Guidance for local authorities
Download Transport for London's guidance document on implementing EV charging infrastructure
Find an electric vehicle dealer
Contact details and location map for a selection of the main electric vehicle dealers across the UK
News & Events - August '11
31.8.2011Ford Evos Concept
The four-door, four-seat fastback Ford Evos Plug-in Hybrid Concept will make its global debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The concept is designed to showcase Ford’s first truly global design language and a new vision for customer-focused and intuitive technologies.
The Ford Evos Concept has a state-of-the-art lithium-ion plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain providing the same next-generation performance and fuel economy as the Ford C-MAX Energi scheduled for introduction in North America in 2012 and Europe in 2013.
Ford ‘powersplit’ hybrid architecture allows the electric motor and petrol engine to work together or separately to maximise efficiency. The advanced powertrain typically runs in all-electric mode before switching to charge-sustaining hybrid mode for continued optimal fuel efficiency.
Cloud connectivity would provide further opportunities to enhance performance and efficiency by selecting the optimum combination of powertrain modes for any given journey.
Access to historical driver behaviour and travel patterns will allow the calculation of the optimal fuel and energy efficiency by predicting the destination.
The cloud-optimised powertrain would automatically ‘know’ when to save energy and switch modes, using information about the vehicle’s predicted travel route, any emission zone restrictions during the journey and current weather conditions.
In the future, communities may place firm restrictions on the types of vehicles allowed to use certain roads or highway lanes, and some city centres may choose to be open only to full electric vehicles. Helping drivers comply with such regulations could therefore be among the benefits of this technology. For example, the French government is considering creating zones mandating lower emissions, while cities such as London, Berlin, and Stockholm already have them in place.
This capability would further enhance the performance of Ford’s advanced PHEV technology, which offers an overall driving range of more than 500 miles (800 kilometres) using the battery and engine – more than any other plug-in or extended-range electric vehicle.
With information from the cloud, the vehicle can provide the same connected lifestyle the driver experiences at home or office. The car knows the driver, and automatically adapts handling, steering and engine controls to deliver an exceptionally dynamic driving experience.
The Ford Evos Concept was specifically developed to introduce the new Ford design direction and key design elements will be applied to forthcoming Ford vehicles.
Read our review of the new Ford Focus range, tested at the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power.
25.8.2011Electric Vauxhall Ampera awarded top safety rating
The Vauxhall Ampera extended-range electric vehicle has been awarded a five-star safety rating by the independent consumer organisation Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme).
This means that the Ampera is the first electric vehicle from a European manufacturer suitable for everyday use to achieve this result.
The Ampera exceeded the maximum points needed to achieve the top rating in all categories including occupant protection, child safety, pedestrian protection and safety assist. The five-door saloon also turned out top results in the side barrier test, thanks to its combination of solid core body structure, rigid passenger cell and efficient restraint systems.
“It has been a long tradition at Vauxhall/Opel to offer highest possible safety standards, and the Ampera impressively continues our leadership role in safety technology. The Ampera not only meets but exceeds the most stringent requirements for top ratings in each of the Euro NCAP test categories. This is a unique achievement we are very proud of,” says Vauxhall/Opel Chief Executive Officer Karl-Friedrich Stracke.
The Ampera is the first car tested by Euro NCAP to score maximum points in the side pole impact test, mandatory since 2009. In this test, the car is propelled sideways at 18mph into a rigid pole that simulates a tree. Thanks to the outstanding crashworthiness and stiffness of the Ampera’s core body structure, occupants are very well protected. Crash impact protection is provided by an extremely solid passenger cell. It has been designed to ensure the least possible deformation and the largest possible survival space in the event of a crash. To help dissipate high impact forces, the front, sides and rear of the passenger cell are protected by energy absorbing zones that deform in a controlled manner.
The electrical safety of the car was also checked after all the impact tests. The battery pack of the Ampera, comprising 288 cells in nine different modules, is located in the centre of the vehicle, and the vehicle structure is built around it. Thanks to the vehicle structural design, the battery pack is efficiently protected from both front and side crash impacts and remains in its location. While post-crash electric safety aims to achieve zero high voltage current in an emergency, the high voltage battery pack can also be easily disconnected by rescue parties.
After a crash, the Ampera is required to have no electrolyte spilled into the passenger compartment, and no more than seven per cent of the electrolyte can be found outside the passenger compartment and the battery.
