDCI. Where's the incentive? And when the government gets bored of the EV grant and £5k gets added to the purchase price, there will be even less.
But having said all that, this is a big improvement on the Leaf and a step in the right direction. Inevitably, we WILL run out of oil. I just think that 2 years before we know if EV's will be a success story or not is far too soon.
Paradoxically, cycling to work is only a realistic option for urban dwellers. For 20 years I cycled 18 miles a day in central London. People used to say "You're brave" (this was in the days when you could ride from Fulham to the City without seeing another cyclist).
When I moved to the country, I imagined myself spinning to work along sun-dappled lanes, like somebody in a TV ad. Alas, no. First of all, the lanes are only sun-dappled in summer. In winter, they're pitch dark morning and evening, and cyclists are unlikely to live long enough to see the next summer. The other problem is that the distance to work was 25 miles. Even if I was fit enough for a daily 50-mile round trip, I can't really afford to spend that amount of my day travelling.
The article says its a 22kWHr battery
so it will take 22kW of energy to charge
alternativly at 150 miles per charge that 22kW/150 = 0.15kW per mile (rounded up to 2 significent figures to account for some of the inefficiencies)
so it will cost you 0.15 * kWH charge from your lecky supplier per mile PLUS £70 per month to lease the battery.
Or to put it another way - it will be like having a 2 bar electric heater on for 10 hours a day every time you need to charge.
Of course; over time that charge capacity will reduce as will the range; and the efficiency of the charging. But for quick comparison go with 0.15kWH per mile
anyone up to calculating the kWH per mile charge for an ICE ?
Incedentially - houshold charging - the 22kWH charge pont will draw around 95 amps for one hour to give you a full charge (actually slightly more but again close enough) - most houses in the UK have either 50 or 100 amp main fuses.
The 2.2kW charger will of course draw a mere 9.5 amps - but for 10 hours; so don't be staying out till 2 in the morning and leaving for work at 7 ........
Right, so 0-60 in 13s is "quite fast" is it? It may be compared to the G-Wizz or whatever type of lentil powered worthiness the author considers to be the way forwards, however to the rest of us, that is pathetic. 15k will get you something like an Abarth 500, which will move at a far more acceptable rate. The 500 will go for more than 80 miles without needing refueled too.
I would say, however, that the reviewer sounds like a bit of a bell-end, what with the confrontational language in the pre-amble and the nonsense about the causes of climate change at the end. The truth is no-one knows what causes the climate to change, apart from a righteous few happy to blame it on plant food as they will lost their grant money if they don't.
<--- mine's the one with the keys to a V8 in it.
Right. So I'm a tit for wanting a car that can accelerate safely onto a motorway (which I spend a great deal of time on). Not something I would try in a 900cc car because it "felt nippy", and certainly not something I'd do in a French bit of tin powered by a food blender.
There is also the logic that something engineered to do 150 on the Autobahn will be a lot safer doing 70 (ish) on the motorway than something with a top whack of 80.
So basically, this is like any other electric car - a complete waste of time and resources.
People have been accelerating on to motorways in 2CV's (and other 'slow' cars) for years with no problem. Your argument is of the straw variety. Hard acceleration uses a massive amount of fuel compared with gradual acceleration. Save yourself some money by trying it.
Your statement about a 150mph capable car being safer than an 80mph car is also nonsense.
I'm sorry, but do you actually know what you are talking about? Hard acceleration for a short amount of time uses a similar amount of fuel as gradual acceleration for a long period of time. I always get up to speed quickly (as you really should do to help keep traffic flowing), yet am currently averaging 45 mpg from a 10 year old 3 litre BMW. Hardly using a massive amount of fuel, and any savings by accelerating slowly would be negligible. I know this as I performed a similar experiment - result 45 MPG and a shedload of boredom.
And if you can't figure out why a car engineered to do 150 is safer on the motorway than one engineered to do 80, I'm sorry, you should probably hand in any driving license you have and get on the bus. It's a question of capabilities and limits, doing 70 on the motorway in a 3 series will find you well in the car's comfort zone, in a Zoe you will be pushing what it can do.
Indeed, this is my understanding. There is no significant difference between accelerating quickly and slowly in terms of fuel consumption. The engine has the same work to do in either scenario. This only works if you're not over-stressing the engine though, if you're revving at the limits of what it can do then engine efficiency tends to drop.
The problem is not the starting.. but the stopping. If you are constantly in an accelerate - brake - accelerate cycle then you are wasting fuel when you have to apply the brake to slow down (unless you have a car with regenerative braking). Remember, most modern engines consume no fuel at all under engine braking, so a change in driving styles can have benefits when it comes to fuel consumption.
"Hard acceleration for a short amount of time uses a similar amount of fuel as gradual acceleration for a long period of time"
Often it uses less as the motor spends less time in the inefficient rev ranges.
What kills fuel economy is BRAKING (tossing oddles of energy overboard as heat). Get your speeds right and you don't have to do much of it.
As for "engineered to do 150", etc etc etc:
1: They're only engineered to pass crash tests at specific speeds.
2: Top speed bears little relationship to robustness on less than perfect road surfaces
3: The most efficient speed for nearly every vehicle on the road is 55mph (air friction increases with the 3rd power of velocity). I can easily get 65mpg out of my 2litre car around the M25 if I don't mind being bored witless.
Small engined cars quite often use more fuel to maintain 70mph than larger ones as they're operating out of their torque peak (which is why it often feels like they're riding the ragged edge of oblivion). On an EV this isn't an issue (torque is greatest when stationary and efficiency/power is not related to rotational speed) and the only sound you'll get is from the tyres/wind.
Cabin noise is far more affected by the amount of sound deadening than the size of the vehicle - it's just that small cheap cars usually have a lot less of it installed for weight reasons. Given the mass of batteries, this isn't such a consideration in EVs.(*)
(*) FWIW my 1972 4 litre Australian shipping barge had more internal noise at 60mph than a 2002 Peugeot 106 diesel had at 80mph. That was entirely down to noise deadening. The braking and handling reminscent of a pregnant blue whale was down to Chrysler Australia - but it did at least teach you to not outdrive your available stopping distance.
