How and When Will Electric Cars Replace Fossil-Fuelled Cars? Part 2

I explained previously that I believe that it is possible to predict future adoption rates and market share of sales for EVs. Specifically, I proposed that a suitable approach would be to apply what we know of EV market share so far to a suitably scaled innovation adoption S-curve on the core assumption that EVs will follow a suitable uptake to iPods, smartphones, flat-screen televisions and other consumer technologies.

The particular S-curve being considered is a form of logistic function, so named by the French mathematician Pierre François Verhulst who studied it in relation to population growth. The initial stage of growth is approximately exponential; then, as saturation begins, the growth slows, and at maturity, growth stops.

Figure 1: Projected UK Electric Car Sales Market Share (Image: T. Larkum)

Figure 1: Projected UK Electric Car Sales Market Share (Image: T. Larkum)

I don’t want to get bogged down in mathematical details so it should suffice to say that we are solving an equation of the form:
Projection_EVSales-Logistic_General_TLarkum
where we are trying to find x, essentially a scale factor, so that the market share for a particular year y matches what we expect (i.e. the known market share for electric vehicles since their recent relaunch). Finding a match also gives us the year from which to count y.

We know the monthly market share values for EVs for recent years so from the same source we can get annual totals. For the purpose of this discussion I am considering only the UK sales for the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 since the recent market growth was kick-started by the UK government’s Plug-In Car Grant which began on 1 January 2011. The figures I have from SMMT for 2011, 2012 and 2013 are given in Table 1. For 2014 I am using the latest figure reported, that for March 2014.

Table 1: UK Electric Car Market Share and Sales (Image: T. Larkum)

Table 1: UK Electric Car Market Share and Sales (Image: T. Larkum)

From an analysis of the results of various values for the scale factor I have come to the value of x = 0.498 as the best match. In other words, based on the limited data so far, if EV sales market share is following a technology adoption S-curve and if it continues to do so then I predict sales market share to be:

Projection_EVSales-Logistic_Specific_TLarkum

On this basis I have added into Table 1 the market share of sales that this gives for the known years, so it is possible to judge how well it fits. In addition, I have shown what it predicts for representative future years. Further, I have shown what this translates to in terms of sales of electric cars (assuming the UK market continues at its current rate of two million car sales per year). The market share values are also charted in Figure 1.

In broad brushstrokes, here are some interesting projections that this result gives us:

  • The changeover from internal combustion engine cars to electric cars will take 32 years, from 2010 to 2042.
  • The key year is 2026 – in this year more than half of all cars sold will be electric. In other words, in 2026 the default type of car sold is the electric car, with other fuel types in the minority.
  • In 2014 we are already 4 years in to the changeover, so there are just 12 years left until the 2026 crossover point.
  • Although the complete changeover (so that effectively ICE cars are no longer sold) takes a considerable amount of time, even by 2030 some nine out of ten cars sold will be electric.
  • It is expected that sales at the start are low, as they currently are, but they will rise quickly. Market share of new sales will be just 2% by 2018 but 5% by 2020 and 25% by 2024.
  • The decade from 2020 to 2030 will see a dramatic influx of electric cars, from 5% of new cars in 2020 to 90% in 2030.

Reducing Our Energy Carbon Footprint

Figure 1: Our Energy Carbon Footprint (Image: T. Larkum)

Figure 1: Our Energy Carbon Footprint (Image: T. Larkum)


I am currently doing an educational course in climate change and as part of that I have conducted a project to calculate my family’s carbon footprint. Here I would like to pass on some of what I have learned about our energy carbon footprint, that part of our footprint resulting from domestic energy consumption and operating a car. Other aspects of a carbon footprint are just as important, related to what you buy, where you travel, what you eat, and so on, but unfortunately are much harder and less reliable to calculate.

For our energy footprint I have gone as far forward as June 2014 and as far back as 2008, the furthest year for which I have reliable energy consumption records. In all cases I have had to use estimates to fill in gaps in the available data. I am specifically looking at our household usage of natural gas and electricity, and my use of a car. Originally I did it per year but have since broken it down further into six month periods as this shows up changes in energy consumption, resulting from changes in lifestyle, more clearly.

