The eco guide to electric vehicles – The Guardian

Posted: Sunday, July 03, 2016

“You lot [earth lovers] won’t be happy till there’s rose petals coming out the exhaust,” a car industry insider complained to me.

I’d settle for an electric vehicle. Not emission free (you have to factor in the source of the electricity), but a technology that can make a real dent in climate-change emissions. My next car needs to be an EV – and so does yours.

Analysts at Bloomberg claim that if 35% of global new car sales (41m a year) were EVs (as predicted by 2040) that would cut global oil consumption by 14%. The Committee on Climate Change states that the UK needs 60% of new cars and vans to be electric by 2030 to meet our 2050 climate-change targets.

It’s been 20 years since Toyota kicked off the green car revolution with the Prius, and recently Top Gear featured the new Tesla. But the Model X costs £72,280, so it hardly screams mass transition.

Volkswagen can’t scrub the rogue particles of the diesel-emissions scandal from our lungs, but will try and scrub its reputation by launching 30 EV models by 2035 and investing in car-sharing companies. Zipcar car-sharing club has just introduced 50 Volkswagen Golf GTE plug-in hybrid vehicles around London.

But what can be done about my range anxiety (the fear of running out of charge in an EV)? Ecotricity has invested in a network of charging points, and Tesla has its own network of Superchargers. Check all charging points on evhighwaystatus.co.uk or zap-map.com.

Until 2017 you can get a rebate on the cost of hybrid and electric vehicles in the UK – about 35% off the price. I’d like to have my dream EV before humankind shifts to the driverless car. Significantly greener, they will soon be trialled in Greenwich, south London. That would be just my luck.

The big picture: Som Pastor (I Am a Shepherd)

Miguel, in a flat cap and a down vest, a sheep at his side, in front of a table with a dead bird on it


Rule the world: Miguel, who lives outside the village of Santa Eugenia in Mallorca, is the president of Peasant Children

Filmmaker Borja Zausen has found a remarkable way to capture his subject. He’s a pioneer in zero-emission filmmaking and his latest work records the life of another hero. Miguel is the 11-year-old star of Som Pastor (I Am a Shepherd). As the president of Peasant Children, he’s leading a pint-sized rural Mallorcan revolution dedicated to working the land. His devotion to his animals is inspiring.

Well dressed: Totem Adornments

Beads of change: a Totem Adornments creation


Beads of change: a Totem Adornments creation

“A seed is not just the source of life. It is the very foundation of our being,” says physicist and activist Vandana Shiva in the upcoming documentary SEED: The Untold Story.

In many indigenous cultures seeds aren’t just nuggets of genetic information, they are also sacred. Fitting for the mechanism that passes on information to the next generation.

Designer Paddy Dickinson (wife of Iron Maiden’s Bruce) uses this idea of passing on knowledge as the underlying philosophy for her company Totem Adornments. Dickinson donates 10% of profits from this jewellery line of necklaces made from recycled and sustainable silver, rose gold and Balinese seeds to a foundation. This fund then donates to British projects which collect and preserve local stories. Dickinson’s heirloom keepsakes will help keep ideas and experiences alive for generations to come. Browse her seed jewellery, from £105, at totemadornments.com.

Email Lucy at lucy.siegle@observer.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @lucysiegle

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