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back to article Nissan turns over new Leaf

Nissan has whipped the dust sheets off its first electric car. Leaf_01 Nissan's first electric car, Leaf, will arrive in the UK during 2011 The curiously named Leaf is goes on sale in Japan and across North America next year. Nissan UK has confirmed to Register Hardware that the car will breeze into Blighty during 2011. …

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Stop

Wrong wrong wrong...

It's an electric car, so therefore should have one or two seats, be Fugly and have no boot. This just looks too sensible.

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Boffin

Hmm

A 24kWh battery will cost around £4.50 to charge at today's prices (according to some price comparison website). *Assuming* it can actually get 100 miles from a "full tank", that's 4.5p per mile. Not bad compared against a diesel getting 50mpg, which equates to around 9.5p per mile.

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Nice try but rather pricey?

Okay, some quick sums. For a petrol car similar to this, I'd be looking at a cost of about £10K.

Charging costs 24kWh @ approx 10p/kWh, which lasts about 100miles, so about 2.5p/mile for fuel.

My diesel Punto (and a lot of current petrol cars) does 55mpg, so costs about 9p/mile for fuel, so savings over 10K miles a year will be about £650. I suspect that servicing costs will be lower, (until a new battery is needed), but either way, I'm going to have to hang on to the car for a goodly few years before it becomes cost effective - assuming there's no Govt incentive/disincentive to influence the equation.

Although, with a range of 100 miles and an 8 hour charge time, I can't see me managing 10K miles a year!

We need a leccy car with a 500 mile range minimum. Doing the sums based on this beastie that means 125kWh capacity, and a 40hour charge time off a 13amp socket, which rather means that any sensible solution must involve easily swappable battery packs. Really this is only a commuter and pottering round town vehicle, so with annual mileage of perhaps only 5K we're looking at a couple of decades payback time!

Back to the drawing board guys...

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FAIL

100 miles you say ? Only 100 mile on a full charge!

100 miles... its good but not selling it to me! I need a leccy vehicle that can in theory get the range that I am used to... 300-500 miles on a charge whereas my diesel Astra can get this on a full tank.. The only way these will beat other road vehivles is when we havent got to keep charging them up!

Wheres me Dr Fusion?

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Megaphone

Charge!

The battery needs to be readily replaceable. Otherwise, failure will ensue.

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Unhappy

@Nigel

It's worse than that - you've assumed 100% efficiency for the recharging process. In practice 50% is a more realistic figure, so fully recharging a 24kWh battery would need about 50 units of electricity.

Current battery technology effectively limts all-electric cars to city runabouts, so you'll never recover the additional purchase cost. Hybrids can get round this limitation, but provide only marginally better mpg than an equivalent diesel (costing a whole lot less). And (in the UK, where diesel and petrol cost almost the same), even diesels don't make economic sense unless you're running a taxi service or you're some Energizer Bunny salesman clocking up 25,000+ miles a year.

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Basically...

...if you live/work in Central London this will be a great car, but outside of there - as shown above (not checked the maths) the costs are a little high.

Being able to avoid the Congestion Tax and hopefully get work to pay to charge you up means it may be viable... for someone who does 300 mile motorway journeys each week (me) it'd take me most of the weekend to get there!!!

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Re: Nigel Callaghan

I don't get your "Really this is only a commuter and pottering round town vehicle, so with annual mileage of perhaps only 5K" and "We need a leccy car with a 500 mile range minimum". My Clio is used primarily for commuting with a bit of running around (we have a larger "family" car for when the kids need transporting). I have a relatively short commute of 35 miles (round trip) but it still does 12,000 miles a year. This is an absolutely perfect commuter car for anyone with a round-trip commute of 80 miles or less (bit risky pushing it to the full 100!).

Also, our council provides free parking spaces with free re-charging for electric cars (not sure how the justify that, but that's a different discussion). So, for £15k (£20k less the government £5k subsidy) I can drive to work, park for free, have the car charge for free and then drive home without the battery even getting close to running out. And, as long as I'm reasonably careful, I should be able to get a couple of trips out of it at the weekend without having to pay to recharge it at home.

