Renault and Nissan step up race with Tesla over powering electric cars
Renault and Nissan aim to be among the first carmakers to sell 1m electric vehicles using their joint battery system, putting them alongside Tesla and Volkswagen as industry leaders. Luca de Meo, chief executive of the Renault, made the forecast this week at the FT’s Future of the Car Summit, adding that the partners were in talks to standardise the battery modules used in their electric cars.
UK steps up as Europe’s second largest EV market
The UK has replaced France to become the second largest electric car market in Europe due to a rise in demand for vehicles with zero exhaust emissions. Around 31,800 battery electric vehicles were sold in the UK in the first three months of 2021 – 1,300 more than in France – analysis by independent automotive expert Matthias Schmidt shows.
This follows a hike in electric car sales since the start of 2020, partly because of manufacturers being threatened with fines if they don’t decrease their vehicles’ average carbon dioxide output.
Battery electrics made up 7.5% of UK sales in the first three months of this year, almost doubling the market share compared to the same period last year, data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows.
Despite the effects of Covid-19, 2020 was the first year European carmakers sold more than 500,000 electric cars. This figure is expected to double to 1 million in 2021, though pure electric cars will remain only a tenth of the total European car market by 2024, Matthias Schmidt predicts.
Germany is still the biggest single market for battery electric cars in Europe, with 64,700 sold in the first quarter. This was made possible partly by the German Government doubling already generous subsidies to protect its auto industry. Other contenders include Norway, which in 2020 was the first country in the world where more electric cars were sold than fossil fuel cars, also helped by subsidies.
Electric car range anxiety to be cured by battery that charges in five minutes
Motorists will be able to charge electric cars in five minutes within three years with the introduction of “extreme fast” battery technology.
It was announced this week that the first five-minute batteries will be made available for testing this year, with mass production being started in 2024.
StoreDot, the Israeli company behind the technology, said that charging would take only marginally longer than filling up a car with petrol.
Source: The Times
Birmingham clean air zone vehicle scrappage scheme launched
Birmingham City Council has launched a vehicle scrappage and travel credit scheme ahead of the opening of its clean air zone (CAZ) on June 1.
The £10 million package aims to support people working in the city’s clean air zone, and who earn less than £30,000 per year, with the option of scrapping a vehicle that would otherwise be subject to the daily fee.
In return for scrapping a vehicle, successful applicants will receive a £2,000 grant which can be used on a ‘travel credit’ or to purchase a vehicle that meets the emission standards of the new CAZ.
Birmingham City Council has partnered with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority, and car retailer Motorpoint, to operate the scheme.
Birmingham’s CAZ will cover an area of the city inside the inner ring road (A4540 Middleway) and once live will mean that the owners of non-compliant vehicles, which account for around 25% of the vehicles on Birmingham’s roads, will need to pay a daily charge to drive into or through the CAZ.
It was meant to introduce a CAZ last year, along with Leeds, but both were postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cars, taxis and vans will pay £8 per day to drive into the CAZ in Birmingham, while HGVs, coaches and buses will be charged £50 per day.
Fleet air CAZ fears
Concerns surrounding CAZs have been highlighted as two of the top three issues that car and van fleets believe they will face before 2026.
Findings from Arval Mobility Observatory’s 2021 Barometer show that the top most common answers to the question, “What are the main challenges facing fleets in the next five years?”, were firstly the introduction of stricter CAZs (35%), followed by increased vehicle taxation (34%) and then the creation of more CAZs (30%).
Source: Fleet News
First electric Lamborghini due by mid-2020s as two-door GT
Lamborghini’s bosses have approved an expansion programme for a long-mooted fourth model line for the company’s first battery-electric model, set to take the form of a two-door four-seat grand tourer which boss Stephan Winkelmann confirmed will appear “in the second half of this decade”.
The new machine will be the culmination of the firm’s newly announced Direzione Cor Tauri road map, which will include electrifying its three existing product lines with plug-in hybrid powertrains by the end of 2024.
Winkelmann said initial development work on the new car has begun, but he said no decision about its final form has been made. “This will be at least a 2+2 or four-seater,” Winkelmann told Autocar. “We imagine a two-door car mainly at this moment, but we haven’t yet taken a final decision on the bodystyle or the power output.”