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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
UK, On Thursday nights on Quest or Discovery+ channel at 9PM, a new series specifically on Electric cars (that is our future, whether we like it or not, as we go new electric cars only, on 2030).

I decided to watch this new series, just to see what advantages and diss-advantages electric cars will have. At present I do not like being railroaded into having to go green, so wanted to watch this series and see if I will be persuaded to go electric in the future.

Episode 1...
Started with the team test of a new Citroen AMi, which is not quite a car, and not quite a mobility vehicle, top speed 30MPH, with 60 mile range. Must be age 17 and over, with a car licence in UK. Cost £6,000. They tested it on a track and it ended up on two wheels at a bend, so had a big stability problem. Citroen said it is not meant for speed, and no wonder. No air bags and made mainly of plastic. So safety is rather low. It got a very low rating off the 5th gear team (8 out of 40). Citroen expects it mainly to be used as a city rental car and for young buyers.

A visit to the Munich car show, showing the latest in electric cars and hybrids.
The cars looked good but very pricey. The only reasonably priced car that was sub £20,000 and looked ok, was the forthcoming electric Renault 5, at £17,000. Worth having a look?

They also did a test track comparison of a Tesla 3 and a Polestar 2( used to be part of the volvo group) both were very pricey (over £45,000) and also very heavy due to the batteries carried (2 tonnes). They could go very fast 0 to 60, but braking was another matter, trying to slow that weight down. No mention of how much for car insurance for fast electric cars like those tested.

Also they showed a new car with built in solar panels on all of the car panels (thats good, some free energy), but still needs to be charged, that is being launched in 2022, and was a crowd funded project that brought in millions, so it can be built. It also had a visual moss filtration system in the dash, that filters the incoming air to the cabin, Yuk! (the green moss looked horrible, like out of a Doctor who episode LOL) The Sion. The Sion Is the First Solar Electric Vehicle | Sono Motors

Another part of the program did a comparison of two identical Vauxhall cars, one electric, one petrol, and did a cost analysis of being leased for three years, which one was cheaper? The conclusion was although the electric car was initially dearer by £4,000, the saving in electric costs, outweighed the petrol car over time. I was not quite convinced either way, as it depends how fuel costs will change over the years for both petrol and electricity. Also initial costs put people off, as many cannot afford a new expensive car, and electric cars are dearer initially.

One thing that was mentioned was that at present electric cars have no road tax ie, zero tax, the Government will introduce car tax on electric cars come 2024. So that's another cost to consider.

Overall quite a good program, packing in a lot of information, looking forward to the next program.

1,006 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Episode 2....The Skoda Enyaq is reviewed by the fifth gear team, and at £32,350 is quite a hefty price tag for a Skoda. Range is a good 255 miles. Said it had good torque and hence good for towing caravans, which they showed. It got quite a high rating by the team at (33 out of 40). So they thought it very good.

On a personal note, I did not think much of it, as to me the name Skoda puts me off, even if they gave it to me for nothing I would not take it, well ok I would take it to sell it instantly as i could do with the cash LOL.

The problem is people always have likes and dislikes of a car brand name, and Skoda was the butt of jokes back in the 80's due to hellish build quality. You could not get through a week in the office without hearing a Skoda Joke. Maybe that's unfair nowadays as Skoda has well improved their build quality, but I still am not interested, as to me it is a Skoda (apologies to any Skoda owner reading this).

But closer to home is Ford in the UK in the 1970's and 80's (when I owned the Capri, Escort and Cortina) and was always known for rust due to no rust protection, they rusted to bits, and damp start was always a problem due to bad ignitions, cutting out at junctions, a bit like unexpected start stop, he he (this was before reliable electronic ignition). This put me off Fords, but the final straw was Ford in the 90's was known as the reps car, ie, a company car, no matter how dear you paid for it, other people though you just had a company car. I left Ford for decades due to these things, and eventually came back in 2016 to buy the Ford Ecosport, which no way looks like a reps car, and glad I did buy it as its a really good car, so good, I am on my second one now (y)

I suppose other people are a bit like me and would not buy a specific car just because of its brand name. But there again maybe not?

Next a 5 electric supermini car test, a knockout to see which is the best.
All were about £27,000, though the Mini E was the dearest at £28,000.
None of them to me looked the money. If someone asked you on the street how much did you paid for that car, I think they would fall down :D
Cars...Renault Zoe, 245 miles range, Fiat 500, 115 miles range, Honda E, 137 miles range, Peugeot E208, 217 miles range, Mini E, 145 miles range.

After going through a series of tests, boot space for shopping, drive-ability, looks, etc, the fifth gear team said the winner to them was the Honda E, though to me the dash was a mess of 5 screens (2 being the electric screen view mirrors, ie, cameras instead of door mirrors), your eyes would not know where to look (see picture below). Also range is low. The Fiat 500 was the most bouncy of all the above cars, which the occupants did not like. The Peugeot E208 they thought the most practical.

I would add that to me the most important thing would be range, assuming your not a driver that just drives around town only. If like me you would definitely want a long range, so I would have rejected any of the above cars with a range of under 200 miles. Maybe as electric car technology gets better in years to come, range will also increase in cars in the lower price range, and charging speeds to full charge will get faster.

Next was specialist electric car companies starting up, and an example of this on the show was the Munro 4x4 electic vehicle, due out in 2022, for off road use as well as on road, looks very like an old landrover, very powerful, but costly £65,000, would be useful for rich farmers, and gentry.

