Test driving the 2020 Ford Kuga SUV PHEV

Car Magazine »

Expect to see a lot of these on the roads this year.

Autocar »

Kuga has lost none of its dynamic flair, yet it’s more refined and practical than ever. It’s comfortable, too, Ford’s suspension engineers creating a ride that’s plusher and quieter than most. Perhaps the only real niggle is that the interior fails to achieve that premium feel Ford has been striving for. We also suspect the cheaper petrols will be the pick of the line-up.

But slightly lacklustre straight-line pace and grabby brakes aside, the Kuga PHEV makes a strong case against its less entertaining rivals from Vauxhall, Peugeot and Mitsubishi.

More Photos » AutoExpress

Ford discusses its electrification strategy for the U.K. and Europe

Sean Keywood, Business Car »

The Mach-E, Ford’s first modern mainstream pure EV, is a large, high-performance SUV for which prices will start at around £42,000, in contrast to the new electric entry points from rivals such as Vauxhall, Peugeot and Honda, which are launching far more modest, and therefore cheaper, superminis.

While saying that the Mach-E’s size, performance and range capability mean its price still represents good value for money when compared with rivals, Hoare also insisted that this ambitious entry into the EV market is the right way for Ford to go.

He said: “We want to put the best foot forward for electrification, we want to demonstrate the great strengths of electrification, and make it aspirational, so the products that will come beneath it will start with credibility, and our customers will understand what is coming from Ford.

Ford News Release »

The 18 electrified vehicles Ford has announced for customers in Europe before the end of 2021 includes:

  • Fiesta EcoBoost Hybrid, Puma EcoBoost Hybrid, Focus EcoBoost Hybrid, Kuga EcoBlue Hybrid, Transit Custom EcoBlue Hybrid, Tourneo Custom EcoBlue Hybrid and Transit EcoBlue Hybrid – featuring 48-volt mild hybrid technology for reduced CO2 emissions, optimised fuel efficiency, and a more responsive and rewarding driving experience
  • Mondeo Hybrid, Kuga Hybrid, S-MAX Hybrid and Galaxy Hybrid – featuring self-charging, full hybrid, petrol-electric powertrain technology that offers a compelling alternative to diesel and is capable of pure-electric driving for refinement particularly in city and stop-start driving scenarios
  • Explorer Plug-In Hybrid, Kuga Plug-In Hybrid, Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid and Tourneo Custom Plug-In Hybrid – offering pure-electric driving capability alongside the driving range and freedom offered by a traditional combustion engine.
  • Mustang Mach-E and an all-electric Transit van – delivering pure-electric, zero-emission driving

More » CleanTechnica

Unique Nottingham 30-day ‘try before you buy’ electric vehicle loan project

The following from a DriveElectric blog post about one of their programs.

DriveElectric »

DriveElectric has managed the EV trials for the Nottingham ULEV Experience including providing the vehicles, booking the 30-day loans, providing a handover about the vehicles and charging, being available throughout the trial to answer any queries, and even arranging insurance if required.

The vehicle fleet included some of the very latest EVs such as the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro, which are long-range EVs, capable of between 250-300 miles per charge, and these vehicles proved to be the cars that were most in demand. A total of 52 organisations in Nottingham have enjoyed 72 EV loans over the last 18 months, with 20 EVs being adopted as a result so far.

As well as businesses, public sector organisations can be successful ULEV early adopters for a range of reasons, including due to the driving cycles of their fleets often being ideally suited to electric vehicles. Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is one example of such an organisation, which trialled EV loans from the ULEV Experience. The project provided Renault Kangoo and Nissan e-NV200 electric vans for a month to allow the Transport and Logistics team to assess the suitability of the vehicles.

Following the trial, positive feedback was received about the larger Nissan e-NV200 van in particular. As well as the electric vans having zero emissions, lower whole-life costs, and being suitable for the required duties, employees preferred the driving experience of the EVs. The Trust now operates two Nissan e-NV200s and based on running these vehicles to date, 40 vans could be swapped to EVs. […]

How the U.K. budget affects to EV market

On March 12, 2020, the British government announced it’s annual budget which brought about changes for the electric vehicles market.

