Electric cars are so beneficial to the planet that the UK government has laid out a scheme to get more drivers to switch to electric. And they aren’t the only ones showing big commitments to the planet.
Which manufacturers make EVS?
One manufacturer leading the way in terms of moving towards a fully electric fleet is Audi.
Audi are showing big commitments to having an all-electric fleet in the future. Continuing to expand and innovate when it comes to their fleet, Audi are well on their way towards electrification and plan to phase out internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle production by 2033.
As part of this, towards the end of 2019 Audi announced $12 billion of investment to accelerate the electrification of its vehicles and have recently announced a “Vorsprung 2030” electrification strategy.
Audi are a German car manufacturer and subsidiary of Volkswagen Group. Known as paving the way when it comes to technology, Audi are pioneers of their time.
Over the past 50 years, Audi’s slogan has been “Vorsprung durch Technik,” which translates to “Progress through Technology.” And with the commitment to an all-electric fleet underway, it’s clear that Audi are true to their word.
Currently, the most popular Audi EVs are the Audi e-tron, e-tron S and e-tron sportback, but following their recent release of the Audi A3 models, it’s predicted that Audi will soon be offering all its models as both fully electric and hybrid models.
With EVs predicted to become ever more popular, it’s an important step forward for both car manufacturers and the planet. Backed up by government initiatives and generous grants to help companies and individuals afford to make the switch, big things are in store for the EV industry.
Easee, the company behind ‘the world’s smartest EV Charging Robot’, has launched the Easee One. The new domestic smart charger has been designed specifically for the needs of homeowners, with an eye on both the present and the future.
The Easee One is optimised for the UK domestic power supply and enables up to three chargers to be used on a single connection. Homeowners can install their first charger knowing that adding more charge points in the future is quick and easy. If two or more Easee One chargers are in use, they communicate to ensure vehicles are charged evenly and safely.
Effie Vraka, Country Director UK at Easee, said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for UK homeowners to choose and install a future proof EV charger. Over 25 million households in the UK own two or more cars, and in the future these will all be electric. We’ve designed a smart home charger that can be easily expanded to allow simultaneous charging of up to three cars. With the Easee One, you don’t need to worry about technical features, compatibility, or regularly updating your software. It’s all taken care of for you. You can simply plug, charge and go, or if you want more control, you can use the Easee App.”
The Easee One is 69% smaller than other comparable solutions and weighs just 1.4kg. Easee estimates that every Easee One charger produced saves around 4kg of plastic and copper, helping to conserve the planet’s resources.
Easee’s EV charging solution has already won a prestigious red Dot design award for its combination of ‘intelligent technology with a high degree of functional quality in a pared-back, premium product.’
“The Easee One is all about reliability, simplicity and style,” says Effie Vraka. “It’s built to withstand harsh weather conditions, looks great on your driveway, and is really easy to use. The only decision home-owners have to make is what colour they like.”
The Easee One charger is compatible with all EV models, has built in mobile, WiFi connectivity and Global System for Mobile Communication, and it also automatically updates itself with the latest features. Early adopters will receive free mobile internet connectivity for the life of the product. Easee One comes with a 3-year warranty and is widely available through competent installers.
To find out more about Easee One or book an install, visit Easee.co.uk
Conserving the environment has been a goal that is continually dropped down in importance. Why? Well, many people are focused on what is happening in the present, not the future. But with more and more natural disasters occurring, it has become time for people to pay closer attention.
Global warming is starting to become a major problem for the entire world. How humans slow down this warming is still up for discussion, but one decided way is through the use of electric vehicles. Some may scoff at that idea, but in all reality, electric cars and vehicles are the future of the modern world, whether you want to believe it or not. Just check out below the three reasons why electric vehicles will be around sooner rather than later:
The Global Impact Of Gas Powered Cars
The fossil fuel emissions made by humans and their vehicles have a really nasty effect on the environment. For example, across the pond in the United States of America, The U.S. transportation sector is responsible for about a third of the country’s climate-damaging emissions.
