Busted: top five electric car myths

Busted: top five electric car myths

Busted: top five electric car myths

What’s stopping you buying an electric car? With ultra-low emission electric and plug-in hybrid car sales booming within the last year, the AA reckons we could be on the verge of a ‘tipping point’ – with half a million expected to be on the roads by 2020.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (2016): long-term review

But many of us are continuing to snub electric and plug-in hybrid cars. Why is that? The AA has teamed up with charging experts Chargemaster to dispel the top five myths surrounding electric car ownership.

1: Electric cars costs too much (82% concerned)

Apparently 82% of those surveyed are put off by the high purchase price of an electric car. They are more expensive than conventional petrol and diesel cars, but savings are available. Government grants slash up to £4,500 off the list price of a new electric car, with the Renault Zoe starting at £13,945 (although battery hire is charged on top of that).

Impressive lease deals are available – and electric cars have been around long enough for them to start cropping up at tempting prices in the classifieds. You can buy a three-year-old Renault Zoe or a more practical Nissan Leaf from around £5,000.

2: Availability of public charging points (81% concerned)

2: Availability of public charging points (81% concerned)

This is a chicken and egg situation – as more of us buy electric cars, more public charging points will pop up. Currently, Chargemaster says 4,000 publicly accessible charge points are available through its scheme – with a further 500 to be added this year. Ecotricity has fast electric chargers at almost every UK motorway service station.

3: Time taken to offset higher purchase price through fuel and taxation savings (68% concerned)

Although we’ve said that electric cars are more expensive to buy than conventionally-fuelled vehicles, you will save some money through their low running costs. But 68% say they don’t think those running costs will offset the higher purchase price quick enough.

Of course, it depends on your personal circumstances, but you might be surprised how much money running an electric car can save. For a start, you won’t pay road tax and company car drivers will save money on benefit in kind (BIK) tax. If you drive into London regularly, you could save a fortune on the congestion charge – and EVs usually get free parking while charging, saving you money if you regularly pay and display.

4: Durability of battery (65% concerned)

4: Durability of battery (65% concerned)

Replacing a battery could be a huge cost in electric car ownership, so prospective buyers are right to be concerned about the cell’s lifespan. The AA says that batteries in older EVs are aging better than expected, however, and a number of manufacturers are now offering warranties of around eight years on batteries in new EVs.

5: Limited range (59% concerned)

You can refuel some diesel cars and not have to visit a petrol station for at least 600 miles, while some electric cars have a real-life range as short as 60 miles. But how far do you really need to travel on a charge? National statistics suggests that 95% of car journeys are under 25 miles – and a third of UK households have two or more cars. Using an electric car everyday is a very realistic proposition for most of us, then – just use a second car (or hire one) for that occasional journey to the in-laws.

As battery technology progresses, the realistic range of electric cars are getting longer, and the AA says that it expects 200 miles from a single charge to be the norm within two years. You can already expect a Tesla Model S to cover 250 miles from a charge, while plug-in hybrids are available with a petrol engine as back-up for when you run out of electric juice.

The partnership between AA and Chargemaster brings a number of advantages to members and electric car owners, to help make ownership easier and more appealing. These include discounts on Chargemaster membership, enabling access to its chargers for £7.85 a month, and a programme to install charge points at AA-rated hotels.

Video: secret chauffeur Jimmy Carr surprises Andy Murray in a Jaguar F-Pace

Video: secret chauffeur Jimmy Carr surprises Andy Murray in a Jaguar F-Pace

Scottish tennis star and Jaguar brand ambassador Andy Murray had a surprise this week – when comedian Jimmy Carr turned up at his home to chauffeur him to Wimbledon.

As an official sponsor of The Championship, Brit car manufacturer Jaguar is providing a fleet of 170 cars to support event operations and transport players.

Although Murray wouldn’t have been surprised to see a Jaguar F-Pace pulling up outside his Surrey home to take him to training ahead of his second round match against Lu Yen-Hsun, he was somewhat taken aback to find Carr behind the wheel.

The journey to Wimbledon was captured on camera, and shows Murray and Carr exchanging banter on yummy mummies, grunting and Ivan Lendl’s paunch.

Speaking of the surprise chauffeur, Murray said: “We have a really close team and are often playing practical jokes on each other – this was definitely one of the better ones. Jimmy is one of my favourite comedians, I’ve been to see him live before but to have a front-row seat to this show was amazing!”

As part of the sponsorship deal, Andy Murray will be given his own F-Pace – Jaguar’s hot new SUV, which we described as ‘the best car in its sector’.