The basic chart can be seen in Figure 1 (with the carbon cost of each fuel calculated via CarbonFootprint.com). It can be seen over most of the period that gas, electricity and the car each contributed roughly one third to the overall footprint. There is also a tendency for the first six month period in each year to have a higher gas footprint than the second period, essentially due to the coldest months (January and February) falling in the first period.

Now for some background on our lifestyle changes during this period. I began reducing our energy footprint in the summer of 2010. Firstly, I installed solar panels on our roof. At the time I was not considering our footprint; rather I did it as an investment, and because I liked the idea of ‘getting something for nothing’, which is a pretty good description of solar power. Secondly, we took advantage of a particular special offer from British Gas and had our old boiler replaced with a more efficient model.

It wasn’t until the start of 2012 that I started reading about global warming and started to get interested in (and concerned about) climate change. By 1st May I had ordered my Renault ZOE electric car, though it was to be more than a year before it was actually delivered.

So let’s now analyse the data in more detail and see what we can learn. These are the key elements as I see them:

  1. Gas: I believe there is a visible/detectable drop in typical gas usage after the summer of 2010 and that this is attributable to the more efficient boiler.
  2. Gas: Notwithstanding the change in boiler, the end 2012/early 2013 periods show particularly high gas usage because of the severe winter.
  3. Gas: The end 2013/early 2014 periods show low gas usage because of the mild winter.
  4. Electricity: There is a very clear drop in electricity usage after the end of 2010. This is due to the solar array since it generates nearly as much electricity as we use, and I am calculating the carbon footprint for the net electricity used over the period.
  5. Electricity: There is no electricity carbon footprint after the summer of 2013 as we changed over to a completely green/renewable electricity tariff (from Ecotricity).
  6. Car: I use my car for commuting to work so I did an approximately constant mileage over the period. For most of the time it was with a thirsty Vauxhall Zafira (giving about 32mpg), hence the high carbon footprint.
  7. Car: The Renault ZOE arrived in July 2013 so the second half of 2013 shows a reduced car footprint. 2014 onwards shows no car footprint – this is true whether it is considered either to be powered from entirely renewable energy, or from our excess of solar electricity.
Figure 2: Our Energy Carbon Footprint with ‘Tipping Points’ Labelled (Image: T. Larkum)

Figure 2: Our Energy Carbon Footprint with ‘Tipping Points’ Labelled (Image: T. Larkum)

The good news is clearly that we have managed in six years to reduce our energy carbon footprint from about 5 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per 6 month period to about 1 tCO2e. However, there is clearly no case to justify us resting on our laurels:

  • Our gas usage is still huge at about 2 tonnes CO2e per year. I can see no simple solution to this. In the short term we will likely start to use electricity to heat our hot water. Longer term we may need to move the house from gas central heating to electricity storage heaters or similar.
  • As mentioned at the start, our energy footprint is just one part of our total footprint. Our core ‘secondary’ footprint is something like 6 tonnes (from food, shopping, entertainment, etc.). In addition, a typical family holiday to Spain would add another 2 tonnes. Significant changes here would require major lifestyle changes, like giving up holidays and becoming vegetarian.

So taken altogether, our 80% reduction in energy footprint is probably only a 30% reduction in our total carbon footprint – and yet it was the easiest part to reduce.

UK Electric Car Sales

Electric Cars Parade Past Parliament (Image: Carsoholic.com)

Electric Cars Parade Past Parliament (Image: Carsoholic.com)

As a UK electric car early adopter I am naturally interested in how well EVs are doing in the market. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive source of information on the subject, but I have found a pretty good source of statistics at the website of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT.co.uk). These stats cover the sales of a large range of vehicles like buses and other commercial vehicles but also include monthly car sales.