Finally a story about home chargers for electric cars, where you can have a home charger if you have house with a driveway, or flat with a parking space next to flat, etc. So if you park on public road forget it. Costs seem to range for charger and installation, from basic chargers installed at £400, all the way up to smart chargers £1000, that you can communicate with via your smart phone, and set charging times remotely instead of standing at the unit. (Some house owners get cheaper electricity at night, hence the timer on the charger).

One thing that was not mentioned, is that to get electric car sales up, occasionally a car dealership offers a free home charger in your new car deal (maybe or maybe not the installation though). My wife has a petrol Smart 453, and noticed on the Smart website that they were offering this deal for a few months, you got a free home charger if you bought an electric Smart 453.

Lastly, I apologise for always going on about the list price of electric cars over fuelled cars, as i was always brought up to try and get the best car deal, as you have to work hard to get the cash. So even if you lease an electric car, it is a dearer car, and so the leasing costs are higher per month. Even with petrol cars I always try to get as new as possible at the least cost, and that either means a newish secondhand car, or as I did with my latest 2019 Ecosport, I got a very low mileage ex-demonstrator taking thousands of pounds off the list price.

Another thing I am spotting with electric cars, is weird gimmicks, like the one last week with a green moss air filtration system and a 5 screen dash in the Honda E in this weeks show.
Totally Weird, and likely more weird stuff to come, in next weeks episode.

1,006 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Episode 3...Starting with a test between an Old style Land Rover Defender 4x4 standard diesel at 122 BHP (worth £25K due to its age) against custom built electric version of the Defender 4x4 at 450 BHP (£90k, thats not a spelling mistake, so again I faint at the price)....

Three tests were made...
Uphill run and back down the hill...Diesel won out at there was far more control, especially on decent using low gears and engine braking. The electric vehicle nearly ranaway down hill as the hill decent control failed, so they had to brake hard to stop crashing.
Wade through water test....Electric won out, as this is a one off special car, all electrics were sealed from water ingress. Standard electric cars would not be so resistant to going though water fords or really deep floods.
Mountain track with large boulders..Electric won out just due to better control over boulders and muddy terrain.

The fifth gear team decided the electric car won as it got 2 out of 3 wins, but i would have failed it totally on safety, as seeing this hill decent system failed on braking.

And that brings us on to the reliability of braking in electric cars, especially using regenerative braking, how safe is it really? I hope this subject is brought up in later episodes to alleviate my fears over it, especially after this hill decent system failure.

Next subject 'Hothatches'.....This is one of the first new hothatch electric car available (the new Cupra Born, 231 BHP, 0 to 60 in 6.6 sec, costs £40,000) compared to a similar petrol car (existing Cupra Leon 280 BHP, 0 to 60 in 6 sec, costs £34,000)..... I had never heard of the make Cupra, its was part of the Seat group. So I knew nothing about them. Anyway the fifth gear person drove the cars fanatically round a private race track and although the electric car was designed with a weight distribution of 50/50, and of similar weight to the petrol car, the fifth gear person still preferred the petrol car for road handling, and thought electric hothatches had a long way to go, before hothatch lovers bought them. Well hothatch owners are petrol heads LOL.

Voltswagon ID3 team test....
This is a where the four people in fifth gear test out a new electric car.

Costs £27,000 after the Government electric car discount...How come all these small family type cars all cost around £27,000? :p

During the testing, the quality of the interior plastics was found to be poor, also for all that money you only got steel wheels instead of alloys (on the model tested, likely more money for alloys). The range went from 263 miles down to 170 miles (assume read from the trip computer) when four adults were on board with this added weight. The result was (27.5 out of 40). So a few grumbles about not getting much for your money.

Next up..the Gridserve electric forecourt. EV charging hub....To meet demand for charging, the first of its kind, a car station dedicated to electric cars only, opened in Essex, but more to be built around the UK.

Electric cars come in to get charged, taking approx 20 minutes on super fast chargers 350KW, and meanwhile owners go in for a tea or coffee, or exorcise in the gym, also shops and post office is there. There is solar panels on the forecourts roof to help with supplying electricity. Also Backup large containers with batteries to supply even if mains electricity is gone from the the forecourt.

I might add that at present a Petrol garage is far superior, as it only takes a few minutes to fill up with Petrol or Diesel, get crisps and a lottery ticket and you are back on the road again. None of this 20 minute or more waiting to electrically charge a car. Fantastic :D

Finally the Electric van for white van man....There is a big market for vans, with the Ford Transit fueled van having the biggest market in the UK, this will change with electric coming in. Even Ford realise this and are now offering the Ford electric transit 3.

Anyway the story here, is a new electric van being built called the Arrival Van to compete against the Transit (price is to be around £24,000), the company is also going to eventually make the Arrival Car and the Arrival Bus.

When watching it being driven around by a fifth gear person, it did look a bit flimsy, as all the panels are plastic. It even embarrassingly broke down, and had to be re-booted, that's computers for you LOL. The company said it was still in the design stage, so gremlins are to be expected, or maybe should not be expected, if you want it road worthy.

What i found interesting about the van, is that electric vehicles have to be built light, to counter the weight of the batteries. Some companies like Tesla use a lot of aluminium to reduce weight, but i can see a lot of future electric cars using plastic panels.

Now you may think plastic panels make a car unsafe, well it depends on what the panels are connected too. You can make an ultra strong metal Tridion which contains the occupants in a rigid cell, just like the Smart car. My wifes petrol smart car is like this, all full of plastic panels (she choose white) but with a black metal Tridion (many colours available). It also meets the latest design craze of duel painted. Even the Ecosport has come out with duel painted versions now, where the roof is a different colour from the rest of the car.

