It wasn’t long ago that electric vehicles (EVs) were almost derided for their unreliability in a world of powerful diesel motors. Today, the EV market is exceeding everyone’s expectations, with an average of more than 4,000 new registrations per month in 2017 compared to just 3,500 for all of 2013.
But why the growth in demand for electric vehicles? Alongside Vindis — which offers VW services — we’ll explore the advantages of EVs and what the UK government is doing to further this eco-friendly trend.
Benefits of EVs
There are many benefits of EVs despite the initial setbacks. Firstly, an EV does not generate emissions. Consequently, drivers can slash their carbon footprint and help the UK achieve its aim of reducing emissions by at least 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. Secondly, an electric vehicle does not need petrol or diesel — which means no checking for the cheapest rates or queuing at the pumps. And thirdly, an EV is almost silent when being driven — a great way to lower noise pollution.
Considering the above advantages, it’s little surprise that demand for EVs is rocketing in the UK.
What are motor brands and the UK government doing to boost EV numbers?
EVs are an effective way to tackle the UK’s pollution and carbon emissions problems. Typically, a passenger vehicle gives out 4.6 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Considering that this pollution is reported to accelerate climate change, cause breathing difficulties and more, it’s key that eco-friendly products, like EVs, are encouraged and supported.
Fortunately, the UK is working to offer more charging points across the nation. In sync, motoring manufacturers are constantly creating motors with better battery lives and mileage ranges in order to finally put to bed the argument that EVs can’t be trusted — especially on long journeys. Japanese vehicle brand, Nissan, recently launched the Nissan Leaf, which features a long range and a one-pedal driving system, allowing it to go about 50% further on a single charge than the EVs before it. As one of the most sought-after electric cars, the Nissan Leaf has hit sales of 283,000 since 2010 — this is second only to Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV. Could Nissan claim the top spot if it keeps innovating?
What else is the EV car industry doing to make its vehicles more palatable to the UK driver? A one-pedal driving system, like Nissan’s, is another bonus of electric vehicles. By simply pressing a button, you can turn the motor’s accelerator into an e-Pedal, start the vehicle, accelerate and stop. Although you have the option of controlling the start and stop functions separately, the one-pedal system is just another feature that makes this EV simpler to drive. Plus, the system makes the car even more energy-efficient to lower your carbon footprint even further.
The problem of recharging your EV
Unfortunately, being kinder to the environment and negating the need of petrol stations is sometimes not enough for drivers. Some won’t drive a car if they have even a slight fear that it will run out of power. As of May 2017, around 4,300 charging locations — with 6,700 charging devices and 12,500 connectors — were available in the UK. However, to counter the issue of needing eight hours to fully charge a battery, a surge in public charging points that can recharge at least 80% of EV batteries in half an hour is necessary.
Thankfully, an answer is imminent; with ChargePoint and InstaVolt planning to install at least 3,000 rapid-charging points on forecourts all over the UK. What’s more, there’s a Europe-wide EV charging network on the horizon, too. Launched by a collaboration between BMW, Daimler, Ford, and the VW Group with Audi and Porsche, the network will feature 20 ultra-rapid charging points with an aim of creating 400 points across the continent by 2020. The network is expected to cover around 100 locations by the end of 2018, which will hopefully mean that traveling free of carbon emissions will be a lot easier.
Of course, from an energy point of view, this installation of charging locations raises some concerns. The National Grid claims that a demand of 50% more electricity will occur if the UK moves to EVs — is this worth it considering the tonnes of carbon emissions that will be reduced?
EV battery life of the future
30 minutes is the amount of time a battery generally takes to recharge at a rapid charging point. However, a recent study suggests that there has been a development of an ‘instantly rechargeable’ method that brings full-life back to an electric battery in just a few minutes. Could the motorists who won’t buy an EV due to the time it takes to recharge finally be swayed? If this method becomes available, we anticipate that the EV industry will only get stronger, which means cleaner air and roads for all the UK and its residents. Electrolytes are employed in this method to re-power battery fluids, which makes it so efficient.