These overall numbers are further broken down into ‘EV Registrations’, for example the March 2014 results have just been posted. In SMMT terms these registrations actually cover four separate categories:

  • Plug-in – Pure electric
  • Plug-in – Other electric
  • Hybrid – Petrol/electric
  • Hybrid – Diesel/electric

So the first issue we hit is that SMMT regards conventional (i.e. non plug-in) hybrids like the Toyota Prius as EVs, which is patently daft. For my purposes I am considering only plug-ins as EVs, though accepting any type of plug-in – a standard interpretation (and consistent with the government’s criteria for the plug-in grant). Personally I’m a fan of pure electric plug-ins, but I can certainly see the benefits of plug-in hybrids like the Vauxhall Ampera or BMW i3 REx and believe they have a key role to play in the transition of the market to pure EVs.

To work out historical EV sales I’ve gone through the SMMT website to collate the statistics from each month back to September 2011 (the earliest report I could find). This process is complicated by the fact that before April 2013 the sales of EVs and AFVs (‘alternatively fuelled vehicles’, such as those using LPG) were reported together, without non-pure electric plug-ins previously being reported directly. Nonetheless it is possible to deduce these figures. Anyway, I see this change of reporting as a positive sign that EVs are becoming a powerful force in the market and are already pulling clear of LPG and other ‘also-ran’ AFV technologies.

Since I am interested in the total number of EVs being sold – rather than accounting numbers for the sake of it – I have taken the number of EVs sold each month as being the total of the pure electric and non-pure electric plug-ins each month, or the total number of cars eligible for the plug-in grant, whichever is greatest (in nearly all cases these figures are about the same).

Table 1: UK Electric Car (Plug-in) Sales (Image: T. Larkum)

Table 1: UK Electric Car (Plug-in) Sales (Image: T. Larkum)

While it would ideally be useful to consider the total number of EVs on the road against the total number of cars on the road – i.e. the total market share – the current growth of EVs is so recent that that would be a very low figure. However, we can get an indication of the market share of monthly sales achieved by EVs by considering the EV sales in a particular month against the total car sales for that month. While these figures are still low, they are not insignificant and are definitely increasing.
The sales figures for plug-ins from September 2011 to March 2014 are shown in Table 1, along with the total number of cars sold and the EV percentage market share of sales. The highest figure achieved in each column is highlighted.

Figure 1: UK Electric Car (Plug-in) Sales Numbers (Image: T. Larkum)

Figure 1: UK Electric Car (Plug-in) Sales Numbers (Image: T. Larkum)

It’s clear that March 2014 was a truly bumper month for sales of EVs, with more than twice as many sold as in any previous month. However, to discern longer term trends it is useful to graph the figures. Figure 1 shows the number of EVs sold per month and Figure 2 shows the percentage of sales market share. This latter view is more useful since it evens out the ‘lumpy’ nature of car sales in general, with sales varying significantly from month to month, and with particular peaks in March and September when the new registration plates come in.

Figure 2 is very encouraging and shows clear long-term growth in EV market share. Nonetheless, it is itself rather ‘lumpy’ and this likely reflects the small nature of the market and that individual car model launches have a significant effect on monthly sales. For example, one can likely deduce that peaks in sales in the summer of 2013 reflected the launch of the Renault ZOE, and that peaks in late 2013 and early 2014 coincide with the launch of the BMW i3. As the market diversifies with more models on sale, however, the curve is likely to become smoothed out.

Figure 2: UK Electric Car (Plug-in) Sales Market Share (Image: T. Larkum)

Figure 2: UK Electric Car (Plug-in) Sales Market Share (Image: T. Larkum)

Nonetheless, the trends of increasing EV sales numbers and – more significantly – increasing sales market share are clear and unequivocal. EVs are here to stay. Whether the fantastic sales in March 2014 represent a blip, however, or the start of major growth in EV sales remains to be seen.

