Government grants for hybrid cars have been scrapped

electric vehicles

Financial incentives to buy a new hybrid vehicle in the UK have been ended, just months after the government announced the Road to Zero strategy. Grants for fully electric vehicles have also been slashed.

You’ll need to move quickly if you want to buy a discounted electric car. The Plug-in Car Grant, which pays for 35% of the price of a new vehicle, currently goes up to a maximum value of £4,500. It will be cut to £3,500 after the 1st November. This grant applies to very low emission (i.e, fully electric) vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf and the BMW i3.

Discounts for hybrid vehicles on the other hand have been scrapped altogether. That means you will have to pay full price for cars such as the Toyota Prius Plug-in or the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

The reason behind the change, according to the Department for Transport, is that hybrid cars have become popular enough among consumers to no longer need the government’s support – who want to shift attention on fully electric cars instead.

Sending mixed messages

Car manufactures however have been critical of the move.

Mike Hawes, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said: “We understand the pressure on the public purse but, given the importance of environmental goals, it’s astounding that just three months after publishing its road to zero strategy, the government has reduced the incentive that gives consumers most encouragement to invest in ultra-low emission vehicles.”

“Removing the grant for plug-in hybrids is totally at odds with already challenging ambitions for CO2 reduction and sends yet more confusing signals to car buyers.”

What to do if you’re planning to buy an EV

If you’re planning to buy an electric or hybrid vehicle soon, you can find details about grants here – https://www.gov.uk/plug-in-car-van-grants.

Electric cars could one day be charged in seconds, thanks to the University of Glasgow

electric car charger

The time it takes to charge an electric vehicle could be dropped from hours to just seconds, thanks to a new ‘flow battery system’ developed by the University of Glasgow.

For as long as electric cars have been part of the public conversation, there has always been one major hurdle putting many people off them – the time it takes to charge. Even the most efficient charging systems and batteries can take several hours to fully charge, as opposed to filling a petrol car which only takes a matter of seconds. That however could all be about to change.

‘Nanoscale battery molecules’

Chemistry researchers from the university have developed a hi-tech liquid containing ‘nanoscale battery molecules’. Put simply, the liquid is a sort of removable battery – so you can pump fresh, fully-charged liquid into your car while the old, depleted liquid is removed and taken away to be re-charged. This means you can effectively fill up your car in the same way you would with petrol (and in the same amount of time).

As well as proving electricity, the liquid can also provide hydrogen for hydrogen-powered vehicles, making it an extremely versatile sort of ‘dual fuel’.

hydrogen car
Hydrogen fuel cell cars, such as the Hyundai ix35 (pictured) could also benefit from the technology. Image source.

Environmental benefits

The new technology spells out great news not just for motorists, but for the environment too. Because the liquid stores energy effectively and can be charged away from the car, it can make use of renewable energy as and when it’s available, meaning less reliance on fossil fuels.

Professor Leroy Cronin, who worked on the project, said: “For future renewables to be effective high capacity and flexible energy storage systems are needed to smooth out the peaks and troughs in supply. Our approach will provide a new route to do this electrochemically and could even have application in electric cars where batteries can still take hours to recharge and have limited capacity. Moreover, the very high energy density of our material could increase the range of electric cars, and also increase the resilience of energy storage systems to keep the lights on at times of peak demand.”

There’s no news on if or when the technology will be available for public use, but the future looks very promising!

‘Flexible charging’ could make it cheaper to run an electric car

flexible grid

New proposals by Ofgem could cut the cost of running an electric car and allow 60% more vehicles to be charged at once.

The energy regulator Ofgem has put forward a set of proposals that would encourage EV owners to charge their cars outside of peak periods – when demand is lower or when renewable energy is more readily available.

Flexible energy tariffs are already available for domestic electricity customers, where electricity is cheaper at certain times of day. A similar scheme for electric cars could increase capacity by at least 60% without having to build new power stations, says Ofgem. Instead, vehicle owners could take advantage of abundant renewable energy when it’s windy or sunny.

Preparing for the smart grid

electric vehicle
New petrol & diesel vehicles will be phased out and replaced by electric by 2040. Image source.

In the future, electric cars could collectively be used to store excess renewable energy when supply out-strips demand, selling the power back to the grid when needed. Doing so could reduce costs not just for vehicle owners, but electricity customers in general.

