Ayeisha Thomas-Smith wrote this post about the future of electric cars in the UK.
Awareness of green issues has risen massively over the last decade. In the UK, is there any realistic chance of motoring becoming green?
The Electric Era
Since 1997, when the Toyota Prius arrived, electric and hybrid cars have been the darlings of the green motoring movement. Hopes for these vehicles have been high, but so far they haven’t quite been met. In the UK, less than 1% of all new car registrations are for fully electric vehicles.
Hybrids fare a little better and the Vauxhall Ampera was the 2012 European Car of the Year, winning rave reviews from the UK motoring press. While hybrids eliminate the ‘range anxiety’ of electric cars, they still use fossil fuels. However, they cost a lot and it takes a long time to recoup that through running costs and for some drivers it may never happen. For many people, a car’s image is a big part of its appeal and it could be argued that, in general, electric cars have some way to go on that front.
There is reason, however, to be hopeful. In 2013, the UK Government committed £37m for funding the installation of electric car charging points across the country. Within the next decade or so, we should see improvements in battery technology and infrastructure that make the day-to-day driving of an electric car a realistic proposition for more people. Electric cars are based on emerging technology and as this matures, prices are likely to drop.
What about now?
In the meantime, drivers have important matters to consider. Even though the Prius is more than ten years old, the number of hybrid/electric cars on the second-hand market is low. This means that, for the wave of drivers now looking to replace their car but unable to afford a brand new electric vehicle, the choice in this area is very limited. One has to ask whether it is greener to drive an existing car until it drops or to scrap it and ‘go greener’?
It is clear that electric and hybrid motoring is evolving, but we have yet to see the full picture. Hopefully, ten years into the future, there will be so many electric cars on UK roads that everybody will have a realistic chance of owning one. Whether that actually happens is up to motorists, manufacturers, dealers and politicians. It may be an interesting decade.
Interested in experiencing the electric car for yourself? Click here to visit CarFinance 247.co.uk.
car2go autopartage has launched carsharing in Montreal, Canada. Photo credit: PRNewsFoto/car2go Canada, Ltd.
The carsharing program car2go has 500,000+ registered members worldwide. This fall, Montreal, Canada will become the 13th car2go city in North America and the 25th car2go city worldwide.
A low cost public transportation alternative, car2go autopartage, a subsidiary of Daimler North America, will launch its point-to-point carsharing model in Montreal by early November 2013.
An initial network of 250 car2go edition smart fortwo vehicles will be deployed and available for shared use in the metropolitan Montreal area, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The 5 steps of car2go: 1. Become A Member; 2. Locate A Vehicle; 3. Access The Vehicle; 4. Drive and 5. Finish Your Trip. Photo credit: PRNewsFoto/car2go Canada, Ltd.
PICK UP AND DROP OFF ANYWHERE
Anywhere within the car2go Home Area, car2go members pick up and drop off any car2go vehicle. They drive the car, park the car at their destination and swipe the card on the car’s windshield reader to end their trip. Then the car becomes available for the next car2go member.
PAY BY THE MINUTE, HOURLY OR DAILY
car2go members pay 38 cents per minute or discounted hourly and daily rates for the time they use the car. Parking fees, fuel, maintenance and insurance are included at no additional cost.
LOCATE VIA SMARTPHONE APP/WEBSITE
To locate available car2gos, members can use a smartphone app or the car2go vehicle finder at car2go.com. Members can use the first available car2go they find parked on the street. They can also reserve a vehicle up to 30 minutes in advance.
The Townie Go! Step-Through electric bike model in ebony. Photo credit: Electra Bicycle Company.
“Electra is about enjoying life, having fun, being slightly irreverent and making great products that capture the joy of riding and put a smile on your face.” – Electra Bicycle Company.
Whether you’re traveling or living and working in a city, look around and you’ll likely find more and more electric transportation options available.
We’ve blogged about fab green travel designs like The Sparta X2 Electric bike and we’re constantly discovering other cool electrics we want to share including these two:
Electra Bicycle Company – The Townie Go!
Electra Bicycle’s Townie is the blog’s bike so we’re huge Electra fans and excited to share the news that the company has launched the electric, pedal-assist bicycle Townie Go!. Designed around Electra’s patented “Flat Foot Technology”, this Townie also has an easy-to-ride frame design which gives you comfort and control, letting you sit up and put your feet flat on the ground when you’re stopped.
What makes it the Townie Go! is the SRAM’s fully integrated E-matic zero maintenance pedal-assist propulsion system. The E-matic is built into the rear hub with one wire connection and a thin lithium-ion battery tucked up underneath the rear rack. The way it works is you start pedaling and with each pedal stroke the E-matic will sense your effort and add “oomph”’ until you reach 16 miles per hour. The bike’s fully charged 8-amp battery will last about 30 miles.
