Car Reviews

Volkswagen EV Sales In U.S. Declined In Q1 2020

Electrification of the Volkswagen brand in the U.S. is moving slowly – e-Golf is declining, while the ID.3 is not even planned.

Volkswagen reports sales of 75,075 cars in the first quarter of 2020 (down 13%) in the U.S., but only less than half a percent were actually electric.

The general sales are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak (in March sales went down by 42% year-over-year).

The only plug-in model – the all-electric e-Golf – noted just 361 sales, which is 58% less than a year ago and just 0.48% of all VW (4.7% of Golfs).

Volkswagen e-Golf sales in the U.S. – Q1 2020

There are two major reasons for that – there is a ton of demand for the e-Golf in Europe and a necessity to sell a lot of e-Golfs in Europe to comply with new emission requirements.

That would basically explain why the volume is so marginal, even compared to the Nissan LEAF, to not search far.

Detailed results:

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Car Reviews

Kia Soul EV vs MG ZS EV

The second-generation Kia Soul EV faces the value-for-money MG ZS EV in an SUV shootout

The age of the electric car is already here. Every month buyers are being presented with more and more choice when it comes to EV alternatives to petrol, diesel and even plug-in cars. Kia has pioneered electric tech from the outset, with models like the e-Niro that won our Affordable Electric Car award last summer. And the brand is continuing its push with this, the all-new Soul EV. It’s a quirky-looking compact SUV that’s powered by a pure-electric powertrain, and given the range and kit on offer, the price is relatively affordable.

But if you’re looking at affordable electric SUVs then you have to consider what is currently Britain’s best when it comes to value, the MG ZS EV. Look at the headline figures and the price gap will draw your attention, but if you analyse the lease costs, the cars occupy similar territory. Are you still better spending the extra on the Kia, though? We’ll find out.

Electric car running costs

In his recent budget statement the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, cut the government plug-in car grant for electric cars from £3,500 to £3,000. But MG is topping this back up for the rest of March with an extra £500 customer saving.

Still, the big area where you’ll save money with these models is on running costs, as we’ve already seen – and that’s all to do with energy costs and charging.

  • Best electric cars to buy 2020

Home wallboxes cost around £1,000 to install on average, but a grant from the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) means you can potentially get up to 75 per cent of this back. Just bear in mind that from 1 April the maximum OLEV contribution dropped from £500 to £350. Check our sister title for more information.

Keep your charging regime in mind when you’re picking a home energy tariff, too. If you think you’ll need to top up the car on the go at least as much as at home, there are many different firms that provide charging infrastructure across the UK. A lot of them also accept contactless payment for the odd charge here and there.

If you really do need to use the public network, consider using something such as BP Chargemaster’s POLAR Plus scheme. For £7.85 a month you get access to more than 70,000 charging points across the UK, a lot of which are free, while you don’t pay a penny for the first three months of membership.

From our experience, this is the most reliable network, although there are many other charging companies to choose from, such as Instavolt, Source London, GeniePoint, Ionity, Ecotricity and many more.

It pays to do your research on charging points, though., and are  all great sources of information and electric vehicle resources.

Kia Soul EV

Model: Kia Soul EV First Edition
Price:  £34,295
Engine:  1 x electric motor, 201bhp 
0-60mph:  7.1 seconds
Test economy:  3.9 miles/kWh 
CO2:  0g/km  
Annual road tax:  £0

The Soul EV is a long-standing nameplate for Kia, and the recipe has been refined for this all-new 2020 model, taking lessons learned from other Kia EVs, so what’s the Soul EV First Edition like?

Design & engineering

This Soul EV is based on the same platform as Kia’s e-Niro, so it’s no surprise that the third-generation Soul and this second generation of the all-electric car share the same platform as Kia’s best-selling model as well.

