Fully Charged Live show postponed until October

Fully Charged Live 2020 postponed until Autumn due to coronavirus

The Fully Charged Live electric vehicle show has been postponed due to the spread of coronavirus, now described by the World Health Organisation as a global pandemic.

The show was due to take place on the first three days of May. It will now shift to the autumn (30th and 31st October, and 1st November).

The organisers have taken the decision on the basis of the new pandemic classification. They cited the very personal nature of the show, with packed live sessions and test drives.

Tickets already bought will be valid for the new dates. They can also be transferred for next year’s event. The postponement has the full support of the show’s exhibitors. The new dates don’t mean a new venue – it will remain at the Farnborough International in Hampshire.

“We’re very disappointed to have to move the Live show due to the unpredictable circumstances unfolding in the UK, and around the world,” said Robert Llewellyn, founder of Fully Charged.

“Clearly, we were really concerned about the close proximity of our audience members in test drives, and in our live theatres. On a positive note, we can say that with seven months until Fully Charged Live in the autumn, there’ll be even more to see and do.”

Fully Charged Live 2020 postponed until Autumn due to coronavirus

As Llewellyn highlighted in his YouTube video, the show being later in the year means more electric cars and tech can be included.

There were quite a few vehicles and tech that we were hoping to have on display, that wouldn’t be ready for May,” he said. “They will be in October. We’ll have an even greater 100 percent electric display.”

DPD targets 1 in 10 electric van mix with new Nissan deal

DPD to take delivery of 300 electric Nissan vans

Nissan will deliver 300 e-NV200 electric vans to logistics firm, DPD. The deal will see the company’s electric fleet expand to 450 vehicles by May 2020.

This is part of DPD’s aim to make 10 percent of the vehicles at its 68 UK depots electric by the year’s end.

DPD to take delivery of 300 electric Nissan vans

“This is a real landmark day in the move to a more sustainable future for the parcel industry,” said Dwain McDonald, DPD’s CEO.

“These vehicles are changing the way we work. It isn’t just a case of plugging them in and saying, ‘job done’. We are rethinking and re-engineering how we deliver parcels now and in the future with different route networks and new types of depots. It is an all-encompassing revolution for our industry and electric, emission-free vehicles are at the heart of that vision.”

DPD to take delivery of 300 electric Nissan vans

DPD already has 91 e-NV200s on its fleet, which have been making their rounds for the last year and a half. The new batch of Nissans will be put to work performing local multi-drop deliveries, driving 100 miles per day.

The e-NV200 is WLTP-rated to travel between 124 and 187 miles on a full charge. It’ll recharge in eight hours with a wall box, and can be rapid-charged to 80 percent capacity in about an hour. 

The vans will be topped up overnight at DPD depots, and will have their routes for the next day sorted by the company’s route calculation and vehicle optimisation systems. Drivers have apparently given positive feedback so far.

DPD to take delivery of 300 electric Nissan vans

“It’s exciting to see a company built on delivering on time and to schedule proving that an electric vehicle can work for them, while also making such a large commitment to reducing their carbon footprint,” said Peter McDonald, fleet director at Nissan Motor GB.

“We’re seeing increased demand for the e-NV200 as more businesses look for an all-electric alternative. Nissan is able to deliver a fantastic product for them, and fast.”

Companies can claim 20 percent off the price of an electric commercial vehicle, up to a maximum of £8,000.

Styles Solar Van world's first electric ice cream van

Sundae driver: meet the world’s first solar-powered ice cream van

Styles Solar Van world's first electric ice cream van

The Styles Solar Van is the first solar- and battery-powered ice cream van. The eco-friendly vehicle will debut at the Ice Cream and Artisan Food Show in Harrogate from 11-13 February.

Designed by David Baker, owner of Styles Farmhouse Ice Cream, the van has a zero-emissions generator to prevent diesel fumes when parked up.

Styles Solar Van world's first electric ice cream van

“I listened to our customers – event organisers and show directors – who did not want their visitors to inhale fumes from a diesel engine ice cream van while they were stationary selling ice cream,” he said.

“So, I went looking for a solution. After a great deal of research and development, I created a successful system using solar panels and batteries.”

The van is based on a Peugeot Boxer with a diesel engine. The ‘A to B’ motoring is handled by that, but when you’re moored up and ready to serve scoops, David’s generator kicks in. Solar panels and batteries power the freezers and Mr Softee maker, plus the coffee and slush machines.