Talking of Wimbledon, Jimmy Carr commented: “I love everything about Wimbledon; the excitement, the crowd, the anticipation, the £15 punnets of strawberries. Now we are chums hopefully Andy will give me a wave in the crowd this time and make it extra special.”

'Stuck on the wrong side of the channel': Wales fans face huge Eurotunnel delays

‘Stuck on the wrong side of the channel’: Wales fans face huge Eurotunnel delays

'Stuck on the wrong side of the channel': Wales fans face huge Eurotunnel delays

Thousands of Welsh football fans are at risk of missing tonight’s Euro 2016 quarter-final after a train broke down in the channel tunnel, causing delays of three and a half hours.

Some fans have reported delays of five hours – with many calling for the match, set to kick off at 8pm, to be postponed.

The game, being dubbed the ‘biggest game for Wales since the 1958 World Cup’, will see the team take on Belgium in Lille.

Amongst the frustrated Wales fan is music star and radio presenter Cerys Matthews.

Eurotunnel has responded by running three extra trains this afternoon, but warned that travellers will continue to face long delays.

It has also suggested those who don’t need to travel today should reschedule their journeys.

'Stuck on the wrong side of the channel': Wales fans face huge Eurotunnel delays

'Stuck on the wrong side of the channel': Wales fans face huge Eurotunnel delays

'Stuck on the wrong side of the channel': Wales fans face huge Eurotunnel delays

Thousands of Welsh football fans are at risk of missing tonight’s Euro 2016 quarter-final after a train broke down in the channel tunnel, causing delays of three and a half hours.

Some fans have reported delays of five hours – with many calling for the match, set to kick off at 8pm, to be postponed.

The game, being dubbed the ‘biggest game for Wales since the 1958 World Cup’, will see the team take on Belgium in Lille.

Amongst the frustrated Wales fan is music star and radio presenter Cerys Matthews.

Eurotunnel has responded by running three extra trains this afternoon, but warned that travellers will continue to face long delays.

It has also suggested those who don’t need to travel today should reschedule their journeys.

Nissan Navara: Two-Minute Road Test

Nissan Navara: Two-Minute Road Test

Nissan Navara: Two-Minute Road Test

This is the latest Nissan Navara – or Nissan NP300 Navara to give it its full name. It’s the latest in a flurry of new pickups, designed to appeal as a family runaround without losing any of its credibility as a serious workhorse.

What are its rivals?

Rivals are aplenty: there’s the recently-replaced Mitsubishi L200, its Italian brethren the Fiat Fullback, Toyota’s iconic Hilux, Ford’s affordable Ranger and the soon-to-come, Navara-based, Renault Alaskan.

What’s it like to drive?

What's it like to drive?

If you’re more used to SUVs than proper trucks, you might find the Navara disappointing. Even with interior features that aren’t that far off the Qashqai, there’s no escaping the fact that this is a commercial vehicle.

The 2.3-litre turbodiesel engine is noisy, the automatic gearbox in our test car is a little clumsy and parking it would be nigh-on impossible without the wonderful Around View Monitor.

But that’s compared to SUVs. The ride, although a bit wobbly when unladen if you’re expecting it to be car like – is virtually a revelation compared to pickups of old, thanks to the five-link coil-sprung suspension fitted as standard to the double cab model.

Compared to trucks of the past, you could drive the new Navara every day without it feeling too much of a compromise. It’s quiet at motorway speeds, and visibility around town makes negotiating traffic easier than you might expect.

Fuel economy and running costs

Fuel economy and running costs

We tested the more powerful 190hp diesel. Key stats are a combined 40.3mpg and 183g/km CO2. That’s from a commercial vehicle. Not bad, eh?

Is it practical?

Hell yeah. Or should we say, truck yeah? Boasting a 1,578mm load bed, the double cab’s load area is longer than that of the Mitsubishi L200 and offers plenty of room for lugging building supplies, lifestyle accessories or whatever you might wish to chuck in it.

What about safety?

What about safety?

The latest Nissan Navara scored four stars when it was tested by Euro NCAP last year. It was let down by its lack of technology such as a lane departure warning, and pedestrian-friendly active bonnet. Not a huge concern, really.

Which version should I go for?

It depends what you want. While the top-spec Tekna we had on test was lovely, and would be ideal for those looking to use the Navara as a family car, you might find it hard to stomach spending more than £30,000 on something as workhorse-like as this. For those wanting the practical abilities of the Navara more than luxuries such as heated leather seats, the entry or mid-range models might make more sense.

Should I buy one?

Should I buy one?

If you’re prepared to accept the compromises offered by a pickup, the Navara is certainly one of the best in its class.

