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Hyundai Kona EV altitude record

Electric Hyundai Kona EV achieves altitude world record

Hyundai Kona EV altitude record

The Hyundai Kona EV how has Guinness world record to its name. It achieved the highest altitude ever reached by an electric car, climbing 5,731 metres up the Sawula Pass in Tibet.

Overnight charging using the on-board portable charger kept the batteries topped up, but the Kona’s drivetrain was standard.

The previous EV record was 5,715 metres, set by the NIO ES8 in September 2018. It climbed to the Purog Kangri glacier in Tibet. The Kona hasn’t edged into the lead by much, but it’s a win nonetheless – and a world record.

Hyundai Kona EV altitude record

“A new precedent has been set for the record as – highest altitude reached in an electric car,” said Mr. Rishi Nath, adjudicator for Guinness world records.

“I would like to congratulate Hyundai Motor India for having achieved this and setting new benchmark in the annals of history.”

The climb was a challenge in itself: low temperatures, icy roads and continuous snowfall tested the Kona and its driver as they made their way up the mountain.

However, one advantage EVs have at such altitudes is their lack of dependence on air. As the air thins, the efficiency and power output of an internal combustion engine diminishes.

Hyundai Kona EV altitude record

“Hyundai Kona Electric making it to the prestigious Guinness world records feat is a very proud moment for everyone,” said Mr SS Kim, CEO of Hyundai Motor India.

“Kona Electric has brought electric revolution by demolishing various myths about electric vehicle and is a true expression of Hyundai’s spirit of staying ahead of the curve.”

Electric car chargers are being attacked by rats

Ecotricity car charger rat problem

Green energy company and electric car charger proprietor Ecotricity has encountered a very Victorian problem: rats have been vandalising its electric car chargers, chewing through wiring.

The company is now embarking on a rat-proofing project to protect its hardware from resident rodents. It’s suspected that heavy rainfall has pushed the rats above ground, which has led to them being in proximity to car chargers.

Ecotricity car charger rat problem

In their search for a reliable supply of food, the rats may also have found the car charging points in close proximity to fast food restaurants.

“For all the predictions of the changes the climate crisis will bring – here’s an unexpected one,” Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said in a Facebook post.

“Recent heavy rains, which seem to be the new normal now – are driving Britain’s rat population (estimated by some at 120 million) above ground, seeking warmer and drier places to live.

“We’ve seen an impact of this – somewhere surprising – on the electric highway.”

Ecotricity charge price going up

Some chargers had stopped working, and the issue was unidentifiable via remote monitoring, he explained.

Nesting rats and severely-chewed wiring were found on investigation. Some of the pumps had their components chewed to the point that they’re uneconomical to repair and need replacing. 

Existing chargers are being ‘rat-proofed’, as are new pumps yet to be rolled out.

Ecotricity car charger rat problem

The curiosity and, dare we say it, humour, of the situation isn’t lost on Vince. 

“It’s another climate irony – increased rain, driving rats to seek new homes and killing EV pumps in the process.

“If you made it up in a novel or something it would sound a bit of a stretch. But it’s our reality. What next?”

George Freeman MP

Government ‘to consult’ on pulling forward 2040 petrol and diesel car ban

George Freeman MP

George Freeman MP, Department for Transport Minister of State, says the government intends to start discussions about bringing forward its ambitious target of banning the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040.

Speaking at the launch of a report from the government-backed Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce, the Minister said the plans were part of plans to announce more “tangible measures to drive decarbonisation.

“We intent to consult on bringing forward the 2040 target to end the sale of diesel and petrol cars.”

Mr Freeman’s statement follows a suggestion by transport minister Grant Shapps at the Conservative party conference in October 2019 that the ban could be brought forward five years, to 2035

“There is also a commitment for all central government cars to be electric by 2030.”

Mr Freeman added he would also like to see the number of UK rapid chargers more than double by 2024, to over 5,000. 

