Newer Electric Models of Classics Unveiled

CONCEPTelectricCAR
CONCEPTelectricCAR

The electric car revolution is also changing the current crop of vehicles on the road today.; the classics are now being turned electric with the blessings of their original automaker.

The first one is the Hummer, that beast of a vehicle that took inspiration from the all terrain vehicle the military has in use. Now, a company based out of London named Prindiville has modified this iconic vehicle and has turned it into a two seater electric Hummer. This modification is now an official licensed product of General Motors, the original makers of the Hummer and its later versions. The Prindiville Electric Hummer is just a smaller version of its original design and is allowed to travel in and around London without being charged for London Congestion Charge and other taxes.

The Electric Hummer utilizes a 72V lithium ion battery with a range of sixty miles. The batteries can be recharged using an on-board Delta-QTM Multi-Region charging system that can be plugged into a standard indoor or outdoor socket. Full recharging takes eight hours for a 13 ampere outlet, but higher amperage means shorter charging times. On the average, the Electric Hummer can cost as low as 1.2 pence per mile in electricity.

The chassis is made of lightweight materials and has an introductory Limited Edition series of 25 vehicles before going full blast manufacturing. The materials include carbon fiber detailing on the front hood storage compartment, flared wheel arches, the iconic chrome louver grill, and matte black window surrounds. For safety, there are lockable double skinned doors and injection moulded LED lamps at the front and rear for better lighting under any condition. Other features include, heated sports seats in white trim, LCD digital dashboard display for battery charge indicators and speed, Pioneer CD radio and MP3 in car system with slim line remote control for entertainment.

The price range is from £25,000 to $40,000 depending on the options and this excludes taxes, VAT and shipping. The vehicle comes with a two year or 10,000 mile warranty, with a one year 24 hour roadside recovery/breakdown assistance.

According to Truska Angel, Prindiville Design CEO, “In parallel to being one of the world’s leading luxury coachbuilders, we are fully aware of our responsibility to offer motorists sustainable choices through the provision of exciting transport solutions in this evolving electric sector. The new model is clearly a step in the right direction and the beginning of an exciting journey which promotes individual styling preferences, fun and an all-important sustainable lifestyle. This is clear evidence that greener choices do not have to compromise luxury and beautiful design.”

Nissan Leaf Provides More Services

NSSANleaf
NSSANleaf

The Nissan Leaf presence is now felt throughout the world. One of the first activities would be held between June 23 and 24, where a fleet of these zero emission vehicles would be driving around London to offer free ‘taxi’ rides.

One can avail of the service by sending a Tweet that incorporates hashtag ‘#6XCHEAPER’ together with chosen destination. This is one activity where the Japanese car giant would be able to obtain information from consumer feedback in designing the taxi of the future.

Utilizing the social media platform Twitter is integral in Nissan’s grand plan, ‘The Big Turn On’. The program aims to spread the electric vehicle message through social media channels to convince one million separate individuals to choose electric vehicles within just a hundred days. The program’s one million target was achieved last June 20, nearly three weeks ahead of the projected schedule.

The ‘#6XCHEAPER’ tag underscores the fuel savings provided by an electric vehicle, which is six times cheaper than fuelling a similar sized internal combustion engine. When the Nissan Leaf is charged at off peak hours, Nissan estimates that it would cost just 1.75 pence in fuel to travel one mile in a Leaf, compared to about 10 pence per mile in a fossil fuel use car.

There are other savings enjoyed by electric vehicles. Since the Nissan Leaf produces zero emissions, the vehicle is thus exempt from charges such as London’s congestion charge as well as earns no annual vehicle excise duty charges.

According to the Managing Director of Nissan Great Britain, Mr. Jim Wright, “This is part of a campaign designed to get people to turn on to 100 percent electric driving by busting many of the myths and highlighting the many benefits of electric cars, including incredibly low fuel costs.”

He further added, “By offering free taxi rides, we aim to show hundreds of people just how practical and affordable the Nissan Leaf is to run. As each journey costs us so little, we’re not charging passengers – there’s no point in quibbling over a few pence.”