“The way we generate, transport and use electricity – and power our cars – is undergoing a radical transformation in Great Britain” says Jonathan Brearley, executive director of systems and networks at Ofgem. “Ofgem will ensure that the energy system is fit for this exciting, cleaner future and at the lowest cost for consumers.”

The National Grid is preparing for a phase of rapid change, as electric vehicles are set to replace petrol & diesel cars by 2040.

Vehicle owners would need a smart meter as well as a smart charger to take advantage of cheaper off-peak energy. For now, the flexible charging system is still in the planning & consultation stage.

Government launches ‘Road to Zero’ strategy to reduce vehicle emissions

hybrid car

The government has laid out plans for ‘at least half of new cars to be ultra low emission by 2030’, as part of its new ‘Road to Zero’ strategy announced yesterday.

The strategy explains how the government intends to meet its ultimate goal of banning new petrol & diesel vehicles by 2040. Low emission diesel and hybrid vehicles will play a role in the eventual shift over to fully-electric cars. The government wants the UK to be ‘the best place in the world to build and own an electric vehicle’.

More charging points

The government wants to see charging points built into all new street lights, new homes and other buildings such as offices. £400 million will be poured into expanding the existing charging infrastructure, putting more charging points in public spaces and service stations.

The strategy also mentions a £40 million fund for developing new charging technologies.

charging points
The government wants to see a massive expansion of the public charging network. Image source.

Financial incentives

The plan admits that electric and low-emission vehicles are still relatively expensive, and outlines a number of financial incentives for people to take up green vehicles – including the extension of the plug-in car grant, possibly as far as 2020.

There will also be a £500 incentive for EV owners to install a charging point in their own home, with similar grants for workplaces.

Hybrid cars will not be banned

BMW i8
Hybrid cars such as the BMW i8 (pictured) will not be banned after 2040

In a move that has been praised by the motor industry, hybrid cars will not be banned after 2040.

Jim Holder, editorial director of What Car? magazine, told the Press Association the government was “starting to listen to the automotive industry’s concerns”.

“The fear was that the government would force the uptake of full electric vehicles – something that the car-buying public have yet to show an interest in… Instead, this news gives the freedom for a more phased uptake of technologies, including part-electric hybrids, as well as the option for alternative power sources to emerge, such as hydrogen.”

Working with the energy industry

The ‘Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce’ will be created to get the energy and automotive industries talking to each other to plan for huge increase in demand for electricity and infrastructure.

Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, said: “The coming decades are going to be transformative for our motor industry, our national infrastructure and the way we travel. We expect to see more change in the transport sector over the next 10 years than we have in the previous century.”

“The Road to Zero Strategy sets out a clear path for Britain to be a world leader in the zero emission revolution – ensuring that the UK has cleaner air, a better environment and a stronger economy.”

BP is buying the UK’s biggest car charging company Chargemaster

BP Chargemaster

Oil giant BP announced today that it’s in the process of buying Chargemaster, who operate the country’s largest EV charging network with over 6,500 public charging points around the UK.

The sale will cost BP £130 million.

BP say that the move is an “important step in scaling up and deploying a fast and ultra-fast charging network on BP’s UK forecourts.” BP, who run around 1,200 petrol stations, are anticipating a rapid shift from petrol to electric cars over the coming years. They estimate that by 2040 there will be around 12 million electric vehicles on British roads.

Last year, rivals Shell purchased Dutch charging company NewMotion for an undisclosed amount.

About Chargemaster

  • Founded in 2008
  • Operates POLAR, the UK’s largest EV charging network
  • Is also a leading supplier of charging infrastructure
  • Operates over 6,500 public charging points
  • Will be re-branded as “BP Chargemaster” once the sale is complete

 

BP Chargemaster
The charging points will be re-branded after the sale

2040 Deadline

Chief executive of BP Downstream Tufan Erginbilgic said: “At BP we believe that fast and convenient charging is critical to support the successful adoption of electric vehicles. Combining BP’s and Chargemaster’s complementary expertise, experience and assets is an important step towards offering fast and ultra-fast charging at BP sites across the UK and to BP becoming the leading provider of energy to low carbon vehicles, on the road or at home.”

The UK government are pushing ahead with plans to ban the sale of new petrol & diesel cars by 2040, with a target of three-fifths of new cars being electric by 2030.