He indicated announcements could be made in the build-up to November’s 2020 UN Climate Change Conference which is being held in Glasgow.

‘Get with the programme’

Jaguar I-Pace electric vehicle

Public opinion on climate change has shifted, said the minister, over the past six or seven months, something he experienced “knocking on 10,000 doors” during campaigning for the general election.

The government needs to step up efforts to deliver on its 2050 net zero emissions target “because 2050 is only 30 years away”.

Mr Freeman said he was “cheered” with the news Volkswagen is raising its electric car production forecast for 2025 – the same year that Audi will be offering 20 new fully-electric vehicles.

Industry has set itself demanding targets too, he acknowledged.

“We have momentum, we have know-how, we have industry commitment; we haven’t shied away from setting ourselves some really ambitious goals.

“Many people haven’t made the shift from electric motoring being a nice idea, a vision, to being an actual practical reality that we are going to do.

“All of us are going to have to get with the progamme.”

How far do the most popular electric cars REALLY go on a charge?

How far do electric cars really go on a charge

There are many claims about the capabilities of electric cars. Be it their total range, charge speeds, performance or otherwise. You really have to just get out there and do it. That’s exactly what this test did with some of the hottest electric cars available right now: ran them from full to dead – and noted the results.

The test was conducted by Carwow, and involved the Tesla Model 3, Kia e-Niro, Jaguar I-Pace, Nissan Leaf, Audi E-tron and Mercedes EQC. The cars were charged to 100 percent and then left overnight. Though some lost some juice, all had over 95 percent in the morning.

The test was inspired by prior research, which found that 35 percent of people say their biggest worry around electric cars is running out and getting stranded.

How far do current electric cars go on a charge?How far do electric cars really go on a charge

The Tesla Model 3 went the furthest, achieving 270 miles. However, that was only 78 percent of its WLTP claimed range of 348 miles. The Jaguar I-Pace was also a disappointment, going 223 miles, or 76 percent of its WLTP claimed range of 292 miles.

The Mercedes EQC was arguably the worst performer. It went the shortest distance, covering 194 miles. It also achieved the lowest percentage of its claimed capability – just 75 percent of its claimed 259-mile range.

The Nissan Leaf, in spite of its WLTP range of 239 miles being lower than that of the Mercedes, went further, covering 208 miles. That’s 87 percent of the WLTP range rating. The Audi E-tron was the closest to its claimed range of 255 miles, out of all the ‘premium brands’.

How far do electric cars really go on a charge

The big winner is the Kia e-Niro. It covered 255 miles, or 90 percent of its claimed WLTP range of 282 miles. For context, that matches the claimed range of the Audi.

All of the cars had their air conditioning set to 20 degrees, a mobile phone was connected and the cruise control was set to the motorway speed limit. The latter point makes the results a touch more impressive, given motorway speeds aren’t considered ideal for making the most of an electric car’s full charge.

What happens when you run out?How far do electric cars really go on a charge

Another interesting point is exactly what happens when you run out. In testing, the cars were run up and down the motorway, until the brink of ‘0 miles’ being indicated. Then, on the way back to the charge point, they were allowed to ‘die’.

Five of the six cars kept going long after indicating ‘empty’. However, when the cars did stop, they ‘locked up’. They became difficult to move – a scary scenario.

How far do electric cars really go on a charge

“We know that ‘range anxiety’ is a big concern for people thinking about switching from petrol to electric – no one wants to get stranded,” said Mat Watson at Carwow.

“But our test showed you could drive an average of 226 miles and all of the cars were able to keep going after their systems claimed their batteries were totally flat.

How far do electric cars really go on a charge

“On average, only 81 percent of the manufacturer-claimed range was achieved and, if you allow a battery to run truly flat, electric cars can be difficult to move! But that’s a similar figure to the percentage of potential range you’d get in a petrol or diesel car. Plus, in the real-world, these cars’ sat-nav systems would direct you to a nearby charging station long before you ground to a halt.