Active and passive safety features on the Ampera include:
▪ Standard Four-wheel Anti-lock Braking System, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist and Electronic Stability Control
▪ Eight airbags including front, side, and knee air bags, as well as roof-mounted head-curtain air bags that help protect occupants in a side or rollover crash
▪ Optional rear-view camera system featuring a display integrated into the navigation system screen
▪ An ISOFIX child seat installation system for the rear seating positions
▪ Adjustable head restraints on the front seats which helps provide protection against whiplash injury in the event of a rear-end collision
▪ Collapsible pedal assembly (Pedal Release System) for lower leg protection in a frontal impact.
The Ampera is based on GM’s global compact car architecture, on which the Vauxhall/Opel Astra, another top Euro NCAP ratings winner, is also built.
The Ampera is the first electric vehicle to enable “go anywhere at any time” mobility. The five-door saloon offers space for four adults and their luggage, and will be on the market at the end of the year. A 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack feeds the 150PS electric drive unit. Depending on driving technique, terrain and temperature, it delivers between 25-50 miles of electric operation with zero tailpipe emissions – ample for a vast majority of UK commutes. But thanks to its range-extender, the Ampera can travel for more than 300 miles on electric power without needing to stop at a filling station or to re-charge.
18.8.2011Chevrolet Miray hybrid concept car
The Chevrolet Miray concept combines a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine with two electric motors, and it will have its European premiere at the forthcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.
The 1.5-litre engine is mounted behind the driver. It also has two front-mounted 15-kW electric motors, powered by a 1.6 kWh lithium-ion battery that is charged through regenerative braking energy. This enables zero emissions in urban driving as well as quick acceleration.
Chevrolet calls this a "mid-electric" propulsion system, as it is located primarily behind and beneath the driver. It also calls the car a hybrid rather than an extended-range electric vehicle, as per the Chevrolet Volt or Vauxhall Ampera. The Miray can be switched from front to rear-wheel drive.
A dual-clutch transmission means that there is no need for a torque converter, so enabling a reduction of the engine's size. Chevrolet also says that the car has a start-stop system, which you would imagine would be the case anyway due its electric capability.
The body sides are made of carbon-fibre-reinforced plastics (CFRP) and carbon fibre.
The Chevrolet Miray was first unveiled at the Seoul Motor Show in March this year.
17.8.2011Electric Morgan +E
A new, high-performance electric sports car prototype is being developed by the Morgan Motor Company and a consortium of British technology specialists.
Interestingly, the Aero Supersport-based electric car will have a manual gearbox, which should provide more driver involvement than is normally the case with the majority of electric cars.
The Morgan +E programme will deliver two engineering concept vehicles early in 2012. Both will be based on a development of the Aero Supersport’s aluminium chassis with the 4.8-litre BMW V8 replaced by a new derivative of Zytek’s high power-density electric powertrain driving through a conventional manual gearbox.
The collaborative research and development project is being part-funded by a £100,000 grant from the Niche Vehicle Network CR&D Programme, which is managed by CENEX to provide support and grant funding to groups of companies active in the niche vehicle sector. It promotes the development and application of new technology to take advantage of the increasing market opportunities for lower carbon vehicles.
“This is an exciting investigation into the potential for a zero-emissions Morgan with near supercar performance,” says Morgan’s Operations Director, Steve Morris. “By working closely with Zytek and Radshape, who already have considerable expertise in this field, we aim to make this a realistic concept that could lead to further developments if demand and other factors prove favourable.”
Zytek’s first experience with a high-performance electric sportscar was back in 1997 when it converted a Lotus Elise to electric drive. The Award-winning design led to engineering programmes with Chrysler and General Motors, closely followed by a long-term relationship with Daimler to develop and build electric powertrains for the smart fortwo ed (electric drive). In motorsport, Zytek was the first company to race a hybrid at Le Mans and supplied technology for the first KERS-equipped Formula 1 car to win a grand prix. A new low cost KERS has also been developed by Zytek and has been tested by Honda for potential use in the 2012 super GT series.
The prototype Morgan will use a new derivative of Zytek’s proven 70kW (94bhp) 300Nm electric powertrain, which is already supplied to US vehicle manufacturers. The compact, lightweight unit will be installed in the transmission tunnel and will require just three additional connections (cooling water, high voltage electrics and low voltage electrics).
Power will come from a Li-Ion battery pack integrated into the vehicle’s aluminium structure, offering a lightweight and powerful solution with safety systems already proven in production applications. The powertrain and batteries will be mounted in a bonded and riveted aluminium chassis constructed by precision metal former Radshape, based on an evolution of the design already manufactured by the company for Morgan’s Supersports range.
