EV study ‘dispels myths’

Posted on 30 Jun 2010 by The Manufacturer

Global engineering firm Arup says data from the first quarter of the year-long electric vehicle research programme, CABLED, shows that the ultra low carbon vehicles are more than capable of satisfying the average driver’s needs.

Arup is project leader for the CABLED consortium which is the largest of nine regional electric car trials currently taking place in the UK. There are 25 Mitsubishi currently being driven by members of the public on their everyday driving patterns around the West Midlands.

A further 85 electric cars will go on trial this year through the CABLED project including Smart cars, Land Rovers and Taxis

Analysis by Aston University on the data collected from the i-MiEVS shows most journeys made are less than five miles (when conventional fossil-fuelled engines are most polluting and catalytic converters are at their least effective) and the average overall daily distance travelled is 23 miles. An i-MiEV is capable of up to 80 miles on a full charge.

“The report data tells us that the vehicles are parked for around 97 per cent of the time, with usage particularly low during school hours and overnight,” said Neil Butcher, Arup’s project leader of the CABLED consortium. “Coupled with the fact that electric vehicles are quick and easy to plug in, this means that drivers can easily recharge and be capable of maximum range journeys without inconvenience.”

If all UK car journeys of less than 50 miles were made by electric rather than conventional vehicles, Arup says the savings in CO2 would equate to taking 7.5 millions cars off the roads.

Tim Armitage, Arup EV infrastructure expert, says: “The CABLED study provides some of the first behavioural information on long-term electric car ownership, usage and habits. The analysis provides ‘real-life’ duty cycle information that will inform Arup’s work supporting the development of charging infrastructure and smart grid networks.

“The evidence tells us that drivers habitually charge their vehicles, whether the battery is half full or nearly empty, in much the same way as laptop computer and mobile ‘phone users. Unsurprisingly the most popular time to charge vehicles was overnight – when inactivity ensures drivers can easily return vehicles to full charge by the morning and have more than adequate range to meet their daily needs.

“This knowledge, together with further findings that we are collecting throughout the trial, will inform the development of charging infrastructure and power supply networks. Society will be able to plan and implement solutions which support owner’s needs and encourage them to want to use their electric vehicles.”

The next phase of the study will concentrate on mapping out an optimal charging point network.

One of the drivers of the i-MiEVs is Red Dwarf actor and Scrapheap Challenge presenter Robert Llewellyn. Click here for Robert’s thoughts on the project and the car.