Styles Solar Van world's first electric ice cream van

Initial prototype testing used four solar panels, but for the 2019 version that was upped to eight. Summer 2019 saw the van put to the test at events such as Glastonbury and the Henley Regatta.

The results were impressive. The van ran emissions-free for six days with good sun coverage, and two-to-three days with cloud cover. Plug it into the mains and the batteries are replenished in four hours.

You can order a Styles Solar Van now and have it delivered in the summer. No prices are available yet, although they will let you know on application.

Electric cars: Is ‘charge anxiety’ the new range anxiety?

Charge anxiety the new range anxiety

In the past, one of the main stumbling blocks around electric cars was range anxiety: the worry about whether a car can travel far enough on a full charge to meet the driver’s needs.

With many EVs now rated for a realistic range of 200 miles or more, that worry is slipping away. But it’s being replaced by something else: charge anxiety.

That’s according to Autovista Group, which highlights the mismatched language around electric car charging, and the vast differences in charging performance.

Charge anxiety the new range anxiety

While the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi E-tron, and even budget EVs such as the Hyundai Kona and Kia e-Niro, now rival the likes of Tesla for range, charge times can vary hugely. 

A Tesla Model S will fill up in 6.5 hours, assuming you’re charging from a 22kW-capable wall box. That’s because of its three-phase 22kW on-board charger. By contrast, the Jaguar, with a similar battery size of 90kWh, needs 13 hours due to its lower 7.2kW on-board charging capability.

There is no universal standard for rate of recharge, either. Some carmakers quote 0-100 percent charge times, while others quote 10-100 percent, or even 20-80 percent.

So what buyers are faced with are different standards of charging, by different measurements, and to different levels. Capable of 200 miles or more their car may be, but exactly what will they face when plugging it in? 

EV charging: what should be done?

Charge anxiety the new range anxiety

Ralf Sulzbach and Jennifer Bilatscheck of Autovista Group see two things that need to happen.

Firstly, a standardisation of faster onboard chargers for cars with batteries of 50kWh or more. That means three-phase on-board chargers with 11kW AC charging at minimum, and 22kW to be optionally available.

Secondly, consistent standards of charge time. Autovista reckons DC charge times for a quick 20-80 percent fill-up on the road, and AC times for 0-100 percent at home should be standardised.

Drivers would then be better-equipped to understand and assess what they’re buying. It’s an age-old statement, but if electric cars are to take over from internal combustion, charging needs to be as easy as pulling up at the pumps.

Electric car searches up 78 percent on Auto Trader

Fastest-selling used car is electric

Auto Trader has revealed the cars that are selling the quickest on its platform. Retaining its impressive top spot is the Renault Zoe electric car. At present, the 2016 variant is selling in just 25 days.

Even more interesting is the fact that Auto Trader says searches for electric cars on the platform have increased by 78 percent over the last 12 months.

“With more and more new generation models set to reach showrooms this year, coupled with fast improving infrastructure, its looking increasingly likely that 2020 will indeed be the year of electric,” said Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s director of commercial products.

January represents a slight drop-off for the Zoe overall. While the 2016 model leads in January, no others are in the top ten. By comparison, in December, three Zoe variants made the list. 

It’s got a good lead on its listmates, too. The 2016 Zoe sells a full three days quicker than the second-placed Mazda CX-5 diesel.

Electric cars demand and value 2019

By comparison, the ten slowest-selling vehicles take an average 145 days to sell.

Overall, 2016 cars are popular, says Auto Trader, because of the quality of nearly-new cars. A 2016 car can offer “almost the same quality as their brand-new counterparts but at a much lower price tag. They’re also not in short supply, as cars coming off three-year finance cycles ‘flood‘ the market”.

Rank Make / model Fuel & transmission Auto Trader Retail Rating Predicted days to sell
1 2016 Renault Zoe Electric – Automatic 99.71 25
2 2016 Mazda CX-5 Diesel – Manual 99.34 28
3 2016 Toyota Aygo Petrol – Automatic 99.03 29
4 2016 Ford Ka Petrol – Manual 98.96 29
5 2016 Volkswagen Up Petrol – Automatic 98.30 29
6 2018 Audi A1 Petrol – Automatic 98.14 29
7 2016 Dacia Logan MCV Diesel – Manual 98.02 29
8 2016 Mazda CX-5 Diesel – Automatic 98.95 30
9 2016 Dacia Sandero Stepway Diesel – Manual 99.46 32
10 2016 Dacia Duster Diesel – Manual 99.27 34

“Despite a slight increase of traditional fuelled vehicles on the top 10, it’s impossible to ignore the huge shift in consumer perception towards low emission cars,” Edwards-Smajda followed.

