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There has been some good news for EV car lovers of late, with more news recently coming out of the Frankfurt motor show. So I thought it would be a good time to do a bit of a review of what I've been reading, is it time for me to consider my next car to be electric?
Let's talk about my current car and requirements. I currently drive a BMW 1 Series, nearly 3 years old and only just over 15,000 miles. Why did I buy it? I panicked if all honestly as time was tight, it's a well built car with a great sound system (that's important to me) but I stupidly bought a diesel.....
This image is not my car!
Since buying the car my circumstances have changed, I do not drive as much I used too. Not that I did many miles previously anyway, I owned a Seat Leon Cupra Mk2 before the BMW for 10 years and she was more fun to drive.... just not as well finished and her sound system was awful.... swings and roundabouts. I still miss her.....
So. I plan to make a change in just over a years time, with that a change of job will also be happening. Currently I commute to London by train for work, but if I get a local job I may need to drive. So I might need to do more miles in the future.
Got to say though, in 10 years car technology had improved a lot!
I'm paying monthly for the BMW, a car that hardly moves. It's nice to know that she is reliable and is the first car I've owned that is an automatic (I'd never go back now).
So that is where I currently am, there are many things to consider. My requirements have changed over the years as I've got older, I remain single and kid free a 3-door will always remain open to me, though manufacturers are slowly phasing those out..... BOOOO!
This list isn't exhaustive, I mean there was a Audi AI: Trail announced. It has drones which are your headlights, feel free to look it up as that is a strange concept! This list is what I could possibly afford, with the odd exception....
Before moving on to more realistic options..... I should give a quick mention to Porsche who have been making headlines with their first electric car.
The Porsche Tycan is beautiful, you cannot get away from that. It's also a high performance car, unlike a Tesla where ludicrous mode is to be used now and then because the batteries overheat. None of that for the Tycan, it's made to be pushed to it's limits.
The naming scheme is odd, there is a variant with turbo in it's name and we know that Electric cars do not have Turbo's. I suspect they chose to do this to keep things familiar for the Porsche customer, if you look at the new cars they all seem to be simple as not to scare off buyers.
The price for the Tycan in the USA starts at $150,000, going up to $180,000 for the previously mentioned turbo variant. (remember there is no actual turbo). The stats are impressive, but I'm not going to into that right now. It's getting a mention because it's a huge step and kudos to Porsche for doing it.
I can only dream of affording a car in that price range.
Right, first up in the EV selection. Tesla.
Considered by many to be the benchmark for the EV car world, Elon Musk has definitely helped the market make a few strides forward in the last few years. I've been keeping my eye on them for a while now, with most of their models out of my price range it's more of a dream than a reality.
Tesla have took a different approach to other cars on the market, with the on-board camera's the cars are able to drive themselves on the motorway. They have also put in more cameras than required so when autonomous cars are allowed on the road, Tesla's will release a quick firmware update to allow that feature because they will be capable.
They have treated the car more like a device, thinking ahead. The cabin's are basic in nature and have a large iPad like device, they are feature rich in other ways, with the odd gimmick thrown in.
Tesla announced the more affordable Model 3, which really sparked my interest. But, I've come to realise they are not necessarily as affordable as they make out. But what Tesla have done is build a car with a decent range, if you look at other manufacturers RWR (real world range) are about 50% of what Tesla say they can achieve.
Kudos to Elon Musk as his Tesla team, they have made the industry stand up and think, they have also built a brilliant Tesla charging network around the world.
Whilst I like the idea of the car doing my driving for me, their price and small dealership footprint makes me think a little.
I would still love one, they appeal to my inner geek and the Model 3 is a nice looking car. So if anyone feels like buying one for me, do reach out.... (a man can dream).
Now, onto the more realistic options available.
First up, Mini are releasing an electric variant. With a starting price of around £24,000 if you take into account a UK government scheme. Without that you're looking at around £27,000.
As I understand it this car is the Cooper S spec and will match the petrol variant performance wise, it's a trusted brand and looks like a normal mini. As you can see they have added some yellow trim to help identify the model, you'll be pleased to know you can delete that option. You can change the wheels back to standard for no extra cost.
The wheels on the Mini are called Corona and were originally on the concept, apparently people liked them. They are functional, meaning they are aerodynamic and are thankfully removable for no extra cost.
The Mini has a range of up to 145 miles on a charge which is not what I would expect from a leading manufacturer.
Charge time of 45 minutes for 80% using 50kW fast charging, or at home charging will be 12 hours for the same 80%. If you get a wall box fitted then that drops down to 4 hours. If you are a drive around town type who never drives any distances, then this car might suit you.
What this cars offers is a platform that consumers are familiar with, they can build them in numbers and know they are of a high standard. Also being built in UK. There will be three models when available, Level 1, 2 and 3 with the most expensive starting at around £30,000
It's the new Corsa from Opel/Vauxhaul.
Now. I've never been a Vauxhaul fan (Opel for our European friends), not really been a fan of the Corsa either. But, I must say I think they have nailed the styling here, it's a good looking car.
Vauxhaul are no longer part of the GM group so it borrows the underpinning from the Peugeot 208, prices are starting around £26,000 and is being built on the same production line as it's combustion engine variant.