The following government grants are in effect for the next three years until 2023, starting March 12, 2020.

  • The grant to purchase a new EV, with a minimum range of 70 miles (112 km), is now £3,000, down from £3,500. This grant can now only be applied to new cars that cost less than £50,000.
  • Zero emission Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) are now also eligible for government grants. New EV vans are eligible for up to £8,000 in grants. Large vans and trucks can apply for up to £20,000.
  • Electric taxis can access up to £7,500, and electric motorcycles up to £1,500.
  • Grants for electric vans, large vans, trucks, taxis, and motorcycles are extended until 2023.
  • Zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) will be exempt from the Vehicle Excise Duty ‘expensive car’ supplement from 1 April 2020 until 31 March 2025. This is good news. Ordinarily, this tax applied to all vehicles that cost over £40,000. Removing this for EVs is step in the right direction to encourage the uptake of EVs and support the road to zero in the UK.
  • The U.K. government has committed to a £500 million investment in the rapid charging network over the next 5 years, to ensure that drivers are never more than 30 miles from a fast charging station. This will provide further comfort for drivers to make the move to EVs, which has largely been hindered by a perceived lack of charging facilities.

More » gov.uk, electrive, Accountancy Daily, Electrek

U.K. Dept for Transport plans to deploy 4,000+ zero-emission buses over the next 5 years

The U.K. Government’s Department for Transport (DfT) has stated they are working on a 5-year, €5 billion (US$5.65 billion) plan to enhance bus and bicycle infrastructure in the country – including new routes, expanded bus lanes, more affordable fares together with deployment of at least 4,000 zero-emission buses.

Full details of the bus funding program, with its focus on improving and increasing green mobility journeys, is expected to be announced in a National Bus Strategy to be published later in 2020.

London black cab becomes plug-in hybrid delivery van in Europe

LEVC VN5

LEVC VN5

 Ronan Glon, Autoblog »

LEVC, the company that manufactures London’s emblematic taxi, detailed a plug-in hybrid delivery van that shares many components with its existing people-mover. Called VN5, the model will enter production in late 2020.

It’s all in the name: VN stands for van, and 5 denotes the five-cubic-meter (176-cubic-foot) cargo capacity. The VN5 and the TX taxi share headlights, a front bumper, a grille, a hood, and fenders, so the family resemblance is unmistakable, but the former wears a longer, boxier body that’s better suited to delivery duty. It was developed to compete in the same congested segment as the Mercedes-Benz Metris and the Volkswagen Transporter.

Although full technical specifications remain under wraps, the fact that the VN5 shares its mechanical components with the TX suggests it’s fitted with a plug-in hybrid powertrain that consists of a turbocharged, 1.5-liter three-cylinder borrowed from Volvo and set up as a range extender. It sends the electricity it generates to a 33-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that in turn zaps a 110-kilowatt motor into motion. The VN5 is capable of driving for up to 63 miles on electricity alone, a figure that will allow owners to avoid paying to drive into London’s emissions-free zone, and its total driving range with a full charge and a full tank checks in at 301 miles.

More » electrive

BMW Group to offer five ‘all-electric’ models by end of 2021, 25 ‘electrified’ models by 2023

BMW i3

BMW i3

The BMW Group includes BMW, Mini, and Rolls-Royce.

From BMW Group’s fourth-quarter results statement »

By the end of 2021, the company intends to have more than one million vehicles with all-electric or plug-in hybrid drivetrains on the roads. At that stage, the BMW Group will offer five all-electric series production vehicles. Alongside the BMW i3, demand for which increased for the sixth year in succession, production of the all-electric MINI Cooper SE* was commenced at the Oxford plant (UK) towards the end of 2019. The BMW iX3 will go into production this year at the plant in Shenyang, China, followed in 2021 by the BMW iNEXT in Dingolfing, Germany, and the BMW i4 at the Munich plant – all of which will be equipped with fifth-generation electric drivetrain technology.

