British Police Start Testing Tesla Cop Car

The latest news from the world of EVs

Good morning and welcome back to The Fast Charge, the electric motoring newsletter. 

In today’s edition… Clean Air Day, rewilding, petrol prices, a Twitter fight and Tesla’s Tasermobile!

Do drop me an email at tomrileylondon@gmail.com if you have any feedback, questions or comments.

Clean Air Day News

DIRTY AIR: In case you missed it, yesterday was Clean Air Day. It’s a day to consider the implications of air pollution and how we can improve it. And it’s not just a whimsical marketing event, it’s extremely serious. Every year, air pollution kills some 36,000 people in the UK alone. You might think that’s not very much when you compare it to people dying of cancer or heart problems (which is around 160,000). But, the crucial difference is air pollution attacks everyone, whatever their age. Unlike diseases that may only come on in later life, dirty air and polluted streets will hurt everyone. And it does. Such as last year when a coroner ruled that a young girl, named Ella Kissi-Debrah, died because air pollution where she lived contained illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide. This resulted in 30 hospitalisations from severe asthma attacks. Ella was only nine years old when she died.

FRESH AIR: The glimmer of hope following the particular tragedy of Ella is it seems like the government is now moving in the right direction. Only this morning, The Times has revealed that new legal limits on air quality will be introduced before the end of next year. Alongside this, the government may additionally introduce a new warning system to alert people of air pollution in their local area. This could include an alert via broadcasters, social media and text messages. If the introduction of these new systems in our green and pleasant land doesn’t worry people, I am at a loss. Until now, these sorts of air alerts have only ever been regularly used in China to my knowledge. 

CLEAN AIR: It’s not just the government who can make a difference, a number of businesses and consumers can help to clean up our country’s air too. The easiest way for any individuals to do this is to use an electric car - as a growing number are - but also to only use businesses which are doing good. You can learn about Clean Air Day and how you (or your business) can help reduce air pollution here.

TAKE ACTION: One way EV motorists can immediately help reduce air pollution is to register their chargepoint on Bookmycharge.com before 30 June. Not only will you help more people to go green, but you will also guarantee 9 square metres of land is rewilded. For those who aren’t familiar, bookmycharge.com is a platform that lets EV owners book home and destination chargers. To mark Clean Air Day, Bookmycharge is supporting the charity Heal Rewilding to sponsor a 3m by 3m patch of land to go back to nature for EVERY new chargepoint registrant. I have been working with them for a few months now and can vouch that they are very good eggs trying to solve charging problems for many motorists. It’s a no-brainer if you have a chargepoint and want to do some good. You can learn more here

Elsewhere in the news

ELECTRIC FUZZ: Tesla has unveiled a police-liveried Model 3 that is being trialled by UK police forces - I’m calling it the Tasermobile. The police are using the performance version of the model 3 which has a limited top speed of 162mph and a full-battery range of 352 miles. As well as being used by police, the Tasermobile will be available to fire brigades and medical rapid response units. The government has said this is all part of the plan to reach zero emissions. Tesla isn’t the first EV to be used by the police. Many London police forces already use the electric BMW i3 out ‘in the field’. Read more.

INVESTIGATED MUSK: Not all is well between Tesla and law authorities. This week the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in America revealed it has opened 30 investigations into Tesla crashes involving 10 deaths since 2016 where an advanced driver assistance system was suspected to have been in use. Full details of all the crashes being investigated by the NHTSA had not previously been shared publicly. Read more.

PETROL WARNING: The AA has said that the ever-increasing petrol prices, which show no sign of slowing, makes a strong case for switching to electric vehicles before 2030. The AA made the comments as petrol has risen from 128.43p to 130.69p-a-litre in the last month. In some parts of the country though petrol costs are now enormous. One retailer in London is selling for 163.5p per litre. No wonder so many are switching to green cars in the capital! Read more

PRIZE GIVEAWAY: Yesterday, the Department for Transport revealed the latest businesses to receive funding for EV related innovations. The amount allocated to 62 projects totals £20 million. The innovations awarded include:

  • an onboard plug-in device that provides drivers with data on battery health to improve the experience of buying secondhand EVs

  • a kinetic battery that will provide a temporary power boost for charging the next generation of ultra-fast EVs at peak times in rural areas

  • a zero-emission ambulance with a hydrogen range extender designed from the ground up

  • the development of a solar-powered refrigeration unit for small commercial vehicles.

Read more on GOV.UK

LEFT BEHIND: Earlier this week, the head of Britain's motoring and manufacturing lobby called into question a Brussels think tank's report suggesting the UK is falling behind other nations to produce EVs. The report was by the Transport and Environment group which claimed a lack of investment by UK manufacturers would leave Britain behind the rest of Europe. Mike Hawes of the SMMT lobby group described it as "utter nonsense". Read more.

AD FIGHT: On Tuesday, I wrote that some green energy companies were mulling a boycott of the just-launched GB News channel. Since then a number of companies have boycotted them including Octopus Energy - which is a favourite amongst the EV community. Octopus CEO, Greg Jackson, has now felt the wrath and engaged in a Twitter tiff with GB News presenter Andrew Neil. Neil angrily responded to the boycotting Jackson saying he would decide if companies were fit to advertise with GB News rather than the other way around. Isn’t it all just so infantile!

STOCK OPTION: Polestar, the EV carmaker owned by Volvo and Geely, might look at listing on the stock market. “I would not say no to an IPO or a Spac, but it’s absolutely not decided when that will happen,” said Polestar chief executive Thomas Ingenlath in the Financial Times on Wednesday. This route would follow what many other EV start-ups have done in the last 12 months and gone on to get huge valuations. 

NEW STAR: Sticking with Polestar, the company also revealed this week that it’s next car, which will be an SUV, is going to enter production in the US next year. What the new EV will look like is unknown but Autocar has previously been told by Polestar’s designer, Max Missoni, that its Precept concept design will have a heavy influence. And that thing looked orgasmic. Although it does look very similar to some of Geely’s other cars.

By Tom Riley