20 things from 20,000 miles: driving a Nissan LEAF

20 things from 20,000 miles: driving a Nissan LEAF

Colin Herron I have been leasing a Nissan LEAF now since October 2013 and have just passed the 20,000 mile mark. So after just over 27 months of living with an electric vehicle, it’s an ideal time to share what I’ve learnt. 1) Like most people, I don’t drive far every day. My electric mileage per year has been around 8,600 with a weekly average of 165 miles and a daily distance of just 23 miles. 2) Because of this I only need to charge the car every three days. 3) The running costs last year, including all electricity, were an amazing £75. I charge mainly at work and home. 4) I keep a spreadsheet of all my costs and mileage which can get quite addictive. 5) I can get 85 miles out of my Nissan LEAF on average. 6) I have managed to get up to 95 miles on one charge. 7) But you do get less miles in winter. 8) You get more confident the longer you drive and do push it further. 9) I’ve never run out. I admit to being close (very close) but it hasn’t happened yet. 10) There’s only been one battery failure – and that was the battery in my key fob! 11) I have never run anybody down because of the lack of noise – I haven’t even come close. 12) In all that time there’s only ever been a couple of times that I’ve really not been able to go where I wanted to go. The Lake District was a challenge that I’ve not been prepared to try but the local...
Is there a role for hydrogen in the fuels of the future?

Is there a role for hydrogen in the fuels of the future?

Colin Herron For the last five years at Zero Carbon Futures, we’ve been focusing on the role of electric vehicles to prompt the steady transition away from the Internal Combustion Engine. Battery technology is certainly the technology that is currently catalysing that change. However, I would argue that it is not quite the finished product. The range of the vehicles on the market now is currently good but not just good enough. I have driven 20,000 miles in my EV so I can speak from experience when I say that we need bigger batteries and faster charging. What I really want is a 150 mile range with around a 10 min charging, ideally with a cost of ownership the same as an ICE vehicle. We know that we’re going to get there. Larger capacity batteries are coming. Faster charging technology will be here in the next 5 years or so. The role of all of us, including government, is to support these goals and carry on investing in battery and charging technology. So what is distracting us? Before we have truly embedded what is acknowledged as a potential winning technology, we are already trying to move on to largely problematic technology. That current technology distraction, I think, is Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCV). I honestly don’t see a place for hydrogen vehicles in the passenger car market. This technology might be viable for certain class of vehicles, but not I would argue, for passenger/family size vehicles. Yes they are coming out of Japan and Korea, but in tiny numbers and they are very expensive. To me there are a number...
EV predictions for 2016: The tipping point is here but what next?

EV predictions for 2016: The tipping point is here but what next?

Colin Herron We undoubtedly witnessed a turning point for both electric vehicle (EV) sales and charging infrastructure development in 2015. In fact it was a successful year for the industry as a whole. The market going forward will undeniably be influenced by two key events this year: the VW scandal and COP 21. The overriding focus for governments will be air quality – specifically in cities – and the associated health impacts, and car companies will link EV to quality of life and not just purely economics. I said last year that it’s a slow burn, not an explosion, and this is still the case as figures stand at a 1% market share of new car sales. This also has to be matched with a current finite capacity to make EV’s. If you believed the hype from some parts of the industry and press, 2015 was the year which would see hundreds and thousands of cars on the road; this was never possible. My biggest concern for the future is that policy makers think that ‘EV is now done’ and they move on to other flagship ideas. There is a massive amount of work still to be done. What we have seen in 2015 We now have what I call; ‘City Strain’ this is where current installed capacity is either redundant or cannot meet demand, as more and more vehicles hit the streets. Installing 3/7kW chargers in cities on streets has probably had its day. We now have to move to charging hubs and the ‘fuel stations of the future’ with chargers delivering a min of 50kW and up...
EV predictions for 2015: is the tipping point now here?

EV predictions for 2015: is the tipping point now here?

Colin Herron Towards 2014, we undoubtedly witnessed a turning point for both electric vehicle sales and charging infrastructure development. New entries into the market by BMW and VW joining established models from Nissan and others really supported this shift, and changed people’s perceptions from ambivalence through to curiosity and now genuine enthusiasm. Talking to both consumers and businesses in my region certainly throws up a general sense that there are high levels of understanding by both businesses and the public about the benefits of going electric as the vehicles head from niche to the mainstream. 2014 was a successful year for the industry as a whole. Initial fears that the end of Plugged in Places would see charge point installation cease was unfounded with further infrastructure grants launched by OLEV which saw local authorities across the country continuing to build the networks. The number of rapid charge points also grew through this programme as well as the dedication of companies such as Ecotricity in developing their electric highway. But I still believe – as I predicted back in 2012 – that 2015 will be the real tipping point for electric vehicle sales. These are my predictions for the year ahead. It’s a slow burn not an explosion If you believed the hype from some parts of the industry, 2015 was the year which would see hundreds and thousands of cars on the road. I always agreed that this year would be make or break however I always believed that these estimates were too high. A simple reflection on manufacturing capacity and launch dates with associated ramp-ups always suggested that...
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