Feb 192012

Electric Performance Assessed

Scotland has announced plans to greatly expand its efforts to assess the performance of electric vehicles, the latest sign that the country is taking new electric vehicle technology seriously. Researchers at Jewel and Ask College in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh said they are planning to the double the size of a detailed electric vehicle testing project that was launched in August. The study is designed to give an independent assessment of the performance of electric vehicles in real-life conditions, in a bid to build public confidence in the alternatives to petrol and diesel vehicles.

Mitsubishi I-Miev - Electric Vehicle

Mitsubishi I-Miev - Electric Vehicle

9 EVs tested

Originally, the project focused on testing just four electric vehicles, but now a further five have been added to the research. With the help of university staff and students, the team has also built three recharging stations. The vehicles are being road tested in Edinburgh and Dalkeith.

Mitsubishi i-Miev put through its paces

The tests are being performed using Mitsubishi i-MiEV, vehicles that have road tested well in the past. This year the model was awarded the prestigious accolade of greenest car in the US, the world’s biggest car market, by the American Council for an Energy-efficient Economy. These vehicles, first produced by the Japanese automaker in 2009, have increased their range and recharge times following the addition of a new model last year.

Publicised Results

The first results from the research are due for publication in March after the first six months of tests are up. Researchers will then continue with the project for a further six months in a bid to get ‘real-life’ data given the distinct lack of such information. After all, these vehicles have only been our roads for a few years, and the number in use remains tiny compared to petrol and diesel vehicles.

Confidence Building for EVs

Researchers said they hope the results create a number of key benefits for the electric vehicle industry. The first and most important possible outcome is to build public confidence in electric vehicles. Researchers have concluded that the general public still knows very little about electric vehicles. It is hoped this project will give detailed information on things such as charging times, schedules and the daily practicalities of owning such a vehicle.

Limitations to be highlighted

On the flipside, this project also hopes to identify where the challenges still lie in terms of electric vehicle ownership, which effectively represents the frontline of the battle to get electric vehicle ownership rates up. It all hinges on things like the range of these vehicles and how load affects their performance.

Nissan Leaf - Electric Vehicle

Nissan Leaf - Electric Vehicle

All helps to spread the word

Other positive side effects of this project include the fact that an increasing number of normal people and research students will interact with these vehicles, thus spreading information and knowledge about them. This effect has been further enhanced by the press coverage generated by the research and the public events planned to announce the results, the first of which will be held on March 28. Given that Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown will be among the speakers, this project should certainly help spread the word about electric vehicles in Scotland.

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