I cant help noticing that the Smart ED (EV) is getting a slating in the mainstream press. Top Gear has given it a 1/20 rating (not seen it that low before) in this month’s magazine . I’ve been on at Smart for over a year to try and get a test drive with no luck. They tell me they are reserving drives for journalists. Perhaps it’s a lesson to the big manufacturers in getting the guys who are enthusiasts with an enthusiastic audience to try your cars sooner. Or perhaps it’s just rubbish…
Meanwhile back at the group test… Here’s an extended test drive of the Kewet Buddy EV. Click on the image to view video (22 meg QT)
This is the second part of today’s filming, driving the Think. Click on the image to view video. (31 meg QT)
Got a first look at the new Think today. Â£14000. 125 mile range. 65 mph top speed. Lithium Polymer battery….This first clip takes a look around the car. Click on the image to view video (25 meg QT)
Driving the Nice Megacity. Click on the image to view video. (31 meg QT)
And here’s a look at the AC G Wiz. Click on the image to view video (7 meg QT)
Here’s a first look at the Nice Megacity. 40 mph top speed. 40 mile range on lead acid batteries. Click on the image to view video (4.6meg QT)
Ken’s made his decision on the Congestion Charge today and it’s not good for EV’s. As follows;
"A 100 per cent low CO2 discount for cars that:
Produce less than 120g/km CO2 and meet the Euro 4 standard for air pollution emissions OR Produce no more than 120g/km of CO2, and appear on the PowerShift register"
So many people have been working so hard on getting electric vehicles on the road. I really hope this isn’t another nail in the coffin….
Here’s a nice little video of 5 Tesla Roadsters out for a drive. The first one, apparently, is production car number one belonging to Elon Musk.
Forget hillclimbs with huge amounts of torque and wheelspin. How about my DC with almost 3 year old batteries versus a new AC GWiz? The results speak for themselves. Of course, it has nothing to do with the fact that the goingreen driver in the AC was slimmer than me, nothing at all..(ahem). Click on the image to view video. (5 meg QT).
Commercial vehicles are not something I usually cover, but I came across this new Edison from Smith Electric Vehicles today. These guys have been working with battery technology for years, building the electric milk floats we are so used to seeing. Now Sainsburys have taken delivery of several models and are planning to have a fleet of electric vehicles across the UK for food delivery. Smith Electric told me that they wanted to build vans and trucks that felt like a normal hgv so that the vehicles are not too alien for the drivers. Looks like they’ve done a great job, and very timely considering the new LEZ is coming in to force in London in the next few weeks. How about a nice 4 seater passenger car for a future project, Smith Electric? Click on the image to view video (4.4meg QT)
Here’s some more pictures and detail of the Flextreme. Autoblog Green are reporting on similar releases from Dodge and even an EV Jeep Renegade.
Don’t let’s get too excited. Each and everyone is a concept right now
and we may well be driving a lead acid g-wiz for years to come! Click
on an image to see it in more detail.
Is this really happening? Are some of the mainstream manufacturers really spending more time and money on EV technologies? Detroit 2008 seems to be heralding a whole range of EV concepts.
The big guys seem to be concentrating on using EV and battery technology but charging those batteries with an on board generator (usually diesel and known as a range extender). They’ll also have an option to plug in. In the States the cars thats best known in this form is the Chevy Volt. Here in Europe, Opel have been showing the Flextreme Concept. It’s a four seater EV that has a range of 55km when charged up, but has an extended range when the batteries are charged using a 1.3 litre diesel engine of 715 km (not connected to the wheels like a hybrid). Top Speed will be 160kmh with a 0-100 kmh of 9.5 seconds.
I’m hugely excited about it all. Let’s hope there’s something in this for the future…Here’s a short video of its unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2007. Mind out for those Segways. They’ll be everywhere before you know it… Click on the image to view video (2.3 Meg QT)
Happy New Year one and all. The bad news is that Westminster/Masterpark are closing my car park along with it’s two charging bays. There’s been plenty of talk about Westminster & Camden councils installing many additional charging bays. Whether it’s really going to happen remains to be seen. Click on the image to view video (6.6meg QT).
While I’m waiting to test drive the Venturi Fetish (could be a long wait…) I thought I’d show some footage of the Eclectic. Powered by solar panels on the roof, it’ll run for 31 miles on a full charge with speeds of up to 32mph. If you live where I live you can even plug it in to the mains during downpours.