A 50kWh battery giving you around 134bhp, with a range of 211 miles which is better than the mini above. A 30 minute charge will give you 80% using a 100kW rapid charger, if charging at home it's an 11kW charger so expect around the same charge time as for the mini.
Unlike the Mini there is only one variant of the new Corsa-E, maybe overtime that will change. Another solid choice for driving around town.
It's a Renault next, a re-fresh of the popular Zoe coming to us next year. With the previous model selling about 150,000 across Europe, Renault will be hoping to improve on that figure.
Styling is similar to the previous model, guessing not to scare of the existing Zoe base. Not that the styling particularly appeals to yours truly.
Prices start at around £18,000 in the UK and buyers will have the choice of two models, the first comes with 108bhp which is the same motor in the previous Zoe and the second giving 133bhp.
Both with 52kWh, with a range of 242 miles. The older Zoe had 40kWh and a range of 182 miles, so whilst the new model doesn't reach the 300 mile threshold it's moving in the right direction.
Fast charging up to 22kW for 60 minutes will give you 78 miles according to Renault, there is the option to add 50kW charger compatibility which would give 90 miles in the same time frame. If charging at home using 7kW you get a full charge just under 9 hours and 30 minutes.
Another town car, I'm starting to see a trend.
Time to throw a Honda into the mix.
This is the Honda E, gotta to say I like the styling here. Think it reminds me of the MK1 Golf, anyone else see that? It's kind of cute... yes I know thinking a car is cute isn't the right emotion/feeling that it should be evoking. BUT LOOK AT IT!!
In the UK the Honda E prices will start from about £26,000 when taking into account the government scheme, so without it would be just under £30,000. That's not cheap.
Entry model comes with 134BHP, there is a variant with 152BHP but that comes with a higher price of around £28,000.
Comes with 36kWh battery and Honda say it's range is over 136 miles, charging on fast charge will give you 80% within 30 minutes. I've struggled to find more details other than that right now, I'd expect it to be in line with what we have already seen above with regards to charging at home.
When compared to the likes of the Zoe then this looks expensive, possibly making the electric versions of the Mini and Corsa more appealing but the Honda E does appear to come with some toys. (not literal toys).
Time for Volkswagen to enter the ring, the manufacturer has big plans for the EV market and the ID3 is the first of the plans to come to fruition. Wonder if the Diesel gate scandal has speared them on.
The ID3 is golf like in size, according to VW has the same interior space of a Passat with performance similar to a Golf GTI.
Like the Mini, there are three variants. Buyers will be able to choose between a 45, 58 or 77kWh models. When using quick charge mode for 30 minutes, VW say that will give you 260 miles, beating the competition and competing with the big daddy Tesla. The biggest battery model will give you a range of up to 342 miles, that's more like it!
The ID3 is expecting to have a starting price of around £29,000 which isn't exactly cheap, the largest power version expect nearer £40,000. Too expensive? The pricing has not yet been officially confirmed, so keep an eye out for further details.
With the size of VW and the dealership network, I'm expecting this to sell well. All ID3's heading for the UK have already been snapped up, so if you're interested you'll need to join the waiting list.
So that's all the cars news I wanted to share, but before I bring this to a close some other bits to share.
When looking at EV cars, there are other things you need to consider. The charging network is a huge thing, Telsa has a head start on the other manufactures at this time. There are many petrol forecourts out there, do the likes of Shell, Esso etc start to evolve and place charging points around Europe? Do you sit in the car whilst it charges for 30 minutes? No offence to petrol stations, but they are going to have to up their standards.
BMW, Daimler (Mercedes), Ford, VW and Porsche started Ionity back in 2017, Ionity is a venture between the mentioned parties to build a European high power charging network. Recently Hyundai and Kia announced they have joined the venture.
So far there are about 140 chargers across Europe, the plans are to expand that figure to around 400 during 2020. The aim to have a charging station for every 75 miles, that's quite an aim and should make longer journeys easier.
But that's in the near future, Tesla as I previously mentioned are ahead of the game in that area and have often offered free charging for their customers. I read that VW will give customers 12 months of free charging up to a point, the finer details I guess are still to be worked out for all.
As we move from petrol cars, the norm changes and there are other things that buyers will need to consider. With petrol and diesel cars it's mpg, now it's real world figures. A whilst some high performance cars will only do 150 miles on a tank, it only takes a few minutes to refuel. In the world of Electric cars we are not yet there, I'm guessing as technology continues to improve we won't be far off it in maybe five years?
In the winter when the batteries are cold the range will take a hit, no getting away from that. So those countries with extreme cold weather need a solution. Manufactures will steal some heat from the cars heating system to warm the batteries up and keep them warm to help, I've seen them talk about this.
Tesla cars are all connected via their app, even my BMW has an app but it's functionality is limited. Expect these cars to have similar functionality to Tesla, times are indeed changing.
Because of it's range the ID3 has my attention right now, I still like the idea of the Model 3 from Tesla. Imagine trying to drive to the Sim Racing expo in the Mini Electric, Corsa-E, Zoe or the Honda E.
Of course there are other electric cars out there, but I wanted to concentrate on the recent announcements. Feel free to post any you think I should consider, should my next car be electric? Is it too soon?
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