On the United Kingdom side of things, Transportation is the most polluting sector in the United Kingdom, producing the equivalent of 122 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2019. So, with all that being said, it’s obvious people need to find a more efficient and environmentally friendly way to travel. Electric vehicles may be the answer.
There Is A Better Built Support System
For a long time, electric cars were not thoroughly supported. For instance, electric cars have to be charged using charging stations. With that being the case, you would expect gas stations to put in some type of charging station for cars to pull up and recharge their battery; but that is why we never assume.
Installing the required charging stations costs a lot of money, more money than those gas stations were willing to pay. Now, with global warming becoming an increasing problem, the infrastructure surrounding electric vehicles has gotten a lot stronger.
And no, that does not mean that there is more availability to call IT support. It means that people are supporting the initiative of moving to electric cars more than ever, creating a world that will soon get used to having all electric vehicles on the road.
More and More Options are Becoming Available
With a much-improved infrastructure of electric vehicles, competitiveness within the electric vehicle marketplace has grown. There used to be just the Prius, but now large-scale corporations like Tesla, Ford, Jaguar, and Nissan are all putting in strong efforts to take over the market. Now that may be due to the new requirements and goals of whatever country (the United States wants all vehicles on the road to be electric by 2030), but the point still stands. Electric vehicles are growing, and it is easy to see why they are the future of our society.
Motor manufacturer, Kia, have today released a report detailing two pieces of customer research in November 2019 and January 2020, speaking to 3000 UK residents between 16 and 60 about their views on moving to Electric from Petrol or Diesel cars.
The research revealed that almost half of those interviewed admitted to over-exaggerating their green credentials to family and friends on subjects such as going ‘plastic-free’ and adopting zero-emission vehicles.
It transpired that 65% of parents make green decisions after pressure from their children, with 46% of parents saying they felt pressured by them to go green.
However, only 60% of Brits say they are ready to make the move to fully electric cars.
This morning, I spoke to motoring expert, Quentin Willson, who has been an electric car advocate for over a decade. He spends time lobbying the government to provide greater incentives to move to zero-emission vehicles and also has led way in getting fairer fuel charges for drivers.
You can listen to the interview in full, by clicking the play button above. You can also read the transcript of the interview below.
Matt Porter: Welcome to The Gadget Man Episode 156 – Is Society Ready to Adopt Electric Cars?
This morning I’m going to be speaking to Quinten Wilson, motoring journalist, TV, presenter and parent, and find out what his views on whether we are ready to adopt electric cars. the first question I have is from Maniel. He is concerned that if he buys an electric car, it will be less eco-friendly than his diesel because of the manner in which the electric motor is manufactured.
Quentin Willson: Well, that’s, that’s kind of nonsense really. and there’s a lot of myths surrounding this and, and the, the key research, pick this up that. People don’t know enough about electric cars, and there’s an informational issue here. But if you’re talking about mining in a democratic Republic of Congo, cobalt and things like that, it’s not brilliant, agreed. But electric cars are made usually in green factories. With renewable energy, and your, your diesel car will have been made in a factory that it’s power probably, or was prior, probably by coal and, and, and, and very intensive. Then you’ve got to get the diesel out, the ground, the oil out of the ground.
You’ve got to refine it. You’ve got to then ship it. You’ve got to transport it to the station. So. The idea that that, an old diesel or petrol car can be greener than a, an electric car is just nonsense. I mean, the numbers, it worries me that I possess his information. But over 80,000 miles, a petulant diesel car will emit 32.2 tons of CO2.
And, an electric car over the same mileage age, we’ll do 23 tons of Sierra, and that’s before you cost in all the transportation and refining of petrol and diesel. So, sorry, Maniel, it just, doesn’t apply.
Matt Porter: Yeah. He, what he started is, is as, as is quite common, with, with these kinds of forums is he cited a report which is on a, a website, which is difficult to, confirm.
The validity of it. So he’s talking about German, battery manufacturer, which is being powered by coal. but far as I’m aware, Tesla’s plans, for instance, are to build a Giga-factory in Berlin, which I assume will, their aim is to make it, from using renewable energy.