Zytek’s sales and marketing director Steve Tremble says that one of the reasons for joining the consortium is to show the ease with which his company’s technology can be integrated with a rear-wheel drive platform. “With maximum torque from zero rpm, electric power can deliver an immediate, thrilling driving experience,” he says. “Our intention is to demonstrate drivability, performance and refinement that comfortably meets the expectations of Morgan’s most discerning customers.”
An unusual feature of the vehicle will be that drive from the electric motor is taken through the standard manual gearbox. “Keeping the motor in its sweet spot will help it use energy more efficiently, which will increase the vehicle’s range,” explains Zytek’s engineering programme manager Neil Cheeseman. “It also allows us to provide lower gearing for rapid acceleration from pull-away and higher gearing for top speed. It should also make the car more engaging for keen drivers.”
“Access to Cenex funding, who support the Niche Vehicle Network, will allow British companies to demonstrate their world-class expertise,” concludes Radshapes managing director, Keith Chadwick. “The UK has many of the world’s most capable specialists in low-carbon vehicle technologies and projects such as the Morgan +E are an outstanding way for us to bring our considerable expertise to life.”
The Niche Vehicle R&D Programme provides support and grant funding for groups of companies throughout the UK that are active in the niche vehicle sector. The programme is funded by Advantage West Midlands and the Technology Strategy Board. Managed by CENEX, it promotes the development and application of new technology to take advantage of the increasing market opportunities for lower carbon vehicles.
Zytek is exhibiting at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle 2011 event at Rockingham on 7 & 8 September.
12.8.2011Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle
Toyota will debut the production version of the 128 mpg Prius Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) at the Frankfurt Motor Show on 15th September.
The new Prius Plug-in Hybrid features a new, more compact lithium-ion battery which offers extended EV (electric power only) range, enabling the Prius PHEV to achieve fuel economy of 128.4 mpg and to lower CO2 emissions to 49 g/km, almost half the standard Prius.
The Prius Plug-in Hybrid offers drivers the best of both worlds; extended EV driving range for shorter journeys in towns and cities, while the efficient hybrid petrol engine gives the car long range capability and the low fuel consumption of the standard Prius.
The Prius Plug-in Hybrid represents the latest development of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) system. This full hybrid technology has a track record earned through worldwide sales of over two million cars and billions of miles of driving.
The new Prius Plug-in becomes the flagship of the Prius range, a showcase for new technologies and further advances in hybrid technology. In 2012 it will join an expanded Toyota hybrid range consisting of the Prius, the British-built Auris hybrid, the new, seven-seat Prius+ and the new Yaris hybrid, demonstrating Toyota’s commitment to introduce Hybrid Synergy Drive technology to the wider market.
Fuel economy and CO2 are target figures based on the European homologation cycle.
11.8.2011Electric Audi Urban Concept
The Audi Urban Concept is a lightweight 1+1 seat lightweight electric car.
Audi says that the technical study combines elements of a ‘racing car, a roadster, a fun car and an urban car’.
The concept has free-standing 21-inch wheels, and two e-tron electric motors with a lithium-ion battery.
There is room for two people on board, their position slightly staggered and at a sporty, low level.
Entry to the car is through the tailgate, while the roof is designed to be manoeuvrable and it slides to the rear to open.
The cockpit consists of ultra-lightweight carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP), which integrates the undercarriage of both seats.
8.8.2011MINI E trial results
The results of the UK trial of the electric MINI E have now been published, and they provide interesting information about how people use electric cars.
For instance, virtually all recharging was carried out at home, and almost all participants said they’d consider buying an electric car as a result of taking part. People preferred to plug-in the MINI E rather having to go to garages and pay for fuel.
With 62 members of the public and 76 pool users running the battery-powered hatchbacks over two six-month periods, the government-supported trial is the most in-depth of its kind in the UK to publish its findings.
An enormous amount of data was collected electronically by data-loggers in the car and the home charging points, and also from extensive driver research carried out by Oxford Brookes University. The early findings have already informed the development of the 2011 BMW ActiveE car, a four-seat car based on the BMW 1 Series Coupe, but the biggest beneficiary will be the BMW i3, the first purpose-built EV from the BMW Group, set for launch in 2013. This information has also helped to inform UK policy-making decisions and other EV market stakeholders.
The UK trial discovered that everyday use of the electric MINIs didn’t radically differ from the typical driving patterns of a control group of drivers of conventionally powered cars in the same segment. In fact, the daily journey distance of 29.7 miles was slightly more than the 26.5 miles recorded by the control cars, a mix of MINI Coopers and BMW 116i models. Interestingly, the UK average daily distance driven for private cars overall is less than 25 miles. With information gathered by on-board data-loggers, the average single trip distance was recorded as 9.5 miles compared to the UK average of seven miles.
