All posts by Jason

When trains get cancelled, it’s time to pedal

I am a regular train/bike commuter cycling about 8 miles a day and doing the main part of my journey on a train. However, when all trains into Euston got cancelled last night due to a fire, I was fortunate enough to get a text from a friend saying he fancied the ride, and knew the way. I was not travelling light (still had laptop and other items in my bag), but thought “what the hell”.

I’m delighted that I did. Although a regular commuter cyclist, I haven’t done a longer ride like this for well over 15 years. I had also done a 5k run earlier that day so my legs were not the freshest (there – all my excuses up-front).

We enjoyed a beautiful route through the spring evening, which included a spectacular and steep ascent of Bison Hill near Whipsnade, well described here on thecyclehub. I have set no records as my stats below show. However, there is something very joyous about not having to depend on the rail network when things go wrong.

My cycling stats

Is it Beyonce or the Flying Scotsman?

Cycling home last night I saw a bunch of amateur paparazzi standing by the road, cameras poised. I stopped and asked “Who’s coming? Is it Beyonce?”. A lady pointed to the train line on the bridge and said “No – the Flying Scotsman is due here in about 2 mins”.

Well, that seemed well worth waiting for so I spent a few minutes chatting to the very friendly train spotters. As it came past, I grabbed a quick video of it zipping through to the right, then eclipsed by a modern electric zipping through to the left. Impressive speed, but smaller than I imagined.

Coincidentally or not, on the radio this morning (Today program on R4) I heard a spokesman talking about trying to re-introduce steam into the current rail network. An interesting idea, but hard to see how it could easily be achieved without burning fossil fuels, so on the opposite path to a more more renewable based electric society.

Autonomous Vehicles: Time to start thinking about the people inside

“I hate solitude, but I’m afraid of intimacy.” 

—Iris Murdoch

Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Currently, most of the attention on autonomous vehicles is focused on the technology that lets cars drive themselves. However, in the near future, the industry will need to broaden its focus to include what is arguably just as important: the passenger.

A fascinating article considering the human impact of autonomous vehicles for taxi-service. Read More: The Intimacy of Autonomous Vehicles

Mexicans Lining up Electric to Beat Pollution

On a trip to Mexico City this week, I have just seen a lovely sight. A long row of all-electric Nissan Leafs lined up in a taxi rank ready to start the day.

Electric Taxi Rank in Mexico City

If you have ever been to Mexico City, then you will know that air pollution is a major issue here, as it is now becoming in all large cities. The taxi rank is not yet a full solution, and the city is still filled with diesels and petrol guzzlers blasting out noxious fumes, but it is a step in the right direction. I hope for many more.

A Look Around my New Nissan Leaf 30 kWh

I just took delivery of my new long range Nissan Leaf and I love it.

Check out the short video. This is the Tekna and the interior shots show the nice leather (heated) seats front and back, and the roomy boot.

New stuff I have noticed:

  • The extra range is wonderful.
  • DAB radio is great and the software interface is much improved.
  • It tucks in the wing mirrors automatically when you lock it.
  • It comes with both 13A and type 2 charge cable as default.
  • It seems to accelerate a little quicker than before in normal mode (in spite of the extra battery weight).
  • It seems to accelerate a little slower in eco mode. I guess that is good for eco.
  • Gun Metal grey looks fantastic.

Electric Goes Second Hand

Good news for those who want to join the Electric Revolution, but prices have seemed too high. Like any new market, the Electric car market is evolving and changing. As the early buyers of a few years ago are trading in their cars, there is a growth in the stock of high quality, low mileage electric cars.

So, to meet growing demand we are now providing second hand electric cars to meet our customers needs.

Deal of the week: White 2015 Nissan Acenta 24 kWh

£500 deposit, £199.99 per month

Nissan are helping with Dealer contributions on selected cars. This deal therefore has an additional £1000 contribution from Nissan enabling you to get this terrific deal:
White 2015 plate Nissan Leaf Acenta 24 kWh with only 8000 miles on the clock.
£500 deposit, £199.99 per month payment for a 3 year PCP lease with 8,000 miles per year.

Let us know if you want this car

Contact Us

Jeremy Clarkson builds the case for electric cars

I was running late, but I finally caught up on the last episode of Grand Tour last night, and enjoyed the usual round of sheer irreverence and pointlessness. What I love about Clarkson is that I don’t have to approve of anything, I can just laugh.

