Less-than-stellar US sales - GM’s 2011 sales target was 10,000 units; come 31 December 2011, 2329 of them had yet to find a home - and a wholly unwarranted bashing by the idiots who make up the far right of the American political spectrum have knocked some of the shine off the Ampera aka the Chevrolet Volt. That’s a shame because of all the e-cars on the horizon, it’s the one I want the most. With a 50-mile electric range available from the 16kWh plug-in battery pack, the Ampera is all the e-car most people will ever need.
On longer trips, the 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine fires up to recharge the batteries and power the 110kW electric motor. To my eyes, the sharper Vauxhall/Opel styling is far more arresting than the rather bland Chevy effort, so we Europeans get a car that’s both clever and stylish. It’s not going to be cheap though,coming in at around 30 grand even after the UK Government’s £5000 EV grant.
Availability May 2012
More Info Vauxhall
Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid
Volvo’s first e-car offering bears more than a passing technical resemblance to the Peugeot HYbrid4 3008, with its diesel-driven front wheels and electrically driven rear. But the Swedes have jumped in with both feet and gone straight for the lithium-ion plug-in option rather than a closed-cycle hybrid.
Like the 3008, the V60 is no slouch. The front wheels are driven by a five-cylinder 215bhp turbo-diesel engine while the rear are turned by a 70bhp (52kW) electric motor that gets its juice from an 11.2kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Drive carefully and full battery charge will get you a useful 30 miles down the road. Put your foot down and the on-demand four-wheel drive system will get you to 60mph in 6.2 seconds. The order books will open any day now and the first production vehicles will roll of the assembly line in the autumn.
Availability Late 2012
More Info Volvo
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.
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.
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