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.
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.
This week we talk about at the Volkswagen e-Golf, a really superb electric vehicle which successfully bridged the gap from traditional petrol or diesel car to fully fledged electric car.
This really was a superb vehicle on every level, the handling was just amazing. It was incredibly easy to drive and once I had got the handle of ‘Park Pilot’, that too was amazing. A really great car, and a head turner too!.
Thanks to VW Press Office for supplying the car with everything I would ever need and thanks to the two delivery drivers who were equally polite and helpful.
Dont forget to listen to the stream above, and wait for the full review coming soon!