“Of course, we’d recommend that anyone interested in buying an electric car try one out for themselves before they take the plunge. But there’s one thing that is in no doubt – 2020 is going to be another big year for electric cars.”

Which UK region has the most electric car charging points?

10,000 charging locations in the UK

New research has revealed the regions of the UK that are best-placed to deal with the current and near-future population of electric cars in their area.

There are now 10,500 electric charging points in the UK, which is far more than the 8,394 petrol stations. If you look at the road length of Britain, there is now a charging location every 23.35 miles. By comparison, there is a petrol station every 29.39 miles.

10,000 charging locations in the UK

However, one criticism of the infrastructure, aside from its density, is the number of rapid chargers. Just 23 percent of connectors offer higher charging speeds that are a more appealing proposition to EV drivers.

“More investment in rapid charging devices and connectors also needs to be made, so motorists feel comfortable driving long distances without worrying they may encounter travel delays,” emphasises Tim Schwarz, Head of marketing at Moneybarn.

Where is the best electric car-to-charger ratio?electric car drivers charging habits

While you might imagine London to be well in the lead, a strong number of chargers feeds a strong demand. It’s Scotland that’s in the lead for EVs per charging connector, with 3.32. The North East and London aren’t far behind, with a respective 3.39, and 3.79. London is still high up the list, in spite of a higher volume of EVs and the introduction of the ULEZ. Wales and the North West round out the top five, with 4.65 and 5.21 respectively.

Below the top five, things take a bit of a dive. The East Midlands in sixth, has 6.95, while Yorkshire & Humber in seventh and the South West in eighth have close to ten. The bottom three regions are the South East, East and West Midlands, with 11.53, 14.89 and 17.4.

#RegionNo. of EVs per charging connector
1Scotland3.32
2North East3.39
3London3.79
4Wales4.65
5North West5.21
6East Midlands6.95
7Yorkshire &
Humber
9.66
8South West9.95
9South East11.53
10East14.89
11West Midlands17.4

“It’s great to see the UK continuing to develop its EV infrastructure ahead of its Road to Zero deadline,” Schwarz continues.

“However, with the Government keen to accelerate its ban on petrol and diesel cars, it’s clear areas like the West and East Midlands and the South East, need to improve their current EV facilities.”

The AA: ‘Scrap VAT on electric cars to boost sales‘

Volkswagen electric car production

The AA says the electric car market needs a “shock to the system”. It’s proposing this should come in the form of VAT being scrapped on EVs.

New research by the AA, based on a survey of 17,500 drivers, has revealed that 61 percent of motorists said they’d be more inclined to buy an electric car if the VAT was scrapped. At present, VAT is 20 percent of the car’s value, added as value-added tax. Current electric cars carry a significant premium over equivalent internal combustion vehicles.

Experts say that’s not going to change for years to come. The AA’s proposed VAT cut would make electric cars far more competitive on price, especially in combination with the current EV grant.

VAT should be cut on electric cars, says AA

Take a Tesla Model 3. If you pay £48,000 for the car, £8,000 of that is VAT. The AA is proposing that the VAT be taken off, in addition to the EV grant.

On a mid to high-range Model 3 costing £48,000 before a VAT cut, or the addition of the grant, the post-grant, post-VAT discount price would be £36,500. The Model 3’s current pre-grant entry price of £39,500, could be reduced to £31,600, which could drop below £30,000 with the grant. That’s a saving that could incentivise many buyers to hang up their internal combustion allegiance.

“A combination of the climate change emergency and local councils setting up vastly different clean air zones, means that many drivers feel under pressure to change but can’t, no matter how much they try,” said AA president Edmund King.

“With electric vehicles making up just 0.2 per cent of the nation’s cars, there is a long way to go to meet the official target of at least half of new car sales to be ultra-low emission by 2030. Our proposal would help to achieve that goal more quickly.”

