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3,000 people on waiting list for electric Kia e-Niro

Kia e-Niro waiting list

Joining the list of supercars and sports cars that command long waiting lists is the Kia e-Niro crossover. Three thousand people have put their their names down so far, as demand outstrips supply.

Happily, Kia plans to ramp up production of its new EV. It expects the 3,000 orders to be fulfilled within the first six months of 2020.

Joining the e-Niro in 2020 will be Kia’s new Soul EV, a quirky SUV with the same electric architecture as the Niro. The long-range e-Niro has 280 miles of range and will set you back £34,495 after the Plug-in Car Grant is deducted from the price.

Kia e-Niro waiting list

Those who have yet to order an e-Niro will receive their car no sooner than July 2020. Deliveries of the Soul EV, which opened for orders this last July, are expected to start in April. The Soul is £700 cheaper than the Niro post-grant.

“Since launching e-Niro at the beginning of the year, we have received unprecedented demand which has been a challenge to fulfil,” said Paul Philpott, president and CEO of Kia Motors UK.

“As we enter 2020 with the Soul EV and e-Niro, we and our 190-strong dealer network are ready to meet customer demand for all-electric cars.”

Kia e-Niro waiting list

Demand for electric cars is on the up and the values of second-hand electric cars are holding strong – and increasing in the case of the Renault Zoe.

That’s a marked contrast to the first few years of mainstream electric cars being on sale in the UK, when they depreciated far faster than combustion cars.

Rimac C_Two: why this 256mph, £2 million hypercar matters

Rimac C_Two
“I am a petrolhead. I get goosebumps whenever I hear a V8,” says Mate Rimac. “But this is the future: a whole new level of capability, speed and excitement.”

The future isn’t quite ready yet, though. The showroom-ready Rimac C_Two – a Croatian-built electric hypercar – will debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. For now, all we have is a work-in-progress prototype.

Battle-scarred and wrapped in camouflage, it has arrived in London after a month of intensive track testing at Nardo in Italy. And charismatic Rimac (say it ‘Ri-mats’) founder and CEO Mate (‘Mat-tay’) is giving me a guided tour.

Rimac C_Two

If Top Trumps launches a ‘Supercars’ set for 2020, the £2 million C_Two will be the killer card. But before we delve into its astonishing stats, a word about the company itself.

Mate founded Rimac Automobili in 2009 at just 21 years old. Three years later, he achieved a Guinness World Record when his home-built electric E30 BMW M3 blitzed a quarter mile in 11.85 seconds. “I combined my two passions: electronics and cars,” he explains. “People laughed at first – I was a total nobody. It’s taken a long time to build up our position in the industry.”

I’d beg to differ. In 10 years, Mate has gone from his garage to a company employing 600 people. Both Porsche and Hyundai have sizeable stakes in Rimac, and most of the firm’s work involves high-end electrification tech. The forthcoming Hyundai N-branded electric sports car, for example, will lean heavily on Rimac components. 

The C_Two is really a shop window for what Rimac does. Even at around £2 million each – and sharing much of its technology with the equally exotic Pininfarina Battista – it seems unlikely that the 150-car production run will make much profit. “We’re approaching this like an OEM [a mainstream car brand], says Rimac PR, Marta Longin, “with 20 prototypes and full crash-testing. That doesn’t come cheap.”

Rimac C_Two

Time for some numbers, then. A 6,960-cell battery pack delivers 1,914hp – a nominal 11hp more than the Battista – and 1,696lb ft of torque, the latter available from standstill. Zero to 60mph takes 1.85 seconds, 186mph arrives in 11.8 seconds and top speed is limited (!) to 256mph. Oh, and a quarter-mile is dispatched in 9.1 seconds: even quicker than Mate’s record-breaking M3.

Apparently, the C-Two can manage two laps of the Nurburgring (about 28 miles) at maximum-attack before performance starts to tail off. But drive it like a G-Wiz and you’ll manage a WLTP-certified 342 miles. Charging to 80 percent capacity takes as little as 30 minutes.