The benefits of hard acceleration are usually outweighed by other factors - certainly in town/traffic, hard acceleration is a waste of fuel, as you will almost certainly have to decelerate faster (as you got to a higher speed) when you meet up with the traffic again. It also very dependant on the engine torque curve. Note that higher RPM always uses more fuel, so if during your hard acceleration you are at an average higher RPM than a slower accelertion over the same time period, you will (probably) be using more fuel that a slower acceleration. So its not as simple as saying fast approx = slow acceleration wrt fuel consumption.
It might help when joining motorways. And of course flooring it at every opportunity puts more strain on the engine and reduces it's life.
As said above, gentle or no braking (which involves lots of looking ahead) gives the biggest benefit -.
Au contraire. I was just getting my rhetoric in first.
And I refuse to get into a debate about who is, or is not, a bell end with anyone who considers a 0-62 time of 13.5 seconds to be insufficient.
Insufficient for what exactly? Drag racing between traffic lights? Carving other drivers up? Driving like a oaf?
As I mentioned, joining motorways sensibly? Keeping up with the flow of traffic? Getting to where you need to go before you grow old? Overtaking Mavis doing 40 in a 60 safely?
My first car had a similar 0-60 time (not as pathetic mind, it was about 12s), and in order not to be an obstacle on the roads, it had to be given a pasting, which in turn wasted the fuel economy. I'm not suggesting the Zoe needs to be able to tear your face off in any gear, but a proper amount of poke would be beneficial in order for me to consider this car.
It's better to just learn to drive properly. Why are you starting from 0mph on a sliproad to join a 70mph traffic flow? You're not, you are already moving as you enter the sliproad. Even if you were, sliproads are long enough to do this anyway. For instance, you might have noticed that lorries and buses have no problem.
Granted 0-60 in 13.5s doesn't allow you to accelerate to 85 and undertake traffic before slewing out straight to the fast lane, but see original point.
A nice review for once, better than the usual anti-eco ranting from the Register.
And it looks like a practical car if you don't need to travel long distances all the time. I can imagine getting one, it would cope with 95% of what we use a car for and hiring something for when it can't seems to me to be better than using something that's usually far too big all the time.
As for the deniers, with their attitude we would still be using the horse and cart, "What's the point in getting one of these new motor cars? They keep on breaking down, they run on petrol! My horses use the hay I grow for myself - and they produce more horses!"
"And it looks like a practical car if you don't need to travel long distances all the time"
That lease charge plus power charges mean it'll cost more to commute in this than my current 2 litre family wagon, assuming the figures stack up as quoted.
22kWh and a range of 140km means it's either hellaciously inefficient or they're only allowing discharge to some appreciable fraction of "full". A more interesting question is "what is the available discharge energy?"
If it's 11kWh available then things look brighter. If the lease figure was 35/mon then it's a practical proposition. At the moment (apart from being a Renault), it's simply not value for money.
EVs usually consume about 0.2 to 0.3 kWh per mile driven. 22 kWh and a 75-90 mile range is about spot on. A full charge on an economy overnight tariff should set you back £2.50ish, so your £70 lease plus £20 quids worth of electricity should get you 625 miles (7500 miles per year). Your petrol car costs an extra £10-19 quid per month in road tax, so to match the economy of the EV it would have to average 49-55 mpg.
75 miles is not by any stretch of the matter even remotely practical. That's a toy, not a car. City dwellers need to visit people outside cities too.
I can easily go 100 miles without thinking about it, and that's just fairly local (10-25 miles away) locations. Two trips in a day and the car is unusable.
Wake me up when the range is at least 200 miles. Preferably 300. It might then be viable assuming an overnight charge.
Also, more than 800 quid a year in battery rental? Surely they jest..
"another thing you dn't need to worry about!"
As Tesla refuse to replace dead batteries free of charge (see previous Reg articles on Tesla batteries that were unusable after being left to go completely flat) and the cost of a new one is several thousand, I'd say the battery in the Model S is the MAIN thing to worry about.
If you are going 100miles 'without thinking' perhaps actually thinking will save you a considerable amount of money (assuming petrol at 35mpg, that 3 gallons = £13ish) Do that every day, I BET you could save yourself quite a chunk over a year.
75miles isn't quite enough for my commute unfortunately, otherwise this would be a cost effective option. Close though.
Unfortunately not. Most of my commuting or travel is by public transport. The car (diesel, 50+ mpg) is used when public transport would take 2-3 times as long and usually also when I'm carrying plenty of equipment. Public transport is usually only decent in a hub and spoke arrangement and woe betide you when wishing to travel between spokes.
If I did two regular weekend trips via public transport it'd waste over four hours of one day. That's why cars are great, and also why this is a toy, not a car.
The Tesla is not an option until someone on the average salary can buy one.
yes it is, by far most journeys are way under 75 miles..
from the article (did you actually read it?): "If you need a car that can travel further than 75-odd miles, the Zoe is quite obviously not the car for you. Bitching about it makes as much sense as complaining that you can’t get a three-seat sofa and five fat blokes in a VW Up. Of course you can’t, so don’t buy one."
We're clearly not going to agree, but I will concede that most journeys are under 75 miles - most of the ones I'm thinking of are.
The problem is the recharge time. If I take a typical Saturday's activities :
Route 1 - 13 miles each way. Travel time half an hour (car), 1:11 (bus).+25 minutes extra wasted waiting time
Route 2 - 23 miles each way. Travel time half an hour (car), 1:30 (average - train, walk, bus). Have to leave half an hour earlier than in car.
Total=72 miles. Total time wasted if public transport used : 3 hours, 45 minutes + leaving half an hour early.
Heaven forfend I actually fancy nipping to the shops as well! Alternatively, how about going to my parents (65 miles). You can get there, but not back...
No, I don't have time to waste half an hour recharging at a charging station, and the places I'm travelling to definitely don't have recharge facilities. I am not willing to concede that my expectations are in any way unrealistic - they can be easily met by the most basic non electric car available.
Five fat blokes in a VW Up with a sofa is not a common occurrence for most people. Four fat blokes without the sofa might be - if the VW Up couldn't fit four moderately sized people (perhaps with a degree of discomfort in the back) I'd criticise that too..
There are plenty of small city cars that are a little underpowered for the motorway - but they can manage it if necessary.
A 200 mile range would be reasonable - all the local journeys would be covered, plus occasional day trips into the countryside. Holidays would be viable with overnight charging, too.