Exploring the Milton Keynes CrossLink Charge Point Network

So near and yet so far – my ZOE unable to access the Avebury charger (Image: T. Larkum)

So near and yet so far – my ZOE unable to access the Avebury charger (Image: T. Larkum)

I work in Milton Keynes so following the announcement of the completion of the Chargemaster CrossLink network I decided late last month to explore it. I began in central MK and found one of the new charge points installed in front of the council offices on Avebury Boulevard. As promised, it was a ‘tri-standard’ (is there not something inherently contradictory about that name?) charger so as well as working for the Leaf and ZOE it had one of the new ‘Frankenplug’ connectors for the BMW i3 and other German cars.

ZOE connector left and CCS ‘Frankenplug’ connector to the right (Image: T. Larkum)

ZOE connector left and CCS ‘Frankenplug’ connector to the right (Image: T. Larkum)

Although the network was officially ‘completed’ it was clear, as suggested in the comments to the previous post, that it was certainly not finished. In this case it wasn’t possible to access the charge point as it was ICE’d in by fossil cars; there was no road marking or signage in place. Undeterred I tried to login to see if it was operating. It was certainly powered up as the screen was working, but I repeatedly got a ‘card not recognised’ message for every access card I tried.

At that point I was surprised but pleased to see another Renault ZOE turn up and had the opportunity to chat with the driver. He was actually looking to use one of the slow charger parking spaces nearby – I had actually parked in one (so I EV’d it?) but he seemed to know his way around well and headed off to another one.

A visit from another ZOE (Image: T. Larkum)

A visit from another ZOE (Image: T. Larkum)

Next I ventured further north to the Xscape complex. I found the charger fairly easily in the large car park, quite close to the cinema entrance. This time there was no problem parking in front of it. However, I had exactly the same response trying to operate it.

Finally, I moved across the road to the Theatre district. The charger there is conveniently located in the theatre car park. Again, though, it lacked any signage or markings and wouldn’t operate.

The Theatre District charger (Image: T. Larkum)

The Theatre District charger (Image: T. Larkum)

So I had had mixed results exploring the CrossLink network. Given that Chargemaster was moving over from a largely free to a largely fee-based funding system at the end of March that may explain why the chargers weren’t working.

A few days later, early in April, I had a very different experience. I went to try out the new charger at the Coachway bus station at M1 Junction 14, just east of Milton Keynes. It was easy to find, easy to park at, and worked immediately the first time. Within moments I was getting a fast charge without any hassle.

I believe this is also a Chargemaster charger but it wasn’t listed in the CrossLink press release. Again I had just used one of my standard array of access cards (Plugged-in Midlands, Source London, etc.) but this time it had been recognised immediately.

Fast charging at MK Coachway (Image: T. Larkum)

Fast charging at MK Coachway (Image: T. Larkum)

I don’t know if the difference in my experience of these MK chargers was down to timing (before/after the 1st April funding changeover) or that the Coachway charger is not part of the same CrossLink network, or there’s some other reason. I will aim to revisit them all at some point soon to see if the situation has changed.

Renault joins London Marathon runners on epic life journey

Renault joins London Marathon runners on epic life journey (Image: Renault)

Renault joins London Marathon runners on epic life journey (Image: Renault)

The thousands of star runners who went that extra mile for charity in the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon yesterday have the same drive as Official Car Provider Renault.

Long-running supporters of the greatest marathon in the world, the French brand is renowned for its passion for design and life and was once again proud to be supporting the event which has risen over £600 million for good causes since launching in 1981.

A people-centric car company, Renault’s identity is fully expressed in a strategy based on the cycle of life. This vision connects the brand to its customers by following them throughout life: when they fall in love, head off on a journey, start a family, work, play, and reach wisdom.

Top class athletes are drawn to the fast course annually, but it is the brave fundraisers who all dig deep for their own gruelling 26.2-mile journey around London’s iconic streets who are considered by many as the real heroes on a day, with the action screened in nearly 200 separate countries.

From super heroes to zombies, the FA Cup to furry animals, fancy dress runners each with their own story and motivation behind running pulled out all the stops this year when it came to looking the part for the race which starts in Blackheath, Greenwich, and finishes in The Mall, Westminster.