Quentin Willson: Oh, completely. Yeah. And I mean, look, if Elon Musk knows one thing, he knows how important it is, but you can’t replace, pollution and put it in another place by powering electric cars, by coal-fired power stations, that’s impossible.
Then he’s on the absolute Vanguard of all this with the solar and everything. So, it’s interesting though that we’ve got these myths being almost propagated and there is this kind of. Strange. Now fake news thing about electric cars that, you know, you can’t use them in car washes. That’s just so duff and the fact that, you know, the batteries are going to be a toxic hazard for generations to come. Where does this sort of thing come from? And I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but there’s quite a body of, of, of pushback against the whole, the whole industry. And it, it, it does worry me that this stuff still has credence.
Matt Porter: Yeah. Is a concern. I have been driving and testing electric cars, alternative fuel cars for the last five or so years myself. And I find it difficult to understand where these, where this information comes from as well. So, I’m, I’m with you on that. Chris has asked, “Do you think that the technology such as the autopilot type technology is likely to roll out into, electric cars, as a standard in the next, in the next few years, or will it be restricted to high-end models?”
Quentin Willson: I think it’s all about cost and I think, the autopilots OK, but the idea that we’ll all be driving around in autonomous cars, that’s a long way down the road. And that’s what people really think autopilot is, is, is the precursor for even Musk says, it’s at least 10 years away.
I think everybody, I talk to it all the, all the car companies say it’s probably longer, 15 years, and then you’re going to get the idea, the infrastructure worker, you can’t have rubbish signs and, and poor lines on the ground because the LIDAR and the radars have got to kind of pick all this stuff up.
So, I don’t think we’ll see autonomous cars for a long time yet. And I think, you know, your, your autopilots will, they’ll percolate down. Sure. But I don’t think there’ll be as Musk.
Matt Porter: Thank you. Graham has as asked “He lives in a terraced house with no drive or off-road parking. How is he going to be able to reliably charge his car, on a nightly basis if there is nowhere for him to plug into in his own home?”
Quentin Willson: This is a great question, and it concerns 30% of people in the UK. It’s 70% in London. if you haven’t got off-street parking, or garaging, then, you can’t really have an electric car.
So what we need to do, and again, I’ve been pushing hard, with the government for this is EV hubs that you have, in communities, in schools and supermarkets. These rapid charging hubs that people who don’t have the on-street a charging facility can take their car, plug it in for half an hour, 40 minutes, and then it’s ready to go and they can have batteries, large batteries, the size of shipping containers as well. So, you can modify the demands of all this kind of infrastructure technology. It’s there and it, you can, you can string it all together, but we just need the political will. And here’s the thing, the understanding Matt, from government ministers that we need to do this and that for me and, and, and the care research picked us up as well.
The democratization of the electric car, which is so important. We cannot carry on having them as a middle-class plaything where you’ve got your electric car and then you’ve also got Range Rover for long journeys. Everybody must have the right and the ability to drive a zero-emission car. And I’m absolutely adamant on that, and at the moment it’s skewed.
You know, really, to large income earning people. And we need to bring it right down to communities who want to be, you know, zero mission and help the environment.
Matt Porter: Do you think that that could be achieved by, government, grants or more, generous group government grants? I know there was the plugin grant, which was reduced, wasn’t it? Which was a real shame. but do you think, that needs to happen as well, or do you think it’s not affordable by the government to do that?
Quentin Willson: You can’t have it both ways, Matt, you, if you want, you know, this fantastic electric car revolution, then you’ve got to understand that it’s going to cost a lot, and we may be talking about in hundreds of billions.
Matt Porter: A bridge from Scotland to Ireland perhaps?
Quentin Willson: Yeah. Maybe two!