There’s a 64kWh lithium-ion battery – this is the usable energy as well, which is what Kia quotes, because the total battery capacity is 67.1kWh – that sends its energy to a single electric motor, which produces 201bhp and 395Nm of torque, mounted on the front axle.  These figures mean the 1,757kg Soul has strong performance. Yet while the MG’s power output is down on the Kia’s, it only makes 42Nm less torque and is 218kg lighter, so performance is similar.

There’s MacPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link rear axle, with the battery sandwiched in the floor and located within the Soul’s wheelbase to help keep the chunky 457kg worth of battery cells as low and as central as possible in the car.

Kia claims 280 miles from a fully charged battery, and with up to 100kW rapid-charging capability there’s good flexibility when it comes to topping up, too. A Type 2 and a three-pin cable are both standard.

Heated leather seats and a heated steering wheel, a 10.25-inch touchscreen with nav and connected services, wireless phone charging, smartphone tech, climate and adaptive cruise control are all standard. There’s strong safety kit, LED lights, parking sensors, a reversing camera and a head-up display, too.

At £34,295 including the £3,000 Government plug-in car grant, it’s £6,800 more expensive than the MG, which gets some of the same kit, but the Kia does feel better built and of a higher quality, warranting part of the price difference. Check out our lease deals and you’ll see the Soul EV’s gap to the MG is lessened if you buy on finance.


Electric cars deliver their power in a smooth surge and the Soul EV typifies this trait, with plenty of torque. Acceleration is almost hot-hatch swift, with a 0-60mph time of 7.1 seconds, but it’s in-gear performance – like going from 30 to 50mph, replicating leaving a town or village – where EVs like the Soul show their worth; it took 2.5 seconds in this test. Despite being down on power, the MG managed the 0-60mph dash just 0.3 seconds slower, and lagged 0.2 seconds behind the Kia from 30 to 50mph.

Where the Soul does put clear ground between itself and the ZS EV is for ride and refinement. The Kia soaks up bumps much more smoothly than the MG, while there’s much less wind and road noise when cruising on A-roads and motorways. With no engine noise to drown out these other sounds, you hear them more in an electric car, which makes the Kia’s level of refinement more impressive.

This is not the most dynamic car to drive, but its steering is light, which does at least mean it’s easy to manoeuvre in town, helped by the standard parking sensors and big reversing camera screen. Visibility is good, too, and you sit relatively high, even though it doesn’t feel like you tower over other cars, so you get a commanding view of the road. The Kia is also comfortable over long distances.


The big battery and fast-recharge capability mean you won’t have to stop very often, and when you do, recharging shouldn’t take too long if you’re hooked up to a 100kW CCS rapid charger, where the Kia will replenish its battery to 80 per cent full in 54 minutes. With a more common 50kW rapid-charge feed this rises to one hour and 15 minutes.

The on-board 7.2kW charger means that AC charging posts or home wallboxes should top up the battery from completely empty to full in nine hours and 35 minutes, according to Kia, which means overnight charging at home shouldn’t be a problem. Using a three-pin plug takes 31 hours for a full charge.

There’s enough space inside for a family, and rear legroom is okay. The boxy roofline means headroom is great, but the Soul EV’s boot could be bigger. There’s only 315 litres of boot space, which is significantly less than some family hatches, so it’s just enough to swallow four people’s luggage. At least there’s storage for the charging cables under the boot floor so they don’t compromise or clutter up the load bay.


Kia is known for its seven-year/ 100,000-mile warranty, and this applies to its electric cars, too, with the Soul’s high-voltage battery protected by the same package. It’s no surprise that Kia scored highly in our Driver Power 2019 satisfaction survey, then, taking third spot overall compared with 27th for MG.

Owners ranked the Kia’s infotainment, running costs, reliability and quality, and safety highly; and with autonomous braking, semi-autonomous cruise with lane-keep and blind-spot assist plus collision warning included, that’s no surprise. However, the MG gets much of this safety tech as standard, too.