“When the McLaren F1 came out in 1992, people thought nobody will ever go faster,” smiles Mate. “Now a BMW M5 has that kind of power and the C_Two exceeds 1,900hp.” But the control of all that oomph is where Rimac really gets clever.

Rimac C_TwoWith one electric motor for each wheel, the Rimac has infinitely variable torque vectoring. This, says the Rimac website, allows for ‘minute calibration of intent and behaviour, from a rear-biased driftable sports car to a vehicle that meters traction perfectly on slippery surfaces’. As Mate rightly points out: “You may have the funds to buy this car, but that doesn’t mean you’ve got the skills to get the best from it.”

The C_Two also boasts Level Four autonomy tech, with eight cameras, a lidar, six radar emitters and 12 ultrasonic sensors. So it can literally show you how to drive. Select Driving Coach mode on selected race tracks and it will whisk you round autonomously – sticking resolutely to the racing line with perfect braking and steering inputs. Rimac claims ‘a near-gaming learning experience, with real-world excitement’.

The raw computing power is mind-melting. The car’s 400 sensors and 72 ECUs process six gigabytes of data every hour. “If there’s a cool situation, like you drift around a corner, the cameras can start recording automatically,” explains Mate. “Then you can share the video on social media later.” What, ahem, could possibly go wrong?

Crucially, some of this technology is already trickling down to more affordable cars, as the market shifts towards an electrified, self-driving future. What you see on a Rimac today could be fitted to a Hyundai in 10 years’ time. Maybe sooner.

Rimac C_TwoIf all that sounds a bit new-fangled, you’re probably not the target customer. Mate admits that the C_Two will appeal, in part, to “tech guys who don’t care about V12s”. Yet there is a new breed of environmentally-conscious hypercar buyer too: “people whose beliefs don’t fit with a combustion car”.

Either way, I doubt Mate will have trouble shifting all 150 examples of the C_Two. There really is nothing quite like it. The ultimate proof will be in the driving, of course (drops heavy hint to Rimac PR team), but as a showcase for what his still-young company can do, it’s already a startling achievement.

The C_Two will be sold exclusively through H.R. Owen in the UK, which has showrooms in London, Manchester, and Hatfield, among other locations. Start saving now. 

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Range figures for electric cars need ‘urgent rethink’

Range figures of electric cars need an ‘urgent rethink’So-called ‘range anxiety’ remains foremost in the minds of many electric car buyers. To help, engineering and testing consultancy Horiba Mira reckons an overhaul of how range is calculated is urgently needed, with more realistic figures the intended goal.

“Increasing the number of people willing to switch to EVs will largely depend on a positive change in customer perceptions; particularly in tackling ‘range anxiety’,” said Ben Gale of Horiba Mira. 

“It is therefore imperative that government and EV manufacturers respond accordingly, to accelerate EV adoption.”

Range figures of electric cars need an ‘urgent rethink’

A report by the company says conventional ways of testing how far a charged EV will travel need to be reviewed. At the moment, a car that is claimed to have a 300-mile range might manage 250 miles in the ‘real world’. 

Horiba Mira considers current testing conditions to be unrealistic. Temperature, driving style, the type of journey and other factors all have a dramatic effect on range. Jaguar has recognised this with its online tool for I-Pace owners, which helps estimate range in varying conditions.

Range figures of electric cars need an ‘urgent rethink’

“At present, the use of insufficient range data in real-world conditions is playing a part in fuelling range anxiety, putting many motorists off making the switch to EVs,” Ben added.

“Globally, vehicles are tested at just one temperature – one that is considered the ‘optimum’ for vehicle comfort and lithium-ion batteries – but when you add in air conditioning or heating requirements, additional battery power is required, depleting the published range of an EV at an alarming rate.”

Can an electric car really save you money?

Can electric cars save you money?

Claims about electric cars saving you money usually pertain to how much they cost to ‘fill up’.

Tesla’s website has a calculator that shows how much you pay for charging, allowing comparisons with a tankful of petrol or diesel. The figures are impressive, but does an electric car actually save you money overall?

MoneySupermarket has crunched the numbers to find out which fuel type ends up the cheapest over the ownership of a car. The results are interesting.

