Thursday thoughts

September 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

  • Didn’t get too concerned over the BBC story earlier this week about the costs of running an electric vehicle, as the figures were based around predicted high depreciation of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV (as admitted by Mitsubishi). Surprise surprise: expensive, niche-appeal vehicles lose a higher proportion of their initial value. Anyway, the debate’s continuing. A spirited defence for the Mi-EV comes from former Red Dwarfer-turned EV enthusiast Robert Llewellyn in his latest episode of Fully Charged. A “spurious load of old codswallop”, says Llewellyn of the BBC’s claims. However, the Beeb’s analysis looks pretty sensible and realistic to me. Fact is, we don’t know how much these new EVs are going to be worth three years down the line, though the guy from Glass’s Guides is in a position to make a more educated forecast than most.
  • Marketing gone mad: General Motors is trying to trademark the term ‘range anxiety’ for use in its advertising of the Chevy Volt, a range-extended EV which comes free of such concerns. Tesla has responded by saying: “By all means GM can have ‘range anxiety. To Roadster owners, the term is as irrelevant as ‘gas stop’ or ‘smog check’. We are, however, looking into trademarking ‘Tesla grin'”. Expect this one to run for a while too.
  • Some actual news: Mercedes-Benz is fitting new diesel engines and new transmissions in its Vito and Viano vans, giving an average 15% improvement in fuel consumption, plus emissions reductions. The optional BlueEfficiency package includes stop-start (manual versions), low-energy power steering and fuel pump, and low rolling-resistance tyres, improving economy further. These vans sell in huge numbers, so this is a very positive step.
  • Clean Green Cars has compiled a table of emissions from all car manufacturers selling in the UK. It’s rating cars on their output of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides and particulates, and averaging out results across the fleet. Coming out best are Mini, Fiat, Suzuki, Toyota and Mazda; worst offenders are Mercedes, Subaru, Chrysler, Land Rover and Jeep.
  • Nissan is signing deals and memorandi of understanding all over the place for supply of the Leaf  and development of EV recharging infrastructure. New in this week are agreements in Hawaii and Jordan. The Kingdom of Jordan wants to be ‘a leader in zero emission mobility in the Arab world’, and intends to buy 300 Leafs for its public sector fleet.


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