Hannah Stanley gives a run down some of the latest EV’s on the market

Hannah Stanley

The transition to a net-zero carbon transport future is vital to help eliminate emissions from the sector and unlock new opportunities. In July, as part of our EWiRE initiative, we took a group of women who are passionate about helping accelerate this transition on an EV driving day kindly hosted by DriveElectric.

The transport sector currently accounts for 23% of global energy-related CO2 emissions and is the fastest-growing contributor to climate change, according to the IEA. The health impacts of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles are widespread – according to data from the World Health Organisation, nine out of 10 people across the world breathe air containing high levels of pollutants, including that from transport. These are some of the main drivers for the women in EVs group choosing to work in the sector, and why they are keen to see an increased uptake of electric vehicles (EVs).

On our driving day we tested some of the vehicles currently leading the way towards a zero-carbon transport future. No EV driving day would be complete without the Tesla – the world’s biggest electric car company by number of units sold and the most popular, but maybe not the most affordable! Tesla calculates that the 550,000 Tesla vehicles that have been sold have driven over 10 billion miles to date. This resulted in a combined savings of over 4 million metric tons of CO2 through fuel savings, equivalent to cutting the emissions of over 500,000 ICE vehicles with a fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon (MPG).

We had the pleasure of driving the Tesla Model X, Jaguar I-Pace, Hyundai Kona, VW E-Golf, BMW i3, Kia Soul and Nissan Leaf and have reviewed and rated them below.

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Tesla Model X

  • The Tesla Model X has caused a bit of a stir in the world of the SUV. With an option of 7 seats, effortless driving and falcon doors, it has caused panic amongst the ICE car manufacturers and it did not disappoint on the test drive. Astonishing acceleration and ultimate quiet in the cockpit, it felt like a serene bubble, floating aloof of the world below it. The driving environment is open and neutral, with the tall windscreen arching over your head and a commanding driving position making you feel king of the road. The large touch screen is impressive, but I wonder if it’s a little ‘gimmicky’. Overall it was a fantastic car to start with and set the bar incredibly high for the rest of the day.
  • Starting price*: £77,400
  • Range**: 315 miles

 

Jaguar I-Pace

  • The Jaguar I-Pace looks like it means business and with the equivalent of 394bhp and 513lb ft of torque, I guess it does. It’s efficient, gliding over the road surface silently and without fuss, keeping up with anything that tries to shake it. The ride is confidence boosting and comfortable, the odd jolt coming from potholes reminding you that you’re sat high on 22inch rims; ‘show off’. The interior is like an old-school version of the Tesla with acres of touch screens, nestled in amongst knobs and buttons, harking back to the older ICE cars. It’s an intelligent car, welcoming you into the world of electric vehicles without overdoing the gimmicks. Definitely one of my favourites.
  • Starting price*: £76,995
  • Range**: 298 miles

 

Hyundai Kona

  • The Hyundai Kona exceeds expectations in terms of practicality; you could fit a small horse into the boot and has one of the largest ranges on the test day with over 259 miles. Unfortunately, the ‘no-thrills’ interior is dull and plasticky and the road noise eliminates some of the joys of driving an electric vehicle. Overall, if you’re simply keen on owning a car to get you from A to B that’s going to be efficient, cheap to run and practical, the Kona may hit the spot.
  • Starting price*: £24,995
  • Range**: 279 miles

 

VW E-Golf

  • The stats of the E-Golf are fairly disappointing compared to the other EVs on the day, with a 0-62mph time of over 10 seconds, a top speed of 82mph and a range of just 120miles in the real world, it doesn’t seem as efficient and futuristic. After the Jaguar and even the Kona, the E-Golf feels tame, with a possible ‘Ludicrous’ mode switched out for ‘eco’ and ‘super eco’. That being said, the E-Golf is a fantastic car to drive with the cockpit feeling welcoming and familiar. This is the car for those who want to move into the world of the EV but keep the creature comforts of an ICE car. It even has a key you have to turn!
  • Starting price*: £31,025
  • Range**: 125 miles

