Electric Vehicles. Should we believe the hype?
Fully Charged Live Show – Silverstone, June 2019.
The day out.
Recently we visited the Fully charged show at Silverstone. For those that have never heard of Fully Charged, its a podcast/youtube ( https://www.youtube.com/user/fullychargedshow ) channel headed up by Robert LLewellyn or Kriton from Red dwarf that talks about electric vehicles. The organisation put on a live 3 day show in and around Silverstone’s impressive Wing building last week. Being into the automotive salvage and recycling industry we thought it poignant that we visited.
The topic of conversation on the travel over was more than likely the conversation we’ve all had regarding electric vehicles. Is it ever going to take off? There is no doubt in my mind that the Hybrid vehicle is a feat of modern engineering. To drive and to be driven in one is an experience and one that kind of leaves you feeling that you’ve somehow cleaned up the environment in the processhowever, I have not had the experience of driving in a full EV.
On the journey through the gravelled car park up to the exhibition housed in the wing building at Silverstone, there were more full electric vehicles such as BMW i3, Tesla and Renault Zoe’s than you could shake a stick at, plus hybrids in abundance. Personally I believe(d) that at this stage of the technology we have, hybrid is the way forward. That was, until we walked into the event.
The first car to catch the eye was the Tesla model S P100D launched back in 2012. Having not seen a Tesla up close it was a good chance to see what the hype was all about. Space like interior and a speed of 0-60 in 2.4 seconds and a range of 370 miles on a full charge a surprisingly good range in my opinion. In Norway (who are a world leader in embracing electrification) they sold 8600 units of this particular model followed almost identically by The Netherlands. But this models starting prices is £88,000 , making Elon Musks brainchild out of most peoples budgets.
Jump to a Renault Zoe that starts at £21,000 or a Kia E-Niro that starts at £32,000 these are a more affordable vehicle for most considering Electric. Although even at the bottom price range of £21k The Zoe is still expensive, but when you bear in mind, there will be no Fuel cost, only electricity and presently no road tax, this can be offset against the initial outlay.
The Audi E-Tron was a beautiful example and a car that you thought “oh yes! I could handle one of those”. The usual style & look you’d expect from Audi didn’t disappoint. Being Germany’s first mass produced EV, you wouldn’t know that this vehicle is Full Electric until you lifted the bonnet. First impressions, it could just be another model of Audi, but an attractive one. The cars interior keeps that familiar feel, albeit, with a full digital experience inside. Any flaws? In my opinion 250 miles on a full charge is a bit of a downer, however the battery will 80% charge in 30 minutes. But with a starting price of £71,490 could only be a pipe dream to the masses.
Most manufacturers are guaranteeing EV batteries on average for 100,000 miles. I find this slightly concerning. How long do full EV batteries last? We don’t currently know as we’ve not yet reached that stage. What price is a new battery for the consumer if or when this one gives up? Another potential hurdle in the future of recycling an EV is how do you recycle the batteries? There currently is a big ELV question of “how will we do that?”.
So, we saw how manufacturers are producing, promoting and pushing these Electric vehicles, with more models to follow from more manufacturers. These part autonomous part robot vehicles are very impressive, however they carry a hefty pricetag. Full EV prices need to come down so the common person can purchase and become mainstream. With ULEZ (Ultra low emission zone) tax at £12.50 a day even a hybrid isn’t going to avoid this charge due to its emissions, so full EV will be the only ULEZ exempt vehicle.
The ULEZ came into effect in April 2019 in London. Other Cities such as Bath, Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester and Leeds are all approved to start ULEZ’s from 2020.
I still think that hybrid is the Short term answer for most considering going green. With hybrids you get the best of both worlds, electric and good fuel economy. I welcome the future with open arms and embrace the change. Seeing what vehicles were on offer currently, I feel a sense of excitement of whats to come, what tech will be available in ten years? I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface.