Formula E is now an official FIA World Championship

ABB Formula E FIA

From the season 2020/21, Formula E will be known as the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. A vote was passed by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile to officially recognise the all-electric single-seater series.

Formula E founder and chairman Alejandro Agag met with FIA president Jean Todt at the FIA headquarters in Paris to ratify the deal.

“I am proud that today we confirm its FIA world championship status,” said Todt.

ABB Formula E FIA

“Since we started this journey, Formula E has undoubtedly gone from strength to strength. Within a short timeframe, the series has proven itself relevant for the automotive industry with two more major car manufacturers having joined the championship at the start of the current season, bringing the total number to ten.

“Since its first race in Beijing in 2014 and with every E-Prix thereafter, Formula E has proven that the concept of cutting-edge electric racing works. I wholeheartedly welcome Formula E as the latest FIA world championship.”

The series has attracted an impressive roster of manufacturer support in the five years it’s been running. Big names include Nissan, BMW, DS, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz.

The future-looking appeal has even attracted some manufacturers to Formula E, away from other disciplines. Audi and Porsche, for example. Both were big players in the expensive LMP1 class at the World Endurance Championship. Both have defected, establishing a presence in FE.

Formula E is now made up of 24 cars, 24 drivers and 12 teams in total, and is expected to grow still further.

ABB Formula E FIA

“It was always our ambition to one day become an FIA world championship”, said Alejandro Agag.

”Everything we have done and delivered to this point has been working towards this particular moment in time. Achieving the feat and being granted with FIA world championship status adds more credibility to what is already a fully-fledged formula of racing and a spectacular sporting product.”

The next Formula E race meeting with be on the weekend of the 18 January 2020 in Santiago, Chile. A further ten race weekends will follow, with the season concluding in London on 26 July 2020.

Elon Musk spotted driving Cybertruck in LA

Elon Musk Tesla Cybertruck LA

In the weeks since its reveal, the furore around Tesla’s Cybertruck hasn’t relented. Some even speculated that this otherworldly all-electric answer to Ford’s F150 wasn’t actually real.

Well, speculate no longer. It’s been spotted out in the wild, with its windows fully intact, mingling with traffic in Los Angeles and heading out to dinner.

Elon Musk Tesla Cybertruck LA

It somehow looks even crazier out in traffic surrounded by normal cars. Jack Phan, the Twitter user who posted the snap, speculated about whether it was Mr Musk himself behind the wheel.

We can’t imagine it being anyone else and he can’t have been worried about being spotted. The Tesla Cybertruck could make a Lamborghini Countach driving with its doors up blend into the background.

In a follow-up post, the truck is pictured at Nobu Sushi stealing the show in a car park populated by McLarens and Range Rovers. A clear shot at the front shows Musk and friends six-up in the truck.

With all lights and eyes on the Cybertruck, its harsh sharp edges are almost glowing as they reflect.

Elon Musk Tesla Cybertruck LA

As of 27 November, over 250,000 people had placed an order for a Cybertruck. It remains to be seen how many people actually see it through to delivery. You can place an order with a fully-refundable £100 down payment.

Deliveries of the Cybertruck aren’t expected to begin until 2022, so those with a reservation have plenty of time to consider their purchase. That also gives Tesla and Mr Musk time to have a tug-of-war rematch with Ford and the F150, after he accepted a tongue-in-cheek challenge from a Ford high-up.

Fully Charged Live Farnborough 2020

Fully Charged Live returns in May 2020 – at a NEW location

Robert Llewellyn

Fully Charged Live, Britain’s biggest electric car show, is back for 2020 – at a new location, having outgrown its existing base at Silverstone. 

Farnborough International will host Fully Charged Live for 2020, on 1st – 3rd May. It will be the third year the fast-growing show has run. 

Fully Charged Live Farnborough 2020

Fully Charged is the brainchild of TV star Robert Llewellyn. On YouTube, the show averages four million views a month, and the live show was the first major development from this. 

“We’ve been blown away by the audiences at Fully Charged Live and we weren’t expecting to have to move to a bigger venue so soon,” said Llewellyn. 

“But as electric vehicles enter the mainstream, its growth seems unstoppable.”

