UK’s largest electric vehicle trial – first findings

Low carbon vehicle tests

18th June, 2010

The first results of a UK-wide electric and low carbon vehicle testing project involving Aston University are now published.

Aston’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is at the forefront of the CABLED (Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Vehicle Demonstrators) project which over this year will showcase 110 ultra low carbon vehicles on the streets of Birmingham and Coventry.

The performance of the vehicles is being collected and analysed by Aston engineers, using the latest in satellite mapping, onboard computers and data software technologies.

Reports on the first quarter of the tests, which has involved volunteers trailing 25 Mitsubishi i-MiEVs (Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicles), has already highlighted some key findings.

These include;


  • Electric vehicle drivers use their cars like the typical UK driver – the majority of journeys are less than five miles (at similar distances, when warming up conventional car engines are at their most polluting, and catalytic converters are at their least effective)

  • Average daily mileage is 23 miles (well within the i-MiEVs’s 80 mile range)


  • Drivers use the entire speed range of the car, showing they are happy to drive at motorway speeds when required

  • The vehicles were driven in all temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius, throughout the winter period. There was a drop-off in usage at very low temperatures, likely to be the result of reduced car usage during extremely cold weather, when only essential journeys are made.

Energy use and charging

  • Vehicles are parked for 97 per cent of the time, typically overnight and during work/school hours, allowing lengthy battery charging periods at home and work

  •  Although vehicles only use the electricity needed to charge them they were left plugged in for more than 20 per cent of the time, occasionally for several days at a time

Led by global engineering consultancy Arup, CABLED is the largest of eight consortia from across the UK to participate in the £25 million Technology Strategy Board’s Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator competition.

Aston University Engineering academic, Brian Price, comments; “Collecting real-world usage of electric vehicles through our satellite mapping and analysis has been essential in understanding actual demands and requirements of electric vehicles for consumers.

“The journey data gathered is already showing that the current generation of ultra low carbon vehicles are cheap to run as well as being comparable to petrol & diesel vehicles for speed, ease of use and daily journey distance; using less than 30 per cent of their total charge in typical daily use.

“The next phase of the study will allow us to map out an optimal charging point network to further extend range and improve the convenience of electric cars.”

Andrew Everett, Lead Technologist in Low Carbon Vehicles for the organisation overseeing and funding the project, the Technology Strategy Board said; “It’s great to see data starting to come out of the demonstrator trials, which across the UK will see around 340 test vehicles analysed. The information will be available to all to help drive innovation and development in Low Carbon Vehicles Technology.”

Five other manufacturers within CABLED will roll out vehicles in 2010, including Mercedes Benz/smart, Tata, Jaguar Land Rover, LTI and Microcab industries.

Other companies involved in the project are; Arup; E-on; RDM Automotive; Coventry City Council; Birmingham City Council; Aston University; Coventry University; University of Birmingham.


Notes to editors;

A full copy of the research is available on request.

For further details, please contact Tom Rawlings or Stuart Haynes on 0121 265 2760 or email Tom.Rawlings@grayling.com / Stuart.Haynes@grayling.com  

To arrange an interview with Brian Price, Aston University Engineering Lecturer contact Alex Earnshaw, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4549