The Nissan Leaf EV fleet would be based at their very own ‘taxi rank’ near the Truman Brewery by Liverpool Street Station. They would be providing free taxi rides to destinations throughout the Greater London Area. This would include as far west as Turnham Green or to the O2 Arena in the east, go south of the river as far as Clapham and as far up north as Hampstead. The operation hours would be between 10 am and 6 pm for both Saturday and Sunday. The vehicles would be operated by professional drivers from Climate Cars, a car service operator.

All the messages sent using the hashtag would be monitored and winners for the free rides would be chosen randomly to avoid long lines. Each trip of the EV would be logged and passengers would be educated as to the amount of fuel costs when one chooses to go electric.

On another end, the Nissan Leaf is also gaining a major overhaul, becoming a luxury vehicle in the United States. The vehicles have been built by Imperial Coach Builders of Springfield, Missouri, who also claim to be the builders of the first ever-stretch electric limousine in the world.

This Nissan Leaf Stretch Limo is one of a kind. According to the builders, this was an easy build saying “We took a regular Nissan Leaf and we cut it into two and basically extended the frame to add a center section to stretch it into a limousine.”

Get ready to find the Nissan Leaf in your area soon.

Wireless Charging for Electric Cars in London

New Electric Car
New Electric Car

After its acquisition of HaloIPT, Qualcomm announced that it would be showcasing the technologies of the new merger. HaloIPT is a company that specializes in wireless electric vehicle charging while Qualcomm is one of the world’s largest wireless technology companies.

The announcement was made last week in East London’s Tech City, the city’s premiere district for technology companies. Qualcomm said that it would be demonstrating HaloIPT's technology in London by 2012. Amongst the attendees were Prime Minister David Cameron, whose government has been pursuing the Tech City initiative and London Mayor Boris Johnson, a supporter of the project.

The trial would be showcasing the inductive power transfer technology. This technology charges an electric vehicle’s batteries wirelessly, without use of cables or plugs. This is done through a transmitter pad embedded in the ground that connects with a receiver pad in the vehicle and the power is transmitted wirelessly through the electromagnetic induction between the two different pads.

One of the projects that HaloIPT announced prior to its acquisition by Qualcomm was the demonstration of the charging concept on a racecourse in England. For its acquisition, no details were provided by Qualcomm.

With the projected trials, the wireless conglomerate hopes to highlight the breakthroughs that HaloIPT technologies provide because the induction of the pads can be maintained even without precise alignment. The company is projecting that the trial would be undertaken with an initial fifty (50) units.

According to Andrew Gilbert, the Executive Vice President for European Innovation Development at Qualcomm, “The system will magnetically optimize the connection, so it doesn’t matter if you are slightly askew while charging or terrible at parking your car like me.” He further adds, “This makes the system easy to use and easy to fit.”

The project is supported by the British Government, London City agencies and other private industry partners. One of the partners includes Addison Lee, one of the largest minicab companies in London. It would include several of its cabs in the trial through attachment of wireless pads while Transport for London, one of the city’s agency’s, would be assisting in the location of charging points. The infrastructure would be developed by Chargemaster and its system would deliver the needed electrical power to the charging points. The whole system would be put in place by the first half of 2012 and the trials would commence by the latter half of the year.

Qualcomm is based in San Diego Ca. and is best known for mobile communications technology such as the wireless CDMA protocol used in the United States telecommunications networks of Verizon and Sprint. The company owns the patents for the CDMA technologies and licenses its technology to equipment manufacturers.

Tesla Showroom in London

Last week saw the opening of electric car company Tesla's first European showroom in London which could turn out to be a historic moment for the UK, European and worldwide electric car market. This is a company which is pushing the barrier further and further back in the electric vehicle market and introducing new technology which is sure to form the base for electric cars of the future.

Tesla has been in the news of late with the launch of a succession of environmentally friendly, highly efficient and eye-catching electric vehicles which have changed the perception which many people have of the electric car market. So why have Tesla chosen London and what does the future hold for the UK electric car market?

Why London?