Most of us know about the government’s 2040 aim of eradicating petrol and diesel cars. Granted that the momentum of this drive continues, the EV market and its eco-friendly motors should only grow in authority and numbers. Hopefully, innovations and developments will continue to resolve the issues that put people off buying an EV, including battery life and time taken to charge. If so, we could see the government achieve its target of lowering emissions by 80%.
In 2017, ABTA’s Holiday Habits Report declared that 87% of Britons have taken a holiday in the past year. This insight has been applauded with great enthusiasm by agencies and companies in the travel industry, but the consequences of this discovery still seem to be unknown to most people.
As a matter of fact, the recent increase in tourism goes hand in hand with a rise in carbon emissions. CO2 emissions are predicted to reach the level of 50 metric tons by 2050 for the United Kingdom only.
However, these results might still underestimate the impact that tourism has on the environment, as they don’t consider the impact of greenhouse gas emissions besides CO2, as well as all the usual activities that tourists perform when on holiday.
Fortunately, being eco-friendly is something that anybody can do. This infographic by Greenmatch.co.uk shows you how to have a more sustainable holiday by implementing some simple tips that can make a real difference for our planet.
Thinking about becoming more environmentally conscious? By driving eco-friendlier you can reduce your carbon footprint whilst lowering fuel costs. But, how exactly can you do this? Lookers, providers of the driving motability scheme, tell us more:
Reducing your fuel costs
Many of us spend a lot on fuel when commuting or visiting family and friends. But, there are some things that you can do to become more fuel efficient and get more out of your money.
Try changing gears at lower revs. This driving technique prevents your engine from overworking and therefore requiring more power. It has been suggested that when you’re behind the wheel, you should try to change gear when the rev counter reads 2,000rpm for diesel and 2,500rpm for petrol. This stops your engine from working too hard and reduces the risk of clutch and gearbox damage (more unexpected costs that you could do without).
Although it’s hard to resist rolling your windows down on a warm day, it can have a negative impact on your fuel tank. This is because driving with the windows down can cause your vehicle to drag — requiring more energy to move the car. So, is air conditioning a better alternative when it’s hot? One study discovered that this may actually use even more energy than when the windows are open.
Predicting the road ahead
To save on fuel and make the most out of your full tank, you should try and maintain a steady speed. But, how can you do this?
Predict what’s coming up on the road and prepare your speed accordingly. For example, if you’re approaching traffic lights, slow your car down in plenty of time to avoid harsh braking. You might surprise yourself by how much you can save on petrol or diesel by avoiding unnecessary stops and starts. In fact, statistics show that harsh braking and acceleration can reduce fuel efficiency by 33%. Similarly, when coming up to stand still traffic, reduce your speed so you can continue to move.
Although you should be avoiding speeding anyway for legal and safety reasons, there are other benefits of speed control.
If your car has cruise control installed, make the most of it. This feature allows you to maintain a steady speed and prevents too much speed fluctuation — improving fuel efficiency. Remember to turn your car off when stationary (when it’s safe to do so) to save on fuel too.
Which speeds are most economical to drive at? It’s most economical to drive below 70mph. In fact, research has found that it can cost up to 25% more in fuel to drive at 70mph than it does when driving at 50mph.
But, you want to avoid driving too slowly also. If your vehicle is moving below the speed of 15mph, the most vehicle pollution is created. Pollution emitted then lowers when accelerating to 60mph and rises again after this threshold.
Become an eco-driver and see your savings grow!
Climate change and global warming has put the whole world on high alert, becoming two of the most pressing issues of society today that transcends political agendas and diplomatic relations between countries. Because it affects the state of the planet that we live in, many have led efforts to aid and minimize human contribution to the worsening of the state of the Earth, calling for an overhaul in our lifestyles and the products that we use, among others.