VAT should be cut on electric cars, says AA

Following Norway’s example

There is a precedent for dropping VAT on electric cars. Norway, with the highest proportion of electric cars of any European country, has zero VAT on EVs. EV drivers also drive road tax-free, and can use bus lanes for free. Last year, electric car sales jumped by 144 percent.

According to the Norwegian government, an electric car was sold once every 20 minutes in 2019, with 37,850 drivers plugging in. All that said, EVs still made up just 1.2 percent of sales in 2019, and overall make up just 0.2 percent of cars on the road.

Electric buses come to Glasgow as city aims for ‘net zero’ emissions

Electric buses coming to Glasgow

Bus company First Glasgow will launch electric buses in the Scottish city, as it looks to reach ‘net zero emissions’ status.

The buses were funded by SP Energy Networks and built by Alexander Dennis for First Glasgow. They are described as ‘state of the art’, negating the need for wing mirrors with ‘mirrorless smartvision technology’. HD cameras and a cabin screen improve all-round vision by eliminating certain blind-spots. Passengers will benefit from USB charging points and wi-fi.

A £20 million Green Economy fund also backs the installation of 22 electric vehicle charging points at the bus company’s depot in Glasgow.

Catering to Glasgow’s low-emission zoneElectric buses coming to Glasgow

The buses are well-timed, given Glasgow will be the first Scottish city to implement a low-emissions zone – due in December 2022. The first bus goes into service on Monday (13 January).

“We are delighted to launch the city’s first conversion of a commercial bus service to fully electric operation,” said First Glasgow managing director, Andrew Jarvis.

Electric buses coming to Glasgow

“Every customer journey on the route will save around 2kg of CO2 compared with driving on your own in an average car, making bus the best choice in reducing the impact on the planet.”

“As a business, one of our main goals is to make buses part of the solution when it comes to improving air quality in the city. We’ve already invested £31 million in the last two years.

“We plan to make great strides forward in doing our bit to improve the city’s air quality and making Glasgow a cleaner and greener place to live and work.”

Not the first electric bus in GlasgowElectric buses coming to Glasgow

Glasgow was actually well ahead of the curve. Electric buses have been running on and off in the city since the 1960s. Trolley buses existed there as early as 1949.

The latter were effectively trams with a bit more steering agency – a normal bus, but connected to an electric power supply. In 1967 they were phased out, believe it or not, because diesel was seen as the future. If only they had known…

Fuel forecourt retailers ‘reluctant to invest in EV charging’

Fuel forecourt operators reluctant to invest in car chargers

Fuel forecourt operators are hesitant to invest heavily in electric car charging points at fuel stations. This is amid concerns about consumer confidence in electric cars and the true increase in demand expected in the coming years.

In the 2019 Petrol Retailers Association annual review, Steve Rodell, managing director, retail at Christie & Co wrote: “Recent reports of modest increases in electric vehicles (EVs) sales and a consumer preference for hybrid vehicles (electric and petrol), show a lack of consumer confidence in pure electric.”

Fuel forecourt operators reluctant to invest in car chargers

“Retailers are therefore currently reluctant to invest heavily in EV charging ports. While some are slowly testing new technologies and investing in low voltage single charging ports, many are still unconvinced of the financial return on rapid charging, which usually requires a hefty investment in grid connection.”

The expense of the installation of rapid charging isn’t expected to return given the current minority of electric car drivers. Rodell cites continuing range anxiety as a major roadblock to the adoption of electric cars.

He also goes on to highlight the sacrifices retailers would have to make in terms of parking, in favour of electric vehicle charging points. There are worries of how on-sight retailers would be affected in terms of footfall.

“There is also a reluctance to forgo valuable parking spaces which can generate footfall into the shop where, coupled with food sales, margins are more attractive.”

Fuel forecourt operators reluctant to invest in car chargers

Rodell sees a future where more EV charging is installed, but wonders whether hybrids or even hydrogen cars will have taken the lead ahead of pure EV. 

