Sunday, 29 April 2012

Nissan Leaf spotted in Tescos Maynooth

I don't know if any of you are aware of the range and charging times of electric cars, as currently developed?  The answer is woeful, in both cases.

It's not for nothing that the Toyota Prius is referred to as the "Pious" by the more cynical. Bought by those who want to show all and sundry that they care about the environment, the ice caps, the polar bears and all the rest.  Yet this hybrid isn't much better emissions-wise than a good modern diesel. 

But we'll be in some pickle if the public is fool enough to take up the government's stated preference for solely electric cars, such as the Leaf (above).  The national grid wouldn't be able to cope, and the country's roadsides would be littered with stranded electric cars that did not live up to their manufacturers' range boasts.  

In short, this technology is not advanced enough at present.  It's all very well having a giant Scalextric motor propelling you along.  The problem is that battery recharging times/cycles are not up to the job yet... and might never be.    Range is compromised by low temperatures - and mollycoddling comforts such as heat decrease it still - and charging times are far too protracted.

Buy one at your peril.

Strictly for early adaptors/eejits. 

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John said...

Saw 2 of these charge points in Limerick city last week, they looked like they were never used. Hydrogen seems a better way to go.

The Gombeen Man said...

Agreed John. You'd wonder if Ever-Readies will ever be up to the job. This is the first time I've seen a charging point occupied myself.

Dakota said...

Just look at the sign to the right. Go figure. What's the answer, you guessed it, any excuse to waste money and do things back to front. The powers that be won't use the natural resources. Another can kicked down the road.

Kamil said...

Your rant would be a lot more informational if you provided any actual numbers in it.

Nissan Leaf needs ~30 minutes to charge the battery to 80% using the fast-charge station like the one on the photo.
That's hardly a disaster as you paint it.

I'd personally consider getting one of Leafs as 80-90% of my car travel distance is less than 20 kilometres. This is a perfect city car.


The Gombeen Man said...

Two problems there. Fast chargers are thin on the ground, nor is an 80% charge adequate in a car (not just the Leaf, but any electric car as thus far developed) which equals nothing but range anxiety even with a full charge.

If most of your journeys do not exceed 20 Klicks well maybe that's not such an issue, but it would be for many. It certainly would be for me.

And speaking of figures, if you heed manufacturers' range claims you will find that they are usually greatly exaggerated according to real-life tests.

Then throw in the fact that ranges are further compromised by use of the heater and cold weather which reduce battery capability yet more.

I have not read one review by a real motoring journalist - as a opposed to a green evangelist - that has not critised the range of electric cars.

The technology is simply not advanced enough, and is still stumped by battery capacity - even if "early adaptors" are promised upgraded battery packs as technology improves.

Another thing. If fast chargers where rolled out all over the country, and people started plugging in at home, the national grid (supplied by fossil fuel power stations!) would not be able to cope. As far as home charging goes, many drivers do not even have driveways, let alone garages.

The don't call the Toyota Prius - a petrol/electric car - the "Pious" for nothing. But at least you could plan a trip to the other side of the country in one day with that, thanks to its petrol engine.

Kamil said...

No one ever said that Leaf is a full replacement for a standard car - because it isn't. Expecting the same specs as in combustion engines, which are on the market for over 100 years, is not fair.
The car targets an audience living in a city and doing most of the commuting there. The INDEPENDENT test of the Leaf found out that the average range of the car after 5600 kms (and 6 months) is 137 kms (varying between 99.2 and 220.8 kms). I'd say that's more than enough for the target audience.
I for one keep my fingers crossed for the electric vehicles - the technology keeps improving all the time in spite of a pressure exerted by the oil industry.
As for Toyota Prius - my friend had one for a few years (2005 model) and I spent quite a lot of time in it. We both agree it's a great car and quite frankly I can't comprehend a criticism - especially with current petrol prices.


Disclaimer - no I'm not associated with any car dealership nor am I a green evangelist (whatever that means ;).

The Gombeen Man said...

Kamil said: "No one ever said theLeaf is a full replacement for a standard car".

There you go then. It's not up to the job of a "standard car".

Kamil said...

I wonder if you actually tried to read my post past the first sentence? :)
Anyway - quite nice blog you have here - just found it out a few days ago.

The Gombeen Man said...

Thanks ;-)

garageman said...

Electric cars are another false dawn. They still use as much energy as a petrol car -energy needed to charge the vehicle created using other resources as well as oil- and still rely on oil to manufacture all the parts contained within.

A car is a car no matter how we square it and they still rely on the resource of energy to run. That energy doesn't come from nowhere nor is it free or particularly 'clean'.

The Gombeen Man said...

Yep, Garageman. Agreed 100%.