Posts Tagged ‘cleaner and greener vehicles’
As hybrid cars become ever more popular and more environmentally conscious drivers switch to a dual powered car, an increasing number of people are becoming interested in the arguments concerning the pros and cons of such vehicles.
Whether hybrids, such as the new Lexus UK models, are a better investment than petrol powered cars has been hotly disputed for a while now, with drivers split between the new form of hybrid power and the more traditional petrol motor.
Here we take a look at the pros and cons of hybrid cars over their petrol-powered ancestors:
Cars such as a Lexus hybrid are in their element when it comes to driving in built up, urban areas. This is due to the way in which, at slow speeds, they only use their electric motors thus conserving a great deal of petrol and reducing emissions.
It also helps that as you slow down and brake, more electricity is generated to charge your batteries. This means that you’re essentially refuelling your car every time you slow to a stop.
One of the greatest benefits of a hybrid car is its multi-engine power. The fact that it has both an electric motor and a petrol engine means that it is optimised for use in any driving situation.
For zipping through the city, the electric motor is perfect for stop-start driving while at higher, cruising speeds the petrol engine kicks in as the most efficient form of power. Brilliantly, if you need power from both engines, when you’re overtaking for instance, most hybrids will be able to manage this with ease.
Rising petrol prices
The fact that petrol prices are continuing to rise means that hybrids are becoming a more attractive option for cash-strapped motorists. Fewer trips to the pump results in more money in your pocket but this could cause the initial price of such vehicles to grow.
While this isn’t such an issue if you’re using a hybrid car in the city or on smaller roads, some people may find the fact that there aren’t too many large hybrids on the market a bit of a restriction. If you need huge amounts of space and are used to being able to squash a large quantity of luggage into your car, finding a sufficiently sized hybrid may require a little work.
Distinctions between hybrids
One thing you have to remember when buying a hybrid is that they don’t all work in the same way. As such, it’s important that you recognise that some ‘mild’ hybrids won’t fulfil the same potential as a ‘true’ hybrid.
For those who are unsure of the distinction, the differences are relatively easy to understand. For any car to be classed as a type of hybrid it must undergo a number of processes. The defining characteristics of these vehicles are features such as the capacity to have an idle-off function or for regenerative braking to be included.
Hybridisation, the process of turning a vehicle into a hybrid, is claimed by some to take five steps. The stage or step reached by a particular vehicle then determines whether or not it is a ‘full’ or ‘true’ hybrid or a slightly inferior form – the ‘mild’ hybrid.
Cars which reach stage three, and thus featuring idle-off capacities, regenerative braking and power assist with smaller engines, are classified as mild hybrids. Those vehicles which reach the next stage and offer electric-only drive are classed as ‘full hybrids’ with cars that are able to provide extended battery range (stage five) considered a ‘plug-in’ hybrid.
Camden’s stars have gone electric to promote the use of environmentally friendly vehicles and improve air quality.
In partnership with electric vehicle manufacturers Camden Council is offering local businesses free two-week electric vehicle trials to encourage more companies to consider zero-emissions cars or vans.
One of the main barriers to their uptake is a lack of willingness to invest in new technologies without seeing the benefits first hand. The trials give them the chance to find out for themselves that electric vehicles are great for inner London.
Vehicles currently available are: Nissan LEAF, Tata Ace EV Mini Truck, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Renault Kangoo Van ZE, with more vehicles due to be added as they become available.
To launch the project for Camden, comedienne and Camden resident Victoria Wood tested out an electric Nissan LEAF. Meanwhile other Camden celebrities – author Ben Elton and actor Derek Jacobi – have also shown their support for the trials.
Following her trial Victoria Wood said: “Electric cars are a great idea and I was really interested to see what it would be like to drive, especially as I have started to recognise what a problem air quality in London can be. Going electric took a bit of getting used to as it was completely silent but overall, the electric car was really nice to drive. It quickly felt just like a real car as I nipped about and it is so much better for the environment and improving air quality.”
Ben Elton said: “I often notice the polluted air in central London and think that schemes like this – which help to encourage businesses to adopt new cleaner and greener vehicles – are a really fantastic way to make London a nicer and healthier place to live. Electric vehicles make so much sense in London, with zero tailpipe emissions and being easy to drive, before long they’re going to make other cars look really old fashioned.”
Derek Jacobi said: “It’s great that Camden is working in partnership with these manufacturers to help local businesses try these cleaner and greener vehicles for themselves. It sounds like a really innovative and exciting project which will help to make London’s air much healthier and more pleasant.”
Camden Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Transport Cllr Sean Birch, said: “Electric cars are a very important and practical way to improve air quality. Camden is the perfect location for electric car use and we want to get as many businesses as possible to take up electric, reduce the use of polluting petrol and diesel and protect the environment for us and future generations.”
Benefits of electric cars include:
* electric vehicles produce no air pollutants and can significantly reduce CO2 emissions
* they are extremely easy to drive
* they are quiet
* they are exempt from the London Congestion Charge and they provide tax breaks for company car drivers.
* they are exempt from road tax
* Electric vehicles qualify for a 100% first-year capital allowance
* they have extremely low running costs and they often benefit from reduced parking charges
* there is also a £5000 government incentive available
To book a trial call 0207 974 2260 or email email@example.com.
It’s not just businesses that will benefit - early next year Camden Council will also be organising a day where residents can test drive electric vehicles.
The trial will include:
* The all-electric Nissan LEAF hatchback, which costs less than £2 to fully charge, and gives a potential range of over 100 miles.
* The Ace EV is a fully electric mini truck that can be charged from any 3-pin socket. It has a payload of 500 kg and there are three standard body versions available: flat bed drop side, tipper or box van.
* The electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV city car is ideal for driving in London. As well as being zero-emission, it’s quiet, refined, can seat four people, reach 81 mph, and has a range of 93 miles.
* The 100% electric Renault Kangoo Van Z.E. makes much more sense than a petrol or diesel vehicle for short urban delivery cycles as it is zero-emission, easy to drive, and has very low running costs. It is also suitable for longer journeys as it has a range of up to 106 miles with payload of 650kg.