One drives an electric car, says Queen

The latest news from the world of EVs

Good morning and welcome back to The Fast Charge, a British EV newsletter. 

Quite a light edition today but I’ve got some great feature stories on the way - the first of which will land on Monday.

In today’s edition… Her Majesty, a new Volvo concept and the end for one iconic EV.

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

In the news…

PETROL PUSH: According to The Times, the government is considering a new fossil fuel emissions trading scheme which could lead to petrol bills rising by £100 each year. The plan is part of an effort by ministers to push people over into greener cars. The scheme will also include the use of gas in homes. The scheme will be similar to the already active emissions trading scheme - where companies can buy and sell allowances for emissions while running carbon happy businesses. The Times is told that Boris Johnson does not want to include petrol in the new scheme as he feels it will impact motorists. A consultation for the policy will begin later this year before COP26. Read more.

FACTORY VISIT: As reported earlier in the week, yesterday Nissan confirmed it was expanding its production in the UK and building a new battery gigafactory here. This will lead to 1,650 new jobs and increased capacity for the UK’s EV production - meaning we won’t have to rely on imports. Although, there is still a long way to go before the UK has enough gigawatt-hours capacity to be comfortable. The Prime Minister visited the Nissan factory in Sunderland for the announcement. He said it was a “major vote of confidence in the UK”. Which it is! Read more on the BBC.

ROYAL VISIT: Elsewhere yesterday, Her Majesty the Queen attended the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute. She arrived at the event in a hybrid Range Rover and remarked “it’s an electric car” when she got out. The plug-in hybrid Range Rover has a mooted EV only range of 25 miles and prices start at £85,000. It’s by no means a perfect EV - hybrids are still pretty bad for the environment - but it’s a nice car all the same. If big Liz can start to switch, hopefully, the PM won’t be far behind.

NEW CHARGERS: This week Gridserve has combined its new forecourts, hubs and Electric Highway chargers into one network called the Gridserve Electric Highway. This follow’s Gridserve’s acquisition of Electric Highway from Ecotricity last month. The company is now upgrading 300 old rapid chargers to more powerful 350kW ones - which is good news for people doing long trips. They are also adding 50 new ultra-rapid chargepoints by September. Read more on Current News.

BETTER ACCESSIBILITY: Some pretty welcome news earlier this week that the UK government is partnering with disability charities to create accessibility standards for EV chargepoints across the UK. This will also allow disabled drivers to easily identify which models are suitable for their needs. Let’s hope by the time this happens the chargepoints themselves have better reliability than many do now! Read more on GOV.UK

NEW CAR: Volvo has continued their foray into electric cars by unveiling a new concept SUV called the Recharge. The images released suggest it will be quite low to the ground and sporty (or squashed, as some have suggested) plus have suicide doors. Inside there’s a lot of windows and space - maybe too much - as the seats sit fairly isolated to give off an extremely futuristic feel. 

Like most EVs these days, the Volvo will come with a huge infotainment screen as well as other gizmos to ensure you meet a swift motorway death. There’s something really aggressive about its looks - probably because Volvo is mimicking its sister brand Polestar - but I hope they keep at it. The concept looks superb. Read more.

CONFIRMED CAR: French carmaker Renault has confirmed it will revive the Renault 4 . It’s a retro model which they’re going to give a modern twist. It will be one of 10 new EV models to be launched by Renault by 2025. Read more on Autocar.

STOPPED CAR: It’s an iconic electric vehicle seen in towns across the UK - and everywhere else. However, BMW has said they are going to stop making the i3 in the US. That halt may reach the UK later this year. While the i3 hasn’t been a failure it wasn’t the huge success BMW wanted either. It’s a cool car but probably too early. Though most great innovations are! Read more.

By Tom Riley