What do the maker of Dyson vacuums, the U.S. presidential candidates, and the UK and Canadian governments have in common? They’re all jumping onto the electric car bandwagon this week. Here’s the latest electric car news, so you know who’s saying what about getting off of oil and putting plugs on our cars.
- James Dyson, maker of the futuristic Dyson vacuum, wants to make electric cars suck less, according to The Independent. Engineers at Dyson’s headquarters have reportedly made a lightweight electric motor based on their vacuums and hand dryers. While a spokesperson has since said the company isn’t actively pursuing electric vehicles, Dyson himself told the Independent he’s optimistic about electric cars and thinks they will outnumber combustion engine cars within a decade.
- There are a growing number of EVs available today, but for crash safety reasons they are often limited to low speeds and aren’t allowed on many roads. But Canadian electric automaker ZENN Motor could finally see its cars being driven on its home turf. The Québec Ministry of Transportation has announced a three-year pilot project allowing low-speed vehicles on roads with speed limits up to 50 km/h. Now ZENN is marketing itself to get Québecers into its cars.
- The British government will publish its renewable energy strategy this week, which will include a proposal for electric and hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars in the UK, The Observer reports. Due out Thursday, the report is part of a £100 billion (about $197 billion) plan to reduce Britain’s carbon emissions, but while it’s not clear what it will mean for EVs in Britain, it could pave the way for startups to test their vehicles on the Isles.
- Felix Kramer, plug-in electric vehicle (PHEV) guru and founder of CalCars, offers his two cents on the issue of PHEVs in this presidential campaign. Kramer’s glad to see that plug-ins are becoming a major campaign issue because he thinks it sends the message to automakers that not matter who wins, PHEVs will have support from Washington. Still, he worries that McCain’s battery prize and Obama’s cleantech fund give the impression that more research needs to be done before we can electrify our cars. “We hope the call for improved batteries doesn’t obscure the reality that today’s batteries are good enough for Version 1.0 PHEVs…As for the power grid, there are many reasons to modernize and improve it, but plug-in cars don’t have to wait for that.”