This would almost work as a proposition for us. My wife mainly does short trips to and from work 3 miles away, I rarely drive to work (I cycle, to keep the flab at bay) and we have a petrol-powered estate car for longer trips. It's vanishingly rare that we need to independently take long journeys.
Battery cost is still high, though - add on the electricity cost and we'd only just be breaking even on "fuel" costs, I reckon. Lower servicing costs and a longer-lasting vehicle, though.
Main disadvantage is that the house would really need rewiring, as plugging in the Zoe and the tumble drier together would almost certainly fry the substandard radial connection to the garage.
The price is right, and it is a very nice looking car, but that £70 a month to rent the batteries is an issue. Add to that that its going to cost about £1- £2 a day to charge (assuming single charge) then the "fuel" costs are going to be in the order of £90 - £110 a month. You also need to consider that its still going to burn that £70 even if it never moves off your driveway.
So it still doesn't, quite, compete with fossil burners for fuel economy (£90 will take my diesel estate over 700 miles (55mpg, and, yes, it really does do that). Even the battery rental equates to over 550 miles.
I imagine that as the technology improves the cost of the batteries (and their rental) will go down, charging times will decrease and range per charge will increase. Its also pretty certain that fossil fuel prices are going to increase substantially.
So, sometime in the near future (5 to 10 years, maybe), electric cars will be cost effective, but not right now
Since my current car costs nearly £70 to fill up, the leasing cost doesn't look at all bad to me. Although I agree about it still costing you when it's not being used. That part might need some more thought. My 15 mile commute each way makes this look ideal even without a charging facility at the office.
And while I can see that cheap overnight electricity might disappear in the future I can also see the possibility of millions of plugged-in electric cars making up the shortfall for those world-cup-half-time moments when the whole country suddenly needs more power.
Looks perfectly good for a runabout, nice design, upfront cost not terrible..
But £70/month is very steep for what is effectively nothing.
You could far, far further by buying the same amount of diesel, and bear in mind that £70/month of course is just the battery lease, not to mention your power costs on top!
The range of course still isn't good enough, but that's to be expected. I'd need my car to pull AT LEAST a 260 mile round trip (at motorway speeds) to be viable, because I have a specific journey (to and from Stansted airport) that isn't possible by public transport at certain hours (unless I want to spend more on a hotel overnight, or mope around in the terminal through the night), and on the way back, with two people, the cost of trains would no doubt be higher than that of diesel in my current car.
Basically this makes no economic sense, but is just about good enough for someone with disposable cash living in a city with a second car (probably a Range Rover) to use as their everyday runabout.. and to avoid congestion charging.
I don't live in a city, and have no desire to do so.
...is the amount of techie geeks who believe all the marketing hype.
I know many, perfectly wise, intellligent people who just soak it all up. Some have even bought the cars. These are clever people, who normally ask the right questions. They're atheists as they like a bit of evidence and often work in IT or other science linked profession. They can do the maths, yet somehow believe the numbers they are given without challenging them.
I'm a clean air campaigner. I work in the City and breathe the pollution in central London, it's horrible. I'd love to see changes that reduce carbon emissions in the UK. But I've done the maths and EVs just don't help there.
Sure, if it were practicaly for everybody in London to switch to an EV then pollution may be better in the South. But up North in towns like Sheffield and Nottingham, where a lot of power is generated. pollution would get worse.
Maybe these EVs fans & buyers are just gadget geeks and simply can't stay away as it's a new toy with a plug on it? I admit, my interest was provoked for the same reasons but fortunately I saw through the hype before wasting my money.
"Sure, if it were practicaly for everybody in London to switch to an EV then pollution may be better in the South. But up North in towns like Sheffield and Nottingham, where a lot of power is generated. pollution would get worse."
Sorry, what was the problem again?
climate change is happening all the time, electric cars are not about 'saving the planet'. they are clean, quite and over time will save you money. diesel fumes cause cancer, ask the WHO. that would make you feel better about not belching out poisonous fumes that give other people cancer. unless you were a real prick (i'm not suggesting you are), i'd say that would be something you would like about your car?
'I'm a clean air campaigner. I work in the City and breathe the pollution in central London, it's horrible.'
And by working in the 'City' you contribute to the pollution, so that buggers your clean air credentials.
Can anyone give a decent rational as to why the 'City' exists in this day and age? Is there any job or function within it that can't be done elsewhere?
Two quick points on this..
You use a smart card to activate the public chargers and once activated the cable locks itself onto the socket on the car. You can only remove it when you swipe the your card to finish the charge. I'm sure you could wrench the cable off but it'd take some very serious effort - I gave it a good yank and it didn't so much as budge.
The graffiti is part of a city wide program to brighten up the interior walls of car parks etc by letting local graffiti artists paint them (Lisbon may look a bit down at heels but it is one of the most highly decorated cities I've spent time in). The examples behind the Zoes in the pic are pretty poor - the artwork on the wall opposite was more impressive.
> clinging to 70s stereotypes much?!
Hardly! A colleague of mine would regularly carry around in his Megane spare coil packs and spare bulbs (they blew in the rain). The radio would refuse to work when it was "a bit cold" and the electric window motors were replaced twice under warranty as they would seize and generate vast quantities of smoke as they burned out, in both his and his wife's car.
I think the stereotype is still justified.
I'll concur on this. One of my friends has had a sucession of Renaults (her husband works for Renault HQ) and almost all of them have had serious problems of one sort or another during the 12 month lease period - including the dodgy electrical system deciding to repeatedly half-apply the electronic parking brake at speeds from 20mph upwards (that was 2011) resulting in a very unhappy set of disk pads. Other vehicles have had such habits as burning out the electronic dashboard (2010) and the ignition computer (2002 and 2004).
She'd much prefer to use something else but there are contractual issues involved.
Despite the hyperbole in the review, I have to say I'm not convinced.
The problems of the e-car are not the ones that are being addressed here.
A range of 75 miles? I'd need to charge it every day and if I go see my parents after work, I'm looking at a mid-day charge too. I'd need to fit a charger to my house or drive it to somewhere and park it for several hours while I pay to charge it up - 3KW might be an option if I have no other choice but I'm guessing the 45KW option is the real one you need and that's an external, waterproof, RCD'd, 180A power supply on the side of your house - my consumer unit won't even go past 100A, like most households, and not every electrician could even fit those for you.