Electric versus fuel: buying and running

Can electric cars save you money?

The overall figures are fairly damning for electric cars. At present, EVs are around £10,000 more expensive to buy than petrol-engined cars. Diesels are a bit more expensive, but still markedly cheaper than an EV upfront.

Where it gets interesting is lifetime running costs. This includes servicing and ‘fuelling’. Over the course of a year, MoneySupermarket reckons an EV could save you £500 in ‘fuel’ versus petrol, and £425 versus diesel.

Electric car servicing is cheaper, too, costing £167 on average, compared with £228 for petrol and £309 for diesel. Add up the average cost of tax, which is £143, and you’ve got an overall annual saving of £711 against petrol, and £710 against diesel.

A petrol car will cost you around £10,000 to run over six years on average, by comparison with around £6,400 for an EV. Over six years, including both purchase and running, a petrol car costs an average of £26,941. A diesel costs £36,698. Electric, meanwhile, averages out at £37,699.

Can electric cars save you money?

Assuming that expenses stay the same, including servicing, fuel and electricity, over 12 years the saving is £7,200 in an EV. However, that still doesn’t make up the difference versus a petrol car.

In fact, it would take around 14 years for your EV to comparatively ‘pay you back’.

Why people haven’t switched yet

Can electric cars save you money?

The above cost is reflected in people’s reasoning around electric cars: 51 percent would switch if they were cheaper to buy.

Inconvenience is the second major factor, with 40 percent saying they hadn’t switched to an EV because of the lack of charging infrastructure.

Then again, fuel will get more expensive and electric cars are getting cheaper. The jumping-off point is coming, sooner or later, for most car buyers. It just needs the numbers to add up – even if they don’t yet. 

The slowest depreciating electric cars

Jaguar I-PaceDepreciation is the difference between the price you pay for a new car and the amount you receive when you come to sell it.

Most cars lose between 50 and 60 percent of their value in the first three years, with the biggest hit taking place in the first 12 months.

Here, we reveal the slowest depreciating electric cars, with data supplied by CAP. The results are presented in reverse order, with the slowest depreciators at the end of the gallery.

14. Renault ZoeRenault Zoe

In nearly a decade, the Renault Zoe has shifted from concept to close to 150,000 registrations, establishing an 18.2 percent share of the EV market in Europe. Used prices start from £7,000, so it’s not particularly good at holding its value. CAP says the Zoe will lose just under £16,000 in three years, giving it a retained value of 47.5 percent. It’s the only car on the list to finish below 50 percent.

13. Nissan e-NV200Nissan e-NV200

We’re braced for a new wave of electric cars to roll in on the tide, but the Nissan e-NV200 is one of the more established members of the EV fraternity. Launched in 2014, the e-NV200 is an all-electric version of the NV200 van, with the early versions offering a range of up to 110 miles. A 2014 model year e-NV200 should retain 52.6 percent of its value after three years.

12. Kia Soul EVKia Soul EV

The first Kia Soul EV was never more than a niche player in the UK, with the boxy SUV let down by a high price tag and a limited range. The all-new model should come with a similar price, but with a more realistic 280-mile electric range. In the meantime, the old Soul EV should retain 52.8 percent of its value after three years, losing around £14,500 in the process.

11. Nissan e-NV200Nissan e-NV200

It’s the Nissan e-NV200 again, this time in post-2015 guise. It’s available in five- or seven-seat guise, with post-grant prices starting from a little under £30,000. You can expect a range of between 124 and 187 miles, which is 60 percent further than the previous-generation battery. It will retain 56.2 percent of its value after three years, helped in no small part by the fact that you’re not exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to all-electric seven-seaters.

10. Smart EQ Fortwo CabrioSmart EQ Fortwo Cabrio

The electric Smart Fortwo Cabrio appears twice, with the recently rebranded EQ version up first. Right now, this is your only choice if you’re after an electric convertible, although you’ll have to make do with two seats and a limited 70-mile range. CAP says the Smart drop-top will lose £11,730 in the first three years, giving it a retained value of 56.7 percent.