Running costs

Based on an average electricity price of 14.4p per kWh, it costs £9.66 to charge the Kia’s battery from flat to full at home. Use public charging points and this cost will vary.

Based on these figures and efficiency of 3.9 miles per kWh for a real-world range of 250 miles, the Soul EV will cost around 3.9p per mile. That’s cheap motoring, but the MG gets close to the Kia’s per-mile price, too, with a full charge of its smaller battery coming in at £6.40 for a cost per mile of 4p, based on efficiency of 3.6 miles per kWh giving a real-world range of around 160 miles.

Testers’ notes: “The Soul’s quirky styling might not suit everyone, but there’s no doubt it does fit the character of the car. This is a forward-thinking EV that has plenty of personality and relatively few flaws.”


Model: MG ZS EV Exclusive
Price:  £27,495
Engine:  1 x electric motor, 141bhp 
0-60mph:  7.4 seconds
Test economy:  3.6 miles/kWh 
CO2:  0g/km  
Annual road tax:  £0

The MG ZS EV is one of Britain’s best affordable electric cars, offering genuinely usable range at an impressive price. If you’re thinking of dipping your toe into the EV pool, is this a better route than the Kia?

Design & engineering

Like the Soul EV, which is offered with petrol power in some markets but is exclusively electric in Europe, the MG ZS comes with a combustion engine too, but also like the Soul, an EV version was designed into the platform from the start, so there aren’t many compromises.

The battery sits under the floor, keeping the weight low – and there’s 218kg less of it in the MG.

There’s also less power and torque from its single electric motor mounted on the front axle, with MG claiming 141bhp and 353Nm, while the battery that supplies it with energy offers 44.5kWh.

This is good given the price tag and gives the MG a claimed range of 163 miles, although our car was showing 208 miles on its display with a fully charged battery. In the same conditions (around five degrees Celsius) the Soul EV was indicating 230 miles, which is a more realistic figure. The ZS EV accepts CCS rapid charging, just like the Soul EV, but its maximum charging speed isn’t as great as the Kia’s, even if it tops the battery up to 80 per cent full in 40 minutes.

There’s a 7kW in-built charger that means with a home wallbox or an AC supply it’ll take six and a half hours to charge, so like the Kia, this is fine for overnight top-ups. You’ll be looking at 22 hours and 45 minutes for a full charge using a three-pin plug.

The recharge capability doesn’t quite match the Kia’s, but in top-spec Exclusive trim equipment does. The ZS has parking sensors, a reversing camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, nav, adaptive cruise, lots of safety tech, climate control and heated leather seats. Yet cabin and build quality isn’t on the same level as the Kia’s. The integration of much of the kit isn’t as good, either, and doesn’t work with the Soul’s slickness. Along with the more advanced battery and charging, you can tell where the extra cash goes, even if the MG is still a sound affordable EV.


The MG very nearly matched the Kia in our performance tests as well, despite offering less power and torque. The acceleration does die away more aggressively beyond about 50mph than in the Soul, but what you need to know is that the ZS EV still delivers all the flexibility you’d ever need from a car like this, and significantly more performance than an equivalent petrol or diesel SUV.

However, it doesn’t ride as well as the Soul. There’s a similar feel to the way it deals with bumps up to a point, but beyond that the Kia feels plush and the MG feels a little harsh. It’s this last little bit where the ZS EV is lacking, but it is still a comfortable car around town and on the motorway.

It isn’t quite as dynamic, though. There’s not as much grip and it rolls more, but these qualities aren’t as important as comfort or refinement in a family SUV. Unfortunately, on the latter, the ZS isn’t quite as good as the Kia, either. There’s more road and wind noise, so it’s less relaxing at higher speed, but around town the MG ZS is easy to drive thanks to the car’s regenerative braking system. This has three modes: light, moderate and heavy, with the latter recouping the most energy when slowing down and allowing for easy one-pedal driving.