Ten of the fastest electric cars in the world

ten of the fastest electric cars in the world

With electric vehicles poised to overtake internal combustion engines over the next few decades, manufacturers around the world are clamouring to break speed records and claim the crown of world’s fastest EV.

The UK will ban the sale of new non-electric vehicles by 2040, with other countries like France following suit. The new legislation is forcing manufacturers to get creative and fast-track their plans for getting more electric vehicles on the roads.

We’ve rounded up a list of ten of the fastest electric cars in the world below. Some of the cars on the list can be purchased right now, such as the Tesla Model S, whilst some are still firmly in concept car territory – like the ridiculous Lamborghini Terzo Millennio.

Check out the list and let us know what you think!

NIO EP9

NIO EP9

Top Speed 194 mph
0-124 mph 7.1 seconds
Horsepower 1,360 hp

The “fastest electric car in the world” from Chinese manufacturer NIO smashed the coveted Nürburgring record with a time of 6 minutes 45 seconds – beating such petrol cars as the Porsche 911 GT2 and Lamborghini Huracán.

If you’re planning to buy one, you need to be quick (and rich!) – only six have been sold so far, all to NIO investors at $1.2 million each. The company plan to sell just another 10 to the general public.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S P100D (Ludicrous Mode)

Top Speed 155 mph
0-60 mph 2.5 seconds
Horsepower 762 hp

The flagship P100D version of the Tesla Model S comes with a new ‘Ludicrous’ mode, which has to be unlocked via a menu on the car’s touch-screen interface. Once activated, the car can fly up to 60mph in two and a half seconds – in other words, it’s a five-seat luxury sedan than can accelerate faster than an Audi R8 V10!

The premium P100D model will cost you upwards of £115,000.

Lucid Air

Lucid Air

Top Speed 235 mph
0-60 mph 2.5 seconds
Horsepower 900–1,000 hp

The Lucid Air is another big executive sedan than is faster than it has any right to be. In a recent test, with its electronic speed-limiter disabled, the car reached a top speed of 235mph. It can also accelerate up to 60mph in 2.5 seconds – making it as quick as its main competitor, the Tesla Model S.

There’s no confirmed price for the UK yet, but the US version can be pre-ordered for around $50,000.

Vanda Dendrobium

Vanda Dendrobium

Top Speed 200+ mph
0-60 mph 2.7 seconds
Horsepower 1,000 hp

There’s no solid production date for this all-electric concept hypercar, but its makers claim that it can exceed 200 mph and can fly from 0-60 in 2.7 seconds!

The Dendrobium shares its name with a flower from its native Singapore, which it resembles when all of its doors are opened.

When it does finally hit the showrooms, you can expect to pay in excess of £1 million to get your hands on one.

Rimac Concept_One

Rimac Concept_One

Top Speed 220 mph
0-100 kmph 2.5 seconds
Horsepower 1,224 hp

Described by its Croatian makers as “the world’s first electric sports car” at the time of its release in 2013, the Rimac Concept_One can get to 62mph faster than a McLaren P1 and can reach a top speed of 220 mph!

The car is also notorious for being crashed by Richard Hammond while filming an episode of the Grand Tour.

Only eight cars were built, selling at over £1 million each!

Genovation GXE

Genovation GXE

Top Speed 220 mph
0-60 mph under 3 seconds
Horsepower 800 hp

Building a brand new car from scratch is costly and complicated. So instead Genovation took a Corvette Grand Sport as a starting point, took out the engine and replaced it with twin electric motors capable of 800 horsepower. (Tesla did something similar when it first designed the Roadster, using a Lotus chassis).

The US team that built the GXE claim the record of “the world’s first street legal Electric car to exceed 220mph”. Unusually for an electric car, the GXE has a manual gearbox, allowing drivers to squeeze out as much powers as possible.

Tesla Roadster 2020

Tesla Roadster (2020)

Top Speed 250+ mph
0-60 mph 1.9 seconds
Horsepower 1,000 hp

The new Tesla Roadster will supersede the original 2008 design and promises to be quicker than any production car ever made (electric or otherwise), with an eye-watering 0-60 time of just 1.9 seconds. The estimated top speed of ‘over 250 mph’ would put it in the same league as the Koenigsegg Agera RS, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport or the Aston Martin Valkyrie!

“The point of doing this is to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline vehicles,” says Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

The car was announced in 2017 and is scheduled for release in 2020, with a starting price of around $200,000.

