A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

UK: Centre of excellence aims to move the electric car into the mainstream

Around a century ago electric cars stood on the cusp of becoming the world’s most widely used transport technology.

Buy Running Equipment
But the emerging popularity of cheaper oil-engined cars like Ford’s Model T meant that for most of the next 100 years they rarely made an impression beyond the pages of science fiction novels.

Now, however, a new centre of excellence has been set up at Cardiff University that aims to take electric cars beyond the preserve of milkmen and environmental ultras.

The group will research ways to enable the cars to overcome the barriers that, despite warnings about a global oil crunch, continue to keep the vehicles on the margins of the car market.

The centre will look at all aspects of the emission-free cars from their design and manufacture to consumer expectations and the availability of on-street charging points.

Ceri Donovan, a researcher at the centre of excellence, said: “At the moment we’re looking at what incentives to put in place to help overcome the obstacles.

“We’re doing research where we go out and ask people (about incentives) and we’re also asking stakeholders from industry.”

Professor Garel Rhys, chairman of the Welsh Automotive Forum, said it will take another 15 years before hybrid electric/petrol cars dominate the market.

And cars running purely on electricity may take another 25 to 30 years to become the market-leading choice for motorists.

Of the 900,000 or so cars sold in the first six months of this year in the UK only 2,000 were hybrid or electric, which is around just .25% of all cars sold.

Professor Rhys said chief amongst the obstacles to wider ownership are price and concerns about running out of power in the middle of nowhere or the dead of night.

He said: “One of the problems is still the huge expense of these cars. The Nissan Leaf (an electric car) even with a £5,000 subsidy still comes in at £25,000 for a car the size of a Ford Focus costing £16,000.

“And consumers are still worried about range anxiety, ‘Where am I going to be when I need a battery charge?’”

Professor Rhys said even though electric vehicles are cheaper to fuel, around 2p per mile compared to about 12p for petrol-engined cars, most won’t deliver a saving over the course of their lifetime.


2 comments to UK: Centre of excellence aims to move the electric car into the mainstream

Leave a Reply