The Kia is even better calibrated again, with four regenerative braking settings to pick from, which are controlled by the paddles behind the steering wheel. There’s also a little display that shows you in real time how many tenths of a mile you’re gaining back in range when slowing down. This is a nice touch.


Given range is so important to an EV, it’s annoying that the MG doesn’t have a dedicated display for this. You have to toggle a switch on the centre console to see how much range you have left (assuming you want something else on the small colour screen most of the time) whereas in the Kia there’s a big number always displayed on the digital panel.

The MG does claw back some practicality points with its extra boot space, though; there are 448 litres on offer, which is 133 litres more than the Kia. There’s also under-floor storage for the charging cables.

Rear legroom is slightly less than in the Kia, but overall space inside is good. Yet there aren’t quite as many useful storage areas as in the Soul, which makes better use of being an EV and the packaging positives this brings. However, there’s little in it.


Exclusive trim features MG’s Pilot Advanced Driver Assistance System, so there’s autonomous braking, adaptive cruise with traffic-jam assist, lane-keep and blind- spot assist, lane-departure warning and rear cross- traffic alert. This level of safety tech helped the MG achieve a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. What’s more, the ZS EV almost matches the Soul EV’s warranty, with a seven-year/80,000-mile package.

Running costs

Finance costs will be a big factor here, but if you’re a cash buyer, depreciation will be a big concern, too. Our experts predict the MG will retain 42.6 per cent of its list price, equating to £11,721, whereas the Kia manages a little less, at 38.4 per cent, or £13,173.

EVs attract super-low company car tax rates; both of these cars sit in the 16 per cent Benefit-in-Kind tax band, Higher-rate earners will pay £976 and £1,193 respectively to run the MG and Kia as company cars. From April this drops to zero per cent for a year.

Testers’ notes: “As in the Soul EV, there are few options to choose from on the ZS EV, with the colour the only real choice. It’s no great shame, because the MG gets everything you’d want anyway.”


First place: Kia Soul EV

It might be pricier, but you get what you pay for with the Soul EV. Its boot is smaller than the MG’s, but not by enough to offset its more impressive range and efficiency. The South Korean SUV also edges the ZS EV for performance, but eclipses it when it comes to ride and refinement, as well as the infotainment system. It’s a convincing win for the Kia, if you can afford the extra outlay.

Second place: MG ZS EV

If you can’t afford to stretch to the Soul EV, then the ZS EV is every bit the brilliant but more budget-focused alternative to the Kia. For the money the level of connectivity and safety tech it offers is great, while it’s also practical, as spacious as the Kia, quick and comfortable enough. In this company quality and infotainment let it down, but it’s still an all-electric bargain, we think.

Other options for similar money…

New: Hyundai Kona Electric 64kWh

  • Price: £35,600
  • Engine: 1 x e-motor, 201bhp

The newly updated MY20 Hyundai Kona Electric shows that the Soul EV is actually good value. Both cars use the same powertrain, but the Kona in Premium trim doesn’t quite get as much equipment, yet it’s pricier, too. It’s still a good buy.

Used: Tesla Model S 70D

  • Price: £33,850
  • Engine: 2 x e-motors, 324bhp

For similar money you could pick up a used premium EV in the form of a pre-facelift Tesla Model S 70D. This means two motors for four-wheel drive with 324bhp and – even better – free Tesla supercharging for fast recharges on the move.