However, as a lover of electric cars, I felt trepidation as Clarkson pulled out all the stops to take the mickey out of James May by setting up a petrol Vs electric test designed to make the electric fail (and fail he did missing the whole of the Roger Daltrey gig).

James May with BMW i3 (Image: www.bbc.co.uk)

On the plus side, it set me thinking. Clarkson has a good point which is that an electric car is not the best choice for all situations. It would be a bit like me setting up an off-road race between Clarkson’s beloved Lexus LFA and a Land Rover. The Lexus LFA is great but is just not going to perform across the muddy fields.

When choosing whether to go electric it is vital to think about how you use your car, and how to select the right car to meet your needs. I’d be the first to say that an electric vehicle isn’t always right, but for many cases it is a fantastic choice, and will serve you well and save you money.

So keep enjoying Clarkson – I know I will – but if you want advice on electric vehicles, don’t take it all from a celebrated ‘petrol-head’ playing for laughs. Instead, come and talk with us and explore how to make it work for you.

Please contact us for independent advice on electric and plug-in hybrid cars.

The Ioniq will first be available as a hybrid and EV, with a PHEV coming later

My IONIQ Test Drive

Together with my wife I set off to our local Hyundai dealer in Hendon for a test drive of the all-electric IONIQ Premium.

We are currently Leaf drivers and thinking of upgrading to the 30 kWh version. However, given the very positive range reports being given for the IONIQ, it made sense to try it as a possible alternative.

The Ioniq will first be available as a hybrid and EV, with a PHEV coming later
The IONIQ electric car

It was a booked test drive so we were disappointed to be kept waiting an extra 30 minutes, but eventually we got to go on the road.

My wife had her turn first, and took a few minutes to run over the controls and get everything set up. Our host took us on a route through rather slow, congested roads, so there was little chance to swoop on the open road. However, my wife enjoyed adjusting the regenerative braking to different levels and feeling the effect, as well as switching between the ECO, NORMAL and SPORT modes of drive. What she didn’t like was the bar across the back window where the spoiler is placed. Apparently, this is a major contributor to a low drag coefficient, but because they add glass below the spoiler, it does look a bit odd from the inside. I didn’t mind it myself.

After a few miles we swapped over and I enjoyed the feel of the sporty steering wheel. The layout of the controls was good and intuitive; I certainly preferred the steering wheel paddles for adjusting the regenerative levels, against the rather tiresome central lever in the Leaf. Eventually we came to a spot of more open road, and I was pleased at the sporty feel of the car to the throttle, even with 3 adults inside. As ever, the instantaneous response of an electric drive was satisfying (petrol automatics always have an annoying lag). We also saw some of the advanced driver support features such as accidental lane change warnings and car follow.

And of course, it has all the usual features of satnav, timers to pre-heat the car in the morning, and a good stereo. Unusually it doesn’t have an app to allow you to trigger pre-heat from your phone.

At the end of it our conclusions were:

  • Pros: sporty feel, apparently excellent range, nice roomy hatchback, advanced driver support features.
  • Cons: a slightly ordinary look externally, split glass on the back window, no app available for remote pre-heat.

So, a very impressive car. Left to me we would get the IONIQ, but my wife is a big Leaf fan. Watch this space. I’ll let you know what we choose eventually.

Car exhaust pollution (Image: Wikipedia)

The Solution to Air Pollution is Already Here

The overwhelming cause of air pollution in large cities is vehicle emissions (see DEFRA Website), and the answer is already here. Accelerate adoption of Electric Vehicles (EVs), including cars, buses and ancillary vehicles.

For any EV driver, you will already know that traffic jams are much less stressful than in a petrol or diesel car. Each time you stop, you just stop. You don’t produce any emissions or waste any further energy. This was a delightful and unexpected insight to me when I got my first EV; that part of the stress of a traffic jam for me was the sheer sense of waste – not only was I burning fuel but it was achieving nothing.

Car exhaust pollution (Image: Wikipedia)
Car exhaust pollution (Image: Wikipedia)

A government genuinely committed to delivering clean air could achieve an enormous amount by designing fiscal “carrots” to allow serious growth of EVs to actively reduce air pollution. For example:

Come on Theresa. I know you are busy, but this is too important to leave to chance.

Source: LinkedIn