back to article Ten... e-cars and hybrids

Reg Hardware Car Week What started out as a dribble in 2011 is becoming a deluge in 2012 as e-cars in the form of pure electrics, range extenders and plug-in hybrids capabilities start to become ever more common. Until we see a major breakthrough in battery tech, the day will belong to the plug-in hybrids and REs, but that’s …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. jungle_jim

    the Ovlov looks ok.

    So if i read it right, the Ovlov will beat he fisker off the lights?

    1. tmTM

      Re: the Ovlov looks ok.

      In theory yes.

      In reality no-one is going to buy a car who's name is so close to 'Fister'

  2. Chimp


    ...have solved the problem of bricking the vehicle by running the battery flat?

    1. Magnus_Pym

      Re: Tesla...

      Have you solved the problem of uncontrollable oil based fuels price rises?

      1. Bodhi

        Re: Tesla...

        Considering the 'leccy for these comes from essentially the same fuel as cars do currently, how are these going to avoid oil price rises? Surely it just means 'leccy bills will go up instead?

        I would also imagine that the price difference between a Tesla and the Lotus Elise it is based on will pay for a shedload of go juice.

        However, I think electric cars are a great idea. Well i would if they were more practical, cheaper, sounded decent and didn't contain 3 tonnes of Duracell.

        Mine's the coat with the keys to a V8 in the pocket.

        1. Magnus_Pym

          Re: Tesla...

          "Considering the 'leccy for these comes from essentially the same fuel as cars do currently"

          Currently is the operative word (as well as being a bad pun). Things may change in the future. If fossil fuels keep going up and widespread nuclear power comes on line an electric car may be the only affordable option.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tesla...

      You do know that leaving any gasoline car still for months on end bricks the lead acid battery too, just because the battery is bigger doesn't mean its got more magic in it. #Just Science

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Tesla...

        He didn't say it would go flat after several months, he said driving it to empty caused problems. Entirely separate situation - your attempt at reductio ad ridiculum falls flat on its face.

        1. Ian Watkinson

          Re: Tesla...

          Shame Tesla hasn't put it to bed by saying that there are no customers that have stumped up $40,000 for bricked cars, when there are customer_S_ who have said that this has happened to them.

      2. QuietLeni

        Re: Tesla...

        Maybe so, but a lead acid battery can be replced for under £100 and a Tesla battery will cost $40,000!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tesla...

      Have a read at this and see why they aren't bricked

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Available Now?

    Personally I'd have given -50% for anything that was still vapourware.

    The Volt and the Ampera are both available to order now and have different prices (and different warranties) perhaps they should both have been on the list?

  4. MJI Silver badge

    What about the

    Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust?

  5. yosemite


    How do you plug in you car if you

    a) live in flat

    b) can't park outside your house (the norm)

    c) don't want to trail a lead over the pavement for people to trip over on and then sue you.

    I just can't see how this works in the real world.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But...

      Curb side charging posts will come, just in the same way that petrol stations did

      1. TonyHoyle

        Re: But...

        Curb side charging posts? Paid for by who? In what timescale?

        You're talking about digging up *every* street in the UK, adding a power infrastructure (the current one just won't cut it for mass deployment of something like an electric car), so more and bigger substations, etc.

        Then working out how to charge the correct person when someone else has parked where you were going to (on our street there's only parking for about 75% of the houses so there's a regular shuffling around depending on what time you arrive back).

        Adding a petrol station just means getting a sufficiently large area of land, digging a hole for the storage, and building the station on top. It's not even comparable to what would be needed to make electric cars viable.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But...

          "adding a power infrastructure (the current one just won't cut it for mass deployment"

          Well played sir. What? My coat? Already?, why thank you.

        2. Van

          Crammed in

          Luckily the electric car industry wont revolve around the UK and its piddly streets and houses.

    2. Thomas 18
      Thumb Up

      Added Incentive

      Since the government is willing to fork out a few thousand in subsidies, how about they go £100 more and paint an 'electric car parking spot' outside the home of anyone with an electric car. It'd work for a good few years (till too many people have them) and in the mean time we can work on those charging posts.

    3. fandom

      Re: But...

      Have you ever seen a car model that fitted everyone's needs?