  Kia Soul EV First Edition MG ZS EV Exclusive
On the road price/total as tested £34,295/£34,295 £27,495/£28,190
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000) £13,173/38.4% £11,721/42.6%
Depreciation £21,122 £15,774
Annual tax liability std/higher rate £1,193/£2,387 £976/£1,952
Annual electricity cost (12k/20k miles) £443/£738 £480/£800
Insurance group/quote/road tax cost 34/£598/£0 21/£536/£0
Servicing costs £239 (3 years) TBC
Length/wheelbase 4,195/2,600mm 4,314/2,579mm
Height/width 1,605/1,800mm 1,644/1,809mm
Powertrain 1 e-motor/lithi-ion battery 1 e-motor/lith-ion battery
Peak power/revs 201/3,800 bhp/rpm 141 bhp/N/A rpm
Peak torque/revs 395/1 Nm/rpm 353 Nm/N/A rpm
Transmission Single-speed auto/fwd Single-speed auto/fwd
Battery capacity/usable 67.1/64kWh 44.5/44.5kWh
Boot capacity (seats up/down) 315/1,339 litres 448/1,375 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing capacity 1,757/423/N/Akg 1,539/427/N/Akg
Turning circle 10.6 metres 11.2 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery 7yrs (100,000)/1yr 7yrs (80,000)/1yr
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos. 3rd/5th 27th/7th
NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/stars TBC 90/85/64/70/5 (2019)
0-60/30-70mph 7.1/6.3 secs 7.4/7.2 secs
30-50mph 2.5 secs 2.7 secs
50-70mph 3.8 secs 4.4 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 104mph/N/A 87mph/N/A
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 49.1/36.1/9.1m 45.9/34.1/9.2m
AE econ. (miles/kWh)/predicted range 3.9/250 miles 3.6/160 miles
Claimed range (WLTP) 280.0 miles 163.0 miles
Charging capability 2.2/7.2/50/100kW 2.3/7/50kW
Charging time 31h/9h35m/1h15m/54m 22h45m/6h30m/40m
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket 0/0g/km/16% 0/0g/km/16%
Airbags/Isofix/parking sensors/cam Seven/yes/yes/yes Six/yes/yes/yes
Auto box/lane-keep/blind spot/AEB Yes/yes/yes/yes Yes/yes/yes/yes
Clim./cruise ctrl/leather/heated seats Yes/adaptive/yes/yes Yes/adaptive/yes/yes
Met paint/LEDs/keyless/pwr tailgate Yes/yes/no/no £695/no/yes/no
Nav/digi dash/DAB/connected apps Yes/no/yes/yes Yes/no/yes/yes
Wireless charge/CarPlay/Android Auto Yes/yes/yes No/yes/yes

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Car Reviews

In February 2020, Plug-In EV Car Sales In Europe Doubled Again

February was the third-best month ever with an all-electric top five.

February 2020, probably the last such a great month for plug-in electric car sales in Europe, continued the outstanding three-digit growth rate seen in January.

The total number of new registrations amounted to about 74,663, according to the EV Sales Blog, which is 111% more than a year ago and the third-best month ever. The market share stands at 6.5%. BEVs were responsible for 57% of new registrations, but PHEVs are growing quicker (up 153% compared to 88% in the case of BEVs).

Also the year-to-date looks great: over 144,500 registrations, a 117% year-over-year growth and an average 6.5% market share. Will this surplus last once the weak COVID19-affected months emerge?

Plug-In Electric Car Sales In Europe – February 2020

Most popular models

In February, the top five models were all-electric:

Noteworthy is that Audi e-tron had 2,505 new registrations, almost beating Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (2,568) and LEAF.

Top 20 YTD:

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Car Reviews

Which EV Crossover Is Better: Tesla Model Y Or Hyundai Kona EV?

Video goes in-depth to compare the two popular high-riding electric crossovers.

The Tesla Model Y may be more capable, advanced and expensive than the Hyundai Kona Electric, but the price gap between them is not massive and there’s definitely a chance they will be cross-shopped. This comparison will be even more relevant once Tesla officially launches the Model Y Standard Range model in 2021, since its range and price will be directly comparable to the Kona’s.

In this video by Cleanerwatt, the current crop of Model Y and Kona EV variants are analyzed with the all important ‘cost per mile of electric range’ metric being mentioned right off the bat. And this obviously swings things in the Hyundai’s favor because in its most basic SEL version, it starts at $37,100 and offers a claimed range of 258 miles.