I'd need to pay for the electricity to charge it, whatever way, and that's not free and not going to get any cheaper either. I'd need to £70pm to lease a battery as well? Really? That's a week's petrol.
I'd have to suffer lower engine performance. The car I drive is 15 years old and 85KW (and the spec sheet says it does 0-60 in 12s). Now, that's now the be-end-and-end-all, and I'm no boy-racer, but I'm losing "something" compared to driving my old banger. The tax, etc. might be cheaper but that's an annual cost and basically lost in the error margins of driving expenses.
This is tiny and I can fit an 8-foot shed in my car at the moment. I had a kiln in it the other week and drove 300 miles with it in the back and didn't even notice. The seats in that thing are RIDICULOUSLY close and most of the people I know would be uncomfortable in the back for more than a quick dropping off at the station. I can stick four more people in my car than myself and never have to plan to do so. They just get in and off we can go to Cornwall or Scotland on a single tank.
I do a lot of driving, more than just about everyone else I talk to about it, more than anyone I work with - 450 miles a week if I'm working. I've happily driven several thousand miles through Europe in a few days. I do it all in an OLD car. Ancient, in fact. Tyre places keep telling me they have trouble getting my tyre sizes any more.
I pay £75 a week in petrol to do all that. I fill up once and I'm done for the week. If my car falls apart, it cost me £350 (proof: My last car cost me £350. After 4 years of MOT passes, it fell apart last week - would probably cost about £500 to get it back on the road. I bought a newer replacement of the exact same model with better options for £350. I'm back on the road).
The problem with my car is - if you like - the CO2, use of petrol etc. It has no functional downsides.
The problem with the e-car is that it has a multitude of functional downsides, and can't compete on them.
And when you consider that for the price of the battery lease alone, I can get a petrol car leased to me, hire a a car, or for £15,000 I can buy an equivalent sized car and a few years worth of petrol, it's just not practical - yet again.
There's nothing stopping it being practical either. People would pay for a larger, smarter electric car with a longer range, especially if it means no more trips to the petrol station. There's no reason to have that thing as tiny as it is. There's no reason to skimp on the engine power. There's no reason not to put a larger battery in it.
Gimme an electric car that can do 450 miles. One that can seat 4 people comfortably. I don't care if it barely inches its way up to 70 so long as its legal. One that can recharge in a sensible time from a sensible adaptor without yet-more-costs shoved off to other budgets (quite how much would it cost to fit a new consumer unit + the charger + the leads etc. necessary by a certified electrical installer in, say, an old, ordinary house? What about people who live in flats/apartments/away from their private car park?). Take all that online junk off it and give me a basic car. Can you do it for less than a petrol car, or somewhere even remotely comparable?
Until you do, it's all just toys. I can drive a moped to work if I'm that worried about the CO2 I give off. It's the LEAST of everyone's worries when they buy a car.
I read an interesting study (can be googled, may have been bunkum) about the life expectancy of EV batteries and the average lifetime of a UK car... I think the batteries came out at 10 years expected (and £8k to replace) and the average ICE car life being 14 years. That's a fairly significant difference as I assume not many people would want to shell out another massive chunk after 10 years. The study also reviewed the carbon cost to build the car - which if I recall was a decent chunk of the entire carbon cost over the lifetime. Obviously if a pure EV has a greater carbon cost to produce and lasts less time than an ICE vehicle, then there is another mark against it.
Full disclosure: this study was quite old and used Prius batteries, things have no doubt improved quite a lot since then.
Ah, I also just noticed that you actually hire the batteries now, so the above issue of replacing them is worthless. Oh well, I've typed it now. ;-)
Dave x, nox
Stop the petty arguing over Co2. Air pollution and noise pollution are bigger (and the latter ignored) threats to our health.
Luckily the world doesn't revolve around the UK either. So countries with more hours of sunshine will bring the costs of recharging down, for many it will be free. Heck, enthusiasts in California have been enjoying dirt cheap motoring for decades by converting their existing cars to electric and running solar chargers. This niche market could be grown by mass producing the conversion parts not to mention give out subsidy's to DIY'rs. Instead we see continual growth in the noisy exhaust and roaring air filter market aimed at the 'No Fear' brigade.
Some people here are probably too fat, lazy and pampered. all they can do is nay say instead of visualizing how mankind can progress in this area.
"So countries with more hours of sunshine will bring the costs of recharging down, for many it will be free. Heck, enthusiasts in California have been enjoying dirt cheap motoring for decades by converting their existing cars to electric and running solar chargers."
Free PV solar chargers you say?
I didn't know poly silicon production was so clean and easy it was now free!!!
With the battery hire and charging costs factored in you would need to be covering 8-10K miles a year to start saving on this compared to an economical IC car. If you have a 30 miles per day or more commute then it could make sense, especially if you need to enter a congestion zone.
Get that down to 4K per year and a 0-60 of less than 10 seconds* and it would start to make sense as a commuter car for my wife. That is without factoring in the possibility of free charging at work or reduced maintenance costs so I can see us going for an EV maybe not for the next car, but for the one after, possibly.
* Anything above 12 is dog slow and potentially unsafe imho.
I do 15-18k/year just getting in and out of work, but it's a 70mile round trip, so this would be right on the limit. I think I would probably save money going this route though, except my 10 year old Civic, on 194k miles is still doing nearly 40mpg/petrol, so it seems a shame to get rid of it.
Possibly, the car she has at the moment would do it in about 7 seconds so she would be at an advantage at the traffic light Grand Prix if everyone else was that much slower...
That was not my point though, it is not about speed per se but the ability to vary it in a timely manner which enhances safe driving. Massively OT though so happy to agree to differ.
why should your employer pay for your electricity ?
That's 22kWH every other day for you - mm I suspect the tax man may see that as a 'benefit in kind' as well and make it taxable.
lets say it's 12p/kWH - that's £2.64 a charge - £5 per week - say 4 weeks holiday that'll be an extra £240 pa from your employer's money
and if you work withe 50 other people all wanting to charge their cars ?
mm I can see that government employees may expect this to be paid by the tax payer; but I would expect most private employers to tell you exactly where to go.