Townie GO! Step-Over electric bike model in matte gold. Photo credit: Electra Bicycle Company.
Electra Bicycle Company specializes in lifestyle, leisure and recreational cycling and distributes its bicycles and accessories in 25 countries worldwide. The California company features six different bicycle collections: Townie, Townie Go!, Amsterdam, Cruiser, Ticino, Verse and children’s bikes.
The Townie Go! is available in two models, The Step-Through and Step-Over, and four colors (sky blue, ebony and matte gold).
The new BMW i3. Video courtesy of bmwuk.
BMW – The BMW i3
The BMW i3, BMW’s recently released electric car, is BMW’s first “pure electric series produced model.” This car’s electric motor generates an output of 170hp, with peak torque of 250Nm on demand instantly. The BMW i3 can sprint from zero to 37mph in 3.7 seconds and zero to 62mph in just 7.2 seconds. While the car’s lithium-ion battery is designed to give a range of 80 -100 milesin everyday driving.
On BMW’s Become Electric website, you’ll find the highlights of the BMW i3′s green design features including:
Electricity used to make the BMW i3 at its Leipig plant is generated from wind turbines;
Natural wool is used on the seats for its “active-climate” quality, keeping cool in summer and insulated and warm in winter which can lead to reduced use of air conditioning and heating;
Locally-sourced leather processed with natural substances;
Eucalyptus wood on the dashboard is sourced from timber grown in Europe and “certified as 100% sourced from responsible forestry” and
Olive leaf-tanned leather tanned using a natural agent extracted from olive leaves from European olive groves.
We love the mobility services which support the BMW i3 “before, during, and after the journey.” Using the BMW i Remote App makes it simple for you to charge the BMW i3 at home or elsewhere. When driving, the BMW i Navigation with range assistant will show you how far you can go and the location of the nearest charging station.
In the UK, for public charging BMW offers customers access to BMW ChargeNow, a UK service for cashless access to the nationwide network of public charging stations with the BMW i ChargeNow card. ChargeNow charging stations and their live availability are displayed on the BMW ConnectedDrive services page in the navigation unit.
The Honda Civic 1.4 i-VTEC SE. Photo credit: Honda.
Seeking a green car for long distance travel? Whether you’re looking for a commuting car or the perfect family road trip vehicle, you’ll need to compare options carefully to find the right balance of efficiency and convenience. Mileage is important, but there are other factors to consider.
For example, the Nissan Leaf is a great city car but with a range of only 73 miles it may not be suitable for longer distances. Furthermore, the most efficient vehicles tend to be small in size, which can be problematic for carpooling and family journeys. Yet with improved efficiency standards, you’ll now find both spacious hybrids and efficient crossover SUVs to choose from. The following are a few of the top green car options on the market today:
If you’re planning a road trip with the whole family, it’s hard to beat the comfort and efficiency of a classic minivan. The Honda Odyssey retains its value well, meaning that you can resell it for a decent price when you have finished your journey. A 2011 model offers 28 miles to the gallon on the highway, with the Touring models giving even better mileage thanks to a six-speed transmission.
This plug-in hybrid car gives you 76 miles to the gallon, making it the most fuel-efficient compact car available. Although it can only travel up to 35 miles on its lithium-ion battery, when used with a combination of gas and electric power it can travel distances of 379 miles. This makes it ideal for long distance commutes or for anyone who racks up lots of mileage on a daily basis. Although it’s compact, the Volt also features a surprising amount of cargo and passenger space. It may not be suitable for large families, but for a couple on a road trip it could be a good green solution.
The Civic comes in both regular and hybrid models, which operate at 45-50 mpg. Although it’s known for a somewhat bumpy ride on city streets, car reviews at motoring.com.au state that the Civic provides smooth sailing on motorways. The Civic is reliable and easy to service, making it a safe and practical option for long distance journeys. Like the Volt, however, it’s not really suitable for large groups of passengers.
Ford Mustang V6
If you want to travel in classic style on your long distance journey, there’s nothing like the thrill of driving a sporty convertible. These are often eschewed in favor of more environmentally-friendly options, but the Ford Mustang V6 is able to top 31 mpg on the highway. This makes it one of the most efficient models in its class. It’s often offered by car hire fleets, if you want to take it for a temporary whirl rather than investing in a Mustang as a full-time vehicle.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Although they come with a high sticker price, hybrid crossovers like the Highlander are often good choices for long distances. They provide plenty of space, both in the seating arrangements and cargo areas. They also offer the latest safety features and technology, along with excellent reliability. Furthermore, when choosing a hybrid you get all of the environmental friendliness of a smaller car to save on gas and lower your emissions.
These are just a few of the greenest choices that still tick the boxes of practicality and value for money on the road. The right car will depend on the nature of your journey, as well as your preferences.