If you’re a regular visitor to www.aminorjourney.com you’ll know that I’ve ran stories on the Electric Car Corporation and their line of converted Citroen C1s, which they call the C1 “Ev’ie”. It all started back in April, when the Citroen Ev’ie jumped onto the market. The team behind the advertising campaign had used a sign-written petrol-powered car for photo shoots and had omitted to change the number plate. It lead to me speculating if the vehicle even existed.
Later on, a test-drive from What Car? appeared, in which the team reviewing it had some issues with acceleration and a battery overheating on the drive. You can watch the video at their website.
I’m not the sort of person to give a company a hard time unnecessarily, and felt that perhaps my initial story was a bit hard on ECCPlc, the makers of the Citroen C1 Ev’ie. So, I arranged a trip down to London to test the Ev’ie for myself. I really wanted the car to blow me away. I so badly wanted the Ev’ie to make me feel all kinds of guilt for being nasty about it in the past without even having driven it. I wanted it to make me love it. But as I quickly found, my relationship with the Ev’ie that wasn’t going to be a plain-sailing one.
Read on after the jump for a run-down of the vehicle and our eventful test-drive.
London is often viewed as the EV charging capital of the world. Thanks to the Congestion Charging zone and it’s exemptions for electric and other green vehicles, not to mention the success of the small G-Wiz and similar small electric vehicles London appears, at least on the face of it, to be a brilliant place to be if you want to own an EV.
Not only that, but there’s now over 100 public electric vehicle charging points spread throughout the greater London area. In order to use one, you have to satisfy a series of criteria to ensure that you’re a) an electric vehicle owner and b) that you agree to abide by the fair usage policies the charging points have.
But wait. What’s this? London Boroughs (think of them as small council district within the greater London area) may appear to provide charging points to electric and PHEV vehicle drivers but they’re rather picky about who can use their points.
Welcome folks, to the new charging standard for EVs and PHEVs in the European Union. It’s based on a design by Mennekes, and will support a range of charging options for EVs at anything from a standard 13A, 240V supply through to a mighty 400V three-phase, 63A supply.
Best of all, it seems like the Mennekes system is designed with interoperability in mind and may even offer some retro-fitting for suitable vehicles.
With Elektromotive set to roll out a series of upgrades to it’s charging points in the UK to allow for a ‘pay as you go’ charging system (as well as a new version of their Elecktrobay charging station supporting the new standard) there really isn’t a better time to look into going electric.
More details of the new charge standard after the jump
For new electric vehicle owners, one of the biggest fears (at least at the moment with few charging stations publicly available) is running out of electricity when making a longer-than usual trip. For those of us who have been driving a plug in vehicle for some time the range anxiety is much less because we know the limits of our vehicles. However, any trip to the ‘maximum’ theoretical of our vehicle’s range always spawns nervousness.
After he saw the theoretical range of the Tesla would reach the Yosemite National Park, one adventurous Tesla owner decided to prove the Tesla sales team correct and take a trip out there for himself.
According to The Register, the Mitsubishi iMiev will be available in the UK from November. Perfect timing then for those EV enthusiasts with £20,000 to burn and a space on their Christmas list. Sadly, only fifty of the cars will be available at the end of the year. I suspect this will mean that they…
Amongst those who seek to discredit the environmental, economic and social impact of electric vehicles there have been many who have tried to scaremonger the general public that a nation of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids will cause mass power outages of a scale big enough to rival the famous brown-outs of the East Coast United States of the early part of this century. If these naysayers were to be believed a whole country of electric cars plugging in would be catastrophic for the rest of society.
Well, guess what? A study, conducted by LandRover-Jaguar, Ricardo, Amberjac Projects and E.O.N, has concluded that the UK PowerGrid is capable and ready to support a large amount of electric and plug in cars already. So next time you plug in, you know you’re not denying anyone some much-needed electricity and causing mass brown-outs. That’s nice, isn’t it?
If you’re wondering about the title of this post It’s quite simple. I’m fed up dealing with all the excuses that car companies make when trying to sell EVs. It’s not going to make them popular. Plus it gives the Jeremy Clarksons of the world ammunition in their mission to hate anything without a V8 and a huge exhaust. And who can blame them. When so many in the EV world make silly claims about their cars or silly excuses about how they perform.
I’ve been thinking about this post for quite some time, ever since I went for a test-drive for an EV in London and found that the company offering the test drive were about as professional as buying a car from a dodgy guy in a pub car-park. Why? It was poor organisation, delivery and knowledge. Oh, and a car which was nearly empty. Not good publicity. (They’ve since improved greatly).
Twenty-Seven days ago I tagged along with a friend to London, where we picked up a very rare and historic EV – a 1984 VW Golf City Stromer. For the next few weeks this car sat on my driveway while my friend worked hard to get it back on the road after over two years…
Last week at the 2009 SAE World Congress the final plans were bashed out for a new way to charge plug in vehicles. Sadly it’s not an inductive one like the oh-so-simple charge paddles which were used on cars like the EV1 and RAV4EV to name but a few. No, this new standard is a good old-fashioned mechanical plug. You plug your car in and up to 30 Amps at either 120 or 240V flows into your car. Neat.
The latest version of the charging standard, called J1772, will include a five prong plug, capable of allowing communication between the external charger and the car charging. The Volt is rumored to be using it and Tesla have already signed up to make it standard on their cars. But it’ll only be used in the USA. Europe, in it’s own special way, has gone a different route, with a three-prong design capable of up to 80Amps at 240V. Unfortunately, the European standard is three-phase, meaning that it is unlikely to work in most European domestic situations without a complete home re-wire.
Fast charging is great, but does this spell the end for the DIY converter, or those of us who already drive cars with standard domestic plugs? And when you scratch the surface we risk looking at a future where charging plugs are far from standard. With the European standard and US standard finalized, are car companies now going to play nice and only ever use one of two EV charging plugs. What about cross-continent imports? And will those of us with cars now be able to retrofit our cars?
Those red-blooded, meat-eating petrol-heads aren’t going to like today’s motoring news from the UK; The Government is planning to reduce the speed limit of some UK roads to help reduce fatal crashes, improve fuel economy for drivers and reduce pollution. The reductions? The national limit on single-lane (one lane in each direction) roads could be lowered from 60mph to 50mph in rural locations – and the normal town speed limit of 30mph in built-up areas could be reduced to 20mph.
According to this times article, local councils wishing to keep the current speed limits would have to make some seriously impressive cases to be allowed to keep the current 60mph and 30 mph limits. There’s no plans to reduce the speed limit on major roads such as dual carriageways and motorways. That will stay at 70mph.
The idea behind it all of course is to make roads safer and reduce death and serious injury in the next ten years by a substantial amount. Will it be obeyed? Or will it just mean more fines for unfortunate drivers caught out by confusing (and changing) speed limits?
Or is there another effect of this announcement which some of us may actually benefit from in other ways?