They were led all the way, with no harmful emissions or pollutants from its tailpipe, through crowds of more than half a million lining the English capital’s streets, by a car which takes its appearance very seriously too: the 100% electric Renault ZOE.

The flagship stunner in the French brand’s plug-in 100% electric range, the supermini created quite a buzz passing famous landmarks like St Paul’s Cathedral and Houses of Parliament.

Meanwhile, the Race Director used Renault’s compact crossover Captur, the ultimate urban adventurer, to tackle the cut and thrust, combining the best of three worlds: the expressive styling and driving position of an SUV, the cabin space and modular interior of an MPV and the driving pleasure of a hatchback.

ZOE and Captur are all part of Renault’s multi-award-winning small car line-up that reflect the brand’s new corporate identity and overall style, and proud to be on display in the capital.

Also joining the party, two converted Renault Master vans were used by the media, fitted with official roof-mounted digital race clocks keeping a check on the front runners. Renault also supplied 16 Grand Scenics for transporting VIPs and as lead vehicles to keep the race flowing seamlessly.

For more information on the complete Renault range and its vision, visit www.renault.co.uk.

£500,000 grant allows nurses to switch to electric cars

Renault ZOE (Image: Cornwall Foundation Trust)

Renault ZOE (Image: Cornwall Foundation Trust)

A grant of over £500,000 has been awarded to Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT) by the NHS Energy Efficiency Initiative to help implement its eco-friendly green travel plans.

The Trust’s success was announced today (8 November 2013) by Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter.

CFT has used the grant to take forward three integrated projects which will see the Trust’s annual mileage reduce by over 725,000 miles a year and save over £300,000– the equivalent of 12 nurses.

Julie Dawson, CFT’s Chief Operating Officer and Carbon Lead said,

“We are delighted our green travel plans have been given a huge boost by the NHS Energy Efficiency Initiative.

“Many of the Trust’s services are provided by staff working in the community – for example health visitors and community psychiatric nurses – who through the course of their duties undertake over 5 million miles a year – the equivalent of travelling around the world more than 200 times.

“Cornwall’s geography and rurality makes it difficult for us to totally remove the need to travel but we are keen to ensure the impact is reduced and all journeys are as cost efficient as possible.”

The Trust has used the £525,000 to purchase 15 fully electric cars, install the infrastructure to support these including charging points and booking system to help staff identify the most cost effective fleet vehicle for their journey; and support investment in IT.

The 15 electric vehicles will complement the Trust’s existing 100-strong fleet and if successful will pave the way for more of the fleet to be switched to electric as it continues to take forward plans to reduce its carbon footprint.

The Renault Zoe, electric cars will be located at Trust premises in Liskeard, Bodmin, Redruth and Penzance. The cars have been supplied by Dales Cornwall, Redruth in the largest single Renault fleet contract the dealership has completed in recent years. In addition to the fuel savings generated by the switch to electric vehicles, a solar farm will be installed on the Trust’s premises in Bodmin and Liskeard. This will offset the additional electricity costs. It is forecast that the solar farm will create in excess of £10,000 worth of electricity each year.

The cost of travelling 100 miles in an electric vehicle is £28, almost half the cost of using one of the Trust’s traditional fleet vehicles.

Upgrades are also being made to the Trust’s telephone and IT systems to allow staff to maximise the benefits of telephone and confidential video-conferencing from their desks thereby increasing efficiency and reducing energy waste. The IT upgrade will be completed by 1 April 2014.

The Trust’s electric fleet and solar farm will be visited by Baroness Kramer – Minister of State for Transport in December.

CFT is the only NHS Trust in the south west to be awarded funds by the NHS Energy Efficiency Initiative.

Hat-tip to niggle.

How and When Will Electric Cars Replace Fossil-Fuelled Cars? Part 1

Figure 1: Diffusion of Innovations Curves (Image: Wikipedia)

Figure 1: Diffusion of Innovations Curves (Image: Wikipedia)

Electric cars are here, now, and selling in increasing numbers. They are getting better and cheaper each year to the extent that they are typically only slightly more expensive to buy than a fossil-fuelled car, and yet they are much cheaper to run. EVs are quieter, smoother and have zero emissions, and increasingly have the performance and range to match fossil-fuelled car.