Organisers say there are already more than 150 exhibitors set to attend the 2020 show. They are also planning “thousands” of electric car test drives, using the extended network of closed roads at Farnborough to get visitors behind the wheel of an EV. 

The plan is to show every electric vehicle available in the UK. 

Robert Llewellyn and Jonny Smith

Fully Charged Live is also a clean energy show, and more than 50 live sessions on decarbonising energy and transport are being planned. These will be hosted by Llewellyn, Fully Charged co-presenter Jonny Smith and other Fully Charged experts. 

The live show even has a title sponsor for 2020: LV= General Insurance. The firm is getting involved after launching Britain’s first car insurance product just for electric vehicles. 

UK’s first motorbike-only electric charger opens in London

First bike-only charging station opens

The Bike Shed Motorcycle Club in London is home to a UK-first. It’s opened the country’s first motorcycle-only electric charger. The charging point is the result of a partnership with EO Charging.

It’s a 7kW charger that electric motorcycle riders can use to juice up for free. The BSMC is located in Shoreditch, London. You’ll be able to find it on Zap Map too.

First bike-only charging station opens

“At the Bike Shed, we welcome everyone through our doors, whether bikers or non-bikers, petrol heads or electric riders,” said Dutch van Someren, founder of The Bike Shed London.

“As the first venue in the UK to offer a charging station just for electric motorcycles, we hope to re-emphasise our inclusive approach. We look forward to seeing more electric motorcyclists at our venue and we encourage anyone with an interest in the biking scene to come and visit us at our Shoreditch home.”  

As electric cars proliferate, so too will electric bikes. Companies like Zero and Arc are blazing the trail. Even Seat has announced its e-Scooter, as part of its urban mobility push. Legacy motorcycle marques like Vespa and even Harley-Davidson are getting in on the action.

First bike-only charging station opens

“Electric cars have hogged the media limelight for the last few years but now it’s time for electric motorcycles to take centre stage,” Miles Freeman, head of marketing at EO Charging. 

“There’s now a broad selection of models available that offer vastly improved range and earth-shattering torque. We believe that for electric motorcycles to succeed, it’s important that chargers are not only installed in key urban areas but also on the UK’s best riding roads. Electric adventures will soon be best served on two wheels!”

Home grown: Volta electric truck to be developed in the UK

Volta electric truck developed in the UK

Volta, a Swedish start-up transport company, will established a base in the UK to build prototypes for its new electric truck. The company is teaming up with British racers Prodrive on development.

“The UK and the Midlands specifically has a fantastic legacy of producing world-leading automotive brands and innovations,” said Volta founder Carl-Magnus Norden.

“We will therefore be manufacturing the prototype together with our partner Prodrive at their Banbury base.”

The truck is projected to have an 18-tonne capacity, a top speed of 50mph and a range of 100 miles. The electric architecture allows a less conventional low-cab layout, which will aid improved vision and visibility for the driver. The ideal stomping ground for this trucks will be cities, where they’ll be making multiple urban drops.

Volta electric truck developed in the UK

The company expects to launch a £20million initial funding round next year. It says that it’s confident of its ability to take the advantage over legacy truck manufacturers. Why? It doesn’t have existing manufacturing infrastructure that it needs to develop in transitioning from internal combustion to electric. It’s starting at the ground floor of electric, with a clean slate.

“We don’t have to unlearn anything,” says Kjell Waloen, chief technology officer for Volta. “We can think differently.”

Volta electric truck developed in the UK

The Volta will have stiff competition by the time it’s ready for market. Mercedes has already deployed electric versions of its Actros truck for testing with multiple UK companies. Also joining the fray before too long will be Tesla, with its electric Semi Truck. Claims are that it can go for over 500 miles.

Volta’s decision to set up shop in the UK comes shortly after Tesla backtracked on its promise to make the UK its European home. It intends to set up a ‘gigafactory’ in Germany.

Electric car owners can charge for FREE at Tesco

Electric car owners can charge for FREE at Tesco

Last year, Volkswagen announced that it has partnered with Tesco and Pod Point to install more than 2,400 electric car charging bays.