According to multiple studies, one of the biggest contributing factor to the multiplying environmental issues that are threatening the world are brought about by cars. Its carbon emissions, which is one of the most prominent and common element in most cars, is seen as one of the most prolific factors for the exacerbating conditions today.
Over the years and after countless studies about the best solution for this part of the problem, car manufacturers have offered one of the best-suited keys to reduce the hazardous impacts that these vehicles have on the environment: hybrid and electric cars. But while it may be the best answer to this difficult situation, there’s also the fact that hybrid and electric cars are undoubtedly more expensive than their carbon-emitting counterparts.
But if you’re still looking to play a part in the betterment of the condition of the world without needing to fork out an exorbitant amount of cash to switch to a hybrid, here are the nine proven ways you can make your car eco-friendlier regardless of its make or model, as seen in this infographic by Global Tint UK.
The UN’s World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts.” The idea behind it is to ensure that future generations can visit and enjoy a given destination. It includes supporting local economies, social development, and environmental conservation. It can involve such practices as hiring people from the local area, recycling waste, and/or selling locally produced products at gift shops and restaurants.
Ecotourism is a related but narrower concept that stresses biodiversity and environmental protection. The ecotourist also wants to learn about plants, animals, and indigenous cultures as well as protect them.
One book on sustainability snarkily advised, “Stay on your own continent.” Unfortunately, there’s a large element of truth to that. The farther you travel, the more energy you will use. As environmentally friendly as biking and walking are, you can only use such methods to travel relatively short distances.
A staycation can be a very environmentally friendly option, especially if you live in a big city like New York that has a good public transportation system. Not only are there probably attractions you haven’t seen, but you likely know where they are and the best way to get to them. Your main challenge will be to sort through the possible attractions to pick the ones with the best environmental practices.
What if you need to go on a business trip, or you have your heart set on going to Hawaii? Unfortunately, traveling overseas is, so far, not environmentally friendly. As of 2015, airplanes are the world’s fastest-growing source of carbon dioxide emissions. A round-trip flight between Los Angeles and New York produces about two tons of carbon dioxide per passenger. Someone driving a Prius would have to drive 10,500 miles – or the equivalent of two round trips between Los Angeles and New York – to produce that much carbon dioxide.
Cruise ships are also problematic; a big one can use as much as 250 tons of gasoline every day. They can also produce about 80,000 liters of sewage every day – and the less responsible lines have been known to dump their sewage in the ocean. A Japanese company called Peace Boat has been working on a more sustainable cruise ship called the EcoShip that will be at least partly powered by solar and wind power. It will need 50 percent less electricity and emit 30 percent less carbon than conventional ships. It is scheduled to take its maiden voyage sometime in 2020.
Overland transportation options include cars, buses, and trains. The best choice depends on the distance traveled and the number of passengers. City-to-city buses like Greyhound, for example, can be a surprisingly good choice. While the bus itself may get a pitiful six miles to the gallon, it can carry upwards of 50 people, and city-to-city buses are typically at least 70 percent full. Trains can get as much as 56 mpg and are therefore another good choice. The main problems with driving a car are that people tend to drive alone, and they don’t always choose cars that get good gas mileage. Driving a car can be a good choice if the car is a fuel-efficient hybrid and you’re traveling with other people.
Traveling with a tour company has advantages. They make all of the hotel and transportation arrangements; you just have to meet them at the appointed time. Some are ecotourism companies that stress sustainability. Such companies follow practices like hiring locals as guides, reducing waste, and conserving water and energy.
Intrepid Travel, which was established in the late 1980s, might be the grandfather of the eco-tour companies. It is also one of the largest and offers itineraries in over 120 countries. Like many such companies, it emphasizes “small group” expeditions. Not only does this provide travelers with a more personalized experience, it also reduces the amount of resources used during the tour. Small groups also enjoy easier access to smaller restaurants and sites, and they have an easier time interacting with locals. By contrast, a big group of 40 or 50 people is limited to places that can accommodate their numbers.
