All posts by Trevor Larkum

Software engineer and electric vehicle advocate

Formula E car performs maiden public demonstration run in Las Vegas

Formula E car performs maiden public demonstration run in Las Vegas (Image: Renault)
Formula E car performs maiden public demonstration run in Las Vegas (Image: Renault)
  • The 100% electric Spark-Renault SRT_01E single-seater race car performed its first public demonstration run in Las Vegas, USA, on Monday 6 January
  • The event was held in conjunction with the International CES, a global consumer electronics and technology trade show
  • Following its presentation at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2013, and its debut track run at La Ferté Gaucher, near Paris, France, the Spark-Renault SRT_01E broke new ground by making its first dynamic public appearance 

The Spark-Renault SRT_01E made its first dynamic public appearance in Las Vegas, USA, in front of a crowd of technology fans at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The car was in the hands of Brazilian racing driver Lucas di Grassi who drove along the Las Vegas Strip before moving on to Mandalay Bay in the centre of the city.

The demonstration run was confirmation that the visionary idea of fully-electric single-seater race cars is today very much a reality to which Renault, as a technical partner, has made a significant contribution thanks not only to its winning record in motor racing, but also to the lead it enjoys in the world of electric vehicles.

Renault Sport Technologies CEO Patrice Ratti, said:

“Everybody at Renault is very proud that we were able to show the 100% electric Spark-Renault race car in driving conditions for a very tech-savvy crowd in Las Vegas. The work that has been done by all technical partners over the last few months has been fantastic and the car lives up to Renault’s high competition standards. We are very happy about the result so far and our engineers will keep working with Spark, Dallara, McLaren, Williams and Michelin to further improve the Spark-Renault SRT_01E so that all teams can compete with an amazing 100% electric race car when the championship begins.”

Renault ZOE Sales in France Fell to 278 in December, Reaching 5,500 in 2013

Renault ZOE Sales in France (Image: InsideEVs.com)
Renault ZOE Sales in France (Image: InsideEVs.com)

From InsideEVs.com:

Renault’s flagship electric car, the ZOE, ended the year of 2013 in France with a stable level of sales, which seems to be at over 320 units a month in the second half of 2013.

December’s result of 278 ZOE sales was enough to reach a YTD level of 5,511 units, which is enough to put ZOE in the #1 spot for EV sales in France.

In 2013, Renault ZOE captured 63% of the French market of new passenger electric cars.

Full article here.

The best car of 2013 is… the Renault ZOE

And the best car of 2013 is.. the Renault ZOE (Image: Renault)
And the best car of 2013 is.. the Renault ZOE (Image: Renault)

The FleetDirectory.co.uk website (“the online home for fleet managers and company car drivers”) has announced its nominations for, and winner, of the accolade for best car of 2013.

Vehicles considered included the new Range Rover, Renault Captur, Ford EcoSport, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, BMW i3/4 Series/X5, Volvo D6 plugin hybrid, Mazda6, Renault Clio, Ford Fiesta, a brace of Dacias, Skoda Octavia, Citroen C4 Picasso, Mercedes E-Class, and many others.

And the winner is….

But best car of the year in 2013? There’s only one that stands out and it’s a small car that I think will have a big impact.

It’s great to drive, cheap to own and has more flair than New Year’s Eve fireworks party. My car of 2013 is: the Renault ZOE.”

Full article here.

Climate Change 2013 Roundup

SKS Toon of the Week 24/11/13 (Image: SkepticalScience.com)
SKS Toon of the Week 24/11/13 (Image: SkepticalScience.com)

It has been some time since my last Climate Change Catch-Up, so this is effectively a roundup of climate-related news stories from most of 2013. It is a selection of the articles that I thought most interesting or thought provoking from the dozens I read each week, arranged by month of publication.

 

December

A Personal Carbon Footprint Calculation (see also WWF Footprint Calculator and Carbon Footprint Calculator)

Exhausted civil society ‘silent’ on climate change

Obama and Climate Change: The Real Story

 

November

Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene

 

October

Wall Street Demands Answers From Fossil Fuel Producers on ‘Unburnable’ Carbon

Smoking Kills, so does Climate Change

What are the potential impacts of climate change for the UK?

 

September

Living in Climate Truth

UN urges global response to scientific evidence that climate change is human-induced

Climate report 2013: Your guide to the big questions

Going All In with Renewable Energy

Global Warming Is Very Real

Our Fossil-Fueled Future

 

May

Watch 62 Years of Global Warming in 13 Seconds

99 One-Liners Rebutting Denier Talking Points

Slaying the “Zombies” of Climate Science:

 

April

Climate change inspires a new literary genre: cli-fi

Martin Luther King And The Call To Direct Action On Climate

 

March

A sensitive matter

Price Of Carbon:

 

February

The Case for Fossil-Fuel Divestment

 

The Pain of Public Charging 5

Volt charging at Bicester Village (Image: Duncan/SpeakEV.com)
Volt charging at Bicester Village (Image: Duncan/SpeakEV.com)

At the risk of these posts becoming repetitive, I have another tale of woe to relate. As twice before we took the ZOE from Northampton to Oxford to visit family, this time on Christmas Day. Previously I had popped out during the visit to use the fast charger at Peartree, but this time it was not to be.

On arriving at Peartree early in the evening it was obvious that the charger wasn’t operating as the screen was dark. I rang the Ecotricity support number only to hear that support is provided 24×7 every day of the year – except Christmas Day! I went into the services cafe and got on the free WiFi to look for other charge points. Unfortunately the area is not well catered for, and the closest fast charger was at Cherwell services on the M40, so I headed off there, keeping my speed below 50 to conserve range.

Arriving at Cherwell I found the charger easily and it was illuminated which seemed encouraging. I plugged in and started charging – but almost immediately the charging stopped, the charger turned itself off and the screen went dark. Again I went into the cafe to plan my next move. Unfortunately my range was now down to about 8 miles (and the WiFi cost £4).

I used zap-map.com to look for nearby chargers – at this point any chargers at all, not just fast ones, so long as they were within my very limited remaining range. It indicated two at Bicester, one at a Little Chef and one slightly further away at Bicester Village retail park. So I headed to the postcode given for the Little Chef with my speed limited to 15 mph, and my hazard lights on.

I found no Little Chef at the postcode given, nor one at the location given for it in the ZOE’s TomTom satnav, so I had to conclude it was an error and/or the Little Chef had gone. I now had just a few remaining miles of charge left so headed for Bicester Village at about 12mph. I found it easily enough but of course the site was closed for the night. At this point I had just 2 miles of range left, so I had no options.

Undaunted I parked up and explored through the site on foot, first past cones in the road and then further on past a barrier into a low multi-storey car park. There in the far corner I found a pair of slow charge points. I tested one with a charge point card and it was active, so I went looking for security staff. I quickly found a security guard and a charge was agreed by walkie-talkie – I walked back to get the car while he got the key to open the barrier.

The charging process went fine once connected, and then I was invited to have a tea in the management office reception. To cut a long story short, given it was a slow charger, I sat there for most of 3 hours. After that I was given a lift back to the car and minutes later I was heading back out with a nearly full charge, and very grateful to the Bicester Village staff for their help. After picking up the family we headed home and arrived without further incident.

This experience pretty much confirmed my conclusions from last time – the ZOE’s flexibility in charging is hugely useful, while the dependability of the public charging infrastructure is rubbish. It has, however, changed my mind about the ZOE having a domestic charge cable and I can now see how sometimes it could be invaluable.