      If you haven't, and I bet you haven't, why are you expecting electric cars to be any different?

      These cars will be bought by people who think they fit their needs/wants and they will not be bought by people who don't find them suitable, for example, those who don't have a place to charge them.

      But, with any luck, the cars will be improved with time and more of them will be bought, and more charging places will be available and more people will buy them and ....

      It won't happen automagically and it will definitely not happen by tomorrow but that doesn't mean it won't happen

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But...


        with that attitude we would wouldn't have a national water or sewage system

        fairly easy to fit metres and log in to your account. People do such things all the time. Boris bikes in London, metered water at home...

    4. JDX Gold badge

      Re: But...

      Really? In the real world, the people who buy them will be people who DO have off-street parking, which is certainly a significant minority of the country, and when you restrict the demographic to affluent middle-class families, is even more common.

    5. Tel Starr

      Re: But...

      Can't you just trail a lead from the ciggy lighter?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But...

      If you live in a flat, get a petrol or diesel car. If you live in a house with a driveway or garage, you get an electric car. Better yet, get a bike!

  6. CT


    For a comparative round-up, why no comparison of MPG figures (at least for the hybrids)?

    1. The BigYin

      Re: MPG?

      It's up to about double a conventional engine (there is variation, obviously) in a car. e.g. 99MPGe for a Leaf. Wikipedia Article on MPGe

      Still worse than the average low capacity scooter (120-140MPG is common).

      And also worse than the train, bus, bicycle or simply walking.

      1. CT

        Re: MPG?

        "Up to about double" - is that like "unlimited" broadband?

        I meant comparing between the models listed

      2. Mitch Kent

        Re: MPG?

        My Honda CBF125 gets just over 100mpg to and from work (25 miles each way).

        Plus I get to filter through the traffic...

        When the electric bikes start coming, that's when I'll really be interested!

  7. TonyHoyle

    What about the real cost?

    No comparison of costs? OK these cars are so expensive they're basically in Top Gear Toy bracket, but eventually they'll come down so ordinary people can buy them... so then we'll want to know how much they cost to run.

    Electricity costs are through the roof - and rising faster than fuel costs right now. If it ends up cheaper to use common or garden petrol, that's what will win out in the end.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: What about the real cost?

      By the time they come down to "ordinary person" prices, both the technology and the cost of electricity will be different to now so knowing the current running costs of current-gen cars isn't really helpful. Only once the affordable e-cars appear would such figures be helpful.

      Note also - if our beloved government gets properly behind e-cars, they can easily add even more duty to fuel, or make road tax more expensive for petrol cars, to _force_ e-cars to be more affordable in comparison.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about the real cost?

        "Only once the affordable e-cars appear would such figures be helpful."

        No. These ones *are* the affordable e-cars - in a few years time, once they've changed hands a few times, thanks to the magic of depreciation. So we do need the figures for these ones.

    2. D@v3

      Re: What about the real cost?

      This is my main question for these 'e-cars'. It's all well and good lording their 'eco-friendliness' but you still have to pay for the electric to keep them running.

      If it costs more for me to have it on charge every(other) night, than it does to fill up on petrol every week or so, then what's the point?

      (on the other hand, if it costs significantly less to keep the car charged, than fuelled, then where do i sign up?)

    3. KitD

      Re: What about the real cost?

      The Economy7 tariff was always sold as being better because it kept the power stations running at an even pace throughout the night. If a massive demand for night-time charging of EVs develops, it makes sense for overnight tariffs to become the norm. This would encourage greater EV usage and make for more efficient use of the power stations.

  8. Thomas 18

    Hot swapping batteries

    How big are these batteries?

    How about we make them slot-able and have petrol stations swap em over for a fresh one while they put the exhausted one back on charge for a few hours, ready for the next customer.

    Just need to make sure we have standardised battery (or at least connections). probably a bit of upfront cost in spare batteries too.

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: Hot swapping batteries

      The problem is that the battery represents ~50% of the value of a car like the Leaf. Are you happy for your brand new battery to be swapped for one of unknown provenance after the first 50 miles? The only way this could work is if you lease the battery (or the entire car) and it then becomes the manufacturer's problem (though you may still find that you've got something that delivers only half the expected range on a full charge).

