In the Headlights – Electric Avenue {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

21 Aug 2017

The future’s bright – the future’s electric. Well, that’s what the country’s newspapers will have you believe thanks to a press release claiming that all new cars sold will have to be electric by 2040 in the UK. In reality that’s not entirely true – hybrids and range extending EVs will also be allowed, and despite what the Daily Mail will try and tell you, you’ll still be able to drive your ‘old’ petrol/diesel car should you want to. But we’re not thinking about 23yrs in the future, we’re thinking about right now and the four In the Headlight car choices made by Erik Fairbairn, CEO of POD Point, the UK’s leading provider of vehicle charging. We’ll hear more from Erik in our interview in a few days, but for now I’m going to delve a little deeper into his choices:

We’ll start with two vehicles that can ease you into the world of electric propulsion, the BMW 530e iPerformance and the VW Golf GTE. Both of these cars are plug-in hybrids, meaning they have a petrol engine, but that is supplemented by a battery and electric motor. That battery can be charged by the petrol engine during driving and particularly braking, or you can plug it into a charger to top it up. What you get with this system is the benefits of a petrol engine – you can go any distance, fill up quickly, good performance etc – with some of the benefits of an Electric Vehicle (EV) – silent running at low speeds, no fuel usage in town etc. They can also work together though, giving you an electric boost when you floor it and the electric motor can fill any gaps in torque or when a turbo is caught off boost during a gear change. Of the two cars, the Golf GTE fits this mould the best as it has a performance style to it and the 204bhp it produces is enough to class it as a hot hatch, albeit one with an eco-conscience. The BMW 530e has a bit more power, but is a bigger car and this is the SE specification not BMW’s more popular M-Sport. This means you get supreme refinement, comfort and class combined with great performance, a super high quality interior and electric running in town. Sounds good to me.

Now we move onto the future – fully electric vehicles - there are batteries and electric motors, that’s it, no other source of power. And these two cars could not be further apart in every respect other than the fact that they’re EVs – speed, size, seats, cost – all worlds apart. Let’s start with the car that will certainly cause a few raised eyebrows on the faces of regular BOTB players – the Smart ForTwo ED. Now I personally love the Smart for doing what it is designed to do – take two people around a city with the least fuss, taking up the least space and costing the least to run – so for me the fact that they’ve brought out a full EV version is absolutely fantastic. You’d be certifiable to try and use a ForTwo as a daily car for driving down motorways, so in towns and cities it makes huge sense that it is an EV. It may only have a 90-ish mile range but if you’re only driving in town that means you’ll only be charging once a week probably. It’s also silent which is both very relaxing and calming for the driver, but it enables you to hear a lot more of what’s going on around you – like motorbikes darting in and out of traffic. And the way an EV drivetrain works means it’s perfect for nipping around – all the torque is available at 0 revs, so you put your foot down and off you go. Now, if you do that in the last car – the Tesla Model X and keep your foot there, you’ll probably end up in the next county before you’ve blinked. This P100D is an absolute monster – 611bhp to start with means that you can hit 62mph in 2.9 seconds – that’s the same as a McLaren 720S! In Ludicrous Mode it’ll pin you back into your seat and rearrange your internal organs it’s so fast, but that’s just the Model X’s party piece. The P100D has the biggest battery so the range is claimed to be 336 miles on a charge – in reality that will be more like 260-280 in real world driving – far less if you do Ludicrous launches) which really is enough to use on a long journey – London to Manchester is easily achievable. The Model X can also be had with 7 seats and I haven’t even mentioned the coolest part of all yet – the Falcon Doors. They sweep up and out like gullwing doors but you can park in a really tight space. The Model X really can do absolutely everything – possibly the most complete car on sale?

All of these cars are available for one week only in our In the Headlights promotion – buy your tickets here.