Four out of five people reported that 80 percent of their trips could be done exclusively in the MINI E, and this increased to 90 per cent of users saying that with the addition of rear seats and a bigger boot, all their trips could have been done in the MINI E. 84 percent said that the severe low temperatures during both phases of the field trial affected the distance that could be driven between charges, but despite that, four out of five participants told the researchers they thought the MINI E was suitable for winter use, with one user, Janet Borgers, saying she “regularly did 88 miles in a single journey in the cold weather”. Another female commuter clocked up almost 8,000 miles over a September to March period.
Given the daily driven distance of just under 30 miles, the drivers felt confident enough not to have to charge their MINI E every night. In fact, the average was 2.9 times a week according to information fed back via electricity smart meters, with special night-time tariffs successfully encouraging individual drivers to charge when it was cheapest, which coincided with a low demand period and a greater proportion of renewable energy in the grid mix.
Nine out of ten drivers told the researchers that charging actually suited their daily routine, with 81 percent agreeing with the statement “I prefer to plug in the car than go to a fuel station”. The running cost-savings were appreciated by users, with one participant telling researchers the thing she’d miss most was: “the money I will have to start paying for fuel again!”
Most charged at home, with 82 percent using their wall-mounted charging box 90 percent of the time. The lack of a comprehensive public charging infrastructure in the UK was noted, with four out of five participants (82 percent) saying they thought that it was “essential” that a network of charging points was established. However, almost three quarters (72 percent) said they were able to use their car perfectly adequately right now as they had access to private charging.
Asked about their driving experience, the trial participants were full of praise. Every single one enjoyed the quietness, with one user quoted as saying: “I like the silence – it’s very futuristic and it causes a reaction when people notice you pull away without making a sound.” And they all agreed with the statement: “electric vehicles are fun to drive.” The reason was partly down to the “fast pick-up and quick acceleration” of the 204hp MINI, again a statement that 100 percent agreed with. One even went so far to say it was “absolutely the best car I have ever driven”.
Driving efficiently to extend the range was seen as part of the enjoyment rather than a chore. Understanding that use of the regenerative braking could increase the range by approximately 15 percent, three quarters of the users (74 percent) agreed with the statement that it was “a game for me to use the regenerative braking in a way that enables me to reach my destination without draining the battery.”
Asked by the Oxford Brookes University researchers for suggestions to deal with the potential danger from the low noise at low speeds, over half (56 percent) said that instead of an artificial noise, the driver should pay more attention. However just over a quarter (28 per cent) said they’d like to have a warning noise below 12.5mph.
Almost all participants (96 per cent) said they’d consider buying an electric car as a result of taking part, and half (51 percent) revealed they would pay a third more for an EV. A third (30 percent) said they’d consider taking the plunge within a year, while 55 percent said they’d hold fire for two or more years.
The trial found that one week was all that was needed for customers to adapt to the characteristics and peculiarities of driving an EV, such as charging, range, regenerative braking and low noise. However those company car drivers invited to use the MINI E as a pool car on a less frequent basis needed increased training and support during the initial period of vehicle use in order to consolidate their learning.
Fleet use was a big part of the trial with organisations in the UK and in Europe reporting positive feedback from both individual drivers and also fleet managers monitoring the MINI E’s use as a pool car. Those users who swapped out of their regular car reported that the MINI E was fine for 70 percent of journeys made during the working day, while the pool car success rate was even better with between 80-90 percent of regular trips achievable.
The speed of charging was an important consideration for fleet users, while managers also flagged up the need for a clear procedure for the efficient charging of pool vehicles. Companies that participated included Scottish and Southern Energy, Oxfordshire County Council, and Oxford City Council.
The MINI E trial was one of eight UK projects supported by the £25m Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Programme, funded by the Technology Strategy Board and Department for Transport. These are aimed at bringing forward the introduction of viable electric passenger vehicles to the UK.
Suzanne Gray, General Manager of BMW i said: “The feedback from the trial has been invaluable in helping our understanding of how people really respond to electric cars and other factors necessary to support electric car drivers. With this information we will be in a strong position to provide a well-rounded product and service proposition to customers of the BMW i3 and to work with other players in the electric vehicle market to make it a successful experience for a new generation of users.”
Kulveer Ranger, Mayor of London's environment director, said: 'Electric driving technology is coming on leaps and bounds, but people naturally still have questions and concerns. Research such as this by BMW Group into real life experiences is invaluable as it debunks some common myths and underscores why electric vehicles are perfect for urban driving. The trial has also demonstrated the importance attached to supporting infrastructure, which is why the Mayor of London has launched Source London to provide a network of charge points that will help to create optimal conditions for electric vehicle use in the UK’s capital.’