9. Smart EQ ForfourSmart EQ Forfour

In pure monetary terms, the four Smart cars on this list lose the least amount of cash. Take the Smart EQ Forfour, which costs upwards of £18,190 after the plug-in car grant, but will lose just £9,420 after three years. So while two electric cars at opposite ends of the price spectrum might have similar rates of depreciation, the financial hit will be more severe on the expensive EV.

8. Smart Fortwo CabrioSmart Fortwo Cabrio

It’s the Smart Fortwo Cabrio again, this time in pre-EQ branding guise. Strangely, CAP reckons the older version is better at holding its value, retaining 58.4 percent of its purchase price after three years. Right now, the Smart EQ Fortwo Cabrio is available on a three-year personal lease for £279 a month after an advance rental of £1,585.

7. Smart EQ FortwoSmart EQ Fortwo

The EQ Fortwo is the smallest electric Smart, but the one with the largest retained value after three years. With a tight turning circle and tiny dimensions, it’s perfect for the city centre, where the 70-mile range should be enough for the majority of buyers. Buy one today and it should retain 59.7 percent of its initial value in 2022, but with EV tech moving on at such a rate, it might find itself outmoded by the likes of the Honda e, Mini Electric and Peugeot e-208.

6. Tesla Model STesla Model S

Although the Tesla Model S arrived in 2012, the CAP depreciation data relates to the facelifted model, introduced in 2016. Prices start from £77,200, with performance variants available from £91,800, and used examples remain in strong demand. On average, a Model S will lose £39,200 of its value in the first three years, giving it a retained value of 60.8 percent.

5. Hyundai Ioniq EVHyundai Ioniq EV

The Hyundai Ioniq is a relative newcomer to the electric car party, but its residual values are worth making a song and dance about. CAP says the Ioniq EV will retain 61.7 percent of its value, losing £11,740 in the first three years. It helps that it will still have the remainder of its five-year warranty, giving peace of mind to the new owner.

4. Nissan LeafNissan Leaf

To date, more than 400,000 Nissan Leaf electric cars have been sold globally, making it the world’s most popular electric car. Recently, Nissan unveiled a new range-topping Leaf e+ Tekna, which delivers 217hp of performance and 239 miles of electric range. Buy a new Nissan Leaf today and it could be worth 64.5 percent of its original purchase price in 2022. That said, you need to factor in variables such as mileage, condition, market trends and spec.

3. Tesla Model XTesla Model X

With an entry price of £82,200 for the standard version, rising to £96,400 for the performance variant, the Tesla Model X is the most expensive electric car to feature in the CAP data. It should retain 64.6 percent of its value after three years, although new electric SUVs from the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi could put a dent in its residual values. It will be interesting to see how the new Model 3 performs on the used car market.

2. Volkswagen e-GolfVolkswagen e-Golf

Such is the rate of progress in the EV segment, the Volkswagen e-Golf is beginning to look a little dated. At around £30,000 after the plug-in car grant, it’s relatively expensive, while the 144-mile range simply isn’t enough for a car of this ilk. But it’s biggest problem is the imminent arrival of the ID.3, a car designed from the ground up to be an electric vehicle. That said, the e-Golf will retain 66.3 percent of its value after three years.

1. Jaguar I-PaceJaguar I-Pace

The current World Car of the Year is also top dog when it comes to depreciation. CAP reckons the Jaguar I-Pace will retain an impressive 74.6 percent of its value after three years, as motorists clamour to get their hands on one of the most sought-after cars on the market. Next year, the I-Pace SUV will be joined by an all-electric XJ saloon.

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New electric car study reveals buyer ‘tipping points’

electric vehicle adoption tipping points

Just one in four people would consider buying an EV in the next five years, according to a Consumers, Vehicles and Energy Integration (CVEI) study into the adoption of electric cars and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).

The research, conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), reveals the ‘tipping points’ for when mainstream consumers are likely to adopt fully electric vehicles and PHEVs, with information gathered from vehicles and charge points for 584,000 miles of journeys and 15,700 charge events.