So once again, this series has been quite interesting, but i hope they do a story about understanding electric car braking in another episode, as that is my main concern.

Wifes 453 Smart Cabrio....

1,006 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Episode 4....I found it all a bit on the boring side this week, we had high speed GT's running round a track, OK they were electric instead of petrol, but just your typical Top Gear 'need for speed' stuff, screeching round bends. What gets me is in real life you cannot do these speeds on bendy roads with trees, bushes, fences, street lamps etc, unless your willing to die horribly :eek:

GT electric cars...Porsche Taycan Turbo electric Verses Audi RS Etron GT, both have the same drive train, both around £110,000, both around 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds, both very heavy at around 2.4 tonnes. Range around 280 miles. After a few tests on speed, bend taking and braking, the Porsche won out.

Personally to me its a waste of time showing me very expensive cars, as they are just lottery money cars. Even if you can afford them, you have to be careful out on the road as they are just targets for road rage, and other car owners not letting you out at junctions due to jealousy, targets for police watching you as you stand out from the crowd, and also if parked are again targets for vandalism. How do i know, well I had a secondhand white Porsche 924 (my eighth car) in my young and single years, I thought I was a YUPPIE back then in the early 80's (a fashionable young middle-class person with a well-paid job LOL). It was a lot of cash back in those days for the 924, and I had one year of driving hell with the above negative factors. Never a minutes peace driving, so sold it. At least with the Ford Ecosport it does not attract such negativity.
Old Polaroid picture of my 924 (I did love the pop-up lights)....

Next up was a powerful Electric motorbike, the NERO, £19,500 (double the price of equivalent powerful petrol bike), 100 mile range, top speed 124 MPH, the woman test driver though it fun, felt a bit heavy, had 'lack of grunt', had different driving modes at the change of a button, street mode and sport mode, but she missed the sound of a petrol bike. There has been a 78% rise in buying electric motorbikes this year in the UK, but considering electric motorbikes only have 1.5% of the motorbike market here in the UK, its not that many sales (yet). Overall the woman driver preferred her petrol motorbike, but would consider an electric motorbike as an extra bike. Motorbikes are not my scene, so watch the episode if you want more detail of what it looks like and drives like.

The fifth gear test drive of the MG ZS Electric SUV car, Price £30,000, 273 mile range, 0 to 60 in 8.45 seconds, 7 year car warranty if you do the servicing, 8 years for batteries. Looked a bit bland, and as mentioned by a few of the fifth gear presenters it had a stupid cat flap on the front for the electric hookup, instead of hiding it neatly under the car badge which was just alongside (bad design there). Interior had decent plastics, had a glass roof, It had weird looking wheels, which seems to be a common trend with electric cars, just look at Tesla car wheels, some are really poor looking.
The result was (29 out of 40). I will not say what i thought of it LOL. Lets just say its not in my Christmas wish list.

Finally..... an alternative to the plug in electric car, the Hydrogen cell powered electric car where you fill the car with hydrogen and chemical reaction changes it to electric, to power the car. The Toyota Mirai was shown, 50/50 weight distribution, a long car, 2 tonne weight, 400 mile range, but £50,000 price tag. 0 to 60 in 9 seconds. DOWNSIDE not many hydrogen stations in the country to refuel, 12 to be exact LOL. Think it will take a while before this technology takes off like a rocket.

Its a catch 22, where no-one want to buy these cars due to lack of hydrogen stations, and no new hydrogen stations are being built as there is a lack of hydrogen cell cars :p

Roll on next week, as this episode to me was not as interesting as the previous episodes. But that's just me talking LOL

1,006 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Episode 5......A bit more interesting this week, and we start with a third of a million pounds Ferrari SF90 plug in hybrid. The electrical hybrid tacked on bit of three electric motors was just a bit of a time waster, as its mainly one dirty big combustion engine in this car, and very little hybrid :p The hybrid part did not contribute very much. maybe added a bit more speed if on combined power, and when on electric alone (when would you ever do that in a Ferrari) it had 18 miles range and a top speed of 80 MPH (even my Wife's Smart car with a 1.0 petrol engine can get to 89 MPH, he he).

This brings us to the subject of normal priced hybrids, part electric/part combustion, and for all the extra mileage they give, they are higher starting prices compared to equivalent petrol cars, and long term there is more mechanical's and electrics to break down. Hopefully Fifth gear may talk more on the subject in later episodes. I for one would never be interested in a hybrid due to complexity, and would rather go from petrol to full electric when the time comes.

The Fifth gear test drive this week was the Mazda MX 30 a four door SUV at £28,000 starting price, and to me did have the looks, it looked good. 124 mile range on a full charge, so quite a low figure and would be range worry for me. The team did not like the doors, as you had to open the front door to then open the back door, and then close the back door to close the front door. (see photo below to see both doors fully open). This to the testing team drove them up the wall, as it was not very easy for rear passengers to enter/exit. Once again this to me was a weird design gimmick, and we seem to see many a gimmick in electric cars. Not sure without that mid pillar between doors how it would affect structural integrity. Team result (13 out of 40) poor result mainly due to door design and thus poor access for rear passengers.