The service costs of an electric car should be significantly cheaper and perhaps contribute to new batteries in 10 years time.
Vauxhall want approx 500 notes for a diesel cambelt change these days. Ive seen people charged 200 for basic oil and filters and up to 2 grand when the diesel pump failed. I imagine if we all turned to boring slow electric vehicles, there would also be less wastage caused by petrol heads, i.e brakes, rubber wear and the increase fuel usage of the heavy footed.
The interest in electric vehicles will also see electric motorcycles and bicycles become more common. Cheaper transport still.
That’s equivalent to just over 50 litres of unleaded at pre-Budget prices.
Oh. So twice as much as I currently spend on fuel for the Honda Jazz that I use for my 25 mile round trip commute. Plus (I assume) charging costs for leccy. It's the best deal I've seen so far but still not very attractive. Doesn't seem to make sense for town drivers or your typical commuter unless my calculations are off :-/
someone buy me this please!!!
this is the car for me, this is the car that will get the ball properly rolling. sucks to be an oil-pig and see your business going down the toilet, LIKE IT SHOULD. we don't need to use POISON for energy.
"In 1986, in the wake of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, he was searching for a potential alternative source of clean energy and arrived at the following remarkable conclusion: in just six hours, the world's deserts receive more energy from the sun than humankind consume in a year."
You're an idiot. Just thought I'd let you know. Unless you can explain how you're going to build and maintain a solar array capable of powering the planet without:
a) Bankrupting several small nations
b) Generating any OMG POISON
c) Losing any of the amazeballs 6-hours power from the sun to, say, inefficiency
i'm an "idiot"? really? then you say "unless", wouldn't it have been a better idea to ask for my explanations BEFORE calling me an "idiot"? that's normally how the intellectual process works.
a) it costs money to build solar arrays, this is the green economy. how is building solar arrays going to bankrupt people?? the poison-energy industry gets subsidies, so give the clean energy industry the same subsidies. once you have the solar arrays built, there's very little maintainance, unlike nuclear-poison generators, this has to be said?!
b) solar arrays do not generate poison.
c) you store energy and release it when you need it. solar panels have come a long way in the last few decades and can get energy even from cloudy skies.
weird, i thought reg readers were a bit better than this..aw well..
Like most cars like this it's another step in the right direction, but..
They won't make sense until there are significant financial advantages in owning one. Firstly the purchase cost has to be no more than the equivalent petrol/diesel equipped car, then the running costs must be far far lower.
At the moment you'd have to be doing a lot of miles in order to justify the high up front cost vs buying a petrol car. Unfortunately doing a lot of miles is what electric cars are worst at.
So at the moment there's no real incentive to buy one.
You know, this article seems really defensive. Lots of strawman-building, failing to mention the charge time on a regular socket (in case it's astronomical, I imagine), apologising for all the downsides of e-vehicles, attacking critics, etc. I'm guessing you were in Lisbon because the manufacturer had already set you up with a nice route and easily available fast-chargers, right? You don't see that as a problem? Nice, unbiased reviewing...
And before all you knee-jerkers start downvoting, I've nothing against e-cars, just this rather pathetic excuse for a review. Don't criticise the failings of the product like you're a reviewer or anything, oh no - criticise the people who dare to point them out.
I'd love to have an e-car, but taking way too long to charge and not going far enough are pretty bloody big failings, especially when you live in somewhere like BC. Maybe when the tech has improved, I'll consider one, but I wouldn't buy one of these, no matter how practical the reviewer asserts it is. If you're the kind of person that never leaves their home town....well, I pity you, personally, but you might still like this car.
Renault/Nissan frequently use Lisbon for EV launches due to the easy availability of charging points. That, combined with the warm temperature and relative lack of traffic/gradients make an EV seem like an exciting proposition.
This review did read a lot like a re-written press release.
Greg - Limited range inherent in the technology aside (which I think I devoted as much copy to as was reasonable), what failings would you have liked me to point out? If the Zoe had demonstrated any significant failings - bad handling, bad packaging, lack of refinement, shoddy build quality, a poor infotainment system - I'd have noted them with relish.
Of course the two day press event in Lisbon included suggested routes and satnav directions to charging facilities. Exactly how else would you suggest Renault ran it?
Perhaps Renault should have simply handed over the keys to a half-charged car at Lisbon airport and walked away letting me try to find my own charge point in an unfamiliar city?
A more detailed review will have to wait until UK-spec press cars become available for long term tests but I doubt that will cause me to radically change my opinion unless there is some unforeseen difference between left and right-hand drive models.
As for domestic charging times, the free British Gas 32amp/7Kw domestic charge box will juice a Zoe up in about three and a quarter hours.
Neither Nissan not Renault suggest you plug a Leaf/Zoe into a domestic 13amp mains socket though if you did I'd estimate the charge time to be between seven and eight hours.
Ben - throughout the two days the traffic (and the weather) was pretty awful though the more mountainous roads north of Lisbon and Cascais towards Sintra did allow for some spirited driving away from the urban roads and dual carriage ways in and around Lisbon itself.
Greg - Limited range inherent in the technology aside (which I think I devoted as much copy to as was reasonable)
Major flaws aside....
And you did devote time to it - especially to blasting in advance anyone who dared criticise. If you're going to qualify a review by saying that it can only be compared to other, equally flawed products, then that's not about to convince me to swap my petrol car for an electric one. Both products are in the same marketplace, attempting to appeal to the same people; surely comparison is appropriate, not nay-saying? The global sales figures don't suck because people have been waiting for the one, true EV; they suck because EVs are more expensive and less capable than the alternatives.
If I was reviewing a new video game, but you weren't allowed to compare it to other, better made, more modern video games because it would look shit by comparison....I'd be reviewing something on a Nintendo console. OK, bad example.
Perhaps Renault should have simply handed over the keys to a half-charged car at Lisbon airport and walked away letting me try to find my own charge point in an unfamiliar city?
A real world test? Perish the thought!
A fair test would involve exactly this. OK, Renault aren't about to do that because they're pushing for favourable reviews, but if you were being objective you'd have called them on that yourself.
I like the notion of hydrogen cars, and of electric cars, but they've got to be at least equivalent to a petrol car or no-one, myself included, is going to bother. And when you flat-out insult anyone who would argue that point, you're not convincing me.
