Electric Cars:what's available?

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Mandrake
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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by Mandrake »

From a driver licensing point of view electric cars are classed as an automatic, (likewise in classified listings) so you only need an automatic license to drive one as you don't need to manually change gears. So yes, you'll probably see a lot more people opting for automatic licenses in the future and eventually it may be hard to find a manual to even learn in... (maybe in 20+ years) Much like these days we consider double declutching to be a lost art no longer required, so too will manual gear changing eventually, unless you're driving a classic... I learnt to drive back around 1990 and had to learn double declutching because my first car had buggered syncromesh in 2nd gear but I've never used it since then! :lol:

But "Automatic" is a bit of a misnomer when it comes to describing what is actually in the car. "Automatic" to me means that a gearbox can change gears automatically without driver input, however there are no gears to change on an EV at all. (at least 99% of them) It literally is a single fixed ratio with permanent engagement, like a toy radio control car.

It annoys me a bit that EV's are classified as "Automatics" because there are negative connotations about automatics among many drivers, as in "I wouldn't buy an EV because I don't like automatics"... without realising that none of the things they don't like about automatics (torque converter, lower efficiency, a sense of lack of control or unpredictability in response, fixed lifetime with expensive repairs) apply to an EV. Quite the reverse. You have the instant torque transmission of a manual gearbox without any slip or slushy rubber band effect and you never have to second guess what the gearbox is going to do. It responds precisely to your throttle input, no more, no less, and you're always simultaneously in the optimal gear for cruising efficiency and maximum acceleration - no need to choose between the two. And there is nothing to wear apart from perhaps the bearings themselves. No clutches, no syncro cones, no hydraulic control block, oil pump, hydraulic clutches, torque converter, torque converter lockup clutch etc... just pure simplicity.

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white exec
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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by white exec »

As I thought. You were lucky, Simon, to have buggered synchromesh - I didn't have any at all, learning (as I did in 1965) on a 1935 Rover Ten. It had 'crash' gears on all four and reverse, so decent clutch control was a must. Double-declutching was obligatory for changing down, although, done well, you could drop into a low gear (even 1st, for the odd sudden steep hill) really smoothly.

Even now, if I was faced with the need to engage a really low gear at speed - eg complete brake failure - I would double-declutch without thinking. I guess most of us taught that way probably would. Same occasionally applies for a bit of very rapidly required overtaking. 8-)

Think we might be right about the gradual disappearance of Full (manual) licences. Car hire companies may well have to largely swing to automatics to provide what their customers are legally entitled to drive, while they continue to provide ICE vehicles.

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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by bobins »

Article on the BBC website about converting classic cars to use the gubbins from scrap / crashed Teslas and others.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48956000

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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by Mandrake »

Although I don't have the links handy, Fully Charged Show on Youtube has interviewed Richard Morgan a couple of times and shown a couple of his EV conversion creations. I think one was a Porsche 911 and the other was a VW Beetle!

My only concern with classic conversions is that out of necessity the batteries either end up in the engine bay at the front or in the boot, neither particularly safe from a front/rear crash safety point of view, and not very good for centre of gravity either.

Nearly all bespoke EV designs put the battery under the floor of the car to lower the centre of gravity, leave boot space available, and to protect the battery completely from front and rear impacts by allowing the front and rear to work properly as crumple zones and protect the battery by the bottom of the passenger safety cell. So while I do like the idea of converting classic cars I do worry about what would happen in a serious frontal crash since heavy, solid batteries do not make a good crumple zone! :shock: On the other hand the classic cars being converted were usually unsafe in crashes that modern cars would have protected you in anyway...

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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by moizeau »

If your in a classic car and have a crash I'd imagine you'd be fine. The modern car you hit and it's occupants however.....
A few years ago the driver of a Renault Clio made the mistake of pulling out in front of my SAAB 900. It was a good impact because I had to weld in a new front lower cross member and change the bumper! The Clio didn't get off so lightly.

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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by bobins »

As the old sticker on the rear crossmembers of Land Rovers says : "The car in front of me is my crumple zone" :)

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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by Mandrake »

moizeau wrote:
12 Aug 2019, 18:32
If your in a classic car and have a crash I'd imagine you'd be fine. The modern car you hit and it's occupants however.....
A few years ago the driver of a Renault Clio made the mistake of pulling out in front of my SAAB 900. It was a good impact because I had to weld in a new front lower cross member and change the bumper! The Clio didn't get off so lightly.
I think you misunderstand the design of modern cars and safety in accidents.

Old cars were built much stronger in the crumple zones at front and rear and as a result weren't damaged as much by moderate frontal impacts - I had a head on collision in my GS at roughly 30mph when I was young and it bent the undertray and front guards but and bumper but other than that the car was undamaged and I even drove it home for repair. But it gave me a hell of a whiplash thanks to the sudden deceleration and lack of airbag.