The NC500 drive...As the name implies, it is a 500 miles round the top of Scotland North Coast, starting at Inverness up the east coast round by John o Groats and then along the top and back down the west coast back to Inverness. Two of the team drove a Hyundai Ioniq 5 at £42,000, with a top range of 298 miles for this top of the range model, less miles for lower spec-ed models). I have driven the route on holiday in my petrol Ecosport and it was no worry driving, well except for the crowded roads which shrank in width occasionally, so a few hairy moments watching that I kept my paintwork and door mirrors LOL.

Now this NC500 drive was very interesting as it was all about range worry, and that was in a car capable of 298 miles (before losses). It was the losses that worried me, and not just due to worrying where the next charge point was, but also continuously watching the equivalent of MPG in an electric car, and that is the Kilowatt hour (Kwh). The optimum figure you were looking for in this specific car was 3.4 miles/Kwh, but the woman driver who had a heavy foot had it down to 2.1 miles /Kwh. So they were driving through some of the most scenic views in Britain, yet had their eyes continuously on the trip computer reading Kwh :p

One of the hairiest decisions is whether to go in for the next public charging point or carry on to the next, and you could see the teams minds considering what to do. Also in these remote areas there was few public charging points, and you wondered are they AC or DC type, are they working, as at least quarter of all UK public charging points are broken down at any one time (they said that, but likely not quite as bad as that, I hope). Even if the charging point was working you may find yourself in a queue to get charged. In this test they were lucky and the one charging point they found was empty and could drive straight in and charge up, and get fish and chips while they waited LOL. In the height of Summer when the NC500 is very busy, I bet there would be a long queue for the one charger.

Other factors affecting their range while driving was hills as the range dropped dramatically the steeper the hill. Also deciding on putting heating on in the cabin and putting on the heated seats and heated steering wheel dropped the range. As it got dark putting on headlights and wipers if raining again dropped the range. This thinking about how you have to drive and what accessories could be put on would do my head in, especially if you have little charge left to reach a charging point. The cost of the fast speed charger was interesting, as it was £12 for roughly a 20 minute charge, and the cost for the equivalent petrol car would have been £20 which the team mentioned. So they say charging an electric car is cheap, well it is only cheap if charging at home on a home charger, as public fast chargers are really creeping up on price. But there again so is petrol/diesel prices.

On the positive side I better mention regeneration via breaking which this car had, which gives you a slight bit of power back to the batteries. Not a lot I might add, but every electrical Watt helps LOL.

The male tester came out with a new word to me in the electric car world, and that was hypermiling which is driving a vehicle with techniques that maximise fuel efficiency or energy efficiency. Those who use these techniques are called "hypermilers". In other words start the car slowly to conserve energy instead of a fast takeoff, then use the way you drive on the road to save on energy, ie, going down a hill lift off the pedal, etc. This again to me would do my head in, as you would have to think all the time while driving about saving energy and get a longer range, and this would bring me back to range worry all the time while driving.

What got me was this car was capable of a 298 mile range, but still had range worry. When will I and many others as petrol/desiel drivers decide when electric cars will have enough range and a speedy time of charging, that we would even think of an electric car.
With a fuel-ed car you never have to worry about this.

Next subject was secondhand electric cars at decent prices....Unfortunately to get a decent priced electric car you were talking 6 to 8 years old, and when you reach 8 years old, the batteries are no longer under warranty. They showed for example Nisan leafs at 8 year old for under £10,000, but you may have to cough up a lot of money to replace the battery pack if your unlucky. Also the efficiency of the battery deteriorates over time, around 1.5% per year, so by year 8 you are down 12% on the battery. The electric motors should be fine as they are more reliable.

One factor not discussed is that over time as there are more older electric cars available, is that small companies will set up nationwide to replace battery cells that have failed, either through bricking or a big drop in charging and charge holding capability, and it will be a cheaper option to get your battery pack dropped out the car and repaired with new cells to replace damaged cells, rather than buy a new pack. In the USA this is now being done with one of the oldest hybrid cars the Toyota Pruis (1997 onwards), where many small companies have started up repairing battery packs. Although still costly it is far cheaper than a new battery pack.

Finally here was a story of electric conversion by a small company in Bristol that removed the combustion engine and associated parts and replace with electric motor and battery pack. They showed an old MX5 sports car, cost of electric drive parts (secondhand refurbished) and new battery pack £16,000 and another £10,000 to install, so total price of conversion was £26,000. Ok, it drived fine, was balanced properly so the handling was reasonable, but there was no noise, no throaty combustion engine sound, Argh!, not good for a sports car where sound is very important to your ears.

So there we have it for another episode, it was very interesting, and hammered home the big problems of electric cars, with initial high price of the cars, and range worries.

1,006 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Episode 6.......Started with White van man heaven...this was about new EV vans but based on existing fuel-ed vans. The fifth gear team said it would be best to wait for vans that are specifically designed as an electric van from the ground up, to get higher range and better performance. The two vans in this test was Mercedes Evito and the VW E-transporter, both around a staggering £50,000, they were both speed limited to under 60 MPH. The Merc could do 92 mile range (empty van), The VW was 82 miles range (empty van). After a few tests, the VW was quieter, a bit more comfortable, could get a 300 kilo load (a load of fridges/dishwashers) up a hill far better than the Merc which struggled a bit and was very rumbly in the cabin, but both lost a lot of charge with a load in the back as expected, so hence lost range. With speed limiter off, top speeds were around 75 MPH, suitable for motorway speeds, Overall the VW won it on a more comfortable cabin, but i think both very costly as new vans, compared to fuel-ed vans. Will this extra cost be transferred to customers getting products delivered by electric van. You can bet it will.