Fast forward 12 months and shoppers will find 7 kW electric car charging points at 100 Tesco stores across the UK.

The charging points are free for shoppers – and they’re not just for Volkswagens. All electric car owners are able to use the free chargers.

Volkswagen visited Tesco in Potters Bar in the new ID.3 electric car – the first time the model has been seen in the UK since its debut in Frankfurt.

Research shows that the average Brit spends 50 minutes a week in a supermarket, although this is likely to be longer in the period leading up to Christmas.

Electric charging at Tesco

Based on the 50-minute average, Tesco shoppers could get around 22.5 miles of free charging. Over the course of a year, this works out at 1,170 miles.

Breaking down barriers

Geraldine Ingham, head of marketing at Volkswagen UK, said: “This fantastic partnership with Tesco and Pod Point makes choosing an electric car even more attractive, allowing people to charge for free, all while going about their daily business.

“And the best bit is that this is not just for Volkswagens – the chargers are designed for any electric car owner to take advantage of.

“We are really pleased to help break down any remaining barriers to opting for an electric car.”

Jason Tarry, Tesco CEO UK and ROI, added: “We’re now well on our way to achieving our ambition of installing more than 2,400 EV charging bays across 600 Tesco stores.

“Providing customers with charging points offers them a sustainable choice and giving them the opportunity to charge their car for free while they shop is another little help to make their lives easier.”

Volkswagen ID.3 at Tesco

The Volkswagen ID.3 made its debut at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, with the first cars set to hit the streets in 2020.

Three battery sizes are available at launch offering between 205 and 340 miles of electric range. Prices will start from £27,000, but the top-end first edition cars are available from £35,000.

In other news, our Tim Pitt is driving the new eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf today. Come back soon for his first drive thoughts and opinions.

BMW commits to carbon-free shipping by 2030

BMW zero-emission shipping

BMW will expand its commitment to reducing emissions by focusing on transport and logistics. The company has joined the ‘Getting to Zero Coalition’, with the aim of using only zero-emissions cargo ships by 2030. 

BMW joins Volkswagen in its recent targeting of shipping to cut carbon. Overall, it plans to reduce emissions by using carbon-free fuels, along with efficient propulsion systems.

It would make a big difference, too. Maritime transport accounts for around three percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. It also makes up 50 percent of BMW’s transport chain emissions.

BMW zero-emission shipping

“Maritime transport is crucial for supplying the BMW Group’s international manufacturing network and for the global distribution of vehicles,” said Jürgen Maidl, senior vice president for supply chain management at BMW.

“We see the Getting to Zero Coalition of various governments, companies and other cross-sector stakeholders as a unique opportunity to continuously minimise carbon emissions in the maritime sector as well.

“We are delighted to be the first carmaker to join this coalition and thus lead the way towards more sustainability.”

BMW zero-emission shipping

All factories operated by BMW and three joint-venture plants will be exclusively powered by renewable energy sources from next year. European plants have been 100 percent green since last year.

Then, of course, there is BMW’s product portfolio. On top of producing ever-cleaner combustion engines, the brand is aggressively expanding its electric vehicle line-up. Currently, it offers 12 models that are electrified, with the i8 and i3 being the poster children for this tech. Soon, the iNext and i4 will join them.

What an ironic picture it is, then, to see low-emissions BMW vehicles rolling onto a smoggy super-ship. Given its 2030 pledge, that’s an irony that hasn’t escaped the company.

Opinion: The wrong people are buying electric cars

The wrong people are buying electric cars

According to a new report, 87 percent of electric car owners in the UK are men and the overwhelming majority of them are aged 45 to 74.

And that’s a big problem for the electric car industry.

If you’re a middle-aged man and you’re not David Beckham or Paul Rudd, you’re about as relevant as Myspace and as influential as a Corby trouser press salesperson on a nudist beach.

Donning a pair of skinny jeans, shaving your receding hairline and hashtagging the hell out of your Instagram posts just won’t cut it. You’re over the hill and the next stop is retirement.

Of all of which means you’re hardly the hip and happening ambassador the electric car needs. Watching you squint through your reading glasses as you struggle to decipher the instructions for the public charging point isn’t a great advert for the EV.