 

Kia Soul

  • The Kia soul feels urgent from the moment you set off and the steering is sharp and gives good feedback, but it still retains that special EV feeling of serenity and control. The cockpit is much quieter than its counterparts, creating a tranquillity throughout your drive. You never feel the need to push the car, because you simply don’t want to get to your destination and have to leave. The interior is clean and stylish, with a simple digital instrument screen not vying for your attention all the time. The only downside is the particularly small boot.
  • Starting price*: £32,295
  • Range**:  172 miles

 

BMW i3

  • The first thing you notice about the i3 is the firm suspension, you sit high above the road but can’t help but feel that you are most definitely in contact with it. It’s a shame as the handling is good, the steering feeling weighty but the car feeling nimble. As with the Kona, the road noise is also pretty significant, with a resonance that could become tiring over a long journey. The interior and driving position is typically BMW, a darker, more ‘corporate’ colour scheme, logical and functional layout and a driving position that’s been honed from the vast range BMW series cars out there. It’s a very adequate car, but unfortunately didn’t shine out from our range.
  • Starting price*: £30,350
  • Range**:  181 miles

 

Nissan Leaf

  • The Nissan Leaf is faster than the E-Golf but the suspension is firmer leaving you feeling a little jostled when you reach your destination. It’s also slightly noisier with the clunks and bumps of the suspension coming through the cockpit. However, it feels competent and purposeful, doing everything you need of it without any fuss. The e-pedal feels intuitive and efficient, simplifying your driving inputs to just direction and speed. Simple. The driving position, as with the i3, is quite high, providing a commanding position of the road, however the steering wheel has limited manoeuvrability meaning that some people (including me) have to sit quite far forward to reach it. As with the rest of the car, it’s functional and efficient.
  • Starting price*: £28,495
  • Range**: 220 miles

Of the cars we test drove, the ones that seemed to shine were the Jaguar iPace and Kia Soul, both of which were tranquil and joyful to drive. They change the way you think about driving and provide a calmer more peaceful environment to travel. Who know driving could be such a serene experience?

As well as experiencing the cars, the day also offered the chance to discuss the key considerations when purchasing your next car; charging infrastructure at home, at work and on the move; the size of electric vehicle  you need, based on your daily mileage; the charging cost per mileage and the suppliers that are offering innovative EV tariffs.  The table below outlines the estimated costs:

  High Medium Low
Annual miles 20,000 10,000 6,000
Weekly miles 384 192 115
Average charge time (hrs/week) 15 8 5
 
Energy used (kWh) 105 56 35
Weekly running cost 14p kWh £14.70 £7.84 £4.90
Weekly Smart charging tariff (***) £5.25 £2.80 £1.75

Reference DriveElectric

EWiRE hosts regular meetups for women in the electric and autonomous vehicle sector to openly share their experience and expertise, work together to increase diversity across the sector and give each other a leg up when the opportunity arises.  We all have the hope that the EV sector is more representative of the people it is selling to, to differentiate it from the traditional ICE market.

Regen regularly runs the EV and electricity system forum to bring together organisations engaged in the EV  revolution with those involved in the electricity system, to discuss the challenges and opportunities from the growth of the electric vehicle market. During a recent forum, we asked the audience what they believed was the biggest barrier to electrification. Over 40% answered ‘the supply and choice of electric vehicles’. With 2020 seeing the introduction of 30+ new models for recognised OEMs, it is clear that some of the more substantial barriers to electric vehicle adoption are being resolved swiftly.

Our next EWiRE EV get together will be followed by our EV and electricity system forum and will be held on 25 September. we welcome those of you who are interested to get involved.


* Basic model price with Plug-in Car Grant subsidy deducted

**Range in miles with basic battery based on figures from DriveElectric (www.drive-electric.co.uk/vehicle/)

*** Octopus Go tariff – 5p kWh (between 00:30 – 04:00)

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