As part of the study, British motorists were given three different Volkswagen Golfs to drive for four days each: an electric e-Golf, a Golf GTE plug-in hybrid and a GT Edition.

The drivers were interviewed after the study, with 75 percent of them claiming they would not consider buying a fully electric vehicle within the next five years.

Rapid chargers will up the pace

BP Chargemaster rapid charging hub at Milton Keynes Coachway

But some of the other key findings painted a brighter picture for the adoption of electric vehicles. These include:

  • Fifty percent of consumers said they would choose a PHEV as a main or second car, or an electric vehicle as a second car, within the next five years.
  • Fifty percent of consumers would consider an electric vehicle as a main car if its range increased to 200 miles; increasing to 90 percent if the range was 300 miles.
  • Consumer adoption can be encouraged by the provision of rapid chargers every 20 miles on motorways and A-roads, along with the roll-out of 150kW chargers.
  • Direct financial incentives are critical to electric car adoption, with grants rated as the most important.

Adoption dictated by consumer demand

Honda e electric city car

Dr Neale Kinnear, head of behavioural science at TRL, said: “The need for cleaner, more efficient modes of travel is increasingly required to meet objectives such as the Road to Zero. However, the pace of this change will ultimately be dictated by consumer demand.

“With this ground-breaking CVEI project, TRL and its partners are providing vital evidence proving the mass market is willing to make the switch to electric vehicles, within particular parameters. The detailed findings will help inform UK and European policy and industry, including what is required by the energy sector to enable it to successfully contend with the resultant significant increase in electricity demand.”

Hannah Al-Katib, CVEI project manager, added: “This innovative project has required the expertise of a wide range of partners in order to deliver findings that will have real-world impact. As well as the data generated from this project, the unique challenges of delivering these ambitious and complex trials has provided insights into the types of challenges we face in transitioning to a future of zero emission vehicles.”

2025 will be ‘tipping point’ for electric cars, say experts

Electric car charging

The cost of buying an electric car will match conventional petrol or diesel models by 2025, say experts at Auto Trader.

This “tipping point” will see electric vehicle (EV) sales equal and then overtake internal combustion-engined (ICE) rivals. By 2030, the majority of new cars will be battery-powered.

More than 99% of UK journeys are within the range capability of today’s EVs. However, upfront cost remains a stumbling block for many. A new Renault Zoe costs £21,920, while an equivalent Clio diesel starts from £15,695.

Equally, the average price of a second-hand EV on Auto Trader is £17,744. That compares with £10,550 and £14,390 for used petrol and diesel cars respectively.

Volkswagen ID Buggy

Ian Plummer, Manufacturer and Agency Director at Auto Trader, says EV prices will tumble over the next six years. He highlights Volkswagen’s innovative MEB platform – used for the ID Buggy concept, pictured above – as one example of how costs will be slashed. MEB is due to underpin a whole range of electric cars.

Perceptions are changing apace, too. A year ago, just 25 percent of Auto Trader customers said they’d consider an alternative-fuel vehicle (hybrid or electric). Now, that figure is 71 percent.

The key to mass adoption of electric cars, says Plummer, is collaboration: between car manufacturers, governments, energy companies, infrastructure providers and telecoms firms. 

Electric dreams: amazing cars of the future debut in Geneva

Pininfarina BattistaThis year’s Geneva Motor Show may well be a watershed moment in the movement towards the electrification of cars. From tiny superminis to luxurious off-roaders and even hypercars, seemingly everything has the potential for battery power in 2019.

We’ve taken a look at some of the most impressive battery-powered concepts and production-ready vehicles making headlines in Geneva.

Kia ‘Imagine by Kia’ concept

Kia is not messing around when it comes to the future of electric cars, and the special ‘Imagine by Kia’ concept proves it. Yes, the name might be a little weird, but this high-riding four-door crossover features dramatic styling inside and out. A compact electric powertrain sits beneath the swooping exterior.

In fact, Kia has used the Imagine to take a shot at other car manufacturers, and the trend for giant multimedia screens. The Imagine features 21 individual displays across the dashboard, as a “humorous and irreverent riposte” to modern trends.