While some people may be a little surprised to see Tesla choosing London as the venue for its first European showroom there is no doubt that the UK is ahead of many other European countries with regards to the development and ultimate introduction of electric cars. London has also, for many years, been one of the central financial markets in the world and as such attracts interest from leading companies and investors around the globe. What better place to showcase the latest and greatest in the electric car market than the streets of London which are said to be "paved with gold".

Even though the UK car manufacturing industry has been decimated over the last 20 years or so there is no doubt that demand for revolutionary and highly innovative cars continues to grow across the country. The initial interest in the electric car market, and in particular the range of Tesla cars, should more than make up for the economic downturn in the UK and around the world. As and when the worldwide economy starts to pick up and improve this should then introduce a new element of natural demand for vehicles in general.

While some people may suggest opening your first European showroom in the midst of a recession is a little adventurous to say the least, the company will have time to bed down the London operation and take advantage of the new interest in electric vehicles in the UK before the overall market starts to improve.

The UK electric vehicle market

As we have covered over the last few days, the UK government recently announced a new £25 million electric vehicle scheme which will see a number of innovative electric cars trialled across the country as a prelude to a full-blown launch of this new mode of transport. This in itself is more than enough to inject significant interest into the electric car market but there are other factors which appear to have been timed to perfection by Tesla.

It was only a few days ago that Boris Johnson, the Lord Mayor of London, announced plans to introduce up to 100,000 electric cars to the roads of London by 2025. Even though the exact details of the programme have yet to be ironed out it does seem that London has taken the lead over many other European cities with regards to the future use of electric cars.

So what can we expect in Tesla's London showroom?

Chief executive Elon Musk gave an interview to Autocar magazine in which he suggested that London has the potential to lead not only the European market but become one of Tesla's main entry points into the electric vehicle sector of the future. As a consequence we can expect the full range of Tesla electric vehicles to be available in due course with the Roadster electric sports car one of the first on sale in the new showroom. This particular vehicle will retail at around £66,000 ($109,000) and not only offers 240 miles between charges, 0 to 60 in under four seconds but also has the look and feel of a modern day sports car.

Tesla has also confirmed that the Tesla Model S electric sedan will be available in London by late 2011 with an expected retail price of around $50,000 (approximately £30,000). While there is no doubt that demand for the top of the range Tesla Roadster sports car is already there, a Tesla vehicle available for around £30,000 begins to enter the field of the mass-market and could be the first vehicle of its kind, i.e. high-profile, groundbreaking technology and affordable, to hit the UK.

Future technological advances

While Tesla is at the forefront of the electric car technology of the future the company recently attracted a $465 million low-interest loan from the US Department of Energy which will vastly improve the company's research and development operations in the future. Even though there do not appear to be any UK government initiatives or funding programs planned for Tesla in particular, it seems inevitable that the UK authorities will at some stage throw their weight behind what is fast becoming the future of the transport sector.

The UK authorities would be very keen to attract the likes of Tesla and other electric vehicle manufacturers and retailers to the UK to try and replace the UK car manufacturing industry which has literally been decimated over the last 20 years. The fact that the US authorities have seen fit to offer Tesla a multimillion dollar low interest rate loan is a further feather in the cap for both Tesla and the electric vehicle industry as a whole.

Conclusion

While London has been chosen as the first venue for Tesla's new European initiative the company has plans to open showrooms in New York, Chicago, Seattle, Miami, Washington DC and Toronto in the months and years to come. It is certainly a feather in the cap for London that it has been chosen as a showcase for the European market although the fact that London is one of the central financial and investment markets of the world has probably been taken into account.

From a standing start in July 2003, Tesla Motors Inc is taking the electric vehicle market by storm and appears more than willing to expand its operations even in these difficult economic times. While other electric vehicle manufacturers appear happy to sit on the sidelines until both the European, American and worldwide economies improve the opening of Tesla's London showroom has filled something of a vacuum in the industry and could end up being a masterstroke.

Boris Johnson and 100,000 Electric Cars in the Capital

In many ways London is the city which leads where the rest of the UK follows, something which the electric car industry hopes will prove correct in the future. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced plans for at least 100,000 electric cars to be using London’s roads by 2025 although as you might have guessed, where Boris Johnson is involved, these plans do not necessarily appear straightforward.