It is natural, therefore, for the question to arise as to whether, or when, electric cars will replace fossil-fuelled cars. A quick Google search will show up many opinions on this subject. EV drivers are often very optimistic and believe EVs will take over in just a few years (say, by 2020). In contrast, conservative organisations don’t just take an opposing view, they often seem to ignore recent developments and seem to be able to argue that EVs will never compete with conventional cars or sell in significant numbers, even though they are already doing so.

An interesting example of this doublethink is the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s ‘Annual Energy Outlook’ report for 2014. It is due to be released soon, but an early version of the report was released at the end of 2013. It includes the headline prediction that in the US Just One Car Out of 100 Will Be Electric in 2040. This despite the fact that US plug-in sales have already increased from 0.14% in 2011 and 0.37% in 2012 to 0.62% in 2013 (source: Wikipedia).

It seems that most analyses of future EV market share simply represent the opinion of the author. However, I believe it is actually possible to make a data-driven projection of future market share based on known market share data so far. Further, the adoption and growth in market share of innovative technologies (computers, mobile phones, tablets, etc.) is already well studied and I believe EVs will follow the same path.

Specifically I posit that EVs will follow the standard diffusion of innovations approach, which is a theory that explains how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures. A key element is that adoption begins with a small subset of buyers, the Innovators, then passes through other categories of consume to achieve full adoption (the other categories are Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards).

The rate of change of market share follows a ‘bell curve’ with adoption being very slow at the start, then increasing significantly, then levelling off at 50% market share, before falling away as it takes over the remaining market – this is the blue curve shown in Figure 1. It is interesting to note that within the rate of adoption there is a point at which an innovation reaches critical mass – this is a point in time when the number of individual adopters ensures that continued adoption of the innovation is self-sustaining.

If we consider the percentage of market share over time then this follows an S-curve, with very low market share expected at the start. This starts to accelerate as the majority groups adopt the innovation, then it slows down again as the market approaches saturation – this is the yellow curve shown in Figure 1.

The adoption of electric cars is currently still in the almost flat starting part of this curve. In the next part I will show how we can apply the data we have on EV market share so far to this adoption curve to predict future adoption rates and market share for EVs, and calculate the likely timescale until EVs dominate the car market.

Victory for Renault ZOE on the 2014 ‘Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN’

ZOE Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN (Image: Renault)

ZOE Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN (Image: Renault)

The prestigious Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN saw ZOE overcome horrendous weather conditions to celebrate its international competition debut with an emphatic outright win and victory on all four regularity tests.

- 1st overall, Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN,

- 1st, regularity prize,

- 1st, energy consumption prize,

- 1st, autotest,

- 1st, Teams’ challenge.

The Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN (Zero Emission, No Noise) is the “greenest” segment of the Monte-Carlo New Energies Rally; the event is open only to electric vehicles. The fifth rally was held between 21st and 23rd March  in Monaco and featured three special stages ranging from 29 miles and 55 miles in length. These stages were divided into a total of four regularity tests.  The roads visited by the event included the breath-taking, twisty runs from La Turbie to Peille and from Sainte Agnès to La Turbie, high above the Mediterranean coast. Participants had to contend with a combination of torrential rain and fog on the busiest day (Saturday, 22nd March) which featured two special stages divided into three regularity tests.

Action concluded with an autotest on the harbour-side in Monaco.

