Electric cars given boost from £5,000 Government sweetner
MY note last week on the celebrations next year to mark the 50th anniversary of the Renault 4 – the best-selling French car of all time and the world number three of obsolete models – brought reflections from a French coffee retailer working in Yorkshire.
Patrick Joseph wrote: “I always read your articles with the Saturday’s
with great interest, but I really enjoyed reading today’s Renault 4L article.
“Funnily enough I was telling someone yesterday I wouldn’t mind picking up one of those, or perhaps a more expensive CV. As a Frenchman in Leeds, having been raised around a genuine old 2CV, owned a Citroën DS, driving several 4Ls while studying agriculture in Brittany, I have an emotional interest in all these old French classics,” writes Patrick, who runs www. lecafeshop.co.uk
“My mum’s from Tarbes, and I lived there from 7 to 12, then moved to Ile de France, before studying in Brittany for three years.
“My last stint in France was in Villefranche sur Saone, just north of Lyon. Are you French?”
Sacre bleu, Patrick, but I am interested in old French cars and have owned a couple of Dyanes, a 2CV and the rearengined four-door Renault 4CV which preceded the Renault 4.
The latter was delivered to me by some friends living in the Corbieres, as the result of a wine-loaded conversation in a restaurant in Tuchan.
I always suspected they saw it as a free way of getting “home” for a week or so, as I paid all the costs.
The car was brush painted in yellow with some blue on the face. Not what I’d envisaged at all.
Vauxhall says its Ampera Extended-Range Electric Vehicle will cost £28,995 when it goes on sale in the UK in 2012. ELECTRIC car buyers are to get a £5,000 sweetener from the Government. It means that the Nissan Leaf, an allelectric family hatchback, will be available from £23,990 early next year.
The technology won it the European Car of the Year title, but some jurors questioned its limited range between battery chargings. Nissan says it will cover more than 100 miles on “official figures”. In other words, it could be far less, using about £2 of electricity. Business users pay no benefit in kind tax, saving thousands of pounds a year. Leasing deals are also available.
A year later the more practical Chevrolet Volt and Vauxhall Ampera will be available. These similar cars have an overall range in excess of some 360 miles, up to 50 of which can be covered on electric alone. Once the battery reaches low capacity,
Nissan’s award-winning Leaf. a petrol-powered generator kicks in to sustain battery charge until the car can be plugged in and recharged.
Even with the petrol motor running, the electric motor continues to drive the wheels, making it significantly different to hybrid electric vehicles.
Research by GM in Europe indicates that more than 80 per cent of drivers could use the Volt for their daily driving without having to use the petrol motor, or create any exhaust emissions. Unlike other plug-in electric cars, the Volt can still be driven long distances, or operate in areas where it is impossible to recharge it. Vauxhall says the Ampera will cost £28,995 after the grant.
A full charge for Ampera’s battery can be achieved in less than four hours with a domestic 240v electricity socket at an average cost of about £1, depending on tariff, says Vauxhall.
All these electric cars are exempt from UK road tax, travel free in the London congestion zone and, in the case of the Ampera, are levied at five per cent company car taxation. For a £150 refundable reservation fee, potential Ampera buyers can register at www.vauxhallampera.co.uk
Other cars eligible for a grant include Toyota’s Plug-in Hybrid, on trial in London. Prius Plug-in is equipped with a compact and powerful lithium-ion battery that “enables the car to run on electric power alone for up to 12.5 miles and at speeds up to 62mph” with zero fuel consumption. Otherwise, it is rated at 108mpg and 59g/km CO2.