Electric Car

Editorial | Volvo – fully switched on from 2019?

If you’ve read the news lately, you could be forgiven for thinking that Volvo has killed the combustion engine. No, not quite, but you can’t blame the company for blowing its own trumpet a little. 

Volvo T8 Twin Engine Range

Given the past year, and the risk of being labelled a traitor or enemy of the people, we’d wonder if any organisation would be truly happy about making the front cover of the Daily Mail. But that’s exactly what Volvo got on Thursday, along with sizeable coverage in the The Times and The Guardian. The reaction on social media was slightly more mixed, with many pointing out that the newspapers and other had massively misunderstood the announcement by Volvo. This wasn’t ‘pure electric cars only’ as a strategy, and manufacturers like Lexus already offer hybrids across their model range.

Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine

Perhaps there was a, justifiable, element of resentment from other brands, that Volvo has stolen so much of the headlines with this announcement. For a carmaker to be on the front page of multiple newspapers and not to have done something wrong – Volkswagen – is rather rare. But that is exactly what Volvo achieved yesterday. Granted many mainstream journalists got completely the wrong end of the stick, and believed Volvo would banish the internal combustion engine completely by 2019. However, we imagine Volvo’s PR department were still rather pleased with the coverage all the same.

Volvo S90 T8 Twin-Engine

The truth is virtually all major manufacturers are going to need to further embrace hybrid and electric vehicles, in order to meet the EU’s 2021 target of fleet CO2 emissions averaging no more than 95g/km. That’s quite a tall order, and therefore the more ultra-low and zero-emissions cars a manufacturer has, the lower their overall fleet CO2 average. This is why Volvo is not dispensing with internal combustion in 2019, but merely ensuring it becomes a smaller part of their model range and, where still offered, includes some form of hybrid system to further reduce CO2 outputs. (more…)

Friday Photo – When the BMW i3 came to Newcastle upon Tyne

As part of the marketing campaign for the i3 compact EV, BMW is taking it on tour to the streets of the UK. So when it popped up in our local city of Newcastle upon Tyne, we sent one of EngageSportMode’s roving reporters along for a look.

BMW i3 UK

We’ve written lots about the i3 on ESM already, along with making it the ‘best motoring real world solution’ in our 2013 awards. Our good friend The Tame Geek is very much a fan after his experience behind the wheel. It’s also the car that a lot of people, ourselves included, think should have been the winner of the European Car of the Year prize, rather than the Peugeot 308. We’ve already made our feelings known on that here, so we won’t dwell any further on that decision. So back to the case in point; here’s our mini gallery of when BMW brought the i3 to the centre of Newcastle today:

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BMW i3 – Munich gives us the future – now.

Electric cars are nothing new, in fact they’ve been around as an idea since the middle of the 19th century. We’ve also had cars like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet/Vauxhall Volt/Ampera and Tesla Roadster available for some time. So why does today’s unveiling of the BMW i3 knock all of them into the gutter? 

BMW i3 001

No, it isn’t conventionally attractive – the unkind might even call it ugly – with its squashed kidney front grille, asymmetric window line and two-tone colour scheme. But, when The Tame Geek and I discussed this earlier, we agreed that the i3 looks like a vehicle of the future, rather than a contemporary car made to look futuristic. Quite frankly, if you’re going to buy something that is meant to be changing the face of driving, would you at least want it to look different to everything else on the road? (more…)