      But that's only half the problem. As TonyHoyle points out above, the electrical infrastructure just isn't there. A small petrol station would need a continuous multi-MW supply to recharge a similar number of e-cars to those it can refill today. Short of a game-changing breakthrough in electrical storage technology, practical (non city car) vehicles will be powered by internal combustion. Where the fuel comes from is the question the Greens need to address.

      1. Thomas 18
        Thumb Up

        Re: Hot swapping batteries

        In the article it says the Smart ED already leases batteries at £50 a month, obviously nobody is going to do a swap in with something they own. Just seems like the logical way of dealing with the long recharge time. The system could be just like CO2 bottles for soda stream machines.

        Comparing refuelling rates to "a similar number of e-cars to those it can refill today" is unrealistic. Consider how old the average car on the road is today, it will be years before there is a substantial percentage of electric cars. By then there will be better batteries, more efficient cars and better infrastructure to support them.

      2. Redbaron

        Re: Hot swapping batteries

        Just install a petrol-powered generator at the petrol station...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hot swapping batteries

          not actually /that/ crazy an idea - a large static generator would be fairly efficient.

  9. Buzzword

    iMiev and friends?

    Why no mention of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV / Peugeot iOn / Citroen C-Zero triplets? They are bonafide leccy cars, available to buy now (I think).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: iMiev and friends?

      They are bonafide leccy cars? or are they Quadricycles like the G-wiz & Mia

      1. Buzzword

        Re: iMiev and friends?

        Top speed of 80mph, so definitely not a quadricycle like the Reva G-Wiz. The Mitsubishi version costs around £28,990 (according to wikipedia) so it's not particularly competitive with some of the others mentioned here. Nevertheless it seems a strange omission. I think El Reg even wrote a review of them a while ago.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Batteries (again!)

    Other than the lease plan option, you need to factor the cost of replacing the batteries every couple of years into the cost equation.

    Although most makers claim 5 years, many users are finding that after 2 years their 100 mile range is down to about 20 miles.

    And you cannot just change to any battery make you fancy either, the "intelligent" chargers will only work with the makers own batteries (or pay an extra £1500 for a universal charger!!)

    I really, REALLY want an EV as a 2nd vehicle (for the wife to use), the insurance is a fraction of that for a Group 1 car (for a new driver), but currently the battery problems really put me off; also, if China can produce an EV for a few grand, why cant Europe??

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Batteries (again!)

      "many users are finding that after 2 years their 100 mile range is down to about 20 miles"

      Well put, there's nothing like using over exaggeration to make your point more valid.....

      Now read this:

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "because of all the e-cars on the horizon, it’s (Ampera) the one I want the most"

    Me too ... ever since I first read of the Ampera (or its US Volt version) this seemed to be doing electric right given current tech - i.e. battery that you can recharge at home (ok, I have off street parking so may be easy than for others) which will basically handle day-to-day commute and driving around town but if you ever do run low or need to go a long way then the engine kicks in running at its most efficient setting to generate more power and replenish batteries. Only problem is that however much I think about it, £30k is still ~ £15-20k more than the petrol powered car I'd get otherwise.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      yup I'm of the same thinking, But as I tend to more luxurious cars anyway the 34k is only 4k above what I'd normally pay, and I expect to make 10k saving on fuel. So my merc is going to a new home, and the Ampera deposit is paid and delivery is first week of June.

      Vauxhall/GM have specced the car quite highly, its got full climate including remote preheat, leather interior, heated seats, cruise control, auto wipers and lights, projector lamps, tyre monitors, electric & heated mirrors, rear camera with steering angle overlay, front & rear parking sensors, Bluetooth phone, voice control, keyless entry and start, Euro Sat nav, USB & hard drive media player FM/AM/DAB+RDS CD & DvD Video, and touchscreen console, Oh and 370NM of torques with 0-60 in 9s, so its not so far away from what I want! the clincher was the lifetime warranty with 8 year Battery Warranty (with max 30% degradation gaurantee) if it had xenons and folding mirrors and an internal 240v mains plug it'd be pretty much perfect...