Modern cars (at least those with good ncap ratings) are designed to deliberately have deformable crush zones front and rear that buckle and absorb the impact to reduce the deceleration on the passengers that would cause injury. Simultaneously the passenger cell is made stronger than old cars so that the cell containing the passengers does not buckle and so that parts of the car from the engine bay, steering wheel etc do not intrude into the passenger cell, which are also a major source of injuries in old cars. This is done for example by having extra strong or braced A pillars (just look how thick modern A pillars are compared to old cars - the A pillars in old cars fold up like matchsticks in serious impacts) and using high strength steel for the passenger cell instead of mild steel.

The car is written off in the process of a relatively modest accident of course, so it looks like the car is "weaker" due to the damage at the front, but it is only weaker in the crumple zones - on purpose, and stronger around the passenger cell, and the end result is that the passengers are much safer even before airbags are factored in.

Building a strong rigid chassis from end to end might seem like a good idea and many manufacturers did that years ago but it's actually the worst possible thing you could do to the passengers in an impact as the deceleration loads alone can cause fatal injuries. The car might come off well but the passengers won't! If I have to choose me or the car surviving, it's me every time... :twisted:

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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

The size of crumple zones does also depend on the space available. I remember, years ago, on "Fifth Gear" they tested how safe people would be in a Smart car (and look how small they are!). The final test was at 70MPH into a concrete barrier at a 45 degrees angle. While the passengers would have been killed by the extremely rapid change of direction (and the G forces involved) there was no intrusion into the safety cell.
Last edited by Hell Razor5543 on 13 Aug 2019, 07:40, edited 1 time in total.

moizeau
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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by moizeau »

Mandrake wrote:
13 Aug 2019, 06:40
moizeau wrote:
12 Aug 2019, 18:32
If your in a classic car and have a crash I'd imagine you'd be fine. The modern car you hit and it's occupants however.....
A few years ago the driver of a Renault Clio made the mistake of pulling out in front of my SAAB 900. It was a good impact because I had to weld in a new front lower cross member and change the bumper! The Clio didn't get off so lightly.
I think you misunderstand the design of modern cars and safety in accidents.

No, it was written very tongue in cheek, much like Bobins' reply. I worked in the weld shop in QA and new vehicle projects at Toyota for nearly 15 years.

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Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Can I take us to California?

Whats going on?... well BMW are hoping to shift 200 of these in this little package. Anything but cars for the masses, they are looking for 200 well-heeled souls in 13 Counties in California (shouldn't be too difficult), but at least they are trying something different.

I give you inductive charging in your garage for your 2019 530e plug-in hybrid sedan. You have to take it on my 36 Month lease terms though.
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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by Mandrake »

The new (3rd generation) Zoe has recently been announced:



On paper, the Zoe has always been a love/hate car for me.

On the plus side it has consistently been one of the cheapest new EV's available for many years (if you discount the much smaller Ion) and the styling is quite decent, certainly compared to the Leaf, which was its main competitor for a long time. It looks like a normal car not an EV or bubble car.

On the negative side Renault don't have the best reliability track record and the Zoe is no exception - there were a lot of problems with early Zoes with the high voltage system, especially the oddball high power 43/22kW onboard AC charger.

Almost every other single EV on the planet has used AC for slow charging and DC for rapid charging. Typically most EV's will have either 3.6kW, 7.2kW or sometimes 11kW onboard AC chargers for use at home and places like shopping centre car parks, and rapid charging will then be done using the DC standards Chademo or CCS, at a minimum of 50kW at rapid charging stations.

With the first gen Zoe (and carried to the 2nd gen) Renault went out on a limb and chose instead to design a very complex onboard AC charger that initially went all the way from 3.6kW to 43kW - a one size does all charger. So to rapid charge a Zoe you need a charging station that does AC at up to 43kW.

In the early days this was not a problem but nobody followed Renault - when Renault zigged, everyone else zagged, so today AC rapid charging is considered "legacy". As a result many new rapid charging networks are not supporting it. One notable case is Instavolt who are springing up all around the UK - I've used their units quite a bit on my Ion and they are great, reliable, usually installed in pairs which is good for redudancy and less chance of having to wait a turn, and support contactless payment without any accounts or apps like many other networks require.

However Instavolt are Chademo and CCS only - no AC and therefore a current Zoe can't use them. Ionity is another EU based network that is rolling out and they are going one step further and only installing CCS, which is the EU and UK standard as technically Chademo is also considered legacy in the EU/UK and is now only the standard in Japan.

However Chademo has a large install base of cars still on the road - in particular every model of Leaf and env-200/400 on the road is Chademo, and all Mitsubishi Outlanders are Chademo, and that is by far the most popular plug in hybrid on the road in the UK. So while technically legacy, Chademo will not go away for at least a decade in the UK, however rapid AC is going away already.

To make the situation even worse many newer versions of the Zoe are limited to 22kW charging and can't even charge at 43kW in the first place - which in my opinion makes them too slow for charging on long journey's making it only a city car.

