All posts by Jason

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

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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

The Final Madness of a Dying Industry

I read today a news item coming out of Davos (the World Forum for people invested in the status quo), Major Hydrogen Investment Mooted as OEMs and Energy Companies Form Hydrogen Council:

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, carmakers and energy companies have announced the foundation of the Hydrogen Council to lay the foundations for major investment in hydrogen.
Bringing together oil giants such as Royal Dutch Shell and Total and car manufacturers such as Toyota, Daimler, BMW and Hyundai, the global initiative is the first of its kind and aims to drive forward the hydrogen fuel cell industry, as well as hydrogen in the power, industrial and residential sectors. It will also act as a voice to further this vision.

 

Essentially it shows the oil industry and the car industry joining in an initiative to develop fuel cell technology. This is not a bad technology, but there is no end of well researched information highlighting that it is not the best way to go. For example Zachary Shahan’s post Why Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars are Not Competitive.

My opinion is simple. This is an initiative for the fossil fuel industry to try and bring itself back to relevancy as the world is tipping away towards renewables.

Of course fuel cells can burn on hydrogen created by renewables, but equally the oil and gas industry can create them directly from fossil fuels. In addition, the complexity and cost of the infrastructure required to deliver hydrogen safely makes it a wrong decision designed to help a particular industry rather than further the needs of our world.

Beware of wealthy industrialists bearing gifts!

'Battery Level is Low' (Image: J. Tisdall)

Musing on range anxiety

My daily commute is currently a 64 mile round trip; a beautiful cross country route ending in Milton Keynes (free parking for electric cars – yippee – saves me £20 a week).

I know that my first generation Leaf is good for 75 miles in cold weather, increasing up to 90 miles in the summer (and even higher if I drive slowly). Probably because I am a bit mean and only like to charge at home on Economy 7, this means that in winter, I am always down to my last 10 miles when I get home.

However, last week we had an exceptional day. It was very cold, with snow sweeping through the country and the combination of cold, with surface snow and slush (which increases resistance to movement) meant that I knew I would be closer to the limit than usual.

Sure enough, as I got close to home, my remaining distance went from 6 miles to blank and the gentle voice of my satnav told me to find a charge point urgently.

'Battery Level is Low' (Image: J. Tisdall)
‘Battery Level is Low’ (Image: J. Tisdall)

All was well as I got home and plugged in, but it was interesting how an event that in my early days of ownership would have had me on the edge of my seat and white-knuckled, was now something to take in my stride. I realise that what has changed is that electric car driving has now become normal for me. I have come to trust that the range is actually pretty consistent, and I have learnt the slightly different way of thinking that electric cars demand.

Finally, I am free to simply enjoy the ride.

Tesla Model S Taxi

A Trip by Tesla Taxi in Norway

Tesla Model S Taxi
Tesla Model S Taxi

On a business trip last month (21st October) I arrived with a colleague at Haugesund, a small airport on the windswept west coast of Norway.

We were quickly out and walked over to the taxi rank and straight into a Tesla. I was delighted as I am very interested in electric cars, and the Tesla is definitely the flagship EV in my mind.

Tesla Model S Taxi: 17" Touchscreen
Tesla Model S Taxi: 17″ Touchscreen

I made sure I got the front seat. The car is a delight. Comfortable, quiet and smooth. The dashboard contains an absolutely enormous LCD screen with a myriad of context relevant data.

Close-up of Tesla Touchscreen
Close-up of Tesla Touchscreen

We got talking with the driver. He had received the car in March and, so far as he knew, he was the only Tesla operating as a taxi driver in that region. He said on most days he worked the full day on one charge. Only if he had some exceptional journeys might he need to recharge.

Nissan Leaf (Image: Nissan.co.uk)

Test Drive: Nissan Leaf

First thing before work this morning, my wife and I travelled to the Glyn Hopkin Nissan dealership in Watford to test drive a Nissan Leaf. We had booked the test drive online (you can book a full week test drive, but need to have a recent certificate for your domestic wiring to qualify).

Glyn Hopkin Nissan Watford (Image: GlynHopkin-Nissan)
Glyn Hopkin Nissan Watford (Image: GlynHopkin-Nissan)

We were horrified to hear that the dealership had no record of the booking. However, our sales advisor saved the day by nipping off and borrowed the service vehicle which is a Nissan Leaf Accenta, their mid-range model.

Both my wife and I had a go driving this car, and were surprised by the performance of what is essentially a family car. Rapid acceleration, silent running and an active and responsive steering and braking feel made this a great drive.

Perhaps more impressive is that our sales assistant drives one, and loves it. This made for a very informed test drive. He has a long commute, and actually saves more money on petrol than he paid for the new car.

I think this will be the car for us; able to replace our car on almost all our driving and so pay for itself in fuel saving.

Image: courtesy Nissan.co.uk.