The cheapest version of the Model Y that you can get right now, the Long Range all-wheel drive model, starts at $52,990 and its claimed range is 316 miles. According to the video, that equates to a cost per mile of range of $144 for the Hyundai and $167 for the Tesla.

There’s no denying that out of the two, the Model Y is the more tempting buy, even with the higher asking price you currently have to pay for one, but the fact that the Kona is mentioned in the same company as Tesla’s new internet-breaking crossover stands testament to how good its electric cars have become.

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Car Reviews

BYD To Become An EV Parts Supplier Under FinDreams Brand

BYD launches FinDreams sub-brand – an automotive parts supplier to OEMs.

BYD’s new Balde Battery is not the only news from the Chinese manufacturer, as the company is gearing up for the major transformation to become an automotive parts supplier too.

Years of EV production (over 750,000 were sold cumulatively) and ongoing vertical introduction, including battery cells, packs, electric motors, power electronics as well as other systems, enables BYD to expand its business. In today’s world, with the coronavirus outbreak, it might be also a necessity, as New Energy Vehicle sales were highly affected in China.

BYD decided to create an independent new sub-brand FinDreams with five subsidiaries:

“BYD will open its technology and products to the whole world. FinDreams units will help change the role participants in Chinese auto industry play in the global new energy arena.”

In the past, BYD was working with Daimler on a joint Denza brand, but up to date, it was on a quite small scale. The new partnership, announced in Summer 2019, is with Toyota.

BYD ensures that it is already in talks with many other automotive manufacturers, which basically means even fiercer competition among parts suppliers.

We guess that one of the major components, in which other manufacturers will be interested, is the new BYD Blade Batteries.

More about the FinDreams directly from BYD:
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Car Reviews

Which Used EV Is The Best: BMW i3, Nissan LEAF Or Renault Zoe?

The guys from Lovecars try to make a verdict but they miss important aspects.

You already know that depreciation is a significant issue for EV owners, especially the ones that buy a brand new EV. But that could be good for people that do not want to spend much on an electric car since they can get a used one. That was what Tiff Needell and Paul Woodman, from the Lovecars YouTube channel, had in mind when they evaluated three used EVs: BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, and Renault ZOE.

Ironically, they have invited Peter Greaves, also known as Petrol_Ped, to drive the EVs around. Their main concern with the vehicles, which are all three years old, was to see how they were holding up in terms of range and how cheap these vehicles were compared to new ones.

If that is an indication of a bargain, you would better remember that “there’s no free lunch.” To be more specific, if an EV was expensive and is now dirt cheap, there is something wrong with it.

The AAA study that pointed to the fact that EVs have a depreciation problem included no Tesla among the evaluated vehicles. They were the Chevrolet Bolt (LT), Hyundai Ionic Electric (Base), Kia Soul EV (+), Nissan Leaf (SV), and Volkswagen e-Golf (SE).  The Renault ZOE was not included because it is not sold in the US, but the i3 is.

It would be fascinating to have had it considered in that research, but we already know it loses value fast in the US: it is the fourth among the ten cars that lost more value in the US in 2019 after five years, according to 

That probably happens because the i3 is a small car for US standards. Kyle Conner, from the Out Of Spec Motoring and InsideEVs YouTube channels, has already presented it as a good option. It is the only among these three to have a liquid-cooled battery pack, and that is more important for used EVs than it may seem: they last longer that way – and do not charge you $35,000 on a battery pack replacement.

The video below shows the advantage of liquid-cooling and, more specifically, of tab cooling instead of surface cooling. The BMW i3 has tab cooling, according to this Avid Technology article.

These are aspects of the ownership of these EVs that the video does not address. The Nissan Leaf and the Renault ZOE have air-cooled battery packs. Nissan has a history of charging way more than it should for new battery packs. Renault used to rent ZOE’s, so we do not have an idea of how much it will cost to replace them when it is time. BMW allows you to replace only the battery pack module that is defective, which implies it will be cheaper to do that when the batteries start to fail.