Next was a story about old historic electric cars, going back 30 to 50 years, but two out of the three shown were like disabled cars of the past like the Revai, ugly, small, low range, low speed and lead acid batteries, only the third car shown 'the first tesla roadster' was fancy looking, but was £90,000 back in the day, so obviously not many made. The one old electric vehicle they did not show you was the Sinclair C5, and that put everyone off electric cars for decades. Meanwhile Sir Clive Sinclair who made this disaster, drove a fancy petrol Jaguar, and thought us plebs were deserving only of these death traps. It was soon shutdown due to lack of sales. Thank goodness electric cars have improved a lot.

Team test time and it was the SUV coupe, called the Cupra Coupe, looks were OK, base model costs £27,300 but model shown in test was £40,000 (why so much difference in cost?). It was a plug-in hybrid. and as one of the team said, a lot of owners hardly ever plug in a plug-in hybrid and end up driving it on petrol only. So a self charging hybrid would be far easier to live with. With no plug in required.

The car had a 1.4 petrol turbo engine with electric motors as the hybrid part. You could select different modes, with full electric only, or a combination of both petrol and electric.
After each of the four testers drove round the track trying out different modes, one of the drivers thought the auto box was up changing by itself when the driver did not want it too.
Final result of (27.5 out of 40) for the car, so it was a bit of a mid way figure, not that great but not bad. Definitely not worth £40,000, but the base model seemed better value.

On a personal note on the auto box running away like that. I only like manual boxes as they do what you want it to do, you change gear and it does it right away, no lag, no fuss. I have only owned manual Ecosports. I cannot say how the Ecosport auto performs, and if it is fully in control. Likely they work fine. But I would say if you want an autobox you really need to test drive the car for a few days or a week, to see how it performs. I have owned an autobox car in the past bought on sight (not good), where the gear box hunted up and down for no apparent reason on flat motorways, and ending up selling the car early, as it did my head in. So now when I drive my Wife's Smart car, I drive her autobox in manual mode (+/-) on the stick only. That way I am fully in control. Do not worry, its just me, as I am paranoid about autoboxes not doing what I want them to do :p

Top gear moment again ....Next comparing two fast cars zooming around a track, a BMW M340i petrol turbo verses a petrol/hybrid Peugeot 508 PSE both over £50,000. To cut the story short, the BMW as expected, (lighter car, more powerful engine) won out in speed.

The main thing I got from this as both being medium sized expensive saloon cars, is that they never look the money, to me they are bland, and look exactly like their cheaper trim models in the range, with the exception of a few side skirts added and a badge, and they dissapear into the crowd or in a carpark. This brings me back to a few weeks ago where I said fancy looking cars are targets, so these medium sized expensive saloon cars are the perfect solution, they cost a lot, but just blend in, as they do not look the money. Also a lot of expensive BMW's and Peugeot's are reps cars, and as said previously, why buy an expensive car that everyone thinks you got it from the company you work for. It put me off Fords for years, as everyone thought you were driving a reps car. It took till the Ecosport arrived that I went back to Ford, after decades.

Finally and this covered both fuel-ed and electric cars..Second hand car prices have risen by up to 20%, the main culprit was the covid pandemic, where less microcomputer chips are available for new cars. Also car parts are longer to source. This supply and demand, has caused ripples down to the secondhand market. Many new buyers are finding cars difficult to get, even my Sister who was awaiting a new petrol Renault captur, had to wait three months and even then the dealership said "the car has arrived but a few switches are missing" LOL, do you want to collect? She said NO, and has just received the car, complete with switches, a month later.

Also dealerships are phoning existing customers, to try and buy back your car. My wife got that with her Smart car, and was offered the same price she bought it for, but turned down the offer, as she knew she could not buy a similar car, and that she loves her smart car. I never got an offer for my Ecosport from the Ford dealership, likely because it is a base model :p

1,006 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Episode 7.....This episode is my 'Angry man and rant' week, Why you ask? well I hate certain modern gadgets that are useless and worthless in a car, and tend to breakdown over time, I hate designs that are inherently dangerous, and designs that that are needlessly complex, and this episode is full of it...... OK, before I go any further, you will be saying he's an old git and does not like the future of motoring, so I say please contribute with your comments if you disagree with anything I say. I do not want this thread to be just one sided, even if I am an old git :D

Right lets get started, still in calm mode with this topic....
Four Plug-in hybrid estates, a Peugeot 508SW, a VW Arteon, a BMW 330e, a Scoda Octavia, cheapest was the Skoda at an eye watering £34,000, BMW was the dearest.

Test 1 Comfortability driving on EV mode only..Sound in cabins were roughly 69dB which is quiet, seating was good, but the Peugeot's weird look over the steering wheel dash display was off-putting, and so was bombed out. (EV electric mode only was limited to 30 miles to 38 miles range on all cars, before they discharged, not a great distance).
Test 2 Luggage holding...All estate cars must be good at luggage space, but poorest was the VW Arteon which was lowest on the score for loading luggage in the back of the estate. So it was bombed out.
Test 3 Lap of the track for speed......BMW Verses Skoda, expected BMW to be an outright winner for speed, but actually the Skoda won out due to power/weight ratio, what a con LOL. Even the fifth gear testers did not believe it, so they tested it twice. So Skoda won out, but which car would you rather have, and I bet its not the Skoda LOL :D

OK, this is where the 'Angry man and rant' week cuts in....
The Future of cars
The fifth gear guy went to Goodwood UK, and was at Electric Avenue Future land, which was an exhibit of the future of electric cars and concepts.