It’ll be released in June 2008, when 200 units will be released. Prices are expected to be around 24000 Euros. Thanks to Venturi for the footage. Click on the image to view video (6.9 meg QT).
Had the good fortune to drive a Kewet Buddy last week. It’s a nice little car and better than I expected it to be. I shot this footage on my Nokia N95 phone as a trial. It came out fine, but I’ve since found the wobblycam setting. I’ll break the footage into episodes for all to see. Click on the image to view video. (6meg QT)
The i miev is ace. 4 seats. 4 doors. Great range. Proper safety features. Apparently Mitsubishi’s chief exec in the UK fully supports the electric version of this car and we should have it by 2010…. They’ve just previewed a concept called the i miev sport at the Tokyo motor show. Take a look at this you tube link. They claim this one will do 110 mph. I really hope that the i miev happens in Europe – it’s a perfect urban car. Thanks to dig info for the video and autoblog for the pics.
A think got me thinking (sorry..) yesterday about the new model that’s coming to our shores in the near future. Looks like it’ll be a great little car but there’s a question mark over charge times. With a Wiz you can do an 80% battery charge in 2 hours – something we often need to do. I’m not sure the new Think will have this facility. Click on the image to view video (3.5 meg QT).
Tesla’s test and validation manager discusses driving the car in the arctic circle. Tesla, please, just listen, we need this car in the UK, it’s our only hope, don’t send it over the pond, please Tesla, please….Click on the image to view video (4.4meg QT)
Here’s where I get to meet Brian from Tesla. Brian was great – he took the time to really show me the car. The video would have benefitted from some editing (birthday parties going on around us etc..) but seeing as it’s not every day you get to meet Tesla’s test and validation manager I thought I’d leave it all in. Click on the image to view video (18meg QT).
Thanks to autoblog green I had a tip off that the Tesla was going to be on show for a limited number of hours today at the "green wheels motorshow" in Norwich, where the car is built. The show has been organised by Cred and carbon connections, very useful departments of the University of East Anglia. Time to take the afternoon off and leg it up to Norwich. I got a really good chance to cover the car extensively, and meet the people behind it. I’ll be posting episodic clips so that my bandwidth doesn’t go too mental and I can show plenty of detail. Click on the image to view video (10meg QT)
Hey, I got an email from a nice man at Porsche, which is encouraging. Looks like they are developing a hybrid Cayenne ready for release by the end of the decade. They also have the facility for a 25% bio ethanol mix in their latest Cayenne model. Looks like the big guys are doing something, but please Porsche, let me get my hands on a lithium 911 or boxster, similar to that uber electric car, the Tesla.
Camden council are hosting a low emissions event on the 22nd March. There will be seminars and discussion about the forthcoming LEZ (Low emissons zone), a presentation by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, and case studies by pret a manger and green tomato cars. There will also be a chance to take a look at the range of electric vehicles on offer to Londoners.
Great news. Camden Council are planning on a series of charging points and free parking for electric vehicles on pay and display. I’m going to be spending some time filming them over the next few months as they implement the changes. Let’s hope Camden and Westminster serve as a catalyst for change both here and abroad.
In terms of range and top speed (70 miles and 70 miles per hour) the Smart EV blows everything else away. They will become available in January on lease here in London, but only to a very select few businesses. Regular Smarts are all over this city – I cant believe the EV wouldn’t be a roaring success (particularly with better infrastructure but people are working on that – slowly). I met a man from Cenex recently who’s getting 5 in January. Cenex has been ‘set up with the aim of assisting UK industry to build competitive advantage from the global shift to a low carbon economy’. Seeing as Smart are the first mainstream manufacturer to promote an EV here it would be great to see them on the roads, so why cant we buy one? Click on the image to view video.(6 meg QT)
Us Reva drivers get a bit of flack for crawling along at times. You get the odd impatient car sending you towards the verge as they accelerate past, safe in the knowledge that electric cars are just another milk float. Time to roll out the Wrightspeed video. An electric car beating a Ferrari 360 Modena and then a Porsche Carrera GT hands down. YES PLEASE. Click on the image to view video -its a windows media file for a change (10meg wmv). Thanks to Wrightspeed for the footage.