By 2023, the BMW Group will already have 25 electrified models on the roads – more than half of them all-electric. The key to achieving this objective is having intelligent vehicle architectures that, with the aid of a highly flexible production system, enable a model to be powered fully electrically, as a plug-in hybrid or with a combustion engine. With these prerequisites in place, the company is in an ideal position to meet demand in each relevant market segment and offer its customers a genuine power of choice between the various drive types. By 2021, demand for electrified vehicles is predicted to double compared to 2019. The BMW Group then expects to see a steep growth curve up to 2025, with sales of electrified vehicles growing on average by more than 30 per cent p.a.

In its announcement, BMW also targeted a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions by  this year.

The BMW Group is continuously working to reduce the CO2-emissions of its new car fleet. The company has always lived up to its voluntary commitment and will achieve the CO2 fleet target for its European new car registrations also this year. This is around 20 percent below last year´s target. One third of that step can be achieved by further improvements to conventional drivetrain systems and two-thirds by the growth in the field of electrified vehicles. The BMW Group’s endeavours to meet future mandatory CO2 and fuel consumption limits are therefore based on the combined impact of Efficient Dynamics technologies – which have been deployed by the BMW Group since 2007 – and the ongoing electrification of vehicles.

Plug-in EV car sales dramatically increased in UK in February 2020

While the UK new car market declined by 2.9% in February 2020 to 79,594 new vehicles, the battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars grew to 5.8%, market share with 4,566 new EVs joining UK roads.

The industry is urging the UK government to help more drivers go electric with tax incentives. The goal is to boost sales of EVs to a 1 million units over the next five years.

It’s wonderful to see the market for EVs to continue to grow in the U.K.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

The UK new car market declined -2.9% in February, according to data published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 79,594 models were registered in the month, traditionally one of the year’s quietest ahead of the crucial March number plate change, with the decline driven primarily by weak consumer confidence and uncertainty over what fuel technology to buy. Registrations by private buyers were responsible for the bulk of the overall loss, down some -7.4% as 2,741 fewer people took delivery of new cars. Fleet demand, however, remained stable, up by 31 registrations.

Demand for both diesel and petrol cars fell in the month, with registrations down -27.1% and -7.3% respectively, and diesel now accounting for just over a fifth of sales (21.9%). Hybrids (HEVs) recorded an uplift of 71.9% to 4,154 units, while registrations of zero emission capable cars also continued to enjoy growth, with battery electric vehicles (BEVs) rising more than three-fold to 2,508 units and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) up 49.9% to 2,058. However, these vehicles still make up just 5.8% of the market; and BEVs only 3.2%, showing the scale of the challenge ahead.

More » InsideEVs

The desire for larger passenger cars means drivers are producing more carbon dioxide

Jasper Jolly, The Guardian »

New cars sold in the UK produce more carbon dioxide than older models, according to new research that suggests the industry is going backwards in tackling the climate crisis.

Cars that reach the latest standards of emissions use cleaner internal combustion engine technology to combat air pollution, but the relentless rise in demand for bigger, heavier models meant that average emissions of the greenhouse gas rose, according to the consumer group Which?

The latest generation of cars produced 7% more emissions than those manufactured to earlier standards, testing of 292 models released in the UK since 2017 found. Cars account for just over 18% of UK emissions, according to government figures, and reining back pollution from the sector is seen as crucial to efforts to cut the country’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

UK abandons its opposition to subsidizing new onshore windfarms

Jillian Ambrose, The Guardian »

The government will remove a block against onshore wind projects by allowing schemes to compete for subsidies alongside solar power developments and floating offshore wind projects, in a new auction scheme announced on Monday.

The U-turn follows the government’s pledge to cut emissions to virtually zero by 2050, a feat that its official climate advisers believe will require the UK’s onshore wind-power capacity to triple in the next 15 years.

The auction will take place in 2021, allowing new renewables projects to be up and running from the mid-2020s if they manage to clinch a contract that guarantees a price for the clean electricity they generate.