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Oxford's Zero-Emission Zone, Tesla's rebooted Roadster and Honda e named City Car of the Year

We round up the latest news from a busy month so far in the electric car world, including how Oxford is set to become the first UK city to introduce a zero-emission zone, Tesla's rebooted Roadster sports insane new features, and Honda e is named the City Car of the Year 2021.

With the 2030 ban on the sale of brand new petrol and diesel cars coming up fast, it feels as though the car industry has been on a technology drive of late. Volkswagen, for example, has announced plans to cut its battery costs by 50% and increase production of cells for electric vehicles. According to Electrek, VW said it wanted to make cheaper batteries with long-range capabilities, as well as upping its production capability to a total of 240 GWh a year. 

That’s the equivalent of 2.4 million 100 kWh batteries every year.

MFG invests 400 million pounds in UK rapid charging

Meanwhile UK petrol station operator MFG has announced plans to invest £400 million in rapid charging points. As was reported by Electrive.com, the company expects to install rapid chargers at 500 filling stations across the UK by 2030. For the most part, those charging points will be 150 kW chargers, but some 350 kW chargers are also expected to be part of the mix. For now, though, the first 200 150 kW chargers are slated for installation this year, with around 50 added every year thereafter.

Insane features of Tesla’s rebooted Roadster

Tesla is also reported to have upped the technological ante with its upcoming next-generation Roadster. A complete rethink of the car that launched the brand all those years ago, the Roadster is expected to be one of the fastest road-legal sports cars in the world. Cleantechnica reported on a video by the YouTube channel Clearwatt, in which several of the car’s new features were discussed. An optional SpaceX package grabs the headlines, offering 10 compressed-air ‘rockets’ for extra power and, potentially, a hover mode. Yes, you read that correctly. Musk’s company is also targeting a range of more than 600 miles on a single charge.

Oxford to become first UK city to introduce Zero-Emission Zone

And it seems none of those advances (except perhaps the hover mode) are before time, as Oxford becomes set to host the UK’s first zero-emission zone. In essence, it works a little like the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London, or Bath’s clean air zone, but rather than charging the most polluting vehicles to enter a patch of the city centre, Oxford’s scheme goes one step further. 

According to Electrive.com, only zero-emission electric vehicles will get to enter the zone for free, with other cars charged differing amounts depending on how polluting they are. At first, the scheme will only cover a handful of streets in the city centre, but the council wants to grow the zone over the coming years.

Honda e named City Car of the Year 2021

If you’re in and around Oxford, then, you might want to look at leasing a small, electric runabout to go about your day-to-day business. And if you’re struggling to decide which car to choose, it seems the UK Car of the Year awards have given their backing to the little Honda e electric hatchback.

According to Zap-Map, the little EV has been given the UK City Car of the Year title, with judge Paul Barker describing the cutesy car thus:

 “Characterful, fun and good to drive, the Honda e proves that EVs can keep us amused.”

Hyundai announces UK pricing for Tucson & Kona

But if you want something bigger, there’s always the new Hyundai Kona Electric, which has gone on sale with prices starting at just over £30,000. According to Electrive.com, the compact SUV will come with a choice of two battery packs and two electric motors. Hyundai says the basic 39 kWh battery will offer 189 miles of range, while the larger 64 kWh battery gets you up to 300 miles between trips to the plug.

And if that still isn’t big enough, there’s always the larger Tucson PHEV, which will arrive in the UK this year. Okay, it isn’t fully electric, but Electrive.com says the car will come with a 1.6-litre petrol-electric plug-in hybrid system. That means you get more than 260 hp, and the car is expected to do up to 31 miles on electric power alone. Prices start at just under £40,000.

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Tuesday, 10/05/2022