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Rising fuel prices put sharp new focus on EV ownership, but it’s not all electric – yet

Most makers ramping up volume and introducing new models 


The new Mercedes EQE

The new Mercedes EQE

KIA teases with a glimpse of the new Niro

KIA teases with a glimpse of the new Niro


The new Mercedes EQE

The inexorable increase in fuel prices must have electric-vehicle (EV) drivers feeling at least partially vindicated – and no doubt prompting others to think about following suit and buying.

Of course no one escapes the rising tide of price increases, so charging your EV will cost more. But EV owners are still going to be so much better off from a running-costs perspective, I think.

Bad news travels fast, and with petrol and diesel making the headlines due to record levels being reached, there is bound to be an intensified focus on switching to EVs from Internal Combustion Engines (ICEs). 

Did we ever think we’d see the day petrol would cost 174c/litre (Irish Independent survey)? 

New AA figures put diesel at 163.3c/litre. A year ago that stood at 117.3c/litre, according to their statistics.

And where does it stop?

No wonder the car manufacturers are lining up so many new EVs. Virtually every one of them is planning on bringing in new models – part of the problem is getting enough stock.

Take Mercedes: They are fairly ramping up the electric stakes in their own ranks with several new EVs planned for next year.

Some weeks back I wondered if they had caught the plug-in bug too late, given that incentives are being stripped away. That can’t be said about their current and impending electric vehicles.

They have just outlined details of what and when is coming.

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Their electric EQS luxury saloon is due by the first quarter of 2022. They claim it has more than 40 new inventions and 20 new design applications.

We will also see the EQB, a car that slots in size above the entry-level EQA and below the larger mid-range EQC.

And then in the second quarter they anticipate the arrival of the EQE electric saloon which is heavily based on the current E-Class.

Expect hothouse power versions of the EQE later in the year, with Mercedes-AMG EQE 43 and Mercedes-AMG EQE 53 models arriving. They should fairly rock up on the power stakes.

And yet . . . despite the surge in fuel prices there are still a lot of petrols and diesels due; either current models, updates or new. So it’s not all going to be electric. Far from it. Yet.

There are expansions planned for what Mercedes adroitly call the “conventionally powered” product range too. And an early arrival will be the new AMG SL, a car described as something of an icon.

Following later in the year will be a high-performance AMG GT 4-door Coupé.

Meantime the brand new KIA Niro is to be unveiled at the Seoul Mobility Show later this week.

And what have they done only gone and issued a teaser to whet our appetites.

The first glimpse tells a little more than normal with this sort of thing by showing the extensive influence of the brand’s ‘Opposites United’ (not a bad name for Manchester United at the moment is it?) design philosophy.

They say the new two-tone exterior extends the design elements first shown on the HabaNiro Concept in 2019.

KIA say the Niro has been an integral part of its expanding eco-friendly line up.

The car will be unveiled tomorrow, Thursday.

Madness: on the phone while crossing road

I know it’s a British survey, but its findings tally with what we see here. Certainly what I see.

In the past 12 months, nearly a third of people admitted being on their phone while crossing the road. That increases to 80pc for 18- to 24-year-olds.

Drivers were forced to brake heavily (in 23pc of incidents) or swerve (16pc) to avoid a pedestrian glued to their phone.

The study, from Fiat, highlights how phone use is putting pedestrians and drivers at risk

The survey involved 2,000 drivers and smartphone users.

Drawing on the future of cars

Children are being invited to draw their dream cars.

As part of the ‘Dream Car Art’ contest, they are being asked to share ideas about the future of mobility by drawing their ideal vehicle. They have until February.

Toyota Ireland is inviting children (up to 15 years of age) to join in.

It will help “nurture the creativity of the next generation of great inventors, thinkers and dreamers”. The winner will represent Ireland in the World Contest in Japan.

Driving SUVs in suburbia

I’m sorry, but I have to get this off my chest. I don’t understand why so many people feel the need to have a big SUV in densely populated parts of town.

It is, of course, their prerogative to do so, but my goodness, they don’t half take up space on shrinking roads and parking spaces.

I know I go on a lot about the latter two.

Something tells me that, at some future juncture, people will have to pay more for the privilege of larger cars in urban settings. Just a hunch.

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