      1. Aulty

        Re: Ampera

        That's a lot of spec, but it won't make it look any better. One of the ugliest cars i've ever seen :)

  12. Zog The Undeniable

    A Leaf would work brilliantly as a second car for us, but it's way too expensive and I'm not sure how we'd fund a replacement battery after 10 years or whenever the range becomes intolerably short - everyone is familiar with laptop batteries that used to last 3 hours when new and now last 3 minutes*. As for the "fuel" costs; with my wife's commuting mileage (I usually cycle in unless it's icy or I need to carry a ton of stuff), it would be negligible, way cheaper than petrol or diesel.

    *in contrast, my 15-year old MX-5 still manages the same range and mpg as when it was new. Actually, it does a better mpg now than ever before because petrol is so expensive that I drive it slower...

    1. ian 22


      We plan to purchase a Leaf or equivalent in 2 - 3 years. The savings in mechanic fees will be banked for the day the battery needs replacing. £50 per month should do nicely.

  13. David Lucke

    Leasing too pricey

    Leasing should be the solution to the battery fade problem, but at £50 a month, its about the same price as I'm spending on fuel anyway, which gets rid of the operating cost savings that are supposed to be the ecar's big strength. 2 steps forward, 1 step back, honestly.

  14. TeeCee Gold badge

    "...the Ampera is all the e-car most people will ever need."

    Well it would be if it seated five, like every other vehicle that size and shape does. A rather serious design pig's ear in my book.

    Incidently, it's not the Yank dislike for diesels that's the root cause of the Toyota, Lexus and Honda approaches, it's the Japanese. Not that they don't like 'em, it's just that taking a diesel into an urban area will bankrupt you in pollution charges.

    It's also the reason that Japanese multidrop trucks, buses, dustcarts and such tend to be CNG fuelled.

    Yes, diesels produce lower CO2 levels, but in every other respect they're as nasty as it gets when it comes to emitted pollutants. Most of these are rather more unpleasant than CO2 as regards their effects on the jolly old atmos, it's just that they're not as headline-grabbingly trendy these days...

  15. PowerSurge


    the yaris hybrid has just been announced. like a smaller prius. no mention?

  16. Derk

    Electric cars....pah

    I'm going to buy a horse and cart. The horse can keep the grass cut, provide lots of fertiliser, off road capability if the cart is not used is pretty good. I get to wear riding boots, jodhpurs and a whip. And when dobbin is worn out? well lots of meat for the freezer. Whats not to like?

    1. Disintegrationnotallowed

      Re: Electric cars....pah

      Erm as I remember this was the reason why motorised carts became so popular in New York? The smell was lower, there was less pollution on the streets (crap.. the reason why New york supposedly built the houses with big stairs), and no need to have lots of bales of hay and straw everywhere.

  17. JohnG

    Hybrid 4WD

    Peugeot are not the first to come up with a hybrid 4WD - The Toyota Estima Hybrid has been around for over ten years, using an ICE at the front wheels and an electric motor driving the rear wheels to provide a four wheel drive system on what would otherwise be a front wheel drive Previa.

  18. bep

    MIssed the point

    These discussions always miss the point.

    If it was just about cost of ownership no-one would make hybrid and electric cars and no-one would buy them. It's about reducing carbon production. None of these vehicles is price competitive with a cheap diesel, and likely they never will be. If you're looking to save money, then look elsewhere. Many of these same manufacturers make cars in that category too.

  19. Neoc


    ...prepare yourself for "karma ran over your dogma" jokes in 3..2..1..

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If it's anything like money saving systems in the IT industry, the cost of these things will have been set so the savings you make are offset by a massive price hike. Yes, this (X) will save you £5000/year and will last for 5 years. That'll be £24,999 please.

  21. druck Silver badge

    And the rest

    "In Germany, the ED will be sold for around €16,000 (£13,410) while the battery pack will leased for around €60 (£50) per month. Those prices don’t take into account any local government grants, so the Smart should still work out a fair bit cheaper than the Renault Zoe in the UK."

    I suspect when it goes on sale in the UK, by pure coincidence, it will be around £5000 more expensive than in Germany.

    Number 1 rule of government subsidies; the money goes in to the pockets of the producer, not the consumer.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like