I posted this picture on Twitter the other day which caused a bit of a flutter.
It’s a still taken by someone during the shoot of a new series of Top Gear.
I was impressed that the old men in jeans are even attempting to use an electric car, so the initial view of this picture is great.
Big Jezza’s seen the light…… sort of.
For a start the BMW i8, the car in the picture, is amazing, fast and made of the future. It also has a petrol engine and a fairly limited electric only range.
It’s a plug in hybrid £100,000 supercar and that’s fine and dandy.
I think it’s fantastic and much better than an old school massive engine in two-seater supercar.
However there’s a couple of things in the picture that give the impression that all is not 100% hunky dory in the brave new Top Gear change of mindset regarding electric cars.
The first is the position the car is parked in.
The charge port on the i8 is on the passenger side, there are two parking spaces for electric cars at this location, if he’d parked in the other one the cable running from the charger wouldn’t have to be stretched over the bonnet to look all awkward and ungainly.
If he had reversed in, as you would in a Tesla Model S, the same lack of cable stretch would apply.
You would only park in this position to ‘make a point’ that it’s a bit silly to plug a car in.
Sure, some people stop with their filler cap on the far side from the petrol/diesel pump, we’ve all done it, a couple of times.
Any normal human being who is just using the car would gather that instantly and move the car to the other bay, then the cable would just reach with no problem.
But this is Jezza, I suppose he has to make it look awkward.
The second and far more important point is the charger he’s using belongs to Ecotricity and it’s specifically designed as a rapid charger.
It can charge my Leaf from close to empty to 80% in under 30 minutes.
But the Leaf is designed to take this fast charge, the BMW i8 is not.
The battery in my Leaf has a capacity of 24-kilowatt hours, the battery in the BMW i8 has a capacity of 7.2 kilowatt hours.
If you plug the i8 into a 32-amp domestic charge socket it will take about 3 hours to fill.
If you don’t ever charge the battery the car still works, regenerative braking and indeed the amazing 3-cylinder petrol engine can charge the battery so if you’re not stopping somewhere for more than a couple of hours it’s not really worth clogging up a rapid charger.
It will take a charge from the Ecotricity system but only at the same rate you’d get from a 32 amp charger at home.
Not that an inconsequential thing like a fact should get in the way of good telly, so stretch that cable, moan about how complicated it is to understand and make sure another couple of million people don’t understand how electric cars and plug in hybrids work.
Job done, the fossil fuel companies can sit back and relax as further development and understanding has been held back for another few years.
After all, that’s his job isn’t it?