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Car of the Year Awards 2024: Technology Award
Our Technology Award celebrates the tech feature, service or innovation that have moved the game on most in the last year...
Whether you’re ready to go green right now, or are waiting until the final days before the 2035 ban on new petrol and diesel cars kicks in, it’s a fact that more of us will be driving electric vehicles (EVs) every year going forwards. That means more people will be using public charging points, and the latest Tesla Superchargers will help to ease that transition – even if you’re not driving one of the brand’s models.
That’s because the fourth-generation (V4) Superchargers have been designed with any EV in mind. Non-Teslas have been able to top up at some Supercharger sites around the UK (31 at the time of writing) for the past 18 months or so, but the process hasn’t always been quick or easy. This promises to change with the rollout of the V4 devices.
Like the earlier V3s, the V4s are among the most powerful around, delivering energy at a rate of up to 250kW. That’s the Tesla Model 3 Long Range’s maximum rate, and only a small number of EVs (such as the Audi E-tron GT and Porsche Taycan) can handle more. And unlike with the earlier devices, the rate should be the same no matter which brand of car you drive.
You should find getting connected easy, too, because whereas older Superchargers had short cables designed to connect exclusively to Teslas (on which the charging ports are on the nearside rear corner), the V4s have longer, three-metre cables, meaning you can plug in no matter where your car’s port is located.
Another benefit of the V4 is the ability to pay directly using a contactless credit or debit card at the station itself, rather than having to use the Tesla phone app or credit a Tesla account.
That makes Tesla well placed to comply with government regulations put forward earlier this year, which state that all public charging points offering speeds of more than 8kW should offer contactless payment facilities, as well as 99% reliability and real-time updates about availability. In our latest survey of charging network providers, users rated Tesla top for reliability and accessibility.
While prices for non-Tesla drivers charging at Superchargers were previously high (we paid 77p/kWh a few months ago), they now start at a much more reasonable 50p/kWh. While that’s not the lowest price available, it’s great value next to most other networks. Tesla drivers can still benefit from lower tariffs, though.
As its V4 Superchargers roll out, then, Tesla will help more and more of us make the transition to a greener future.
2nd – Audi Third-generation OLED lights
The lights on the upcoming Audi Q6 e-tron electric SUV could help to improve road safety.
That’s because the tail-lights feature six organic LED tiles that can display a range of symbols to other drivers. These include a warning triangle that can alert other drivers to a potential hazard detected by the car, or by Audi’s connected services. The lights can also show you when the Q6 e-tron is acting autonomously, by displaying the letter ‘A’ when the car is using its self-parking function. Owners can program their own lighting effects for when the car is locked or unlocked – useful if you like to make an entrance.
3rd – Renault Solarbay
We’ve already seen panoramic glass roofs on the BMW iX and some McLarens and Porsches that have variable tint levels so you can control how much light enters the car, but Renault is taking that flexibility to a new level and bringing it to a wider audience.
The Solarbay panel that features on the upcoming Rafale and Scenic SUVs can be darkened in nine bands from front to back or vice versa, acting like a blind being drawn. Using a switch or voice commands, you can make the rear portion darker to shade children in the back, for example. And while most panoramic roofs eat into head room, that’s not the case here.
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