back to article Nissan Leaf electric car

You'll either love the Nissan Leaf's look or hate it, but as the UK's first mass-market e-car - if you can call 500 or so vehicles, all pre-sold, a readily available product - it doesn't deserve ignoring for its Micra-on-the-rack exterior. Nissan Leaf New Leaf: the headlamp design reduces wing-mirror airflow noise, …

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  1. Andy Towler
    FAIL

    And the award goes to:

    The Nissan Leaf, for.....

    Ugliest back end

    Most dirt-prone interior

    Most counter-intuitive instrument panel

    Being far too heavy to be genuinely tree-loving (the power has to be generated *somewhere*)

    Next?

    1. Steven Gray
      Headmaster

      The title is required, and must contain lettuce and/or widgits.

      The interior is designed to have as little thermal absorption as possible to limit the amount of aircon you need on a sunny day - ever noticed how the [black] plastics in cars get really hot under the glass? This still needs cooling even though the air in the cabin is cool.

      Also, the Leaf has no rev-counter, no fuel gauge, no engine temperature gauge - it's not gonna be a 'normal' instrument panel, is it?

      In addition, it's needs batteries to run and the last time I checked, they were not made out of helium. So, yes, to get the range, it will be heavy. It is still far more efficient than a fossil burner due to less heat and noise energy being wasted by the motor. We just need to build more nuke plants for that 'too cheap to meter' leccy. Oh... wait...

      But the back end *is* fugly.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Agree all points....

        Except, electricity will never be too cheap to meter and definitely not if generated from Nuclear power plants.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Happy

          @ AC

          I think he was making a satirical reference to the original 1960's propoganda for 'Nookleer'. Never mind - you can always try again next time.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    curious

    people tend not to answer these questions which I think are quite important for some kind of eco vehicle

    How much does it cost to recharge, off peak?

    How much co2 would be generated assuming the theoretical make up of the UK power grid?

    How much environmental damage is caused by the production of the things batteries?

    Once the above is taken into account, how much does a comparable diesel car cost?

    And with the difference in prices how long does it take before the eco car becomes less expensive than the diesel car (as the diesel will have tax/congestion fee/etc)? And how long does one vehicle remain more or less environmentally damaging (how often does the battery need replacing for example)

    Important questions.

    1. Alex 0.1
      Thumb Up

      Maths!

      A bit of maths can answer the cost comparison questions, at least. Disclaimer: The following might all be bullshit/wrong, but I tried.

      A Leaf has a battery rated at 24kWh - On my current electric tarrif, my night rate per kWh is 4.14p plus VAT (4.97p inc VAT) - Assuming 80% efficiency through the home charger (which seems to be the figure most used on the interweb for this car's charger, though I cant find any proper source), 30kWh are needed to charge the car, totalling £1.49 per full charge at night rate.

      That full charge will get you 109 miles according to the spec, or anywhere from 47 to 138 miles according to EPA testing under various conditions - 100 miles seems a fair rounding.

      Current diesel price round these parts is around 137p (about £6.23 a gallon) - So, getting 100 miles out of a £1.49 charge equates to about 424 MPG in pure cost terms.

      A Polo Bluemotion has a tank size of 45 litres. Assuming empty-to-full refuels and recharges, you're looking at £61.65 per tank for the Polo, and £1.49 per tank for the Leaf. Reviews seem to give the Polo a theoretical range of 800 miles, and a practical average of about 700.

      So, the Leaf needs 7 charges per 1 of the Polo, and costs become £61.65 vs £10.43 over 700 miles - A saving of £51.22 with the Leaf every comparible distance driven in both.

      List price of a Polo bluemotion seems to be £14,445, vs £25,990 according to this article for the Leaf - A difference of £11,545. Using a £51.22 cost difference per 700 mile range as above, you'd need to make that saving 225 times to recoup the difference (225 full bluemotion refuels, or 1577 Leaf recharges).