Sorry Greg but your being an idiot.
The author's opening lines are simply an attention grabber designed to get a rise from the overly opinionated (I'd say it worked) rather than "blasting" anyone. I'm not sure I would categorize all the people who criticize EV's as "libertarian yahoos" as he as done but I can see where he is coming from.
Would you have preferred a review that took half it's space describing the location, number and ease of access of EV charging points in Lisbon and how hard/easy it is to find one from the airport parking lot? Pretty pointless as I doubt anyone reading this lives in Lisbon let alone plans on running an EV in it.
What I got from the article is that the Zoe is in most ways competitive with the best new small hatchbacks, not quite as fast but more refined, and about the same cost to buy and that the electrical power train works well as does the car as a package - assuming you can live with the 70 odd miles between charges range which is highlighted several times.
Yes I get the feeling the author is a bit of a fan of the EV as a concept or at least is prepared to tolerate the inherent range limitations, but that's fair enough. I'm all for a little passion, enthusiasm and advocacy in my tech journalism. It's why I read the Reg.
As for comparing products - did I imagine it, or did the review not make several comparisons to the Leaf and Fluence in terms of range, styling, packaging and price?
"If I was reviewing a new video game" and spent half the article stating these games are bad for you and you'd be better off reading a book, well, I'd be a putz.
If I reviewed a tablet and spent half the time talking about how laptops are better because they have more CPU, storage and a keyboard, I'd be a putz.
The purpose of the article wasn't to justify the industry - it was to inform how this particular model performs within this infant industry.
Unfortuantly i fall into the group that just wont consider buying a car with just a 75 mile range as its just too limiting even if they had quick charge points at all petrol stations. Its a shame as i would actually quite like to own one. I think untill they can offer atleast 250-300miles of range between charges i just wont buy one :(
most journeys are way less than 75 miles. the people who really must have that range are in a small minority.
from the article: "If you need a car that can travel further than 75-odd miles, the Zoe is quite obviously not the car for you. Bitching about it makes as much sense as complaining that you can’t get a three-seat sofa and five fat blokes in a VW Up. Of course you can’t, so don’t buy one."
Look at it realistically, 75 miles is the point where it stops. As you want that to be the end of a return journey in most cases, and, ideally to arrive before you run out of juice, that means a distance of 35 miles each way because the other end (work for example) probably doesn't have a charging point so now how does the range look?
I require that kind of range. As does anybody with business or family at the other end of the country, as can be attested by the number of cars on our motorways.
What of those who live in the city and wish to get away to the country/sea side for the bank holiday weekend.
I agree in part that if all you need is to potter around the city then fine, but personally I dont think it is unreasonable for a car of this size to have a 300 mile range, electric or not.
Either charge times need to reduce or range needs to increase
Sorry guys but, I'll quote the author first
"To argue that the electric car has already failed is farcical. To date only one mass-market EV from an established car maker has been launched in the UK: the Nissan Leaf. Even I’m not fully convinced by the Leaf. I think it’s too big, too ugly and too expensive. A revised, cheaper, longer-range Sunderland-built model will address some of those failings, but I can’t see it changing my essential feelings towards it.
No, in my opinion the only two cars that will fly the flag of the e-car in a convincing manner in 2013 are Toyota’s Prius Plug-in hybrid and Renault’s new Zoe BEV. If in two years’ time global sales of these two are still piss poor then, and only then, will I discuss the “failure” of the e-car."
And now I'll like everyone to do a google ot look for press releases in recent months by Carlos Ghosn. He's the head of both Nissan and Renault. He has been the main driving force behind the pure electric car and the reason why Nissan and Renault sell these where as all their rivals only do hybrids and are only researching hybrids and/or hydrogen power.
So the head of the only main stram manufacturer of electric cars made an announcement a month or two ago. Basically Ghost said that he still liked the concept of a pure EV but as an enterprise it was a failure and as a result Nissan-Renault will now be dropping research in to them and instead look towards developing a range of hybrid cars based upon existing models.
This leaves no major motoring manufacturer in this field, with only Tesla seeming to be developing the technology and they can harldy be considered significant. Oh and don't bring G-Wizz up - no news of any new cars and even their existing one used old tech.
Could you provide a link to those comments by Ghosn? I recall no such thing and some solid Googling has yet to turn up anything even remotely similar to what you say. Leaf sales have been lower than expected sure and the Better Place scheme hasn't been a success, but as for Renault/Nissan dropping research into EVs I'm pretty sure that is rubbish.
So, how exactly do you charge it? I assume ttat you have to plug it into a socket somewhere? We have on street parking, so does this mean that I need to have a socket installed on the curb by the council or have some kind of lead hanging out of the window which will doubtless get nicked in central London? They really didn't think this through...What if you don't have a garage!
"f you need a car that can travel further than 75-odd miles, the Zoe is quite obviously not the car for you. Bitching about it makes as much sense as complaining that you can’t get a three-seat sofa and five fat blokes in a VW Up. Of course you can’t, so don’t buy one."
The same goes for people who question the practicality of EVs because they happen to live in a place where they can’t have the (free) wall-mounted 13-amp charge box installed. That’s not a problem for me, or my neighbours, or most of my friends, or a lot of other people. If it’s a problem for you, that’s just hard luck."
I'm not going to bitch, but I see again and again somebody wondering why people aren't rushing out to get electric cars... then just saying "of course if it won't work for you don't buy one." Welp, the public has spoken, given the current charigng infrastructure and vehicles, they don't want a car where they have to worry about it working for them, so they aren't buying them. SImple as that.
In contrast, I *LOVE* the idea of something like the Volt (until such a time as the charging infrastructure matures). Charging box? Go ahead and top up. Can't get access to one, or need to go on a longer trip? It has a little gas engine to keep it going (apparently plenty good enough to drive, not just to limp to a power station.) This means it's technically a plug-in hybrid, but while most hybrids still rely on the engine (using the mile or so range of batteries to increase engine efficiency), the Volt can go about 40 miles on battery, so it's more like a (rather short range) electric car with a "backup" engine.
There are competing technologies in this industry, and we still don't know what will win (one of the contenders like pure electric, a combination hybrid, something we haven't thought about....)
Battery weight will come down, charge speed will go up, availability of grid chargers will improve.
