Brian Milligan from the BBC is going to attempt to drive Mini from London to Edinburgh, powered by electric, using only the provided public charge points which are scattered across the UK. To me, that sounds like a tricky task as I haven’t heard much about how many of these charge points there are about in this country, have you?
During the Christmas period, the government announced with pride that 2011 would be classified as the year that electric cars would take off. In an attempt to make this innovation come true, it also announced an allowance of £5,000 for each electric car purchased in the UK. Now I’m not sure on this one but don’t you think that sounds a lot?
But what is an electric vehicle really like to drive? Is it really worthwhile to invest in? If it’s running on electricity, will be cheaper in the long run or actually turn out to be more expensive considering the price for electricity is always going up, and unfortunately never going down?
Despite the battery revolution hype, it is still not easy to drive an electric car any further than to your local bank and back.
So, what is arguably a biased test of a car designed mostly for short-distance motoring, the BBC has decided to try and drive the 484 miles from London to Edinburgh in an electric Mini.
Unfortunately, the only huge negative point about this car is that it might need a ten hour charge. So this is the problem with this new invention of cars running on electricity. If you need to get to Edinburgh for a meeting, you will have to set off a week in advance just to have enough electricity to get there.
The only way for drivers to charge their cars is by using public charge points, of which there are thought to be roughly 500 in the UK, but they haven’t actually been added up. Even OLEV, the government office for low emissions vehicles, doesn’t know exactly how many there are. To me, that doesn’t really seem helpful at all. Surely if you’re trying to get this idea off to a good start, you should have enough correct information on how many charge points you have and make sure that there is enough throughout the country to get used.
There is a factory in Lancing, West Sussex, where a man named Calvey Taylor-Haw manufactures many of these electric charging posts that make up the network. His business is called Elektromotive.
After looking at the map provided by Brian, he agreed that the travelling distance to Tyneside is perfectly achievable; however from the Northumberland post to Edinburgh will be a difficult challenge.
“This particular gap is just about 87 miles,” he says, “which is more than the range of the car.”
“Ideally you would need another charging post half way between the two, otherwise you’re going to suffer range.”
Well I don’t know about you but I wish Brian the best of luck as this could easily turn out to be a very ambitious task for him.
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