For 12,000 miles at 9p a mile plus a saving of £4/day parking I'm saving £2000 a year. So the car is basically free within 7.5 years (yes, ignoring running costs!). Where can I put my name down?

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Go

@nigel 500 mile range

What we need is *electric roads* to go with our electric cars. That means electric rails buried in the roadbed to supply power while driving, and recharge while driving. Not every road would have to be electrified. So long as enough of them are, electric cars would be able to manage on their internal batteries on the side and local roads.

Benefits: Saves energy in total. You bypass the batteries and use the power directly in the motors to power the car, and so save on storage losses in the battery. Saves time, by not having to recharge as often. Extends range of electric cars without adding weight or lots of new cost to them.

Costs: It would require adding a rail contact device to the car, and of course installing the power rails in the roads themselves. The car would identify itself via a signal thru the rails. The rest of the time they would be off for safety, and also probably be off when it rains.

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not bad

the wife's car seldom does more than 30 miles a day so this would be ideal. £20k is a bit much but if the actual price ends up closer to say £18k and the Govt comes across with the £5k electric car rebate then things start to look a lot more reasonable . Certainly a better bet than a new diesel Punto which is a whole size smaller, sounds like a bucket of bolts in a spin dryer and will put a large hole in £12,500 if given a similar spec.

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Syd

Running Costs

The problem with all of these calculations is that they assume that the costs don't change; but if significant numbers of people start using these cars, then the revenue currently accruing to the government from petrol taxes is going to need recouping from somewhere.

Similarly, how long do you think your council will provide free parking/ charging when there are even a few hundred of these cars in your city, let alone a few thousand? I tentatively suggest, not long!

Don't get me wrong - electrificationated travel is probably the future, but... anyone that buys-in NOW shouldn't be under any illusion that they will be better-off for it.

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@Dani Eder - Electric Roads

It would be rather safer to mount the power lines over head (you'd need two BTW).

Why not reduce rolling resistance and remove the need for the second overhead wire by using steel wheels and a metal surface.

Then simplify the steering problems that may result by placing flanges on the wheels to guide the vehicle and voila you have...

... an electric train. A reliable proven technology that's a damn sight safer than the UK roads.

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Anonymous Coward

range and recharging

statistically, the majority of journeys are below 50km, its a reasonable sweet-spot to aim for with a battery car - knowing that additional range costs quite a lot of dead weight. this example has a 200kg battery - about four full tanks of fuel, but then the powertrain is a lot lighter.

Charging of a Li-Ion battery is about 90% efficient, probably closer to 99% on batteries this size, just as well since it charges at 50kW...

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Alert

Who remembers the General Motors EV1?

Who remembers the General Motors EV1?

Lets hope to Oil industry doesn't murder this one!

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Anonymous Coward

@Bassey

So what happens when you get to your free council provided charge point and there are no free spaces?

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Grenade

@ those talking to Nigel

He's quite right, though perhaps 300-400 is more reasonable. This builds in an equivalent performance to a reasonable petrol car and mitigates against:

*Poor access to charging points.

*Human error - forgeting to plug in after any substantial journey.

*Deterioration of battery life over time (not to mention cold conditions).

*Useful distance for high mileage drivers. 25k is easy to do - it's less than 500 per week, many engineers and sales reps do crash through this easily, not that 9-5 office workers in the south east can see this.

Still doesn't account for the poor environmental record for bloody great battery supplies with exotic toxic metals scraped up across the earth, made into batteries, shipped to factories for cars so a little treehugger can feel good.

Give me the nuclear option. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Nucleon

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awesome!

An affordable, normal-looking, 100% electric car? This is a dream come true. Electric cars are safe, clean, efficient. This is a really big step towards reducing greenhouse gases, lessening the impact of peak oil, and saving money in the process. American auto companies need to learn from Nissan on this one! I just finished reading “Two Cents Per Mile” by Nevres Cefo, which is the most informative book I’ve read on the topic, and I suggest it to anyone interested in electric cars. http://www.twocentspermile.com

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I'm surprised.....

......not about this thing being released but I am about something else.