What we want to certainty the public wants certainty. Comment of fractures wants certainty. I want certainty. I want to know that they are going to build an infrastructure fit for the 21st century. That is future proof for the bigger, larger car batteries that are coming. A 100 kilowatt, 150 maybe even 200-kilowatt batteries and they aren’t marooned with this kind of poor thinking. The biggest problem I have with, with the government is that not enough people drive electric cars. I’ve been in a House of Commons, meeting in the House of Lords when I said, “Right, okay, how many people here actually drive an electric car?” And there’s nobody. It’s just, you know, me and a little Baroness, who, who’s always in the slow lane because she’s afraid of running out of juice!
So. I get that understanding is so important and Kia have really flagged this up in this research, which is 3000 people and it’s robust that, you know, we are anxious about this and we do want to have much more certainty and security from the government and they’re giving us these cliff edges. Choices, you know, no more new cars, petrol, new vans, or, or, or diesel cars by 2035 or maybe even 2032 will give us an option, you know, give us, give us a reason to change our behaviour and then we will.
But the two most significant things in this survey are. Your fear of not having an infrastructure and your fear of running out of batteries. So that proves that despite all the virtue signalling, the government has to do better than this
Matt Porter: There also seems to be, from what I can gather from again, from my questions, is a lack of understanding about what this switchover will be, that people.
I get the impression people tend to think that they’re going to have to suddenly stop driving their existing cars on a particular date. When the, if you like, the band comes in into, In into, into policy. And it, you know, even though when I’ve explained that no, you can carry on keeping your own car.
And then we also have people that are saying, but it’s surely going to drive the price of petrol up. It’s going to be expensive for us to keep our existing cars at that point, but too expensive to buy new ones. So we’re stuck in a rock and a hard place. So there is this kind of the whole mix of concerns.
Quentin Willson: And it’s not being properly explained to people.
Absolutely. Right! The ban, and here, let’s do this for the record, Matt. The ban concerns new Vans and cars powered by diesel and petrol after 2035 or earlier 2032 you will still be able to drive your petrol and diesel car. Nobody’s going to stop you. There may be an increase in fuel due to discourage use, but then that’s another thing I do with my “fair fuel” campaign and that that affects the cost of living and we need to keep the cost of living right down. The thing that worries me is that the government have said that they are not going to permit the sale of hybrids after that cutoff date. And I think that’s wrong-headed, but, what, what do I know?
So, people must feel that, you know, they don’t have to stop driving their cars, that you will be using these petrol and diesel cars for decades to come. Probably. and you may even see a spike in their values. Who knows? Electric car values have certainly gone up secondhand ones because of demand.
Matt Porter: The certainly seem to retain their value.
Quentin Willson: Absolutely. You look at some of the market-leading ones, and they’re up 17% in January, I think. 24% in February so far. So yeah and there’s another myth that they cost more. than petrol and petrol and diesel.
Cause actually if you factor in all the tax breaks, the benefit in kind the fact that you, if you’re a company, you can claim 100% of the cost back against the corporation tax and profits, and salary sacrifice, then the money you’ll save on fuel and, and servicing. I think we passed a watershed moment where an electric car could even be cheaper than a petrol or diesel car. Nobody’s really done the sums cause of that depreciation thing that the way you see these cars hanging on to their value and the replacement cycles are much, much longer. You keep your electric car for four, five, six, seven, eight, nine years. then I think it’s really interesting, some to have done if you look at currently.
Matt Porter: one thing is that my wife, Highlighted to me was that with hybrid cars, that there seems to be this whole mix of hybrids that are now being promoted. So, we have mild hybrids, Plugin hybrids, Self-charging hybrids. Do you not think that in some way that might confuse people that, okay, I want to buy a hybrid in there in the short term, or lease a hybrid, but, hang on a second, I’m being told that there are a whole number of different hybrids that I can have. do you think that that makes it slightly unclear to people when they look into buying a car that, are they buying the right kind of hybrid?
Quentin Willson: Absolutely you’re right, people don’t understand enough and you know, the point of sale of where you buy your electric car isn’t the right place.
Usually, the salesman wants to sell you a diesel. So, we, we really do need, as a society and as a government to start communicating these messages better and getting people to understand which is the best, the best car for you. And everybody’s needs are different and there is no charging infrastructure in certain areas.
