I’ve been without a car for the last two years or so – I don’t count the Nemesis since I rarely seem to drive it lately, it’s always out at a show or away being tweaked – my daily transport has been my Motorbike. Until about three weeks ago, when I got myself a Nissan Leaf.
Nissan had lent me one for a while and I was impressed, so impressed I wanted to get one. Partly to use myself, for trips my motorbike isn’t so suited to, partly also to get a better idea of how life with a mainstream all-electric car can be, and I wanted to see how realistic it might be to replace ecotricity pool cars with electric cars, anytime soon.
Several weeks later and I have to say I love it. It’s a really cool car to drive, and I simply love driving without burning anything.
My son Rui (4 now) loves it too. He plugs it in for me, works the Sat Nav and all that stuff – you know like four year olds do these days… 🙂
In stark contrast, Kate, my other half – hates it (or she did). I was just saying one day what a great car it was and she just went all Clarkson on me – “as long as you don’t want to go anywhere” she said in a rather strident and mocking tone, strikingly reminiscent of the old fossil himself. Ouch.
Then along comes the ‘Fuel Crisis’…. and next thing I know, Kate is boasting on Facebook, about not needing to get in garage queues, oh yes – she went from Clarkson to Swampy in a heartbeat. That made me smile… 😀
There’s a serious point here though. Things like this ‘Fuel Crisis’ make the case for electric vehicles, even to the ‘Clarksons’ of this world.
It was a revelation to us – having an electric car made the ‘Fuel Crisis’ rather irrelevant; it was a bit of a sideshow to be honest, light entertainment. To be so insulated from this fairly major national trauma, was an eye opener.
I dusted off my motorbike after about two weeks using the Leaf everyday (because Kate needed the Leaf.. :)) – and as I rode out the gate I looked down for the fuel light (habit) and it crossed my mind that I might have to go to a garage, to fill up. And it was such an alien concept. It tickled me that after just two weeks of full on EV driving – the thought of going to a garage had become so odd. I’d forgotten all about garages…
The ‘Fuel Crisis’ was of course entirely down to the government; it never needed to happen. But events like this are a taste of the future, for anyone dependent on fossil fuels to get around – that and spiralling costs.
The alternative is with us now.
OK – the technology is relatively expensive, but that’s changing fast, as it does with new technology (think laptops and mobile phones when they first appeared).
But performance and range wise, electric cars are already practical for most of us – after all in Britain, 99.3% of all car journeys are less than 100 miles (the typical range of today’s EVs) and the typical daily distance driven in a car is about 20 miles.
For sure, we need charging infrastructure for the longer journeys, to help overcome range anxiety and lower the barriers to take up. That’s underway; our Electric Highway is a good example of it. Actually we have super fast chargers coming soon – empty to full in just 20 minutes, more on that later.
And we need cheaper cars – that will come with volume and volume will come in the main due to two kinds of factors, the negative kind (like we saw last week and rising fuel costs) and the positive kind (the easing of range anxiety through more widely available charging and good car range).
It’s all a bit iterative of course.
But the electric car revolution is underway.
Aided, last week, by the Fossil Fools. In Whitehall… 🙂