Almost two years after ZOE established a new 24-hour electric vehicle distance world record (1,011 miles) in June 2012, last weekend saw the all-electric spermini’s first attempt at the Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN provide further eloquent evidence of its technical and dynamic qualities by securing every one of the five trophies that were up for grabs:

COMBINED CLASSIFICATION

  1. RENAULT ZOE
  2. MITSUBISHI I-MIEV
  3. THINK CITY

REGULARITY CLASSIFICATION

  1. RENAULT ZOE
  2. THINK CITY
  3. MITSUBISHI I-MIEV

ENERGY CONSUMPTION CLASSIFICATION

  1. RENAULT ZOE
  2. RENAULT ZOE
  3. MITSUBISHI I-MIEV

AUTOTEST CLASSIFICATION

  1. RENAULT ZOE
  2. CITROEN C-ZERO
  3. RENAULT ZOE

TEAMS’ CLASSIFICATION

  1. RENAULT ZOE
  2. CITROEN C-ZERO
  3. RENAULT ZOE

98 PERCENT OF CUSTOMERS… AND 100 PERCENT OF DRIVERS SATISFIED WITH THEIR RENAULT ZOE!

Z.E. ZOE TEAM fielded a line-up of three Renault ZOEs which were in the hands of crews from different backgrounds:

  • A ‘competition’ crew featuring Greg Jonkerlinck and his co-driver Yves Munier who came first overall after winning all four regularity tests
  • A ‘media’ crew comprising Christophe Bourgeois who claimed fourth place on two of the four regularity tests, as well as ninth place ahead of a number of top competitors on the autotest which was contested by 96 other vehicles. A ‘privateer’ crew, with a ZOE shared by Frédéric Allari and his co-driver Nathalie Rouvier whose strong performance on the regularity tests saw them finish an excellent fifth overall.

Renault ZOE is packed with technology designed to enhance both travelling enjoyment and energy efficiency. Renault has registered no fewer than 60 patents to provide ZOE drivers with the very best of electric mobility, whether for everyday use and for competing purposes.  ZOE’s official NEDC range is best-in-class at 130 miles, with a real-world range of around 90 miles in temperate conditions or 60 in cold weather

“THIS VICTORY SHOWS THAT WE ARE AT THE DAWN OF A REVOLUTION”, GREG JONKERLINCK

All three ZOE drivers on the Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN were swift to praise the model’s strengths in six key areas:

  • User friendliness: ease of familiarisation, easy to drive, no gearbox, etc.,
  • Efficient handling: ZOE is a purpose-designed electric car with optimised weight distribution thanks to the positioning of the battery beneath the floor.
  • Responsive performance: maximum torque (220Nm) is instantly available, an invaluable asset when accelerating out of a tight hairpin bend, for example.
  • Range optimisation: facilitated by the connected R-Link multimedia system.
  • Range: thanks to ZOE’s Range Optimizer, there was always sufficient range for the drivers to focus solely on their driving, since range never fell beneath 42 percent, even on the long 55 mile stage.
  • Fast charge: the ability to connect to a 22kW power supply could have been decisive in the case of a short battery-charging halt.

ZOE AND THE RALLYE MONTE-CARLO ZENN IN FIGURES

  • 18 entries
  • 7 nationalities represented
  • 9 makes
  • 5 trophies, all won by ZOE runners
  • Almost 120 miles of special stages
  • 8 hours’ travelling time

A SHORT HISTORY OF ELECTRIC VEHICLE RALLYING

The Kyoto protocol is an international treaty aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and functions in addition to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, with member countries convening once a year since 1995.

It was in 1995 that the President of the Automobile Club de Monaco decided to organise the Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo Electrique. Four events were organised until 1999. However, despite its success, it was not staged in 2000. It was necessary to wait until 2005 for a rally organised exclusively for new-generation vehicles to be held again.

The Rallye Automobile de Monte Carlo des Energies Nouvelles is a round of a bespoke world championship sanctioned by the FIA (Fédération Internationale Automobile). The series features 12 rounds in Europe, Asia, North America and Africa.

Three Renault ZOE races in ZENN Rally

Three Renault ZOE races in ZENN Rally (Image: Renault)

Three Renault ZOE races in ZENN Rally (Image: Renault)

Three Renault ZOE are racing in the fifth Monte-Carlo ZENN Rally. The electric model is putting its cutting-edge technology and performance to the test in osmosis with the natural surroundings.
The fifth ZENN Rally (ZENN being short for Zero Emission, No Noise) is holding from March 21 to 23, 2014 in Monaco. The “greenest” segment of the 15th Monte-Carlo New Energies Rally, the event is open only to electric vehicles.