“Whilst we’re a long way from mass adoption, every metric on our marketplace indicates an ever-growing appetite for electric.”

Audi ‘consolidates‘ car charging with E-Tron Charging Service card

Audi E-Tron Charging Service

Audi has launched a new E-Tron Charging Service for owners of plug-in models. The service will allow drivers to plug and pay at a variety of charging points, using a variety of networks, using one RFID card. This negates the need for multiple subscriptions, apps and accounts. Audi calls it “the convenience of consolidation”.

At present, Audi has 18 UK companies on board. Needless to say, Ionity is involved. It’s joined by Pod Point, Source London, Instavolt and more. A single monthly invoice is generated, based on two fixed tariffs. The Charging Service will charge the user’s account based on their usage without any input.

Audi E-Tron Charging Service

“The general perception of EV charging is that it is confusing and inconvenient, and we want to help to gradually dispel that belief,” said Andrew Doyle, director of Audi UK.

“We started by equipping the E-Tron with the potential for fast charging at up to 150kW, and are now removing another layer of complexity for our EV owners by streamlining the end-to-end process, from charging activation to invoicing, with this new service.”

Charging tariffs – for urban and commuter ownersAudi E-Tron Charging Service

Two tariffs are tailored towards two different kinds of users. The first is the City tariff. Audi says it’s best-suited to plug-in hybrid owners driving short distances. The base rate is £4.95 per month, with customers paying standard rates of 30p per kWh for AC charging, or 39p per kWh for DC fast-charging.

Rates at other points can vary. Using the E-Tron Charging Services card at free charge point, as you’d hope, incurs no charge, but you can still use the card to activate the charge point instead of needing a dedicated account like so many do.

Audi E-Tron Charging Service

Transit tariff – save 60 percent over the standard Ionity rate

The Transit tariff is for more hardcore EV drivers, specifically owners of E-Tron models. £16.95 gets you the fastest charging available across Europe, at a rate of 150kW from Ionity chargers specifically. An E-Tron can be replenished to 80 percent inside 30 minutes, at a rate of 28p per kWh. The savings are significant, with a 60 percent reduction versus what you’d pay as standard with Ionity.

E-Tron owners will also get the Transit tariff for free for the first year. Pricing for the everything else, remains the same as it is on the City tariff.

Audi E-Tron Charging Service

Audi E-Tron Charging Service – how do you do it?

This is the appeal of Audi’s new charging service. Pull up to a participating charge point, tap your card at the point of authorisation and charge away.

No accounts or detail entries required. What’s good for E-Tron owners is that the sat-nav should be able to identify eligible charging points.

Nissan partners with Uber to electrify London fleet

Nissan Leafs for Uber drivers

Nissan has signed a deal for up to 2,000 Leafs to be made available for Uber drivers in London. The move is a big step towards the ride-hailing company’s goal of making its entire London fleet electric from 2025.

The Leafs will be offered to app-using drivers as a part of the company’s ‘Clean Air Plan’, which launched a year ago. Nissan will also give Uber a dedicated EV education programme, a special price and a marketing plan to help accelerate EV uptake. At present, Uber has 45,000 drivers working in London. 

Nissan Leafs for Uber drivers

“Through innovation and collaboration, companies like Nissan and Uber can tackle the challenges of advancing personal urban mobility, whilst also improving air quality in our major cities,” said Andrew Humberstone, managing director of Nissan GB.

“As the UK’s best-selling EV, the Nissan Leaf is the perfect vehicle to support Uber’s ambition of a 100 percent electric fleet in London for 2025.”

The Clean Air Alan is designed to help Uber drivers move to EVs. A clean air fee of 15p per mile is added to all London journeys, which goes towards helping drivers with the cost of adopting one.

Uber London licence 2019

The company raised £80 million in the first year, while a further £200 million or more is expected over the coming years.

The plan is expected to save Uber drivers an average of £4,500 on the cost of switching to an EV. So far, 900,000 Uber journeys have been in EVs, an increase of 350 percent on 2018. On average, 500 drivers a week are using EVs exclusively. 

“Our bold vision for London is for every driver on the Uber app to use an all-electric vehicle by 2025,” said Jamie Heywood, regional manager for Uber in northern and eastern Europe.

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.”