For the moment, if you park on the street, you're probably SOL. Maybe in 2 years or 5 years....
Many people mostly drive less than 100km during the week, but the occasional business drive, weekend trip to visit the folks or the beach, day when you just happened to have a ton of errands or an emergency... all makes many consumers nervous. That nervousness needs to be addressed.
The charge doesn't need to be full. A top-up may do in many cases - stop off at the station and have a 20 minute cup of coffee while you get another 20km?
"The ZOE can also be fast charged to 80 percent of its capacity in just 30 minutes using public Rapid-Charger 43 kilowatt power sources." Okay, I take that as over 50% capacity in 20 minutes, so say 40 miles/65 km. Not ideal, but for many, a kludge that makes the pain & panic go away.
But these are temporary issues - the industry will build towards common solutions over 5-10 years, both in terms of tech, vehicle, infrastructure (recharging stationary or in motion? )
We'll see - so far, looks like a step forward.
Spawn of statement just because the avatar looks like a bright red electric car.
I own a 2003 Honda Insight Hybrid. For the second time I am replacing the Batteries. No control module this time. I am lucky. Honda did a recall a few years ago and part of the recall upped the battery warranty to ten years. If it had failed three weeks in the future I would be looking at a $4000 repair bill on a car with 100,000 miles on it.
Oh, and don't even think about running it without the battery. The alternator doesn't work when the battery fails. I have a second car or I would be looking for transportation until the battery gets here.
A diesel that does 60mpg will cost £0.11 per mile in fuel. If this costs £3.00 to charge and does 150 miles, that's £0.02 per mile, which sounds great. However, there's also that £70 a month battery lease, which makes it less attractive than it would otherwise have been
If you do 10,000 miles a year, the Diesel will cost £1,100 in fuel and the Zoe will cost £1040 in charge and battery lease
If you do 5,000 miles a year, the Diesel will cost £550 in fuel, and the Zoe will cost £940 and battery lease
It's definitely a step in the right direction, but that monthly charge for the battery has to come down to really make an impact IMO
My local supermarket in Brittany has one of these, as part of it's "cars you can rent by the day" etc fleet..
cost per day " all in including insurance and charging" ( Ie it has a full charge when you take it out ) ..and when you bring it back,you don't pay to top it up..( like you would if you'd rented a car with a full tank of diesel/petrol etc )..Rental Cost for 24 hours 25 euros ..about £20.00 ? ( cheaper rates if you rent for longer ) ..
They don't park it out front of their supermarket "attached and charging"..and almost no-one here has a domestic charging point unless they already own an EV car..So it is a thing that one can rent for a day ( having read the article here, I'm going to rent one for a day just to "play" )..I did ask the supermarket owner about the £70.00 per month battery leasing , and how he could be making money with those overheads, if he wasn't renting it every day..his reply.."WTF" ( in French ) .."What !! course I'm not paying that much per month just for 'kin battery leasing..Carlos is really sticking it to the rosbifs"..
I run a clio 1.9 diesel..( I get 75mpg ) so..even at half what you would pay in the UK for the leasing..and my leccy ( domestic ) costs 6p per kwh..I'd still be better off with the clio..
There is one factor that makes EV impractical, except for a few niche operations.
The grid is pretty much overloaded in most countries. When you park an EV in the driveway you will double the electricity consumption of the household, the street and the residential population of the city.
Now if a few % of the population get EVs it really won't change much.
But EVs don't scale well. If 50% of the population were to switch to EVs and expect overnight charging, there is no way the grid in the UK, USA, Australia, or pretty much anywhere else is going to meet expectations.
"When you park an EV in the driveway you will double the electricity consumption of the household, the street and the residential population of the city."
Wrong, even as a starting point.
You might double the theoretical maximum demand, but in any realistic case, the vehicle will (a) mostly charge overnight when other demand is mostly smaller (b) mostly not be used for long journeys so mostly won't need much of a charge.
Average that over any near-term realistic population of EVs and there is no practical problem.
In fact, Mackay (he of "Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air" fame) has posited that a suitable population of suitably equipped EVs, using grid-tied inverters as are used with solar PV, could provide useful energy storage and/or reduce the peak time stresses on the grid, by using the vehicle battery to generate electricity for the grid, and then recharge overnight ready for the next day's travel. (Apologies if someone already mentioned this, I didn't read *all* the comments as the SNR was getting atrocious).
50% using EVs? Then some thinking might be called for.
Meanwhile, the UK has insufficient gas storage to ride through a brief fallout with our suppliers, and insufficient electricity generating capacity to cover the peak demands of the next five-ten years. We do have a couple of problems to solve there.
"the vehicle will (a) mostly charge overnight when other demand is mostly smaller".
It is only smaller NOW, because residential demands are lower at night than offices etc during the day. When everyone plugs in their cars for overnight charging, the overnight residential demand will easily be triple what it is now.
"(b) mostly not be used for long journeys so mostly won't need much of a charge." It really does not matter how much of a charge it needs. The peak will still be high.
"equipped EVs, using grid-tied inverters as are used with solar PV, could provide useful energy storage " This is eco-greeny horseshit. Using battery storage and inverters is extremely inefficient (~60% or so). Worse still, it will severely impact on vehicle battery life. And then when you get back to your car to go home you find it is flat because some dick used your battery to run their airconditioner via the smart grid.
All engineering is a compromise. If you design batteries for power usage, you would preferably not use the lightweight batteries used by cars.
I'd be very happy about owning one of those. It looks great.
I wouldn't call it "affordable" by petrol car levels though. 70 quid times 36 months is another £2500 on top of the £13650 subsidized price for the entry level. That's still £3000 more than a top of the line stop-start diesel Clio.
Still, perhaps it *might* pay for itself if someone was subject to congestion or parking charges and did a lot of short range driving, e.g. a drive to school, shopping, etc. in an urban setting.
There is nothing practical about an electric vehicle that has, optimistically, a range of 75 miles when it brand new, probably more like 50 miles after a couple of months in the real world. OK for for fat cat city dwellers maybe, but hopeless anywhere else. And you have to pay for the batteries even if you only drive it a few miles a month.
Plus, as others have pointed out, it is Renault. Anyone who has ever had the misfortune to own anything manufactured by Renault knows that you couldn't wish a more unreliable and expensive piece of machinery on your worst enemy.
