Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has announced proposals to change building regulations to encourage the mandatory installation of electric vehicle charge points in new homes and offices. New street lighting columns which service on-street parking will also have charging points in appropriate locations.
Along with these changes, the government has also promised more money to fund the charging infrastructure.
Mr Grayling said the proposed measures would mean the UK having “one of the most comprehensive support packages for zero-emission vehicles in the world”.
“The prize is not just a cleaner and healthier environment but a UK economy fit for the future and the chance to win a substantial slice of a market estimated to be worth up to £7.6 trillion by 2050”.
I’ve tested 14 different electric and hybrid cars and I’m obviously sold on the idea of alternative fuel cars. Having travelled from Ness Point to Ardnamurchan in Scotland in a Tesla Model S 100 D and found the charge network was already in place, but improvements and investment from the Government would be very useful. With mass production of electric cars and more importantly lithium-ion batteries, the costs should come down in line with petrol and diesel powered cars. We should also look forward to electric powered lorries in the near future too. Exciting times indeed!
This morning, I spoke to Mark Murphy at BBC Radio Suffolk about the proposals. To listen to what I had to say, click on the stream above.
What do you think about electric cars, do you think they will be mainstream in your lifetime? Let me know in the comments below.
As I continue to ride the wave of euphoria of completing the 1200 mile east to west Gadget Road Trip with my lifelong friend Andy. Today I joined BBC Radio Suffolk’s Sarah Lilley on the Sofa in Ipswich and explained how the challenge came about and how it felt to drive 1200 miles in an Electric Car and why I love Gadgets!
I also talked about how I met Vanessa, how I listen to music and an ill fated trip to Tunisia in 1996.
Listen in to the stream, bookmark the site, we have a LOAD of reviews coming up over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!
This week we stay with hybrid cars, but this time we look at the Audi A3 etron. First things first, this car looks spectacular! I have never seen such a bright red in my entire life and the big alloy wheels enhance the look even more. It’s certainly a head turner.
The A3 etron comes with a 1.4 litre turbo charged engine outputting 150 bhp, however yet again it sits alongside an electric motor which when combined in ‘Sports Mode’ increases the performance to just of 200 bhp and will get you to 60 is 7.6 seconds. When you are feeling less ‘eager’ to get around town, you can elect for pure electric which is the default mode at start up or 3 forms of hybrid mode, normal, battery save and battery charge.
The battery can be charged from a very cleverly hidden port on the front grill and on electric alone will take you around 30 miles per charge. You aren’t going to want to be taking long journeys on electric alone as the car is designed for hybrid use, it’s probably better to let it decide which forms of power it uses as it will drop to electric in slow traffic and moderate speed.
If you are feeling excitable, then pulling the gear stick backwards enables Sports Mode, the gear information changes from D1,D2,D3 etc on the dashboard to S1,S2,S3 to indicate sports use. Be very careful in this mode at it transforms the car to very high performance. The car is however very good at governing acceleration I I didn’t notice any wheel spin in sport mode, although we did notice some in pure electric (this is possibly down to the higher torque of the electric motor).
A full review of the A3 etron will be coming soon, in the meantime grab a listen to the attached audio from Mondays show.
This week we move back to hybrid cars with the Volvo V60 D6 Twin Engine Plug in Hybrid vehicle. The D6 is unique as it is a Diesel – Electric Hybrid rather than the standard Petrol Electric that we are used to.
This is a very powerful snappy car, at full ‘Power’ mode it is outputting a combined 280bhp and you certainly feel it. Along with beautiful ride, upholstery and fuel efficiency, I can see this being very popular in the company car sector.
We will be reviewing it in greater detail soon online, but in the meantime, listen in the the stream from Monday 13th July.
Volvo V60 D6
Volvo V60 D6 Twin Engine Plugin Hybrid Review by Matt Porter
Great fun was had this week as I was out on about testing one of my favourite forms of transport! Yes, I was testing an super electric bike from those clever people at KTM.
I even brought the bike into the studio to show everyone and nearly managed to run over a musician in the green room.
The KTM eStreet P is a really nice electric bike which makes great use of pedal assistance with the 250w motor giving you up to 400% assistance. I’m really impressed with the bike and I will be reviewing it in full later this week. For now listen in to the stream and find out about this very nice eBike.
Massive thanks to Louise Johnson at KTM Industries UK for all her help in getting the bike to me.