The video does not mention that, but the BMW i3 seems to be the logical choice when it comes to used EVs, some of them already out of their total warranty periods. We hope Lovecars explores these questions in more depth in their future videos on EVs unless they relate to dynamic aspects. In that sense, Tiff Needell will certainly give anyone a valuable lesson, as he usually does in his videos at tracks.

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Car Reviews

Tuk Tuk EV RV Might Be The Perfect Vehicle For A Pandemic

Tiny three-wheeled electric camper is ideal for social distancing.

We’re currently going through the worst pandemic in recent history and most of the world is in lockdown inside their homes to prevent the virus from spreading. But what if your home had (three) wheels and an electric motor to move itself and you around so that you can apply the social distancing norms that are now in place?

Meet the electric Xinge RV, which has to be one of the cutest, most adorable motorhomes we’ve ever seen. It’s a Chinese-made three-wheeler based on a tuk tuk chassis, but just like any recreational vehicle, it comes fully featured inside.

It’s electric motor makes more than 800 watts, according to its listing on Alibaba, and it can push this 650 kg (1,433 lbs) vehicle to a top speed of 45 km/h (25 mph). The battery it draws from is not huge, a 7.2 kWh pack, but its range is not specified and probably not great.

But since this is a recreational vehicle, what is inside is important too and based on the photos, it really looks like you could live in it… if forced to do so by a global pandemic. It has a mini fridge, a TV, a sofa that extends to become a bed, cupboards and a table, while on the outside there’s even a small pull-out gas cooker too. Through the rear, you can access its built-in sink and area designed for washing.

The manufacturer, Xinge, wants $4,900 if you order one or two examples, while if you order at least three, the price drops to $4,600. The estimated delivery time from China is 45 days, but given the coronavirus pandemic has affected transport, take that figure with a grain of salt.

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Car Reviews

The Last Positive EV Sales Numbers In Europe? February 2020

In February, plug-in car sales in Europe more than doubled. In March we expect the huge downward effect of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The overall passenger car sales are weak in Europe – in February new registrations decreased by 7% year-over-year to over 1.06 million.

With just several countries noting any increase, just imagine the full-blown effect of coronavirus in March and April.

Felipe Munoz, global analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented:

“The situation is rapidly deteriorating in Europe due to complex regulation, lack of available homologated cars, and increasing pressure on the economy. All of these factors are having a detrimental impact on consumer confidence.”.

The electrified car segment (xEVs – BEVs, PHEVs and HEVs), on the other hand, was doing great – in February, the total sales in 27-markets monitored by JATO Dynamics went up 80% year-over-year to 135,500! That’s almost 13% of the total car sales.

“Against this negative backdrop, electrified vehicles were once again the outlier in the industry. Their registrations jumped from 75,400 units in February 2019 to 135,500 units last month. The increase of over 80% came at the expense of diesel and petrol cars who saw significantly fewer registrations. Munoz added: “So far this year, electrified vehicles have been the only lifeline for manufacturers operating in Europe. This is good news, as the industry’s electrification plans have finally seen a positive response from consumers.””

Top 5 European countries by xEVs share in all passenger cars registrations:

Among the “big markets” by volume, France seems to have the highest xEV share (14%), followed by 13% in the UK, 11% in Germany, 10% in Spain and 8.6% in Italy.

Plug-in car sales in Europe (19-markets) – February 2020

Data for the 19-markets indicate that plug-ins are now a bigger segment than regular hybrids:

“As EVs have increasingly become a viable alternative to gasoline and diesel cars, SUVs are now struggling in the competitive environment. Registrations for SUVs fell by 1.7% to 415,300 units, taking the year-to-date total to 865,500 units, down by 1.4% from last year. The fall in registrations was due to the compact SUVs, declining by 3.7% in contrast to the strong growth experienced by large SUVs, who saw an increase of 17%. Although there was a decrease in SUV registrations their market share did in fact increase due to the overall downturn of the market.”