Pub fact

World rally champion Colin McRae drove a Nissan Navara in the Dakar Rally Raid in 2004 and 2005 – crashing out in his second year. The firm launched a special edition Navara Rally Raid in 2004, limited to just 300 units.

Top Gear preview: Mustang, 911 and NSX joy

Top Gear preview: Mustang, 911 and NSX joy

 

Top Gear preview: Mustang, 911 and NSX joy

Chris Evans must be a happy man this week. Regardless of what he thinks of the result of the EU referendum or England’s dismal exit from Euro 2016, the news has meant rants about Top Gear have taken a back seat. For now.

Not that the undercurrent of discontent has gone away. For many fans of Top Gear, Chris Evans is about as welcome as Nigel Farage at a pro-European drinks party. Fortunately for Top Gear, Messrs LeBlanc, Harris and Reid continue to impress, although the threesome doesn’t roll off the tongue quite like Clarkson, Hammond and May.

That said, we’ve reached the final episode of the current series and despite reports to the contrary, hell hasn’t frozen over and the world hasn’t stopped spinning. In fact, it’s beginning to feel like a car show again. Wonders will never cease.

Mustang, sonny

Top Gear episode 6

Fresh from his epic overnight drive in the Jaguar F-Type SVR, Rory Reid has the pleasure of driving Ford Mustangs old and new in Scotland. The trailer shows Reid enjoying himself at the wheel of an original, left-hand drive Mustang before his progress is halted by a slow moving truck.

We all know that feeling, Rory.

Later, he gets to have a play with the first right-hand drive Ford Mustang, which, as you’d expect, is the full-fat 5.0-litre V8. Expect plenty of sideways action and an evocative soundtrack to boot. And that’s just the tune being orchestrated by the exhausts.

Not to be outdone, Matt LeBlanc gets to enjoy the full force of the Porsche 911 R. The £137,000 Porsche has a top speed of 200mph and can sprint to 62mph in just 3.8 seconds. Will LeBlanc hit the magic 200 mark? Tune in this Sunday to find out.

Harris in a Honda NSX

Our petrolhead cup runneth over with joy with the news that Chris Harris will be testing the all-new Honda NSX. It’s been a long time coming, but petrolheads of the world are united in the hope that the second coming of the NSX is a worthy successor to the original. Is it any good? Harris is the best man to find out.

Chris Evans is left to review an MGB, but not just any old MGB. While Evans has made much of his love of old cars, this happens to be a brand new Frontline Developments MGB. Think of it like an original, remastered.

Star in a Rallycross Car

Patrick Dempsey and Greg Davies are this week’s Stars in a Rallycross Car. Or, as some people might say: Patrick Dempsey and Greg Davies are this week’s excuse to nip out to put the kettle on.

It remains to be seen what will happen next for Top Gear and Chris Evans. For now, the world’s most popular motoring programme is set to remain the centre of attention, at least until The Grand Tour hype begins in earnest. Grab your popcorn, this promises to be quite a battle.

A man has died after his Tesla crashed while on autopilot

A man has died after his Tesla crashed while on autopilot

A man has died after his Tesla crashed while on autopilot

The driver of a Tesla Model S in Florida has been killed after the part self-driving car failed to spot a lorry and tried to drive underneath its trailer.

The man, named in other outlets as Joshua Brown of Ohio, was using the car’s Autopilot feature. This uses cameras and sensors to monitor traffic and allow autonomous driving on motorways and highways.

We ‘drive’ Tesla’s driverless car on UK roads
Tesla accused of banning owners from talking about faults with cars

In a statement, Tesla said: “What we know is that the vehicle was on a divided highway with Autopilot engaged when a tractor trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the Model S. Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied.

“The high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer, with the bottom of the trailer impacting the windshield of the Model S.

“Had the Model S impacted the front or rear of the trailer, even at high speed, its advanced crash safety system would likely have prevented serious injury as it has in numerous other similar incidents.”

Some speculation has suggested the driver may have been watching a film when he was involved in a crash.

The firm described the ex-Navy SEAL as ‘a friend to Tesla and the broader EV community’, and previously he’d uploaded numerous dashcam videos from his Model S.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation into the crash and will conclude whether the Autopilot system was at fault.

Tesla has responded by saying the technology is new, still in the beta phase and should be only be used as an ‘assist feature’, with the driver keeping their hands on the wheel at all times.

The firm added: “This is the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated. Among all vehicles in the US, there is a fatality every 94 million miles. Worldwide, there is a fatality approximately every 60 million miles.”

It could be a serious blow to the development of autonomous technology.