Hate to spoil your arguments but a neighbour owns a Leaf and has done for over a year. He's seen no appreciable decline in battery capacity or range in that time. He actually reckons he gets a little more now than he did at delivery though puts that more down to an evolving divining style.
As for Renault electrics, nothing wrong with the wiring in my three year old Megane coupe or the wife's five year old Scenic.
Still, why let facts get in the way of an ignorant rant?
I had an electric bicycle a few years ago with a range of 35 miles. I charged it every night and still ended up pushing it home quite a few times. It is really, really easy to clock up some miles without realising it. I don't fancy pushing home an electric car.
It needed more maintenance than any other vehicle I have ever owned , bar none. I went through two throttles, three drive motors, an ecu, one handlebar switch and an entire replacement bike in 2 years. The battery was down to a 25 mile range after 2 years, so needed replacing too. Each time it would be off the road for ages while the parts were ordered from the manufacturer. Turns out that delicate electrical parts don't like potholes and rough, rutted roads, or winter rain and salted roads.
I loved that bike - it was great fun - but I couldn't afford to keep throwing money at it and going without it for weeks at a time. When the third motor went (£500) and I knew the battery was getting a bit weak (£275), I called it a day.
I went back to riding a motorcycle. Ultimately, I need reliable, value for money transport and the e-bike wasn't it. Shame really.
I was seriously considering buying one of these, I was trying to look for the range everywhere, they really make it hard to find this, its one of the most important aspects of an electric car.
That is the only annoying thing about these companies advertising electric cars, if they were all just up front and told us is a nice clear place what the range is then I would respect them a lot more.
As my daily drive is 30 miles to work and 30 miles back, this obviously isnt suitable for me. I am going to give it another 3 or 4 years. I am hoping by then that they bring out an electric car with at least 150 miles to a charge. Then and only then will it be good enough for me to have as a daily drive.
So, 80 miles before charging
So I regularly do journeys of 300 miles, that take about five - six hours. So in the Zoe I would need to charge maybe 4 times, taking a journey of five hours would now take nine - ten (assuming each charge is 60mins).
This is unacceptable, at this point I may as well fly rather than drive (the trains being a nightmare).
Admittedly I wouldnt make the journey in a car of this size anyway, it being a bit small.
Having said that; it is a nice looking car, I like the inside and if all a need was a city car I would really consider it.
Whilst a skeptic on human driven climate change, this is a nice looking car, and really, reducing our reliance on a finite energy source cant be a bad thing. (Strictly speaking solar energy is finite too, the sun will after all die one day).
What does trouble me is the renting of batteries, but I guess at this point it is possible the best solution, although having more common batteries so there is some competition in the market would be nice.
I think it looks nice. More importantly, it looks quite normal. There are only so many people who want to be seen driving around in something obviously different like the Twizzy.
Now the down side.
All reviews of electric cars seem to be carried out by people who do a few short journeys trying to get the best possible mileage out of the car. What about a real life 'living with the car every day' situation?
What's the range when driving home on a wet night with lights and wipers on plus the radio for comfort and your mobile phone on charge?
What's the range if you get stuck in a traffic jam? How much electricity is used on a slow stop-start journey caused by an accident several miles ahead?
Don't forget that you need to use a special charging point so halve the range for a return journey to a place of work (for example) that doesn't have the required charging point.
How many charging points will each Renault dealer have? If these cars do catch on, how long will you have to wait before you can get connected for your half-hour fast charge? It's not like running low on petrol or diesel and stopping for a 5 minute fill-up.
I recommend that anybody buying an electric car should take out an AA Relay membership just in case.
It looks like a nice car and I might be interested when they get around to fitting a proper engine, as they surely will if they are to justify the investment. It even has the radiator intake already designed into the bumper. Bear in mind that the larger Fluence has been in production for a couple of years in South America, with a variety of engines, none of them electric.
My guess is that, in a few years time, Renault will say something like: "We built a range of electric cars and nobody wanted to buy them so please go away and let us get on with what we do well".
You can lead a horse to water......
Please learn to understand the difference between peak electricity demand (which is where the problem is going to be) and the charging patterns of electric vehicles (likely to be at times of lower electricity demand, which for the foreseeable future are likely to be overnight).
Despite what another ignoramus may have said, EV charging is unlikely to massively change UK (or anybody's) electricity demand pattern. Do the numbers. A domestic charger might be 10kW max (similar to an electric shower). If there were 100,000 EVs all charging at the same time overnight, that's an increase in overnight demand of a whole 1GW. Only an ignoramus would consider that significant.
See e.g. http://gridwatch.templar.co.uk, as mentioned by others already, for the UK's electricity usage info for the last 12 months (including pretty pictures of the daily demand cycle which illustrate why an increase of 1GW overnight simply doesn't matter, and 5GW might not be much of a problem).
Also, realise(again despite the ignoramuses claiming otherwise) that the power storage in an electric vehicle battery is better qualified to keep Joe Public's house supplied with moderate amounts of electricity at times of peak elecricity demand than (say) domestic solar PV ever will be, and maybe also better qualified than the grid will be in a few years. All it needs is suitable inverter, and the solar PV industry already knows where to find those. Yes the round trip efficiency isn't brilliant between charging and supplying. So what, if the problem is supplying the peak time demand, it's not necessarily efficiency that matters.
Never mind the energy usage, who with any sense wants to go back to the stone age and sit in a small car that has a range of 80 miles and 85bhp? It is like people who buy the Nissan Pointless or the Toyota Abomination, or even the Fiat Ugly – no self respect. Electric cars are driven by aging hippies who think that they are saving the planet when the materials that go into producing these mobile cul-de-sacs are destroying a lot more than they are saving. If you care that much, use a bike and get fit, you lardy-whingers!
Electric cars? In the UK? Pah. You could save more energy on the road by removing the plague of mini-roundabouts, speed cameras, traffic lights, speed restrictions and draconian traffic law enforcement officers and processes, and replace them all with bigger bumpers and an indemnity clause on your driving licence!
"also completely silent. There’s not a hint of motor whine and road noise is well suppressed."
I use the noice made by a cars engine as a pedestrian. I would suggest that they re-introduce a noise, otherwise there will be a sharp increase in the number of people being hit by an electric car because they could not hear it coming.
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