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Car Reviews

Austria's EV Sales Reach Record Level: 6.7% Of Total Automotive Sales

The coronavirus outbreak will not allow Austria to sustain such a result this month we guess.

During the first two months of this year, Austria was enjoying an outstanding take-off of plug-in electric car sales. Now the country is struggling with COVID-19.

The total number of new passenger plug-in car registrations amounted to 1,410 in February and 2,662 YTD (up 67% year-over-year), which was enough to put the reach to a record market share of 6.7%! That’s like 1 in 15 new cars.

The bad news is that coronavirus outbreak will not allow EVs to grow so quickly – actually there might be no growth at all in March and a couple following months.

The majority (about 70%) of sales are all-electric cars (4.6% market share), but BEV growth of 38% year-over-year is slow compared to what is happening with plug-in hybrids – up 192% year-over-year.

Plug-in electric car sales – in February 2020

The top-selling model in Austria is Renault ZOE – the new-generation of ZOE is doing great also in other European countries, followed by the Tesla Model 3.

In normal circumstances, we would expect a high number of Model 3 deliveries in March (third month of a quarter), but nothing is for sure today.

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Car Reviews

EV Charging Basics: How Long It Will Take To Replenish Range?

Charging is not a big problem, but initially it might sound complex for new electric car users.

In theory, charging of electric vehicles is quite simple as all we have to do to replenish range is to plug them in, at home overnight (the primary way to start every day fully charged) or at the charging point (public or at work). However, the topic is more complex than that, especially for new EV users.

First of all, recharging the batteries in an EV might be conducted using an AC source (through an on-board charger) or DC source (using a significantly bigger off-board DC fast charger, bypassing the on-board charger). Usually, those DC chargers are much higher-power than the AC charging points, which shortens the charging time.

The Australian manufacturer of fast chargers Tritium presents the typical power output of charging points: usually 3.7-22 kW AC and usually 50-350 kW DC:

We will skip here the variety of charging connectors, as in most markets there are just 1-2 dominant AC and DC connectors:

How long it will take to replenish 20 miles/32 km of range?

If we focus on the direct relationship between the power and the result (we are skipping other factors like battery temperature, battery state-of-charge, battery charging limitations), we can see the general difference of effective range replenishing capability:

Using a 7.7 kW charging point (AC) requires 47 minutes to add 20 miles/32 km of range. That is assuming energy consumption below 19 kWh/100 km (62 miles) or 190 Wh/km (over 300 Wh/mile).

If the on-board charger would allow for three-phase charging at 22 kW, the time would be 15 minutes, while at 50 kW DC charging we would have to charge only 7 minutes. That’s a big difference, although DC chargers are often more expensive to use.

How far I will go after a 10-minute recharge?

Here is an inverted question. We stop for 10 minutes at charging points and wonder what will be the result. The theoretical example requires simplification that we can use all the available power for 10 minutes (it’s rarely true in the case of higher power chargers).

The 7.7 kW AC (single-phase) charging point will allow us to go some 4 miles (7 km) more, while the 50 kW DC charger would be good for 30 miles (49 km). That last example shows us one important thing – in case of emergency, we can usually stop for 10 minutes at a 50 kW DC charger to really replenish enough range to complete daily operations. There is no need to stay at the charger for hours.

For long-distance travel, of course, we need to replenish most of the battery capacity (usually to around 80%, after which the charging process slows down significantly). Those are scenarios that require us to use higher-power DC chargers like 100-150 kW, or even twice that in case of top models (200-300 kW).

The charging time should then be between 15-60 minutes, depending on model, our needs to reach the destination and other factors (battery temperature is one of the most important).

Tritium charging info (entire infographic)

Metric unit version:

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