Anyone below the age of 34 will be returning to the sanctuary of a lengthy PCP deal on an A-Class faster than you can say “optional final balloon payment”.

Camden, locked

Mercedes EQC owner

The same report suggests that fewer than five percent of electric car owners are aged 25 to 34. Predictably, hardly anyone under the age of 24 is driving a zero emission car.

We shouldn’t be surprised. Most young people are either struggling to pay off their student loan or saving hard for a deposit on a new home. Even with the promise of lower running costs, an electric car is an expensive luxury they can do without, especially in the age of Uber.

Electric car brochures, advertisements and promotional videos are filled with images of youngsters who look like they’ve arrived straight outta Camden Market and spend most of the day supping mochachinos in artisan coffee shops.

In adland, electric car owners dress like catwalk models to charge their vehicles in exotic locations and stare longingly into the middle distance as they contemplate their significant role in saving the planet.

Fewer Keiths, more dragons

Smart EQ electric owner

The reality is often a middle-aged man called Keith who arrives at a dimly-lit section of a motorway service station to find the charger is blocked by a sales rep eating a Ginsters in an Insignia.

The problem is that it’s only the likes of Keith who can afford to own an electric car. He has the disposal income, the off-street parking and the office car park to make EV ownership a realistic prospect.

For younger drivers who are struggling to make ends meet, live in a second floor apartment and park in a council car park while at work, an EV is less attractive than a compact crossover on a £200 a month PCP deal.

Some joined-up thinking is required. There’s little point incentivising youngsters via cheap PCP deals if the supply can’t keep up with demand and the infrastructure isn’t in place. But nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd, so seeing fellow young drivers behind the wheel will be more appealing than the sight of Keith and his reading glasses. Sorry, Keith.

Give an electric car to someone like Emilia Clarke to use for a year and punters will be queuing up like White Walkers at The Wall. Present one to Lily James and you’ll have more baby electric car drivers than you can shake a charging cable at.

Until then, the ‘wrong’ people will continue to drive the electric car industry the wrong way.

Tesla Income Tax Credit Running Out

Time is almost up for U.S. federal income tax credits on new Teslas

Tesla Income Tax Credit Running Out

Those interested in getting federal income tax credit on the purchase of a new Tesla Model 3, Model S, or Model X are fast running out of time.   

That is the message from Tesla itself, which sent subscribers to its newsletter a warning that they have just five weeks to take delivery in order to qualify.

The expiration of the federal tax credit for Tesla is controversial, with the initiative intended to encourage sales of plug-in vehicles.

Tesla Income Tax Credit Running Out

The origins of the federal income tax credits come from the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, signed into law by George W. Bush. 

Along with allowing the United States government to purchase assets affected by the global financial crisis, it also provided federal income tax credits for electric vehicles. 

Given that U.S. automakers were heavily affected by the recession, incentivising consumers to buy new plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles made sense as an effective short-term measure. 

Providing federal income tax credits of up to $7,500 for each car, the legislation included a ‘phase-out’ that would apply once a manufacturer delivered 200,000 qualifying cars. 

Tesla Income Tax Credit Running Out

Tesla triggered the phase-out limit in July 2018, which saw the maximum tax credit amount reduce to $3,750 for cars delivered between January 1st and June 30th, 2019. Those delivered after June 30th, but before December 31st 2019, will receive just $1,875 in credit.

All Tesla cars delivered on or after January 1st 2020 will receive no federal tax credit, although buyers may still qualify for various individual state incentives. 

Some have argued that this effectively penalizes early-adopters of plug-in vehicles, whilst others view this as the limit of legislation enacted more than a decade ago. 

Tesla Income Tax Credit Running Out

General Motors also triggered the phase-out procedure in November 2018, seeing tax credits for qualifying models currently reduced to $1,875. The IRS website notes that GM products will cease to receive any federal credit for cars delivered after March 31st 2020.

At present, all other manufacturers selling plug-in electric vehicles in the United States are still able to see their customers receive federal income tax credits. 

The federal tax credit operates by reducing the actual amount of income tax owed by an individual, rather than a deduction which reduces the amount that income tax is calculated upon. 

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.