Since it’s launch in the summer of 2011, the Leaf has cut a lonely figure as the only really practical e-car on the market in the UK. I’ve driven it on several occasions and spent a whole week living with one in a cold and bleak December. Each time, I have come away ever more impressed. Free rapid charge-ups at Nissan Leaf dealers have made covering long distances a real possibility despite this not being an e-car forté. The silence and refinement continue to impress.
But how will it fare now that sister company Renault is about to launch it’s leccy cars with swappable, leased batteries? Suddenly the Leaf looks a bit expensive and a bit risky by comparison. Later this year, Infinity - the posh bit of Nissan - is promising a more luxurious and if rumours are to be believed sportier looking e-car running on the Leaf’s underpinnings.
More Info Nissan
Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 plug-in
You can read my first impressions of Peugeot’s new modular diesel-electric hybrid drive train here, but the really interesting model is still some 12 months away and will be the third HYbrid4 model after the 3008 and 508 RXH. Essentially, it will be a 3008 HYbrid4 with a larger capacity lithium-ion battery in place of the standard version's metal hydride power pack. You can also charge it from a wall socket. This means that, as with the plug-in Prius, you will get a considerably longer range at higher speeds in electric-only drive.
Unlike the Prius, the 3008 will still have the clever on-demand four-wheel drive system of the current model and the option to stick it into Sport and deploy all 200bhp when the mood takes you. Peugeot isn’t saying what the electric-only range is likely to be, but I suspect it will be closer to a Prius-worrying 15 miles rather than an Ampera-esque 50. Either way Peugeot is on to a winner.
Availability Spring 2013
More Info Peugeot
Next page: Renault Zoe ZE
Curb side charging posts? Paid for by who? In what timescale?
You're talking about digging up *every* street in the UK, adding a power infrastructure (the current one just won't cut it for mass deployment of something like an electric car), so more and bigger substations, etc.
Then working out how to charge the correct person when someone else has parked where you were going to (on our street there's only parking for about 75% of the houses so there's a regular shuffling around depending on what time you arrive back).
Adding a petrol station just means getting a sufficiently large area of land, digging a hole for the storage, and building the station on top. It's not even comparable to what would be needed to make electric cars viable.
Leasing too pricey
Leasing should be the solution to the battery fade problem, but at £50 a month, its about the same price as I'm spending on fuel anyway, which gets rid of the operating cost savings that are supposed to be the ecar's big strength. 2 steps forward, 1 step back, honestly.
Have you ever seen a car model that fitted everyone's needs?
If you haven't, and I bet you haven't, why are you expecting electric cars to be any different?
These cars will be bought by people who think they fit their needs/wants and they will not be bought by people who don't find them suitable, for example, those who don't have a place to charge them.
But, with any luck, the cars will be improved with time and more of them will be bought, and more charging places will be available and more people will buy them and ....
It won't happen automagically and it will definitely not happen by tomorrow but that doesn't mean it won't happen