So why would you buy a battery-powered car or buy a hybrid? And that makes perfect sense. But getting this stuff across, I think he’s really important. And yeah. Here’s the irony. Kids seem to know much more about this than parents. They really, in this research there, they are, they at the if you’ll pardon the pun, the drivers behind this, this, this moment of change.
And, and parents are reacting to the pressure from their kids. And I get it from mine. that, you know, you’ve got to do something and you’ve got to be as green as possible. And then in a way, that’s that. That’s great. Really, because it comes from innocence and our generation have kind of used up the resources of the world.
So profligately. And, and, and these kids want to change it all. And that’s, I think, a great social force that we mustn’t ignore.
Matt Porter: That’s right. there was one final question I mustn’t miss, which is important to most people, which is, Grant has asked me, “So if we all move to electric cars, how on earth will the infrastructure cope with the demand for electricity?”
Quentin Willson: Well, I, I’ve spoken to the National Grid at length about this because it’s an obvious question. and they say, when you get to say 50% penetration, we will still be okay because we will have grid management. And don’t forget that there are offshore, wind is now. Renewables is probably 55% of electricity generation.
You will need to, rebuild what is known as the ‘local circuits’, which are the wires that come into your house and into your lamppost on the streets. And that’s going cost quite a bit. That’s going to cost about 4 billion quid because they will need to take much more power. They will be able to generate enough because if we spend enough to, to, to have more renewables, more offshore, and a couple more, nuclear power stations, yes, but that’s kind of a long way off.
100% EV utilisation may never happen. Matt, it’s going to be a slow transition just because it is. and I see 30, 40, 50% by maybe 2040 and then as we get to 2050 zero-carbon, you might get 60 70% EV penetration. It just depends how we roll up the infrastructure, but everybody in the electricity generating industry and their district network operators say that we can cope if we kind of just regenerate some of the old wiring, the old substations.
Matt Porter: I think that is really important as well for people to understand, that the responsibility rests on our shoulders as much as it does, government shoulders and the, you know, if by simply looking at installing a solar panels on our homes and battery storage in our homes as well there where we can hold, we can re, we can charge three, we can hold our own power, to charge our vehicles ourselves. Or we can run our households. We’re not putting the strain on the grid at these high peak times ourselves because we’re storing energy ourselves. I think that’s a really big thing that people need to start thinking about is it’s battery storage really in their homes and solar energy.
Quentin Willson: Oh, I agree. My 21-year-old son, he never stops talking about it and showing me pictures of battery walls and, and the fact that we can, we can be completely independent of the utility companies that the big villains. And I think that’s absolutely right. And they’re all people who have these battery walls and the solar and are, are just, you know, completely pairing their house and their car on renewable energy and, Whoa, that’s just such a great goal.
Matt Porter: Quentin, thanks ever so much for your time this morning. It’s extremely interesting and I know my listeners will be happy to hear those answers and yeah, thanks ever so much for your time.
Quentin Willson: Pleasure Matt.
Matt Porter: So that was Quentin Wilson giving us his views on the impending adoption of the electric car in the next 15 years.
So, until next time, this is Matt Porter, The Gadget Man signing off.
So what has been happening in the Electric Car market over the past couple of years?
Well, since my slew of Electric and Hybrid car reviews a couple of years back and our mega-exciting East-West Road Trip in the Tesla Model S 100D, we’ve been quiet on that front. The absolute opposite of what has been happening in the EV marketplace.
I spoke to Graham on BBC Radio Suffolk about what’s happening with regard to charge points and speed of charging, you can listen in to the audio stream above to find out more.
However, something super-exciting is happening in motorsport. Now that Formula-E fully electric car racing has established itself, it’s now time to turn up the power even more and with a new sport created by the father of Formula-E.
Extreme E – A radical new racing series.
Extreme E is a radical new racing series, which will see electric SUVs competing in extreme environments around the world which have already been damaged or affected by climate and environmental issues. The five-race global voyage highlights the impact of climate change and human interference in some of the world’s most fragile ecosystems and promotes the adoption of electric vehicles to help preserve the environment and protect the planet.