This morning, I chatted to Mark about the new breed of cars currently hitting the markplace around the world, namely PHEV’s or Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles. I’ve already reviewed the e-Golf a few months ago, however the GTE takes the electric technology from the e-Golf and combines it with the performance on the Golf GTi. It’s quite a vehicle to drive.
From a distance you might be fooled by the Volkswagen Golf GTE, it shares its DNA with the legendary Golf GTI, but can also be driven in zero emission mode like the all electric e-Golf. It’s design and equipment has been adapted directly from the Golf GTI with the red hints altered to ‘eco friendly’ blue. The front grill mounted VW badge doubles at the access cover for the charge port.
The engine or ‘engines’ are supplied as a 1.4 litre 150hp turbo charged fuel injected petrol engine and a 102hp electric motor providing a combined power output of 204hp in GTE mode. Essentially you have two independent drive systems that provide almost silent operation and zero emission with speeds up to 86mph in electric mode, morphing to a 146 mpg fuel sipping hatchback in hybrid mode to the insane 0-60 in 7.6 seconds hot hatch with maximum speed limited to 137mph.
When you switch into GTE mode, there is a noticeable change in engine sound which at first caught me off guard and speculating how it was achieved? After a little light reading, I discovered that VW are employing a ‘method’ similar to the BMW i8 supercar. Electronic engine sounds is played into the cockpit of the car via integrated sound system, fooling the senses that you are driving a big V8. It really does fool you, as coupled with the sudden full boost unleashed via the turbo charger, you are catapulted from a completely silent standstill to a roaring power house in an instant.
This is one of the new range of ‘Plug-in Hybrids’ which are current coming to market. There is a very good reason for plug-in hybrids though. Originally hybrids were designed to be charged by the main internal combustion engine and regenerative braking systems and was only really used to bring the car up speeds above town use. With the advent of Plug-in Hybrids, the on board battery is now larger and able to power the car for reasonable distances before requiring recharge. In the Golf GTE’s case, the battery will allow for about 30 miles before recharge. You might think this isn’t much, but the average car journey to place of work in the UK is 9.9 miles, so on average you could drive to work and home without using the petrol engine at all. I tried this and the car was reporting 300 miles per gallon! It certainly gives you a good idea of how much cheaper an electric car is to run. In ‘optimal’ driving conditions, VW reckon you should get 146 miles per gallon! Charging the car takes 2 and half hours via a normal 220v electrical supply.
If you are considering a hybrid, you couldn’t go far wrong with the Golf GTE. It combines ‘hot hatch’ performance with zero emission short distance driving. The price is in line with the Golf GTI, so you would be looking at paying around £33,000.
To celebrate it’s 10 million fans on Facebook, Porsche ran a competition offering the winner a chance in participating in a 1000 km road trip in the 918 Spyder. The car was specially wrapped to allow fans along the way to sign the car
During the trip, the 918 Spyder was joined by the Panamera S E-Hybrid and Cayenne S E-Hybrid. The convoy travelled through cities such as Oxford and Stratford, the winding roads of Brecon Beacons National Park and many others, where Porsche fans could leave their signature on the 918 Spyder.
The car was driven by Gordon Robertson, the Chief Driving Consultant at the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone Race Track, upon his arrival, we were lucky enough to catch up with him for a few minutes to find out how he had got on.
You can listen to the interview at the top of the post. Thanks to Gordon for spending the time to chat to us.
We had a wonderful day at the World Endurance Championship’s 6 Hours of Silverstone last weekend. Not only were we guests of the wonderful people at Porsche Motorsports, we were also able to chat to the Technicians and Drivers and find out more about how the idea of Hybrid power translates to the worlds fastest racecars.
During our day, we were able to speak to former Formula 1 driver Mark Webber who is now racing the Porsche 919 LMP1. We also spoke at length to Alexander Hitzinger who is in charge for the 919’s development as Technical Director for the LMP1 and Michael Christensen who is the works driver for the Porsche 911 RSR.
I would like to thank the ever amazing Mark Webber for his patience after a long day! Sam Lloyd at Lloyd Bell Productions and Nick Perry at Porsche Cars Great Britain for their help making the day so memorable.
Massive thanks to Paul Shalan for attending with me and taking so many AMAZING photographs!!
You can listen to this weeks episode at the top of the page or below.