The pics have been around for days now, it's even been on the telly, but nothing, not even a squeak on here about the forthcoming Ferrari 458 Italia.

Obviously it has absolutely nothing to do with alternative energy sources. But I assumed one feature about it would have earned column pixels on this site.

It looks dirty.

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Not your only car

If you;re looking for ranges of 300-500 miles, this is not the car for you (or not your ONLY car). Leccy cars are intended FOR COMMUTERS and daily travel around town.

Granted, with access to 50Kw charging stations, which should not be hard to find one every 100 miles or so espacially with the onboard system to automatically assist you there, and 20-30 minute charge times, that's not bad. However, this is a starting point, its NOT the car for everyone.

For people needing longer ranges with infrequent occasion, a Chevy Volty or equivalent, Leccy car with gas generator onbaord, can run about 400 miles on a small tank. For people who travel more than 100 miles a day on average, one of these might do, or you might just have to wait and stick to deisel...

In a few years (2 tops) these cars will be shipping with LiTi batteries instead of LiIon, getting double the range, and charge times in the 8-10 minute range. Hell, every 200 miles I'm at least going to need to piss, and 8 minutes to wait for a recharge wild draining the lizard is not a bad proposition to be able to run at 1/3rd the cost of gasoline.

Also, the $33k per car figure should drop significantly over the next few years. It;s priced there partly because of the $12-15K cost of the battery pack, and partly because people just want em, and they're not making that many yet... Batery producers are expecting 30% anual reductions in cost/Kw stored. The LiTi batteries (and other up and coming combinations) are stabler, charge faster, have longer lifecycles, are cheaper to make (lots cheaper), and pack more energy into the same space weight or both.

Let the first takers burn some extra green trying to be green. Pick up your Leccy in 2-3 years and you'll likely pay under $20K, charge in under 15 minutes to 80%, and get double the range....

Of course, even if we could make the perfect Leccy car in the next 5 years, at a price every one of us would be stupid not to buy, we can't. The grid is 20-30 years from being able to support even 10% of us driving around in these. today is 3% of us switched, we would fry the grid. There's simply not that much electricity being made atm.

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Anonymous Coward

@Ed 13 - Electric Roads

"It would be rather safer to mount the power lines over head (you'd need two BTW)."

We could then bring back trams at the same time - what a great form of transportation - cheap, quiet and clean.

There are still trams on Hong Kong island, and you can go from one end of the Island to the other for HK$2.40 (approx. 20 pence).

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It's a step forward

Decent performance and a fairly good life from the battery. It looks like the sort of car that'd be ideal for my mum.

She could drive it to work and back for a couple of weeks and then charge it in the staff car park when necessary.

Of course, if she got one, my dad would use the "savings" argument to justify getting a big gas guzzler.

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Coat

Power rails

@Dani Eder, Rather than rails how about induction circuits? These could be completely covered up by the road surface but still charge the car as you drive.

Having said that I still believe the way fall ward is compressed air. Making a compressed air car to do 500 miles is not unthinkable and 3 minute fill times mean you could use existing garages with additional pumps. Compressed air will not be lost when the car is parked at the side of the road and off course you use electricity to compress the air. As most cars are parked at the side of the road any system that is dependent on charging the car at home will always have a small market.

Syd also made a valid point. I have been fighting Westminster Council (see notobikeparkingfees.com) for the last year who having seen a rise in the number of motor bikes used to commute into Westminster and so have started charging to park them. While government allows councils to adopt a myopic view of the world that ends at their boarders new ideas like this will always fail. The government needs to take control of curb side parking and not let councils make as all pay for council tax in areas of the country we don’t live in. Westminster Council will make £ 4M in the first year from motor bikes alone and who knows what from cars.

Mines the one with the No To Bike Parking Fees high vis. vest on.

AC because of the compay I work for.

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I forsee...

...a booming breakdown + recovery business when folks run out of charge or go out on the last 10% forgetting they have to go uphill to come home :D

And +1 to AC - NO to parking fees. If they really want people to use less fuel and cause less congestion they can at least support people a _little_ bit. The government is meant to work for US ffs, not the other way around. The whole parking system is a joke in most places, anyway.

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