Some companies focus on specific places. Rainforest Expeditions takes people on tours of the Amazon rainforest in Peru, and it works with locals to protect native species. Undiscovered Mountains concentrates on the French Alps. They make a point of hiring locals as guides and instructors. Similarly, they work with independent hotels who support the local economy by buying food and other goods from local suppliers.
Green hotels will often be certified as such. They may have earned LEED, Green Leaf, and/or Green Seal. Such hotels will have often used recycled materials in their construction. They will also conserve energy and water and have recycling programs.
The organization Green Globe certifies companies that run sustainable accommodations. Its website includes a directory of its members that are organized by region and country. Clicking on a specific hotel, lodge or resort will take you to a page filled with information about that particular accommodation – including how it earned its certification. A hotel in Madagascar, for example, is the world’s first hotel to run solely on solar power.
When we think about the impact that our life and habits have on the environment, transportation needs to be up there with the other most important aspects that need to be considered. It’s something we can’t live without, but we often don’t do enough to make it as environment-friendly as it could be.
Luckily, the situation is changing for the better. More and more people are actually becoming aware of the carbon footprint problems and are trying to do something to minimise the negative effect. Also, we are helped by numerous new inventions in the field that are making it possible for us to travel much greener than before. So, what are the most popular choices for such transportation nowadays?
If you haven’t already switched to an electric car, it might be the time for you to do so. Not only will you not create any poisonous gases, but you’ll also be able to reduce the amount of noise that traditional cars with internal combustion engines make.
Many governments are encouraging their citizens to purchase such cars by subsidising their purchase, allowing free parking and introducing more charging stations, so that you shouldn’t worry about running out of energy on the road. Even if you are driving a hybrid car, you’re helping the planet, but for even better results you should really think about an electric car.
Multiple occupant vehicles
If you can’t afford a hybrid or electric car for some reason, you could at least take carpools into consideration. The fewer cars on the street, the less polluted the environment, which is why multiple occupant vehicles are gaining popularity around the world.
Travelling to work with colleagues or sharing a car with friends for a night out is a great way of both reducing the transportation costs and preserving the environment. So, if you want to do your part in helping us keep our planet as clean as possible, you’ll definitely think about this option as well.
One of the traditional, yet highly beneficial ways of travelling is cycling. To begin with, you don’t create any toxic gases. Next, you keep your body in great shape, which means you’ll be able to stay healthy for much longer. Finally, in places where traffic jams are a common thing, using a bicycle often means that you can get to the destination faster than by car.
You could also consider electric bikes as a mode of transportation. They often have a speed limit set at 20 mph, but are extremely efficient and useful, especially in urban areas. Even if your battery runs out of power, you can peddle your way around other vehicles stuck in traffic.
Green public transportation
Green trains and hybrid buses are some of the cheapest eco-friendly transportation options. The former feature hybrid locomotives and use electrified third rail, overhead lines or devices that store energy like fuel cells and batteries. They are also quite fast and safe.
The latter boast lithium-ion batteries and electric motors. A diesel generation creates energy that is stored in the battery. This efficient form of transport is already present in many cities all over the world and you can hopefully use it where you live.
Probably the most obvious choice, walking is not only good for the environment, but for your health as well. Unless you live really far from school, work or shops, there’s no reason why you should walk to those places. Replacing a short drive with a walk is not only cheaper in terms of saving money you’d otherwise spend on petrol, but you’ll also get a good workout, which means you won’t need to spend additional time to go jogging, for example.
It’s clear that green transportation has many benefits and that they are not only related to the environment, but your health, too. It helps us preserve our planet, it saves you quite a lot of money and it can also have a great effect on your health. So, there’s no reason why you should go green when transportation is concerned.
The countries leading the way in electric car charging points
Number of electric car charging points created in the last 12 months
Is it time you went electric?
The number of electric vehicles (EV) in the world hit a new record in 2016, accelerating past the 2 million barrier, as prices fell and manufacturers launched new models. This proves that countries around the world are at the forefront of stimulating EV deployment but where are all the EV charging points?