1....They started with an electric car due out in the near future to be an autonomous car, to be sold as an office on wheels, sit back, relax, do some office work at the desk, and the car will do the driving and your life is in its hands.

Now to me, autonomous cars and trucks have their place, but not on public roads with human driven cars and pedestrians close by, it is a mixture ready for disasters. Autonomous vehicles should be on their own roads, but Governments are not going to build dedicated roads are they?

So far there has been quite a number of deaths, due to autonomous cars sensors not recognising danger before its too late, and they plough straight into pedestrians, walls, other cars or street furniture. Now as an engineer all my life I never put full trust in sensors as they do pack in over time, so could never put my trust in car sensors to fully control and drive a car, if my life depended on it.

Even if sensors work, they might not work fast enough, for example where I live there are large and heavy deer, and can come across fields perpendicular to the road, and jump over a stone wall next to the road straight onto the road, so sensors would not have time to react, slow down and even stop, but I would spot the deer running across the field and adjust my speed, so the deer gets over the road and I do not collide with it.

2....Future Contactless ultrasoundwave gesture control of dash equipment by the swipe of a hand. This just seems crazy, doing these gesture swipes while driving seems a distraction, whats wrong with physical switches? what happens if the system fails and your left swiping your hand in the air in total non-control LOL.

3....Future Autonomous 30 ton trucks with remote driver. Just like a military remote controlled drone, a driver can sit in an office and drive a truck a thousand miles away in another country, as if it was a video game, but in reality the driver is driving a 30 ton truck capable of being a lethal weapon. 5G they say, will not cause lag, but what happens if the connection is broken, Argh!

4....The Motiv Autonomous pod a future taxi with no driver, call for it with an app, get in, and it drives you to your destination, hopefully alive.

I just watched all these future innovations, and said to myself they are a disaster waiting to happen. Many a person would get into these autonomous cars, but as an engineer, that sees things wear down and break, I just could not and would prefer human control, as a brain usually spots trouble far quicker than computers and sensors on the road.

OK, I have calmed down now, he he and now onto the fifth gear team test....
The Volvo E40 recharge..£50,000 for a luxury electric car, it was two tone paintwork, which is all the rage now, even the Ford Ecosport is now available in two tone paintwork, wish i had that. It had front and rear boots, the team said quality was luxurious, had a hand swipe controlled sunroof (not a crucial item so gesture controls are ok I suppose, but one sneeze and the sunroof may open when its raining :p) Downside according to the fifth gear team was a really poor looking front grille, and the dash controls were via a touch screen, that required a heck of lot of concentration away from looking at the road, to get to a specific function via a lot of menu pages. Why not have physical switches which are easier and faster to get at? Grrh!

This gets me that touch screen controls require you to look away from the road while driving, re: Sync 3 which we have on the Ford Ecosport, yet they ban mobile phones in cars because they are a distraction as they take your eyes off the road. Why not ban touch screens as well, and while we are at it, lets ban kids and grandkids, as they are a big distraction, jumping, screaming and shouting in the back seats to stop at McDonald's LOL.

Another gimmick now in the Volvo, and that is 'sit on drivers seat to start the car', no start button required LOL.... 400 BHP so very powerful. 260 mile range on one charge, but it goes down if 4 people in the car, to 120 mile range. So you are being conned with the upper figure as that is for one person in the car. Fifth gear team gave it (27.5 out of 40) all down to the expensive price tag. Mind you most electric cars are dear.

Top gear fast driving time.....(angry man and rant week) with the racing of two cars around a track, the Audi Q4 Electric, and the Lexus Hybrid, both around £45,000 and roughly 0 to 60 in 8 seconds. This was a weird test as the Lexus went into limp mode during the drive round the course and the test was over right away, the reason being that the Lexus electric motor overheated as the car was driven at speed, and power was automatically cut down to 40%. Now this is totally crazy. I thought electric cars would do away with the modern problem of fuel-ed cars and that is the dreaded 'limp mode' or 'safe mode' to protect the engine, but puts you in the dangerous situation that you cannot get up hills as power is cut, and that you can hardly accelerate.

So this was a disastrous design, where limp mode was introduced in an electric car. So if buying an electric car in future, ensure it does not have limp mode, otherwise its a pile of XXXX :poop:

Also while my angry man hat is on, the Audi had a stupid quatric steering wheel, not seen since the Austin Allegro days in 1973 (see picture below to see the square steering wheel design), where turning the steering wheel felt awful as you went round 'the bumps' on the wheel, so after a year of angry owner comments, it went back to a round steering wheel. This Audi will likely do the same and eventually dispose of this stupid steering wheel design. Who would have though of bringing it back. Argh!

Finally..... as if my blood pressure had not calmed down enough, we had yet another topic on range anxiety with electric cars.

Testing a new Nissan leaf plus, £30,000, 239 Miles range, around a track for 10 miles and checking ways to increase range. First go without thinking about range saving was 2.8 miles/Kwh. After using an experts tips the next 10 miles it got 4.1 miles/Kwh.

Tips were...
1..Have efficient tyres and at correct tyre pressure.
2..Use regenerative braking on normal roads to get some watts back when braking.
3..Use cruise control on motorways. Switch off regenerative braking on motorways.
4..Use smooth acceleration.
5..Slow down on speed.

OK, once again in this episode we see that you have to think about saving on energy to increase range, and that does my head in. Going to take an aspirin now and maybe a wee dram (of whisky) might help to steady my nerves :)

1,006 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Episode 8....Quite an interesting episode, full of crazy gimmicks and a way of getting a fully charged battery pack in 5 minutes.

