The Future of the Electric Car is NOW
Driving through the centre of London last Wednesday, around the Knightsbridge and Hyde Park areas, I passed the McLaren showroom displaying the extraordinary sports cars developed by the company. Continuing on I noticed the BMW dealership on Hyde Park and caught glimpse of a somewhat different and unique looking vehicle.
It didn’t turn my head because of it’s beautiful, aggressive sporty look like those that drew my eyes to the McLaren, but because it looked, well just different and slightly quirky. There is nothing new or, in my opinion, anything particularly memorable with a new car that looks quirky or slightly odd. What I did know however, was that what was on the outside of this particular car was not the full story – not by a long chalk!
In Hyde Park, last Wednesday evening, staring back at me through the window of my Saab saloon was the BMW i3. The same car that you can see at the top of this page. The BMW i3 is by no means the only new ‘Ultra Low Emission Vehicle’ (ULEV) to move the argument of the viability electric cars forward.
What can be assured however, driven by the ratcheting up of investment and innovation in the ULEV sector, is that the big players in vehicle manufacturing do not pour huge sums of money into a technology of which they see little or no long term return on investment!
Importantly, BMW believes the i3 can be as aspirational as its desirable conventional-engine vehicles, which means that electric cars have gone from utility urban runabouts to executive models in 10 years. This month (February 2014) BMW says there is a six-month waiting list for the i3 and it is considering expanding production.
Are you still doubtful as to the long term future of this type of vehicle? If you are it is wise to remember that back in the day many motorists and motoring journalists once doubted and questioned the future of the car powered by a diesel engine. You might be surprised to learn that BMW actually manufactured diesel engines for 10 years before importing them into the UK market. Today, diesels account for more than 80% of UK executive car sales compared to virtually zero 25 years ago.
Go Ultra Low
The new website Go Ultra Low seeks to inform, educate and stimulate the UK public on the subject of the benefits of ULEV vehicles. A Go Ultra Low car is an ultra low emission car which produces 75g or less of CO2 per kilometre from the tailpipe. At the moment, all cars which can achieve this use electric power to directly turn the wheels to some degree, from a 100% electric car to a plug-in hybrid and an extended-range electric vehicle.