Alfa Romeo Tonale

Arguably one of the prettiest concept cars making its debut at the Geneva show, this plug-in hybrid SUV manages to stand out against the countless competitors on display in 2019. Not only is it Alfa’s first step into the mid-size SUV category, but also the first car from the Italian brand to feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

The name comes from the Tonale Pass, located in the Alps and not far from the Stelvio Pass – which lends its name to Alfa’s current SUV offering. Although pegged as a concept vehicle for now, a production version seems highly likely in the near future.

Volkswagen I.D. Buggy

The Volkswagen Group has a range of concepts on display at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, all making use of the new MEB modular electric platform. Volkswagen has become adept at platform-sharing, and the move to electric vehicles means that attitude will only increase in importance for the company.

The beauty of the modular MEB platform is that it allows different bodies to be added. Volkswagen is even touting the idea of offering it to third-party suppliers, just like dune buggies of old. For now, this is very much a concept, albeit with 204hp from an electric AWD system.

Skoda Vision iV concept

Making use of the same MEB platform, but in a much more production-focused design, Skoda is rightly excited about the Vision iV concept. There’s a dramatic coupe-crossover design, with more than 300hp on offer from the electric drivetrain. The traditional wing mirrors have been replaced by cameras, and the centre console can be moved.

Vegans will be pleased by the vinyl fibres used to finish the seat-backs, while the carpets are made from pure biodegradable wool. Ignoring some of the more fanciful design features, we can expect to see an actual production version of the Vision iV towards the end of 2020.

Audi Q4 e-tron concept

Seemingly even closer to reality than the Vision iV, and naturally using that same MEB platform, Audi’s Q4 e-tron is just one model in the brand’s major electric vehicle strategy. Set to become the fifth production electric vehicle from Audi, the Q4 will go on sale in 2020.

An 82 kWh battery uses almost all the space below the passenger compartment, but allows for a range of up to 279 miles when fully charged. Top speed is limited to 111mph, but 0-62mph takes just 6.3 seconds.

Seat el-Born

It’s that Volkswagen MEB platform again, but this time with a Spanish flair to proceedings. Appearing somewhere between a tall hatchback and an MPV, the el-Born will be Seat’s first all-electric car. Expect a range of 261 miles on a full battery, plus the ability to charge to 80% capacity in just 47 minutes.

It might be named after one of Barcelona’s most famous districts, but the forthcoming el-Born will be built in Germany. Volkswagen’s Zwickau factory will be responsible for churning them out, with production slated to begin in 2020.

Honda E Prototype

We were wowed by the original Urban EV concept, and hoped Honda would put it into production unchanged from that cute creation. Thankfully, Honda seems to have listened, with the E Prototype borrowing much of the Urban EV’s style, but in a more practical five-door hatchback body.

Curiously, Honda admitted to designing the production car before the concept version, seeing the show model as necessary to generate interest. It certainly worked, and a finished car should go on sale with a battery range of around 125 miles. Perfect for urban life.

Pininfarina Battista

At the opposite end of the scale to the Honda, the Battista offers up an astonishing 1,900hp from its electric powertrain. That huge amount of power means 0-62mph in less than two seconds, but all with the smug eco-satisfaction of using electricity.

The Battista marks the first actual production car to be sold under the Pininfarina name alone, with 150 units to be offered to customers. They’ll need to stump up some £2 million for one, but that seems almost reasonable for the performance on offer. That it looks rather a lot like a Ferrari 488 can only be a bonus…

Aston Martin Lagonda All-Terrain

Aston Martin Lagonda All-Terrain Concept

On an Aston Martin stand featuring two shock new supercars, it was almost easy to overlook the importance of the Lagonda All-Terrain. Any other day this would be major news, as Aston sets out its stall for Lagonda to become an all-electric brand.

A production version won’t appear before 2022, and Aston Martin is obviously light on details at the moment. But expect an electric all-wheel-drive setup, long-range battery capabilities and a luxurious interior. Oh, and the key levitates in the centre console using magnets.

