Those suspicious of the environmental benefits of electric cars often claim that the carbon footprint from the electricity used to power them negates their benefits of not having a tailpipe, but thanks to UK utility company Ecotricity, those buying a Volkswagen EV will know their cars really are powered from low-emissions renewable electricity.
The Stroud-based company announced a joint deal yesterday between itself and Volkswagen Group UK, which would ensure that those who purchase a plug-in VW or Audi would automatically be offered the chance to sign up for its 100% renewable tariff.
While you can’t buy an electric Volkswagen just yet, the order books will open in November for the all-electric e-Up, which Volkswagen hopes will give it a competitive edge in cities throughout Europe. First deliveries of the tiny four-seater will hit the UK in January next year, with Volkswagen’s all-electric e-Golf following mid-2014 and Audi’s plug-in hybrid A3 e-tron Sportback finishing off the trio of plug-in launches before the end of 2014.
Essentially plug-in versions of existing gasoline cars, Volkswagen hopes the three cars’ normality — as well as its existing brand reputation — will help it become the market leader for electric mobility by 2018. While that particular term includes hybrid as well as electric cars, its deal with Ecotricity will certainly help Volkswagen win the debate over which type of car is cleanest.
Founded in 1995 as the world’s first green energy company, Ecotricity refers to itself as a ‘not for dividend’ company. Instead of sharing profits out between shareholders and board members, Ecotricity reinvests profits back into the company, enabling it to build more wind and solar farms in the U.K. This, in turn, helps Ecotricity move the power mix of the UK electricity grid away from fossil-fuels and Nuclear power stations.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Ecotricity has championed the cause of electric cars. Not only did Ecotricity CEO Dale Vince commission his own custom-built electric car back in 2010, but since 2011 the green utility company has improved the practicality of owning and driving an electric car long-distance thanks to its Electric Highway.
A growing network of primarily DC and AC quick charging stations, Electric Highway recharging points can be found at rest stops on many of the UK’s busiest motorways, making it possible to make mid to long-distance trips in production electric cars like the Nissan LEAF and Renault Zoe with almost the same ease as a gasoline car.
“Running a car on green electricity from the wind and the sun is the last piece of the jigsaw; it’s the ultimate in green motoring,” said Vince of the partnership. ” Now you can plug your car into your house at the end of each day and recharge it on renewables, it’s an exciting new world.”
As for Volkswagen’s compatibility with the Electric Highway? At the present time, Ecotricity’s Electric Highway doesn’t support the Combo DC quick charge standard which will come as standard on the Volkswagen e-Golf. But with the partnership between the firms now secure, we’d be surprised if Ecotricity’s future stations didn’t include Combo DC quick charge compatibility too, letting customers not only charge up from Ecotricity’s zero emissions electricity at home but on the road too.
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