The A/C system has also been problematic with many people having to regas or repair the A/C at just a few years old and fighting Renault to have it done under warranty.

Other negatives in my view are no split rear seat (a deal breaker for the parent of a toddler) and the interior and dashboard is very cheap and tacky plastic, and no better in quality than the cheap plastic dashboard and interior of the Ion, and nowhere near the quality of the interior of the Leaf which is reasonably decent.

So the new ZE50 model seems to address most of these concerns.

The battery is now 52kWh vs the 2nd gen 40kWh and 1st gen 22kWh. WLTP range is claimed at 236 miles but I'd say realistic summer range is going to be about 200 miles. Which is decent enough.

The battery/range increase is only an incremental improvement though, the big news is that Renault have finally abandoned AC rapid charging and gone with the EU/UK standard CCS charging system that everyone else except Nissan and Mitsubishi have already switched over to. It now takes AC at up to 7.2kW and DC at up to 50kW.

This completely addresses the issue of charging standards meaning that the new model is future proofed to work on current and future rapid charging networks and will not be made obsolete by lack of places to rapid charge like the old one will. Also this should address the reliability issues of the onboard charger since it will now be using a completely different, simpler, lower power charger. (DC rapid charging puts the high powered charger in the roadside unit instead of the car)

Horsepower is now up to 136hp vs the 90 and 110hp of the previous models.

The rear seat is now a split fold design (finally!) and the new interior and dashboard actually looks pretty nice for a car in its price range, and certainly compared to the very cheap and tacky hard plastic dashboard of the previous models.

Whether the A/C system is still unreliable remains to be seen. So quite a significant facelift mainly thanks to the change in charging standards and the improved interior. The change in charging standards was long overdue but they've finally done it.

So how much ? We still don't know yet although the video above suggests entry level will be around £22k for the poverty spec but you can bet the high end spec will be pushing at least high 20's... although because it's French, expect significant dealer discounts just like most other French cars.... :lol:

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The Range

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Autocar/What Car have come up with their tests of real world range and a Tesla isn't top of their list!
regards Neil

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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by andy5 »

Mandrake wrote:
12 Aug 2019, 09:56
My only concern with classic conversions is that out of necessity the batteries either end up in the engine bay at the front or in the boot, neither particularly safe from a front/rear crash safety point of view, and not very good for centre of gravity either.

Nearly all bespoke EV designs put the battery under the floor of the car to lower the centre of gravity, leave boot space available, and to protect the battery completely from front and rear impacts by allowing the front and rear to work properly as crumple zones and protect the battery by the bottom of the passenger safety cell. So while I do like the idea of converting classic cars I do worry about what would happen in a serious frontal crash since heavy, solid batteries do not make a good crumple zone! :shock: On the other hand the classic cars being converted were usually unsafe in crashes that modern cars would have protected you in anyway...
This makes me muse again that the Audi A2 was ahead of its time - a bit too far, as it stopped being made before they could get around to having an electric version, could have been a roughly similar but differently executed concept to the BMW i3

Edit: apparently there was an electric successor A2, promoted as a concept car a few years ago, but to borrow a jokey comment from an article I just found, Audi pulled the plug on it, fearing not many sales of a car with a projected cost then at around €40,000

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VW Price Slash on E-Golf

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Are they working towalds the new "Volks Wagen" :?: ....



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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by Wookey »

"Everybody needs to realise that clean mobility is like organic food: it’s more expensive".

Except that it isn't. This is bollocks. The vehicle costs more, but the fuel costs a factor of ~5 less. In the long run that's cheaper. EVs are already cheaper for people with long commutes, and they'll get cheaper for others quite rapidly over the next couple of years. AIUI they are also competitive on PCPs which is how most people actually buy cars these days. Drive electric will do you an E-golf for £269/month: https://www.drive-electric.co.uk/vehicl ... olf-lease/ It's hard to get a price for an ICE golf because the bastards keep wanting an account/email , but I found €299 for a golf in Ireland: https://www.volkswagen.ie/en/offers-and ... deals.html That's near as dammit the same, whilst you'll spend much less per month on fuel. (£190/month for petrol, £50 for electricity). So now you are saving £140/month.
Here a worked example for a couple of BMWs (i3 vs 318). Via ownership for 3 years. The i3 is a bit cheaper. https://www.buyacar.co.uk/cars/economic ... ectric-car

Starting about now I expect the adoption curve to go crazy as everyone (at least everyone who buys new or newish PCP) just picks the cheaper option, and PCP residuals for first diesels, and then petrols, plummet in 4-5 years time, at which point it'll get quite hard to buy anything other than EV (new) and you'll need a good reason to do so. Erik Fairbairn does an excellent job of explaining this here:



Incentives like pollution bans in towns, carbon pricing and social stigma will just accelerate this trend.
Last edited by myglaren on 02 Sep 2019, 05:41, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: YouTube link