Three ZOEs, 100% electric sedan, are competing in the innovative race over a historic route. Three teams are on board, together making up the “ZE ZOE Team”:

  • A “racing” team, fully trained on regularity events
  • A “press” team, for an insider’s view of the race
  • A “private individuals” team of rally and ZOE enthusiasts

The rally features several regularity events, including the famous “La Turbie-Peille”. The closing event will start in the mountains in Sainte-Agnès – Europe’s highest coastal village – and finish at the port of Monaco with a manoeuvrability contest.

The rally also includes exhibitions and special events for the public based on the theme of tomorrow’s vehicles and sustainable development.

Join the Z.E. ZOE Team on Monday March 24, 2014 and share in the magic of this new breed of rally.

To find out more about the ZENN Rally, click here

The Pain of Public Charging 8

ZOE Charging off Highgate Road (Image: T. Larkum)

ZOE Charging off Highgate Road (Image: T. Larkum)

Last week I went to London with friends to see an evening concert by the prog-rock ‘supergroup’ Transatlantic. The others were up for an adventure so I proposed going in the ZOE – though nearly regretted it due to problems with planning charging for the return journey. I spent a lot of time planning routes and charging locations but couldn’t get past the problem that according to the Electric Highway website many of the fast chargers were broken.

I called the Ecotricity helpline and had a conversation that was rather like last time, except much shorter:

  • “Can you confirm that all the fast chargers between Northampton and London are offline?”
  • “One moment… Yes, that’s right.”
  • “Can you suggest options?”
  • “The medium charger at Newport Pagnell and the fast charger at IKEA Wembley are working.”

Given that IKEA was off the route, I was starting to get worried that the trip would be a disaster. Among the many hours of research on charging possibilities around the Highgate/Kentish Town area, I discovered the following wonderful nuggets of information:

  1. There are two slow charger bays at the Royal Free Hospital – but they are in short term parking so there is a charge of “£1.50 for 20 minutes. No return within 2 hours”.
  2. There is a slow charger in the Waitrose car park next to Edgware tube station – but a barrier comes down a 9.30pm and isn’t opened again until the next morning.
  3. There are supposedly medium chargers recently installed at High Barnet and other end-of-line tube stations, according to online news releases. However, they don’t show on the station websites or on charge point maps like Zap-Map so I didn’t trust that they were operating yet.
  4. There are lots of private car parking spaces with chargers on the ParkAtMyHouse website – but they virtually all have the older Type 1 connector, not compatible with the ZOE. Plus the site doesn’t have a way to search for spaces with charge points – you have to check every one individually – so it’s largely useless.

Anyway, I decided to take a chance and headed out. I had found a public charge point in a side road near the venue, and if that didn’t work out we could return via the medium charger at South Mimms services – a bit of a detour, but acceptable as a backup. Nonetheless, I drove in Eco mode at about 58mph, and we topped off at the Newport Pagnell medium charger, to eke out the range as much as possible.

In fact it worked out fine. Apart from getting to the parking spot just as an ICE was taking it (fortunately they took the hint and pulled out again), we arrived and plugged in without a problem. On returning to the car after the concert it was fully charged (in fact, I expected that as I had been monitoring it on and off during the concert on my smartphone) and we drove back to Northampton happy.

We had a couple of issues on the way back – the bottom end of the M1 was closed for road works, and we travelled much of the way in fog – but I was still confident enough to drive home at 70mph, and got back with about 3 miles of range to spare.

Where previously I relied on fast chargers only, and avoided slow public chargers, this time I had succeeded at a long trip by doing the opposite – avoiding fast chargers and relying on a single slow public charger.

News and comment on the Renault ZOE (the world's most advanced mass market car), other electric cars, climate change, and related subjects. A car that's quiet, lively, cheap to run and non-polluting…£14k. Driving straight past petrol stations without a second glance…Priceless.