      So, if you're driving 100 miles a day, you can probably assume the Leaf will start working out cheaper than the bluemotion after 4 and a half years, assuming prices etc all stay equal (and discounting other differences such as tax/congestion charges (though afaik, the polo bluemotion is also exempt from congestion charges, and is in the cheapest tax band).

      Obviously, using a less efficient/more expensive diesel car would make the Leaf look much more favourable, as £1.50 per charge (or 100-ish miles) is an absolutely tiny charging cost, assuming you do all your charging at home overnight.

      1. Frank Bough
        Thumb Up

        Good work

        ...but the Leaf is Golf rather than Polo sized.

      2. Getter lvl70 Druid Silver badge
        Unhappy

        OMFG!

        @Alex 0.1 @11:05

        Seriously? VAT on utilities too? .83p a KWh? Again OMFG!

        I knew intellectually folks across the way paid VAT, but didn't realize that politician's bottomless checkbook extended to utilities too. That right there is an emotional punch in the gut and I'm starting to hear talk of it here. Shit.

        :(

        Odd that. Sales tax etc you don't really think about but utility bills are right in your face and usually painful. I'm a happy camper when it;s under $250/month.

        On topic: When they make an all electric that gets 300 miles a charge and can be 'quick' charged in under an hour - I cannot conduct business reliably until that happens. I would like a Toy Pius honestly, not going to be stranded anywhere and I'm doubting some passerby wouldn't mind letting me use their jumper cables for a few hours in a Volt or Leaf. I guess my biggest complaint lies right here: Many moons ago I owned a 85 Chevrolet Sprint (later became the Metro) with AC, a carburetored 1L 3-cylinder gas engine and a 5-speed manual transmission. It got 48-52 miles per gallon, lower number with AC on. Damn thing would do 120mph... shake you to death but ya could :) Why can I not buy such a car new today? A Prius, for all the tech, just equals it at 3-4 times the price and you get to consider battery life/replacement. What is up with that?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Getter lvl70 Druid RE: Chevvy Sprint

          Fiat 500 TwinAir would seem to fit the bill quite well.

          1. Getter lvl70 Druid Silver badge
            Unhappy

            That was a nice thought, thank you.

            However_They_Won't_Sell_It_Here! Bastards!

            The Fiat 500 is now being delivered BUT with the 1.4l 4-Cylinder MultiAir @37mpg - not even a turbo diesel. The US Guv made them turn it into a boat. Yup, the same lying, cheating, thieving, motherloving bureaucrats that are always up your ass about saving fucking energy won't let it in.

            Excuse me. Did look at some of it's competitors from it's reviews and same story: Not Available In The US.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Curious

      Most of these have been addressed elsewhere, but as it is still relevant:

      The manufacturer's claim a years leccy runs ti about £280 at today's money, I assume that will be for 10,000 miles a year. Obviously as YMMV then YMMV. This works out at something like 3p per mile. Compare a 35mpg petrol car costing about 16.5p per mile or £1650 pr year. Or half that for a hybrid like a Prius.

      You will never get true CO2 figures for either ICE or leccy cars. Your petrol CO2 figures don't consider all the factors like drilling, transporting, processing, delivery to stations etc. and neither will your leccy generators. However a reasonably widely held view is that leccy from an oil fired station is about half as polluting as using it directly in an ICE. Coal is a bit worse than oil, renewables are a pipe-dream and nuclear is either very clean or very bad depending on your personal view.

      battery production is another hot topic. However it seems reasonable to assume that pretty much all cars will go at least hybrid soon enough (along with everything else that uses batteries - which is pretty much everything) so singling out leccy cars alone is not entirely fair.

      There are no comparable diesel cars (none will run on electricity, none have a range limited to 100 miles and none can give you 3p/mile running costs) however something like a Polo Bluemotion is about £16k.

      Ah running costs, outside of the London Congestion Zone the above Polo will cost something like £1000 (600 fuel, 150 service, 200 parking etc sundries) more per year to run than a Leaf, inside the LCZ it will cost more like £3000 a year more (as before but with £10 * 200 working days of congestion charges - parking may well cost a lot more on top).

