EV

What is synthetic fuel and is it really the future for our cars?

synthetic fuel
Using synthetic fuel could keep thousands of combustion engine cars on the road (Picture iStock/Sharfsinn86)

You might have heard of synthetic fuel. It’s a way to power regular combustion engine cars in a less polluting way.

If we’re learning one thing, the planet does need to clean up its act. Burning fossil fuels to get around isn’t great for anyone’s future. But neither is it possible to immediately change all our cars to zero emissions electric vehicles (EV). And that’s where synthetic fuel comes in.

What is synthetic fuel?

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What’s it like to drive long distances in an electric car on holiday?

electric car on holiday
The French alps are lovely in the summer. Is driving there in an EV as stress free? (Picture©James Foxall)

The move to electric cars is well underway. By 2030 – less than eight years away – you won’t be able to buy a new petrol or diesel car. Electric vehicles (EVs) are often said to be great for short journeys, not so brilliant when you need to charge on the go. So what will it be like to take an electric car on holiday?

For a glimpse at the future of long journeys, we took an all-electric BMW iX3 on an 1,100-mile round trip to the French Alps this summer.

It pays to know your car

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Expert advice: electric vehicle terms explained

electric vehicle terms
Electric vehicles need new terminology. We explain some of them (Picture iStock/William Barton)

We’re seeing a seismic shift in motoring with the wholesale switch to electric vehicles (EVs). Not only are some EVs a bit different to look at, there’s a whole new language around them. I thought it would be helpful to explain some of the electric vehicle terms we’ll need to use.

What are kilowatts all about?

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Now thieves are targeting electric vehicle charging cables

charging cables
Charge your EV in the street and you might get your cable nicked (Picture iStock/Coldsnowstorm)

Thieves are increasingly targeting electric vehicle (EV) charging cables as a quick way to make money.

The cables are either dismantled and the metals inside them are stripped out and sold. Alternatively crooks sell them to other EV owners for up to £200 a go.

Industry experts fear charging cable theft could escalate over the coming years, with sales of new combustion engine cars banned from 2030. The results could cost the UK’s EV drivers millions of pounds annually.

What are charging cables made of?

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Electric car questions: Are they value for money despite sales boom?

Electric car questions

Electric cars are cheap to charge but other factors inflate ownership costs (Picture © Nissan)

Electric car questions persist despite increasing sales every month due to drivers attracted by promises of big fuel savings. The Government and car industry’s Go Ultra Low, a body formed to push the benefits of electric cars, said in September 2015: “There are a whole host of benefits that come with an electric car…You can travel much further using less energy…This means financial benefits for electric car owners, plus our latest figures show that drivers can save around £750 a year in fuel by switching to electric.” But is that really true? We look at whether the costs of buying and running an electric car stack up.

Electric car questions: Does the government grant help?

The government has just confirmed that until February 2016, a £5000 grant is available towards the purchase of any new electric vehicle (EV). However EVs tend to have a more expensive sticker price than equivalent cars with petrol or diesel engines.
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