Extreme E is operated in association with Formula E – the organiser of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. Extreme E is committed to sustainability and minimising environmental impact – as well as playing its part in rebuilding and restoring areas already impacted by climate change
A new breed of racing means a new breed of the motorcar.
The car, named ODYSSEY 21, will feature in Extreme E’s radical new racing series which will highlight the impact of climate change on some of the world’s most fragile ecosystems, and promote the adoption of electric vehicles to help preserve the environment and protect the planet.
So, that’s just one thing that’s happening in the electric car market.
Watch as a fully-electric Formula E car lined up against a cheetah in the Western Cape, South Africa.
The race was undertaken to highlight the global impact the burning fossil fuels has on the environment and consequently threatens these endangered species.
Both cheetah and Formula E car reach speeds of 60mph in around three seconds. To find out which came out on top, watch the video.
As a Zero-Emissions motorsport, Formula E aims to help provide a solution by being a catalyst for change and help accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles and making a cleaner environment for all of us.
Jean-Eric Vergne, Montreal E-Prix race winner and TECHEETAH driver, said: “Both the TECHEETAH Formula-E Team and I want to be part of raising awareness for the wider impact that climate change has on our planet. We do it mostly by showcasing and developing our electric cars across the world throughout the Formula E season, but we wanted to do more outside of the race track. There are only around 7,000 cheetahs still living in the wild and we have a strong desire to raise awareness for the main threats they face, such as illegal trade of cubs for pets, loss of prey due to habitat loss and fragmentation aggravated by climate change. I’m really proud to have participated in this film and stay tuned for some exciting news to come following the documentary.”
There are now just 7,000 cheetahs remaining in the wild. The species is wide-ranging and sparsely distributed and needs large landscapes to survive, making it particularly vulnerable to habitat loss and fragmentation – threats that are exacerbated by a changing climate.
The film was overseen by conservation experts and animal welfare organisations, and is released in partnership with Animal Issues Matter, Cheetah Outreach and Endangered Wildlife Trust.
The UK has experienced it’s best ever quarter for Electric Vehicle reservations, with an average of 1 EV registered every 13 minutes between January to March 2016, a rise of 23% on the same period 2015 according to Go Ultra Low
During this period, 10,496 plug-in cars with registered averaging at 115 per day and is set to continue this trend despite the recent slashing of the government grant from £5000 to £2500.
Using figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Go Ultra Low’s analysis showed the sales of plug-on vehicles rising steadily against the previous five year trends.
Motorists are beginning to see the benefits of electric vehicles and growing to understand the idea of ‘topping up’ overnight on home charge points and during the day at public chargers, along with the Plugin Car Grant which has been utilised by more than 58,000 motorists since its inception in 2011.
When asked to comment, Transport Minister Andrew Jones was quoted as saying: “These record figures show that hundreds of people every week are coming round to the fact that plug-in cars are cleaner, greener and cheaper to run. The UK is a world leader in the uptake of low emission vehicles and our long-term economic plan is investing £600 million by 2020 to improve air quality, create jobs and achieve our goal of every new car and van in the UK being ultra-low emission by 2040.”
Notably the month of March seems to be one of the strongest months for Electric Vehicle sales, this year 7,144 electric cars with registered compared to the previous monthly high of 6,104 for March 2015.
Poppy Welch, Head of Go Ultra Low, said: “This continued and steep growth in uptake of plug-in cars is testament to how electric vehicles are becoming a natural choice for increasing numbers of new car buyers. With low running costs, tax exemptions and free parking in many locations, many more motorists should be considering a plug-in vehicle as their next car. As registrations records continue to be set and the rate of EV growth carries on, it’s no longer a question of will more motorists choose electric, but when.”
The UK is now a market leader for Electric Vehicles in the European Union with one fifth of the European Union’s collection EV Sales, runner up to Holland.
Goultralow.com provides a one-stop shop for information about owning and running electric vehicles, the makes and models available and the locations of the thousands of publicly available charge points.
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.
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.