George Monbiot has written an article in the Guardian today entilted "Save the planet in 10 steps" – here’s point 7:
"Oblige all chains of filling stations to supply leasable electric car batteries. This provides electric cars with unlimited mileage: as the battery runs down, you pull into a forecourt. A crane lifts it out and drops in a fresh one. The batteries are charged overnight with surplus electricity from offshore wind farms. Timescale: fully operational by 2011." Garage forecourts are completely alien right now. I drive in and try and get hold of some water for the batteries every now and again and usually fail. People are buying electric cars as quickly as they can get hold of them and the infrastructure isnt there by any means. Click on the image to view video. 3.7 Meg QT.
A couple tried to hail me this morning. They thought I was a black London cab! Love to have seen them climb in the back for a fare… Anyway back to serious matters. This is the New "Nice", which stands for No Internal Combustion Engine. It has a 50 mile range and starts at Â£9995. London’s electric car releases continue and this one’s a nice little runabout (excuse the pun). Shame about there only being 2 seats again.
It’s great to see new vehicles here in London but it begs the question – will the major manufacturers actually ever release an EV? I’d be amazed if Smart offer more than the 200 they are promising and whether we will ever be able to buy one. Click on the image to view video. (6.6meg QT)
Went to see the new Smart EV at The Motor Show last week. There are some great things about this car. It’ll run for 75 miles between charges. It has a top speed limited to 70 miles per hour and it has better acceleration than the standard petrol car! Not only that but it carries all the same safety features of the standard smart car with 2 airbags and so on. "Where can I get one" I hear you say. Well, you can only lease it for Â£380 a month as a fleet driver. Shame that. If it takes off perhaps they will produce more than the 200 they are planning at the moment. Click on the image to view video (9.8 meg QT).
With the congestion charge and high parking costs, London is fast becoming a leading electric vehicle city. There’s a total of six models due to be on the roads here soon. With all these electic cars buzzing about, there’ll be a significant need for charging bays. Enter Elektromotive. You drive up to one of these little beauties and plug in right there on the street. The first intallations will be in Islington and Covent Garden in central London. Click on the image to view video. (5 meg QT).
The GWiz has a competitor on the streets of London. The Maranello4 is a 2 seater and is available in pure electric or hybrid electric versions. The electric model has a top speed of 30 mph, a range of 45-50 miles and starts at Â£9950. Masterpark (the Westminster owned car parks where we get to park at a reduced rate) had an electric vehicle event yesterday and I got to have a good look at the car. Click on the image to view video (2 mins 20 sec. 10.7 meg QT)
Mike Boxwell, a soon to be G-Wiz owner has started an excellent new forum for the Reva in the UK. With plenty of subject headings there’ll be a chance to really discover what the car is about rather than listening to my incessant drivel! Now that there are 500 cars on the road here, it seems like a good time for an online resource. Check it out at http://www.g-wiz.org.uk/
Did an interview with CNN last week as part of a piece on the G-wiz. They wanted to film me driving around in ‘the style of my vlog’. I asked if I could host it on my site for all and sundry – but to no avail – they wanted Â£1000 for the usage. Didn’t even need me to sign a release form. Talk about the media giants ignoring alternative distribution methods…
We’ve had the car for almost a year now so it’s time for a review. The files come out pretty big (6.9meg) so I’ll sum up here for those of you without a broadband connection.
Apart from the obvious environmental considerations it compares well as a general small purpose vehicle that is very suitable for urban living.
It is more robust than I thought it would be.
It’s nippier than I thought it would be.
Parking it is a gift because it’s both small and free.
It can fit my whole family in it, though I’m not sure for how much longer…
It really is cheap to run compared to a normal car.
Range in winter is lessened. (25 miles)
Charging for 16 hours every month can be problematic to equalise the batteries if you don’t have a garage.
Safety, compared to a normal petrol engined car is questionable. Though I think it’s a better bet than a motorbike or a bicycle in London. I cycled for 17 years here and stopped after one accident too many.
All in all, I’m a big fan (as you probably guessed) who would recommend it to anyone who lives in a city such as this. Once range increases to get us outside the M25 the world will be our oyster! Click on the image to view video.
People sometimes ask if I’m associated with Goin Green in any way. I’m not. I just thought it might be fun to start vlogging and sharing my experience of electric vehicle ownership with anyone who might be interested. Having said that, I’ll happily take a Tango from Prodrive for a while….