Major study proves electric cars have role to play

$40 million UK ultra low carbon programme scheme reveals EV potential

Masdar is trialing the i-MiEV throughout 2011
Masdar is trialing the i-MiEV throughout 2011

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A 12-month study into the viability of eco-friendly vehicles in the UK has revealed that drivers are willing to adapt to using electric cars.

In one of the largest exercises of its type, the $40m study was conducted by CABLED, a consortium of 12 companies, and part funded by the UK goverment's Technology Strategy Board with support from Advantage West Midlands. The study revealed how drivers adapt to using EVs across an 18 month period in an urbanised environment.

The data was taken from 25 Mitsubishi i-MiEVs and 20 Smart ForTwo electric cars. The survey showed 77% of journeys undertaken lasted less than 20 minutes and only 2% used more than 50% of the battery.

CABLED added the “typical users only need to recharge every two to three days.”

The trial of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV matches a similar scheme in Japan. Masdar City in the UAE is also using the i-MiEV in its own year-long pilot programme.

Brian Price from Aston University, which was responsible for analysing the data obtained from each vehicles on-board telemetry said: “Through satellite tracking and on-board telemetry, we have been able to monitor real-world usage of the latest ultra-low carbon vehicles technologies on an unprecedented scale.

“Journey data over the first 18 months of the trial shows us that the battery range of electric vehicles (EV’s) more than covers most users’ needs, with most drivers finishing their daily journeys still with over 40% charge remaining. Typical users only need to recharge every 2-3 days and choose the convenience of a home charge overnight or at their place of work over 85% of the time.

“Public charging points provided as part of the trial are proving popular, but less necessary than originally thought, as users gain confidence in the range capability of the vehicles. The trial has shown that the current generation of low carbon vehicles are as capable as conventional diesel and petrol engines for performance and ease of use, whilst having significantly lower emissions and operating costs.”

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