Starting with NORWAY the future of EV's happening now, as they will only sell EV's from 2025 onwards, and there is incentives to buy an EV as they do not have 25% VAT. So they are 25% cheaper than fuel-ed cars. So in the country 54% of all cars are now EV's, and its 78% if you also include hybrids.

The Fifth gear team took a Tesla Y small crossover out for a run, wondered when they were going to get round to Tesla, it was £55,000. These electric car prices seem rather excessive just as they are in the UK, so I assume most people just lease the car for 3 or 4 years, rather than actually buy the car. The Tesla Y the fifth gear team said it looked like a melted bar of soap :D I rather agreed with them, a lot of cash for something that looked bland. 0 to 60 in 5 seconds, 378 to 420 BHP, Range 296 to 315 miles. the team said the interior was dull, and the menu's rather confusing on the screen display. Also regenerative braking was very harsh, and unlike most electric cars there was no adjustment on this model, you could not reduce the regenerative braking effect or turn it off. It also had the option of changing the indicator turn signal sound to a FART (I kid you not, he he)
Tesla Y the car that can fart......

Lets continue with NORWAY'S rapid rollout of electric cars and the reason why electric cars are so popular, is that its down to the infro-structure of electricity there to cope with so many electric cars, with most power being derived from green power, ie, hydro-electric dams, and there is charging stations every 30 miles for EV cars.
The Fifth gear team changed cars and moved onto the Chinese make of NIO and their first car the NIO ES8 price £51,500 (again an expensive car), range 310 miles, 641 BHP, thats powerful. 0 to 60 in 4.9 seconds. Available in Norway, but not in UK as yet.

Lets get the silly gimmick out the way first, as the car comes with a personal assistant, a silly looking circular face on the dash that takes voice commands, and can rotate left and right like a robot head, and has facial expressions, and can control parts of the car, like put windows down if you ask for that. Why not just press a window button instead LOL.

THE GOOD PART of the NIO ES8....and the future of next generation Electric cars
OK, we get to the good part now, and what all petrol heads have been waiting for and that's lets fill up in 5 minutes, ie, can an electric car be recharged to full in 5 minutes?

The answer is yes, if you have a NIO ES8, as it can be reversed into a change battery pack room which was shown fully built in the TV program, and the floor then opens under the car, and the battery pack is automatically unscrewed and dropped into the floor below, where a conveyor belt moves it out the way, and a fully charged pack is moved in and screwed back into the car, and your away in 5 minutes. Price was not given, but assume the price would be that of a full charge at public charge prices.

From a technical aspect, the system is nearly right, as unfortunately it used automated driving technology in the car to reverse and align the car within the room, in a hands off approach. It would have been far better if it was just manually drive in on a forward direction, replace pack and drive out in the same direction, just like a drive through, but I can see a drive through arrangement to get a fully charged battery pack in 5 minutes or less, being the future of next generation electric cars. This is what is wanted, a 5 minute or less change over of electric battery pack, and by dropping the pack downwards, there is no need to design a cars rear back end to have a rectangular slot, 'slide in cartridge' style.
With a drop down battery pack, it leaves car designers open to any car shape.

FORD MUSTANG MachE GT (Electric)..yeh, we get see Ford with an electric car, spec shown in picture below. It did have a silly 'punch 4 digit code' door entry system, seen that before on some American cars, likely useful if you forgot your key fob and have to put in 4 digit code, if you remember it LOL. Available in RHD, costs £41,000 for entry model. The model shown on the TV program was £64,000, that's a big difference in price. Who knows what extras are included in the top model, is it worth it?

'Need for Speed' time....The two cars were Porsche Gstar crossover Estate (all electric) verses latest Porsche 911 petrol. The electric car won by 1 second. What I took from this driving around a track at high speed, was that you can fill your estate with dogs, luggage, wife and kids, with bikes on the roof, and can drive at crazy speeds, till your caught by traffic cops :D
(I just cannot get these fast track events on car shows, as it is not real life driving, well, for most folk, it is not. It is just, I suppose to make a TV program more interesting)

Finally the Team test time... A BMW IX3 (all electric)...
£60,000, an even dearer electric car, 285 miles range, weird wheels again, what is it about electric car wheels? this time they looked like batman wings, the car is made in China, again it had crazy hand gesture controls in the cabin, so plenty gimmicks in this car. Even the car sounds were made by Hans Zimmer, a famous composer of film music, by adding artificial engine sounds to the car, to make it sound better LOL.
Once again we saw a personal assistant in this car, where voice commands would make the assistant control certain car functions, you could even give it a name, and the first gear presenter called it 'Bananapants' so he said 'Bananapants open the front windows', and it did that. So this car was just full of crazy gimmicks, these gimmicks need to be removed from a car, and make it cheaper.
The team gave it a (29 out of 40), and thought it well overpriced, but they seemed to like the gimmicks. I did not.

So that's another episode, and the best thing was being able to change battery packs in 5 minutes, That is what is needed, that must be the future, to compete with fuel-ed cars.

1,006 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
The future of charging Electric Vehicles.....

We have seen the NIO ES8 using a fast changing battery pack in just 5 minutes, though it is dedicated for that make only, and not a standard for every make of car (as yet). But maybe fast public chargers will catch up with being able to charge in 15 minutes or less. (see link below).

