1000km 'rally' aims to speed up electric car development
16 March 2010

An electric car charging company has set up a 1000km driving challenge from Ellon, Aberdeenshire to Ventnor, in the Isle of Wight.

In total 24 cars will take part in the event - which is aimed at promoting electric car useage - in September.

"We want to establish a target time, that car manufacturers and individuals can then aim at," said Reuben Vurdien, whose Reuben Power Plc company has set a goal of installing one million charging points across the country 'as soon as possible'.

“This challenge will demonstrate that electric vehicles are a viable alternative to conventional cars, that EVs can cover the length and breadth of the country with comparable ease and speed of petrol fuelled cars.”

In order for the challenge to run the company will install 240 charging points at ten locations along the route, including 30 charging points at Little Chef restaurants. It is hoped that the partnership with Little Chef could be expanded if the project is a success.

Vurdien also hopes the challenge will spur electric car manufacturers into making their vehicles compatible with his company's fast charging capabilities.

"A car that can trickle charge over eight hours is not a viable alternative to a conventional car, but one that uses our fast charge capability, which takes one hour from full to empty, is realistic," he said.

Organisers of the challenge are currently in talks with car manufacturers about taking part in the event, saying they have had "several expressions of interest".

Twitter - follow autocar.co.uk

Our Verdict

Nissan Leaf

The electric Nissan Leaf has its work cut out competing with cheaper mainstream cars - but it does make a case for itself

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Join the debate


16 March 2010

Electric cars have no future, hydrogen cars do

16 March 2010

Sorry, have to disagree, it's hydrogen that has no future, but we'll see.

I hope the power won't be as weak as Little Chef's terrible tea.

16 March 2010

[quote phildub]

Electric cars have no future, hydrogen cars do

[/quote]Exactly. The Honda featured on Top Gear some time ago and driven by James May in California certainly seems to be the future to me. The only issue then is where do we put all the water from it's exhaust when millions around the world are driving one?

16 March 2010

Rather ironic that this "event" will only demonstrate the non viability of electric cars. There are any number of existing cars that could complete such a challenge non stop and probably within the space of 12 hours. By contrast, most electric car will have to stop and recharge at least half a dozen times en route which, even with fast charging, will mean being stationary for 6 hours. So I fail to see how the exercise will "demonstrate that electric vehicles are a viable alternative to conventional cars". And while it's true that fast charging minimises some of the disadvantages of an electric car, I'm pretty sure that this comes at a price of shortening battery life, and thereby increasing the already high running costs associated with electric cars. Electric cars no doubt have a future, but I firmly believe that they are only viable if the electricity is generated on board, when it's needed, rather than stored in heavy, bulky and prohibitively expensive batteries.

16 March 2010

Whilst it is questionable whether electric cars will ever be a true replacement, surely this type of event can only help to stimulate development. It wasn't long ago that a mobile phone charge didn't last a day but now they will last a week. If an electric car can reliably provide 100 miles use in all weathers and conditions and recharge within an hour then, for me at least, it could cope with 80% of my journeys.

16 March 2010

There's a good book called The Hype About Hydrogen by Joe Romm and he highlights five barriers to us getting hydrogen fuel cell cars any time soon:

1. Current fuel cell cars cost an average of $1,000,000. This cost, in his words, "has gotta drop."

2. Current materials cannot store enough hydrogen in a reasonable space to "give you the range people want."

3. Hydrogen fuel is "wildly expensive." In his words "even hydrogen from dirty fossil fuels is two or three times more expensive than gasoline."

4. The need for an entire new fueling infrastructure. He claims "someone's gonna have to build at least ten or twenty thousand hydrogen fueling stations, before anybody is going to be interested."

5. Competing technologies will improve over time as well. "You have to hope and pray that the competitors in the marketplace don't get any better. Because right now the best car in the marketplace just got a lot better, the hybrid vehicle..."

Electric cars and hybrids are here and useable, albeit with some compromises. Apart from the Honda trial in California, you can't even buy a hydrogen car. They might be the future but I'm guessing 22nd century.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week