Mercedes-Benz Concept EQV

Thought the MPV was dead? Not according to Mercedes-Benz, which is bringing the idea back with electric power. In fact, the MPV concept is perfectly suited to electric propulsion, as the battery packs can fit neatly beneath the flat floor of the EQV.

Although billed as a concept vehicle, this looks fairly close to being ready for production. A 100 kWh battery pack offers up to 250 miles of range, while the interior can be configured to seven- or eight-seater layouts. Not sexy, but a practical EV future.

Skoda Klement electric bike concept

 

Skoda Klement electric bike

Not content with creating electric concept cars, Skoda has also unveiled a concept bike in Geneva. An electric motor attached to the rear hub generates 4kW, allowing for a top speed of up to 28mph. Thankfully, the brakes feature ABS assistance.

Given that Skoda began life manufacturing bicycles, the Klement is a neat nod to the history of the company. Although we imagine LED lights and an electric range of 39 miles are ideas Skoda’s founding fathers could only have dreamt of.

Fiat Centoventi

Another genuine surprise at this year’s Geneva show, the Centoventi is a 120th anniversary present from Fiat to itself. Radical in nature, the styling previews what is expected to be the next version of the Panda city car. Fiat is mooting the idea of selling them only in one colour, with buyers able to have panels wrapped to their own preferences later.

Even more radical is the electric powertrain underneath. A sliding rail connects the battery packs, allowing more to be quickly added to boost range, with a maximum of 310 miles. The tailgate can be used to display digital messages, and the roof also acts as a solar panel.

google maps electric car charging

Google Maps now shows where to charge your electric car

google maps electric car charge

Google has provided a solution to the problem of where to charge your electric car. The latest version of its Google Maps navigation app comes complete with charging locations.

It’s an issue we’ve contended with regularly when testing electric cars. We’ve often found ourselves giving up and draping a wire across the pavement from home. 

Unless you’re local and know your charge points, or have done some research ahead of setting off, finding a suitable charging point for your electric car can be tricky. Google’s latest Maps update should, in theory, lessen this struggle by including charging locations in its database – as it already does for petrol stations.

How does the Google Maps update work?

electric car charge

All you need to do is search for a keyword like “EV charging” and the nearest supported stations will be displayed.

Information on the types of ports available, charge speeds and how many ports there are is included, too. As with most registered locations on Maps, users will be able to upload photos, plus rate and review these charge points. Any businesses that feature chargers will also be able to add information on them within the app, too.

Charge points included for the UK are Tesla superchargers, Chargemaster and Podpoint, and coverage also includes the USA, Australia and New Zealand. We assume that will only expand in the future.

The update is available now and we’re keen to test it out.

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Electric car MOT

How much does servicing an electric car cost – and is it cheaper?

Electric car servicing

A new study by automotive data experts Cap HPI has revealed the average servicing and maintenance costs for electric cars. It shows that EVs cost, on average, 23 percent less to run than petrol vehicles over a three-year/60,000-mile period.

For smaller cars, the gap gets wider still. An electric Renault Zoe will set you back £1,100 in servicing and maintenance over three years, but a Vauxhall Corsa 1.0 90 Design costs nearly £1,500. That’s more than 35 percent extra.

The Nissan Leaf, currently the best-selling EV in the UK, costs just under £1,200 over three years. Compare that to the VW Golf 1.0 TSI at £1,429 and you’re staring at a saving of nearly 20 percent.

The number of electric vehicles on the road has jumped by 128 percent over the past three years, with more than 21,000 drivers taking the leap between April 2015 and April 2018. Purchasing costs are still notably higher than a comparable petrol-powered car, but servicing is where you can potentially claw that back.

Electric car servicing

As for the most popular EVs, the Nissan Leaf leads the BMW i3, Volkswagen e-Golf and Renault Zoe in the sales charts.

“An electric car motor has far fewer moving parts than a petrol or diesel engine” said Chris Plumb, senior valuations editor at Cap HPI.

“While the purchase price is often higher at the moment, but coming down all the time, drivers will find an EV much cheaper to run, with significantly lower costs to charge rather than visiting the pumps  plus lower maintenance costs.”

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