      Given an initial purchase saving of £10k this gives you a ROI of 10 years outside the congestion zone and 3 years within. Not including a replacement battery and with no comparable data on residual trade-in costs.

      Hope this helps.

    3. Michael C
      Boffin

      Short answers

      I could go into lost of details, but i'll try to keep this short. (not that it;s brief).

      1) if you drive an average 250mi/wk (12K per year), a common hybrid or micro diesel pushes that on about 5 gallons (US) of gas, or about $18-20US per week. The leaf uses 30-32KWh to charge from dead empty (but it never really can be now can it) and given the last 10% of the charge is hardest, you'll get about 33-35KHw average per 100 mile equiv charge, so ~100Kwh/week, ballpark US at $0.10/kwh = ~ $10/week, or about half the price of gas in a comparable small hybrid car assuming a 12K mile annual driving habbit. Because of summer and winter (mostly winter) inefficiencies, you can reliably trust the car only 70-80 miles a day unless you can charge while at work so keep that in mind.

      2) CO2. Pretty much the simple answer is, unless more than 50% of your power comes from renewable sources, it is NOT greener. Wells to wheels figures put oil at about 23lbs CO2 per gallon (19lbs is from burning it, the rest refining, mining, transport is a small part of the total). Coal is 2.1lbs/kwh just burned. Mining, storage, and transport is actually WORSE than oil (oil is mostly pipe-lined, coal has to be manually moved in fuel burning vehicles, and drilling vs mining, mining is also worse). Natural Gas makes 1.9lbs CO2/kwh. 56% power from coal, 20% from natural gas, just combustion, you;re at about 1.5lbs/kwh. 150lbs a week, give or take your region. This does NOT include transmission losses (but the roughly 33KWh figure /100 miles above does), and does not including mining/refining. 5 gallons of gas = 100lbs CO2 (+ mining refining) and electricity = 150 (plus mining and transport). That's just CO2... Sulfur, Mercury, and other hazardous EPA managed output from fossil fuel electric generation is about 3-6 TIMES as high in an EV than burning even diesel fuel.

      The environmental impact of an EV is much heavier than a standard car. By some estimates, building a car is half or more of all of its CO2 output it will ever have. I don't know if I buy it, but an EV is more impact as making those batteries, and the rare earths in the motors is higher than the impact of a block of iron for an ICE. By how much? VERY hard to tell.

      A comparable micro-diesel, with similar interior room, and driving performance, is about $7-15K less than an EV (depending on subsidy, and considdering some microdiesels and hybrids get their own subsidies too). Odds are, at even twice the driving range (pushing an EV to it;s theoretical max per week given charging times), gas prices have to go over $6 within your first 3 years of ownership, and continue to rise to $8/gallon inside 7 years, while energy prices stay the same (unlikely), in order to break even. This does not take into account higher insurance on EVs, and higher repair bills, nor that battery swap every 10 years... They will also likely depreciate in value VERY fast as newer battery tech and better systems are coming out rapidly (current EVs will be obsolete in 5-7 years, replaced by MUCH better ones, and battery prices are falling by as much as 25% a year. buying an EV for economic reasons is not sound. buying an EV for environmental reasons is not sound (unless you live where more than 50% of power is from solar/wind/water).

      There's a lot of fuzzy math, and a lot of FUD out there. One thing to keep in mind, that EV, it uses as much as half a common house in power every month (or more) per car. We can afford a 1-2% increase in total grid output in the USA right now, and power capacity is not expected to dramatically improve for 5-10 years. That means 1 in 75 houses can have an EV, and even this is limited to areas not already strained by underdeveloped power (California, southeast USA, etc).

      They ARE the future, but we're not in the future yet. EV development has to continue, and to do that they need SOME of the cars to sell, a small number, governmet subsidized. In 20 years we might be able to start selling them in masse, but for now only confused greens and misled people believe they're doing something good by buying one (other than supporting a growing economy).

