Waking up today of reports of a possible ban on both new diesel and petrol cars by 2040 in the UK may be a shock to some people, but for others it’s been coming for a while. We don’t want to get into the politics of why or when instead we’re going to tell you about or recent experience and our thoughts on electric cars.
Our thoughts on electric cars.
A few weeks back, myself, Stu and Peter all popped down to Nissan in Crosby to check out and test drive the new 30kw Nissan Leaf, 30KW you say with a puzzled look? Essentially the KW is like engine capacity so instead of buying a 1400CC Nissan leaf you will buy a 30KW Nissan Leaf , it gives you an idea of the performance and range of the car. Firstly we where amazed, we went to see how viable the car was to use as an automatic driving school car. The car was fully loaded with 4 cameras, heated leather seats, 4 electric windows and a load of other tech, in every way it surpassed our expectations. The real world range of the car is around 100 miles per charge, which is the main reason we have decided it was not practical at this moment in time. In every other way the car was exceptional.
The biggest problem with electric cars
To us, an electric car with a range of 100 miles makes perfect sense when your using it to go the shops, ferry the kids around or go to a fixed place of work or study once a day, but when you enter into the world of continuous stop-start driving like we do we need to know we can carry on all day without worry, which is where our best friend at the petrol station comes in, in as little as 5 minutes and for between £40-70 we can brim our fuel tanks with the fuel of our choice and we can be set for another 2-700 miles without worry, and there are thousands of petrol stations across the UK. The Standard model electric cars will take around 8 hours for a full charge (around 100 miles) although you can upgrade to a 6.6 KW charger (at-least on the Nissan Leaf we test drove) which will complete a full charge in 5 hours.
We looked into different charging ports for whilst the car would be out and about and there is just 1 rapid charge port in Liverpool – a 50+KW change point at Crosby Nissan which would charge the car fully in just 30 minutes – absolutely perfect as this would mean over lunch we could get the car another 100 miles – but that only covers us for Crosby and the surrounding areas.
For us, the biggest problem with electric cars is the lack of support for charging them. At the moment there’s a petrol station on every main road and accessibility and ease of use is great, once we get a rapid charge network similar to the current petrol station system electric cars will be more viable, either that or we get a much greater range out of the battery packs in electric cars.
The future of electric cars – no problems!
We’re at an exciting time at the moment where electric is being picked up by main stream car manufacturers. Tesla have been pushing great cars for a few years now and they are set to launch the model 3 around the world with a 215 mile range and 0-60 in under 6 seconds which is great on paper but still expensive at around $35,000. Volvo have announced plans to offer electric cars and hybrids across it’s range from 2019 and recently Mini (one of the ADI’s favourite cars) have announced plans for a fully electric mini to be produced in Oxford by 2019!
Rumour has it that the UK’s 3rd best selling car, the Ford Focus will be offered with an electric engine from later this year with around 140 mile range, more than enough for a typical commuter with lots of other manufacturers looking into the idea of electric cars.
Back to the Nissan Leaf
We really did love the Leaf but when we where looking into it a little bit more we got far too excited at the rumours for the next model, if what we read is to be correct it would be possible for it to have a range of 300 miles per charge, if thats the case sign us up!
We love the concept of electric cars and the reduced running costs and economical benefits really appeal to us, with other large manufacturers now buying into electric vehicles the competition is going to go mental and hopefully, as consumers we can get some really great cars out of them. We don’t think there will be any major changes over the next 5 years but after that we think we’ll slowly see more and more electric cars.
A quick note for petrol heads, we all love a good gearbox, and there is no need for one in electric cars, but some sports-car manufacturers like Morgan are already working on it – so we don’t lose the love for a good, safe spirited drive!