We’ve analysed data to discover the countries who have introduced the most charging points in the last 12 months and therefore leading the way in EV deployment.
The UK government recently announced a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel engine cars from 2040, amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide are posing a major risk to public health. The government claim that the ban must take place due to the unnecessary and avoidable impact that poor air quality is having on the general public’s health.
Petrol and diesel cars are amongst some of the worst generators of nitrogen dioxide, which causes many serious health issues to the public, such as long-term exposure decreasing lung function, increased risk of respiratory conditions and increased response to allergens.
Not only does nitrogen dioxide affect us, it also effects the world around us. Due to the intense levels produced by the millions of cars in the world, nitrogen dioxide causes devastating effects such as acid rain, smog and ground-level ozone formation.
In a desperate effort to reduce these effects, the government hopes that the ban of petrol and diesel engine cars will lead to a switch to less harmful electric vehicles and increase in use other forms of alternative transport.
Select have looked into the road leading to 2040, to see why this is happening and if the UK will be ready for the switch.
For a lot of people, shopping for a new car brings two major things to mind. First, how can I be eco-friendly and reduce my personal carbon footprint? And secondly, how can I do that without breaking the bank? The truth is, the real key to lower costs and lower emissions rests not with the sticker price or the model specs. The answer to both of these concerns is tucked away in a vehicle’s gas mileage capabilities.
Facts and figures pertaining to fuel economy are publicly available thanks to the EPA.
A quick looklook at this information will confirm something you may have already guessed: Hybrid and Electric vehicles consume less fuel than other vehicles by a pretty wide margin. However, at the current time these vehicles are known to carry a hefty price tag, so many shoppers are looking for other ways to save on money and gas.
In the realm of conventional gas run vehicles, not all are created equal. Gas mileage can vary greatly from model and make, and especially by the manufacturing year. Older vehicles tend to use much more gasoline while many newer models can reach fuel efficiencies of above 35 MPG on the highway. For that we can thank federal mandates which have driven innovation in the auto industry leading to lighter components, better engineering, and other smart technologies.
While all manufactures seem to be trying to increase fuel efficiency across the board, it also appears that each brand name wants an especially affordable and efficient vehicle on the market. The top six most efficient vehicles for under $20,000 currently on the market are the Honda Fit, Chevy Cruze, Mini Cooper, Toyota Corolla, Ford Fiesta, and Mitsubishi Mirage.
As car nuts will note, this shows us that smaller and more compact vehicles are often better on gasoline consumption. However, for some people driving a big truck is a necessity for their line of work. Luckily, the industry-wide raising of standards has made big changes even in the truck and SUV sectors. Many modern trucks with six or eight cylinders will even cycle down to three or four cylinders respectively while cruising the highway – often without the driver even noticing.
Still, you can take actions to minimize the environmental impact of your truck by reducing wind resistance. This can be done by temporarily removing your tailgate when it’s not needed, or with the addition of a truck bed cover . Either of these fixes will lower the drag on the rear end of your truck, and improve your gas mileage instantly.
Beyond gas mileage, one enormous automotive environmental impact people tend to forget is the negative effect of junking old cars . Especially if you own a recently manufactured vehicle, keeping it on the streets will be infinitely better than letting it rot in a landfill or junk yard. And as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Taking appropriate precautions such as finding some custom fitting floor mats will not only ensure your vehicle will remain in good shape for your own use, but it will make it easier to resell to another loving driver when you need to move on.
Driving a personal vehicle is essential for many Americans. However, burning tons of gasoline and spending piles of money is anything but essential. With smart shopping, full tires, and a couple of light modifications, you might be surprised how far one tank can get you these days.
CarKeys.co.uk have put together a retro video animation on how far electric cars can actually drive on a single charge – challenging the front runners in the EV market against each other.
It's a fun animation that offers something different, they have even gone with the Tesla theme and hidden their very own Easter Eggs within the video.