Here’s a film about the launch of the Mahindra e20 Electric Car and its UK launch. For more information click here
Back in November I grabbed some footage of cars arriving in London at the end of the RAC Future Car Challenge on Regent Street. I got a few words with the great Gordon Murray (as in the McLaren F1 designer) – and he is a man of few words. He’s gone green and designed and built an urban city car. The T25. Now, I know its an ICE vehicle but it does form the basis of the far more exciting T27 EV. So click on the image and watch me struggle through an interview with one of the greats where I’m doing it on the fly.
I got the chance to take one of the Zytec powered Smart ED’s for a spin recently. This is the Electric car everyone wants to buy but cant get hold of. Well, hopefully that’s going to change. Smart have announced that they will be upping the trial and extending it to the public. If you want to get your name down follow this link.
Click on the image to view video of the drive.
Finally… Got to take a look at Tata Motors Indica Vista EV, and the chance to have a chat with a representative from Tata. 200km range on lithium Ion batteries. 110Kmh top speed. Pretty impressive, until you get an idea of the price in Norway…. Click on the image to view video.
Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, a very successful wind energy electrical power company here in the UK, is building an electric car in 7 months flat. You can follow it’s progress on Dales blog over at Zero Carbonista. I filmed this interview with him last month. The first part (above) is a discussion around the ‘wind car’ and electric cars in general. Click on the image to view video.
I’ve heard that Nice Car Company are going out of business. I sincerely hope this isn’t the case. I’ve been following their fortunes along with those of goingreen who sell the GWiz since I started this vlog in spring 2005. If it’s true then it’s a huge blow to the electric car industry here in the UK. Whilst the major manufactures are asking for bailouts in the UK and US, smaller innovative businesses are left to go broke. We’ve had empty promises for years from the larger car makers and the Government. All in the same week that the climate change report states that electric cars are the only way for a sustainable transport solution…
“Motorists will have to drive electric cars for UK to meet climate change targets.” So runs the Telegraph headline today.
The reality of driving an electric vehicle here is getting harder as time goes on. There are more than 1000 vehicles on London’s roads now. Charging facilities are extremely limited, and most people do not have the luxury of a garage or off street parking. Since my local car park closed, I can never guarantee a charging space in the west end as the bays are permanently full. This makes life difficult in a limited range car such as the GWiz. The City of London has started to charge for EV’s to park in their garages and they haven’t added any further charging points. Camden Council who promised to bring in free parking for electric vehicles more than 2 years ago have still done nothing… and so the list goes on.
I’ve had to resort to charging at home. Not ideal as I have to run a cable across my pavement. If the Government is serious about getting Electric Vehicles on the roads here then lets start with a proper infrastructure now.
Click on the image to view my charging routine.
A look at the Opel Flextreme – Europe’s version of the Chevy Volt. 40 mile range on the battery and a small engine purely for recharging purposes. They say we’ll have it by 2010. Gosh, that’s only 2 years away. Doubt we’ll even have the Smart ED and Subaru R1e by then, but there’s always hope….
Click on the image to view video.
I went to the Sexy Green Car Show at The Eden Project in Cornwall recently. The Eden Project was brilliant, but I’m not sure about their car show. They had very little of interest – just the usual major manufacturers rolling out their low emission models. But they did have the Morgan Life Car there on it’s UK debut. This is a Hydrogen fuel cell prototype that has four individual electric motors linked to each wheel. Top speed of 85mph and a 0-60 of 7.5 seconds. I’m hoping there might be something in these hydrogen fuel cell cars powering electric motors… could be a long wait though. Click on the image to view video.
Good News. Tesla are coming to The UK Motor Show this year. It’ll be on show in the ‘EV Village’ where there will be around twenty battery electric vehicles. Joining it will be the new Super Light from Nice (pictured) aswell as GWiz, Elektromotive (those great charging posts) and a new manufacturer known as Quiet Cars….
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)
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)
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).
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).
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)
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)
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 £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 £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).
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 £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/
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….
Taking the car on a fast road can be a pretty hairy experience. It is classed as a quadracycle – perfect for urban streets, but how does it fair on a three lane carriageway? I’ve had emails from people asking about use on a motorway. Don’t think I’ll be vlogging that one…Click on the image to view video (3.8meg QT)
Happy New Year to one and all. Now that winter is truly with us, (reduced range and all) my thoughts have turned to summer. Back in June we went on a green rally. This was a chance for all the electric cars in London to show some muscle (a load of Revas and an electric scooter). Camden council hosted it in Regents Park and there was music, entertainment and general fun to be had. Thumbs up to Camden for hosting this but I reckon they could take a leaf out of Westminsters book if they really wanted to encourage use of the EV in London. Keep an eye out for the boy laughing. I think he’s amazed at our embracing of a green future (he is, isn’t he..?). Click on the image to view video. (3.3 meg QT.)
Had my six month service this week. They turn up in a mobile van crammed with gadgets, plug a pda into the battery unit and run some diagnostic checks, and that’s just about it! No oil change, nothing. Sometimes brake fluid levels will need topping up, but right now I dont think it could have much less environmental impact when it’s compared to a service on a regular car. Click on the image to view video. (2.4 meg QT).