So what exactly is going on, what has Boris Johnson promised and what are the potential problems?

Electric cars in London

Boris Johnson has released plans for the introduction of up to 100,000 electric cars to London by 2025 as the capital of the UK looks to lead the electric car revolution across the country. While these plans are very adventurous they are also very encouraging and further cement the electric car industry in the thoughts and hopes for the UK transport network in the future. While the scheme has been well received by the vast majority of individuals and environmentally friendly associations, there is much work to be done and many potential pitfalls to avoid.

The cost

Aside from the cost of consumers acquiring the new electric cars of the future, Boris Johnson has put aside £60 million for up to 25,000 electric charging points in car parks and streets around London. This will allow electric car users to recharge their batteries while they are shopping, at work or taking a break in the capital city. Up to now the scheme seems fairly straightforward, funding appears to be in place so what exactly are the pitfalls?

Congestion

There is no doubt that London has again led the way in the UK with regards to the congestion charge and reducing the number of vehicles within central London. However, due to an increase in cycling lanes, bus lanes and walkways around the city there are concerns that the introduction of electric cars would severely impact upon congestion in the area. It is fairly straightforward, in that the more vehicles on the road the more congestion and the more potential for accidents involving those walking, those biking and those in buses.

Car parking

Those who have driven to London will be well aware of the almost impossible task of finding a suitable car parking space near your place of work or the area in London which you need to visit. If we are to see up to 100,000 new electric cars hitting London by 2025 we would need to see a significant increase in the number of car parks (specially adapted to allow electric car users to recharge their batteries). Would we see electric car only car parks? Would traditional car owners be discriminated against?

Power concerns

While there is no doubt that the introduction of electric cars would drastically reduce the level of harmful emissions entering the environment, many councillors and opposition groups have suggested they will be significant problems with powering these electric cars. If we're talking about 100,000 cars there may be a necessity to build new power stations, new electric points, new networks and ultimately taxpayers will be expected to fund this.

Many people also forget that traditional power stations, while producing electricity, often release harmful gases into the environment so there is an argument that electric power created using traditional fossil fuels is still causing some damage to the environment. Using more environmentally friendly power supply techniques is more expensive and ultimately may produce less power compared to more traditional methods.

Is the UK ready for an electric car revolution?

While there are a limited number of electric cars already in use across the UK the introduction of up to 100,000 new vehicles in London alone is a substantial revolution. Aside from the fact there is some debate as to whether UK consumers are actually ready for the electric car revolution, is the UK government ready for this substantial change?

As we touched on in some of our earlier articles many people believe that the use of electric cars has been held back from many years simply because the UK government has yet to find a way to replace the significant tax it receives from fuel sales. Whether the government is even remotely ready for the widescale introduction of electric cars is debatable as noticeably there does not appear to be any significant government voice behind Boris Johnson’s scheme.

Could this be the turning point?

The history of the UK is littered with events in London which have eventually been replicated throughout the country often to become the "norm". We saw introduction of congestion charges just a few years ago and the rollout of this particular scheme into other cities around the UK. There is no doubt that if London does decide to take up the electric car revolution over the next few years then it will at some stage be replicated in other areas of the country.

If Boris Johnson, and the team behind him, is able to get support for the introduction of services and parking to accommodate 100,000 electric cars by 2025 this would be a significant turning point in the electric car industry. This is an industry which has been blocked off in the past due to a number of reasons, many of which have never been made public, but one which is gathering support from consumers.

Conclusion

The potential introduction of over 100,000 electric cars in London is a massive move and a very brave project from the Mayor of London. While there are some sceptics who believe the move is nothing but a publicity stunt, there is no doubt that the use of electric cars is something which has been on the agenda of various authorities for some time. It is disappointing to see a lack of government support in public for the scheme but no doubt this will follow in due course if it is successful.

This could also be an important point in history for Boris Johnson who has been taken for a fool by many people but who ultimately, underneath that comical exterior, is actually a very intelligent and forward thinking politician. If he can pull this one off, could we see Boris Johnson as a future PM of the UK?