“Inevitably, the future will see a greater condence and implementation of electric vehicle charging but perhaps by then hybrids, or even hydrogen fuel cell technology, will have overtaken pure electric. Transient locations where petrol filling stations are often located will be more suited as ‘top-up’ locations for electric vehicles.

“It is our view that, whether to top up vehicles with fuel sources or meet consumers’ convenience needs on the go, what we currently know and love as ‘petrol filling stations’ will remain relevant and valuable as wider ‘refuelling facilities’ for the foreseeable future.”

Audi AI:ME concept: reborn A2 offers a ‘wellness experience’

Audi AI:ME CES

Audi is at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show showing off its AI:ME fully-automated concept car. It’s a vision for an urban vehicle with a silhouette not dissimilar to the ground-breaking A2 of 20 years ago.

Described as a ‘third living space’ to go alongside the home and workplace, the AI:ME is designed to know its driver, using eye-tracking to enable tasks like ordering food.

Occupants can put on a pair of VR goggles for a wellness experience, taking them to fantastical places, like a flight over a mountain range. The simulation reacts to how the car is moving in real time, so the experience is fully integrated.

Audi AI:ME – the empathetic carAudi AI:ME CES

Clever though it was, we don’t remember the A2 coming with anything like the ‘Audi Intelligence Experience’. This is how the car learns about its user, their destinations, their habits and their preferences. It can monitor driving style and even vital bodily functions.

Over time, the car will be able to learn your preferred seat position, cabin climate and even which air freshener scent you prefer.

Audi has also developed what it calls ‘Human-Centric Lighting’, which changes based on how you feel. Tired drivers can be soothed with blue cool white light, which stimulates and invigorates.

Augmented reality displaysAudi AI:ME CES

The AI:ME features new screen technology, with transparent displays. A 15cm by 122cm transparent section is partially embedded into the instrument panel. It’s double-layered, with an OLED display and a black panel. The parts of the screen that aren’t being used to show information remain see-through, for an unobstructed view of the road.

Audi calls the AI:ME a ‘vision vehicle’, suggesting this reborn A2 isn’t something we can expect in 2021 or even 2022. It’s nice to see the marque re-visiting the footprint of one of its cleverest models, though. 

Wireless electric car chargers coming to British streets

Connected Kerb wireless car chargers

Trials of wireless car chargers will take place in London, the Midlands and Scotland. Residential areas, car parks and taxi ranks will be getting induction pads to test the new wire-free way of charging your electric car.

The idea comes from British firm Connected Kerb, which will be trialling the technology in the UK in the spring, and then overseas from the middle of this year. The road surface pads work by emitting an alternating electromagnetic field, which charges a car when it’s parked on top.

Connected Kerb wireless car chargers

If you’re worried about compatibility, wireless induction charging is a technology being heavily investigated by OEMs for current and future models. It’s also thought that a retro-fit induction charging kit shouldn’t be difficult to devise.

“Vehicle manufacturers are increasingly including induction charging technology in their new models,” said Connected Kerb chief executive, Chris Pateman-Jones.

“At present there are only a handful of induction-enabled electric vehicle charge points. We aim to change that.”

Combatting the clutter and enabling more motoristsConnected Kerb wireless car chargers

Pateman-Jones told the Daily Mail that inductive charging is the way forward. They could de-clutter parking bays and charge points with no need for cumbersome call boxes and reams of cables. It’s neater, more attractive, and safer for disabled motorists and pedestrians to whom trailing cables have previously posed a risk. For those worried about how effective the chargers will be, they are said to be comparable in performance.

“Longer term, induction charging will be the path to electrification of all parking bays without the street furniture and cable clutter that dominates EV charge point technology today.”

Connected Kerb is already in the business of making car charging more compact. It has a range of kerbside chargers that are more space efficient. The Armadillo (pictured) and the limpet are small packages, made from recycled car tyres. They sit on the kerb, and on a wall respectively. The next step is to close in on a two-dimensional charging solution.