Faraday Future FF 91

Faraday Future FF 91

Top Speed ???
0-60 mph 2.39 seconds
Horsepower 1,050 hp

It’s not the most exotic vehicle on this list, but nevertheless the Faraday Future FF 91 is a family SUV that can accelerate faster than a Ferrari 488 or a Porsche 911 Turbo S! It’s also marginally quicker than its main competition, the Tesla Model S.

The car is rumoured to cost around $180,000 when it goes on sale.

Aston Martin RapidE

Aston Martin RapidE

Aston Martin only plan to sell 155 of these exclusive cars, which they are pitching as a more up-market alternative to anything Tesla has to offer. Details are thin on the ground, but the company’s first electric vehicle is based on the existing Rapide AMR petrol car and is aiming for 800–1,000 horsepower.

Lamborghini Terzo Millennio

Lamborghini Terzo Millennio

The Terzo Millennio (“third millennium” in English) is a futuristic concept car jointly developed by Lamborghini and MIT with one simple goal in mind – to “rewrite the rules on super sports cars”.

The car ditches the traditional ‘skateboard’ structure used by most electric cars – where the bottom of the car contains a large, flat array of batteries – and proposes storing energy in the body of the car itself using supercapacitors. And that’s not all – Lamborghini and the researchers at MIT are looking for a way to make the car self-heal, automatically detecting and repairing cracks & dents in the bodywork.

There are few technical specs and it’s unlikely to go into production anytime soon, but just look at it!

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Rolls Royce to go fully electric by 2040

Rolls Royce

Luxury car maker Rolls Royce has promised to ditch petrol engines and only produce electric cars by 2040.

The move was announced to bring Rolls Royce in line with new legislation in the UK and France. Both countries have promised to ban cars that aren’t at least partly powered by electricity by 2040. The luxury vehicle brand believes that other markets, such as North America and the Middle-East, will soon follow suit.

Alternative Energy

Chief executive of Rolls Royce Torsten Müller-Ӧtvӧs said in an interview “When you see what happens in Saudi, when you see what happens in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, they are all looking into alternative energy. Electrification will also happen in these countries, sooner or later… we will definitely offer 12-cylinder engines as long as we can, as long as it is legally allowed to offer them.”

Rolls Royce 103EX
The Rolls Royce 103EX “vision car” imagines what vehicles could be like over the next 100 years. Image source: Rolls Royce.

Plans for the Future

At present, Rolls Royce offer 12-cylinder petrol engines in most of their cars. They plan to unveil a new electric car within the next 10 years, and gradually phase-out their petrol offerings over the next decades.

“Electrification actually fits extremely well with Rolls-Royce because it’s silent, it’s powerful, it’s torquey, so in that sense it’s a very good fit.”

Although France and the UK are the only countries so far to set solid deadlines, Germany have indicated that they are considering similar legislation, and China want one fifth of all new cars to be powered by electricity by 2025.

New technology can charge an electric car in just 8 minutes

electric car

Swiss company ABB have unveiled the ‘world’s fastest’ electric vehicle charger, which can give an electric car 200km of range in just 8 minutes.

The Terra HP fast charger is said to be the fastest in the world, operating at powers of up to 350 kilowatts – around three times faster than Tesla’s Superchargers which put out 120 kilowatts, and almost 6 times more powerful than the CHAdeMO charging technology used by Volkswagen.

ABB demonstrated the new technology in front of world leaders and VIPs at this week’s Hanover Fair.

Consumer concerns

Long charging times and so-called ‘range anxiety’ are two often-cited reasons for the slow adoption of electric cars by the public, along with the relatively high price of new vehicles. The 8 minute charge-time will hopefully help to ease some of these concerns.

ABB fast charger

Worldwide roll-out

ABB have chargers in around 6,500 locations in 60 countries, including the UK. The brand has also been selected by Electrify America, the biggest electric vehicle infrastructure project in the United States.

The new fast chargers are intended for highway rest stops and petrol stations, where short charge times are essential. It’s hoped that putting charging stations along popular routes will boost consumer confidence and encourage the uptake of electric vehicles.

Meanwhile, Tesla are pushing ahead with their plans to put more chargers in urban areas. The company are busy developing new compact superchargers, which are ideal for cramped, inner-city locations where space is limited.

 

ABB is a “pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally.” The Swiss/Swedish company oprate in more than 100 countries and employ around 135,000 people.

 

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