The MINI E Trial in numbers:
- ▪ 40 MINI Es
- ▪ 12 months
- ▪ 138 drivers (32 women, 106 men)
- ▪ 258,105 miles
- ▪ 33,345 journeys
- ▪ 80,282 kWh electricity
- ▪ Highest mileage by an individual driver over six months - 7954 miles
- ▪ Average mileage per vehicle over six months, including fleet pool cars – 3226
- ▪ Average cost to charge over six months - £60, less than 2p per mile
The MINI E is a two-seat development of the familiar MINI Hatch. It is powered by a 204hp electric motor that also generates 220 Nm of torque. It is driven by battery power in the form of a 35 kWh Lithium-Ion battery containing 5,088 cells. The battery was charged by a special home charger supplied by consortium partner Scottish and Southern Energy. This enables a charge time of 3.5 hours at 32 amps. The MINI E has a top speed of 95 mph and an official range of 149 miles (according to FTP72 standards), although a realistic range is 112 miles.
The UK field trial mirrored those on the East and West coasts of the USA, in both Munich and Berlin; Paris; Tokyo and Beijing and Shenzhen. In the UK 40 MINI Es were driven from December 2009 until March 2011. The 40 private MINI E Pioneers were selected from applicants in the South East of England and paid a subsidised monthly lease cost of £330. The remainder were fleet drivers with an individual car nominated by their company. They represented a mix of males and females from a cross section of income-groups, education backgrounds, urban/rural dwellers, family sizes and annual mileages. Drivers with access to a MINI E pool car also formed part of the study.
The UK Consortium members who have supported the MINI E trials are Scottish and Southern Energy who supplied the home /public charging technology and energy, Oxford Brookes University who devised the research methodology, selected participants and analysed data from users, SEEDA who provided funding support and enabled the participation of Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council, and the BMW Group who led the Consortium, supplied the MINI E and managed driver education and support.
The 40 MINI Es are still on UK roads in partnership activities which continue to promote awareness and understanding of electric vehicles, and they will form part of the BMW Group UK’s official vehicle fleet for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
4.8.2011Nissan to install electric charge point in Lincoln
Nissan is to fund the installation of Lincoln’s first public electric vehicle charging point, following the recent Top Gear feature which highlighted the lack of charging infrastructure in the East Midlands city.
In the television programme, presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May drove a pair of electric vehicles, including the Nissan LEAF, into the centre of Lincoln in an attempt to find somewhere to charge their cars.
Having failed to find any public infrastructure the pair were forced to charge at the University in the centre of the city, dangling cables through an open window.
Should the presenters choose to attempt the journey again in future, they will discover a newly-installed PodPoint charging unit dedicated to them. With two sockets, it would allow both Jeremy and James to recharge their batteries at the same time.
Charging will be free of charge to electric vehicle owners.
Councillor Fay Smith, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services and Public Protection at the City of Lincoln Council, said: "The Top Gear programme highlighted the fact that Lincoln does not currently provide for electric cars and we're really pleased that Nissan is now funding a charging point. We're committed to reducing the city's carbon footprint, but know that we can't do it alone, so it's great that private businesses like Nissan are getting behind this and putting in the infrastructure."
The PodPoint charging unit is due to be installed before the end of the month and the presenters will be invited to return to Lincoln and be the first to plug in to the new charger.
Top Gear Executive Producer Andy Wilman said: "This is excellent news for the electric car community of Lincoln. If the charging point had existed when Top Gear were there, James wouldn't now be walking around with Jeremy's name tattooed on his bottom. Still, better late than never."
Nissan’s Executive Vice President Andy Palmer said: “Research tells us that most LEAF owners will charge their car at home or at their place of work, but drivers like having the ability to ‘top up’ their charge when they are out and about, especially if they are making longer journeys. With its new charging points and the fame generated byTop Gear, Lincoln could find itself becoming a tourist destination for Nissan LEAF owners.”
The Nissan LEAF costs £25,990 on-the-road, after the £5000 government plug-in car grant.
It can be charged via a conventional three-pin socket, or by a fast charger which allows an 80% charge from empty in less than half an hour. One conventional charge plus a rapid charge gives a range of almost 200 miles per day.
Fast chargers are currently available at all Nissan EV dealers.
Nissan recommends fast charging only once a day in order to preserve battery life. Properly maintained, the LEAF battery is expected to provide useful service for the lifetime of the vehicle.