Electric vehicles given thumbs up

May 19, 2010, Newcastle University

The first trial of electric vehicles in North East England has been a major success, leaving hundreds of drivers ready to make the switch to low carbon transport.
Newcastle University in conjunction with Cenex, the UK's Centre of Excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies, and Regional Development Agency One North East, launched the trial of the electric two-seater Smart cars in September.

Since then, four cars - fitted with the latest in data capture technology designed by Newcastle University - have been driven by 264 different people to test the cars’ performance and driver behaviour.

One of the most significant findings of the trial was that so-called ‘range anxiety’ meant drivers were over-cautious when planning journeys. The maximum journey length made by any driver was 17.8km - just 25% of the average range of the vehicles.

Newcastle University lead Professor Phil Blythe explained: “A lack of confidence in the battery was the biggest problem drivers had to overcome.

“In a standard car, when the red light comes on to say the fuel tank’s low every driver knows they still have another 30 miles left before they grind to a halt.

“But are still a relative unknown and we found that at the start of the trial, drivers were over-cautious about the car’s battery life, charging the vehicles more often than they needed to.”

Other key findings from the trial include:

• Post-test drive, 72 per cent of people said they would use an electric vehicle as their regular car
• The car exceeded the public’s expectations on all monitored performance aspects
• Drivers found charging the vehicle was easy, safe and reliable

The Newcastle team also monitored cars’ efficiency under different conditions such as morning congestion, fast-moving motorway traffic and up and down hills.

They found the electric Smart cars emitted an average of 81.4g CO2/km. This represents almost half the average emissions from new cars in the UK, which last year was 149.5g CO2/km.

Prof Blythe added: “This trial has been extremely successful and has given us the opportunity to test this new technology in advance of the much larger trial which will start later this year.”

Chris Pywell, Head of Strategic Economic Change at One North East, said: “This trial has shown that there is real enthusiasm in North East England for electric vehicles, and that charging the car is not seen as an issue by drivers who use them.

It has however highlighted that range anxiety remains a major issue, and we will be seeking to address this through educational programmes and by making quick progress on the 1,300 charging points that we are installing in our region.”

Explore further: Tokyo taxis to trial battery switch system

Related Stories

Tokyo taxis to trial battery switch system

August 26, 2009

Tokyo taxis will be the first in the world to test new electric-car batteries that can be replaced in less time than it takes to fill up the petrol tank, the firm behind the system said Wednesday.

ZAP licenses PNNL's Smart Charger Controller Technology

April 14, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- California car maker ZAP plans to use the Smart Charger Controller technology developed at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in its charging stations internationally.  The ...

Electric cars rolling out

December 16, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Electric vehicles are far from new, but we are still a long way from electric cars being the norm. Now two new electric cars may bring that goal a step closer.

Electric Cars and Hybrids Ready to Go High End

January 21, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Recently, the big news at the 2010 North American International Auto Show was all the electric cars and hybrids. Indeed, hybrid and electric cars are ready to go high end, with a number of companies, from ...

Toyota to release solar charger for electric vehicles

October 27, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Toyota is developing a solar charging station for electric cars and plug-in hybrids, making a green technology even greener. It has also designed a battery charger for mounting inside an electric vehicle ...

Recommended for you

Team breaks world record for fast, accurate AI training

November 7, 2018

Researchers at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) have partnered with a team from Tencent Machine Learning to create a new technique for training artificial intelligence (AI) machines faster than ever before while maintaining ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet May 20, 2010
They found the electric Smart cars emitted an average of 81.4g CO2/km. This represents almost half the average emissions from new cars in the UK, which last year was 149.5g CO2/km.

Electric cars by themselves do not emit CO2. I think that they want to say: The pollution equivalent of the electricity usage of the electric Smart was 81.4g CO2/km, with the normal mix of generating electricity in the area. Here I assume that it helps that Smart is small, light-weight vehicle. Maybe they should compare to gasoline powered Smart consumption to better show the efficiency. They should also state the mix of electricity generation. How much is nuclear, etc.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.