At present ultra fast public chargers can charge 80% of the battery in 20 to 30 minutes, but in a few years time it will likely be half that time, down to 15 minutes or less, so the NIO system of changing battery packs may be redundant before it even becomes available, as fast public charges would almost be the same time to charge.

So the future is certain that the charging of an EV will be getting quicker as the technology gets better. The goal is to get a full charge as quick as it is to fuel a petrol or diesel car and that is around 5 minutes to get in and out of a petrol station.


1,006 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)

Well that's it folks, the first series is finished and are we any the wiser about getting an electric car? We have to look at what is really worrying petrol and diesel car owners....

All electric cars are dearer than their fuel-ed counterparts, from 25% up to 50% dearer.

Some say you will recoup this higher initial price of an EV by using 'cheap electric' compared to petrol/diesel over a 3 to 4 year period, but that is questionable, consider the way electric prices have risen a lot, especially if charging at a public charger, instead of home charger. Mind you all that is irrelevant if you cannot make the initial high cost of an EV in the first place.

We saw in the series small new electric cars are around £17,000, The one in particular I liked the price and look of was the forthcoming new Renault 5, but was just glanced over in the series.
The medium size cars all seemed to be around £27,000, a lot of money for some cars that were very bland looking.
Then there is the over £40,000 EV's, its a lot of money, and come 2024 road tax will be added to your electric car bill (at present it is zero tax for EV's), and not sure if they will get the luxury car tax that fuel-ed cars get if priced over £40,000, ie, double the normal tax for five years. But I would expect they will.

So electric cars are more expensive initially than the equivalent fuel-ed car. This affects people like me that like to buy outright, and maybe get a deal with a nearly new demo car which has low mileage and a lot cheaper (which I bought). But I would think most people going for an EV would go for a hire lease or personal lease for 3 or 4 years and hand the car back. My brother does that by leasing expensive fuel-ed SUV's for three years and then gets another new car.

The TV show just glanced over these EV prices, just saying sometimes that they are dear, and no consideration about why are they so dear, OK, the battery pack is dear, but some cars were just greedy prices, usually for a specific brand or badge (but hey, you get that with fuel-ed cars too), and the fifth gear teams answer to all that, was we are not concerned on how you can afford your EV car, that's your problem. And the same answer is from the Government who is forcing you eventually to move onto electric cars, as the Government grant is very poor to get you to change over. Personally i would consider another petrol Ecosport before the final 2030 deadline of selling only new EVs. A petrol SUV at a reasonable price, suits me. High priced EV's is a stumbling block to me.

The TV show actually gave me more range worry than I thought possible.
When they did that run around the NC500 in the North of Scotland with a Hyundai Ioniq 5 at £42,000, with a top range of 298 miles for this top of the range model.

We realised that 298 mile range is just 'the car makers figure' and losses can occur due to all sorts of things. The amount of persons in the car, the weather, the way you drive, the electrical equipment used within the car, the terrain if hilly, etc. The worry of where the next charging station is, and if it is going to be available. and all this with a 298 mile range car. What if you owned a 125 mile range car, that's even worse. I personally was shocked by the NC500 road test with a EV car of 298 miles range, which made the occupants still continuously watch the range, even with such a high range available in the car.

OK, fast public chargers do help taking 20 minute for a 80% charge, but thats assuming you have an EV that takes fast charging. And there is the possibility for even faster charging times in the near future from public fast chargers. We also saw the future of the NIO changing the battery pack system in 5 minutes. So maybe one or both of these systems will help with range worries.

To me, I would not be interested in an EV car, until it can be filled up with a full charge in 5 minutes, the same as a fuel-ed car. OK, some other readers might say the EV cars can be used as a town car, and I agree you can use EV cars for short journeys each day to town or to work, etc, that is fine. But my petrol Ecosport can do that, and also go from Lands End to John O groats without range worry or having to park up to recharge. So I am still sticking with a petrol car at present, Thank you.

OK a lot of cars have the occasional gimmick...but why oh why was there so many silly gimmicks shown in the series, and those stupid looking wheels on EV cars was just silly. Its like the car manufacturers saying we have to make these cars look different as your paying a lot of cash, but end up with crazy ideas, some even dangerous.

I say dump the gimmicks and make the EV cars more reasonable priced.

So there you have it folks, I am still not convinced to go electric after watching this first series dedicated to electric cars. Criticism was a bit one sided as no-one else except me commented on this thread. I was waiting for someone to praise the wonders of electric cars and say their's is great, and to them it likely is. But hey, most of us on here have petrol or diesel Ecosports and happy with them at present. I thought this series might make us less worried about electric cars, but so far to me, it has not. Pity!

Anyway, its a while away till its 2030 :D

8 Posts
Hi Colin,
I would like to thank you for taking time and trouble to write about the Fifth Gear Recharged (electric car TV programme). It was so well written and detailed that there wasn’t any need to search to find the programme for me. At my age, I won’t be considering an EV and don’t think I’ll be driving by the time it will be compulsory in 2030. Might look at the Puma at the next Motability change, but I’m sure that will be as far as I’m willing to go.
Once again, thank you for the enlightening post.

Best regards,

1,006 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
NEW RENAULT 5......Thought I would put up a bit more detail up on the Forthcoming Electric Renault 5, price estimated at £18,000. A bit higher cost than the £17,000 mentioned in the fifth gear programme above. It is a small car but has 4 doors and tailgate door, and range is estimated at 120 to 150 miles according to this video. I had a secondhand petrol Renault 5 way back in the 1980's, and was a heap of junk with faults galore. Did not keep it long. Just hope this new electric version is more reliable and better made.

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