  3. Fuzz

    mini ≠ Cinquecento

    Cinquecento is tiny, mini is huge, but I agree with the sentiment. Why bother making an electric car big and comfortable when it can only go 110 miles. Until we can get 200 miles from a 30 minute charge they will remain play things for rich families who don't need two cars but have them anyway.

    1. yoinkster

      30 minutes? Really?

      My car takes me all of 5 minutes to refill with and pay for petrol. Mine is a particularly inefficient car but I still get 300 miles out of my tank.

      Electric cars must start to get near that, being able to be charged (as good as) anywhere in the country is vital and not have its range massively affected by driving faster and more aggressively is also important. The difference between driving my car like an old granny and driving like I stole it for a whole tank is about 30 or 40 miles, driving an electric car aggressively shunts it down to a pathetic range.

      Personally, I don't think they'll ever be anything more than toys to the deluded.

    2. Ian Yates

      Charge

      I'd argue 5 minute charge would be the upper limit to being a true mass-market product. I can't see owners nor forecourts being happy for people to sit around for 30 minutes.

      If the charge was only a few minutes, 110 mile range would be livable.

      Actually, I take that back; I'm sure Thingy Bean cafe will love having people around with nothing else to do.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        depends on the cost of fuel vs cost of electicity

        if you can't afford to run a petrol car then an electric one will become much more attractive.

        1. Code Monkey

          In the future, yes

          For now if you can't afford to run a petrol car you certainly can't afford a £20k+ for a small hatchback.

      2. mmiied
        Headmaster

        hourses

        and I bet when petrol cars where first out all the pepol how had horses said that having all that flamable petrolum sprit arpound the stable was a fire hazzard (probley not give the times but) diffrent tyoes of transport will give diffrent thougts. for an example pepol with electric cars will get used to puluging them in every time they part in a carpark then 30 mins charge seams resionable (most pepol want a brake after neally 100 miles drive)

    3. Frank Bough
      WTF?

      Perhaps...

      ...the point is so you could carry some passengers? Maybe I could put my two kids (in their massive childseats) in the back? Just a thought. Give thinking a try.

    4. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Sounds like the Tesla S is almost there

      The base model will have a 260 km range with other models having 370 and 480 km ranges. Charging times will be 3 to 5 hours, depending on the battery capacity with a 45-minute QuickCharge will be possible when connected to a 480 V outlet.

      And it looks gorgeous, sort of when Mrs. Jaguar loved Mr. Mondeo very much indeed...

      http://www.teslamotors.com/models

  4. TeeCee Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    "Micra-on-the-rack"?

    Looks more like a Micra that's in the process of being taken up the arse by a Lancia to me.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    1.5 tonnes??

    Someone may tell me it is something to do with necessary safety features or something, but surely this is a joke?

    You make a car to be economical and you want it to be as light as possible. The fact it isn't shows that they do know the target market. The people who can afford these vehicles, and indeed use them, are people who live in places like London. Journeys being relatively small and to be rather cynical, showing just how much they are 'green'. In these cases they want comfort. It is the new Hemp Footwear.

    If you were serious about electric vehicles, then how about a small and lightweight that will at least gain another third in range? Admittedly this won't help the School Run Brigade, which the space of the Leaf seems to cater for.

    I would also like to see the supposed effort involved in producing something like this compared to a similar specced low emission diesel.

    As it stands, i am all for investigation into electric motoring. But a run of 500 isn't helping R&D into this, that is done by the boffin who love hackery. It is a statement. It is saying "Me Too - I make millions out of oil burners - but I care sooo much about the environment that I will make this token gesture - but you have to live in a certain spot and have so much money first"....

    Care about the environment? Do something about the school runs, buses, cycling, if it isn't "safe" then lobby for it to be safe. Don't make empty gestures....Imagine if a company like nissan made an electric bus, specifically designed to ferry kids?

    I am not blaming nissan or the others. they only seem to pander to what the people currently "like" and twitter about and after all, they are a business. I am more annoyed by the attitude people take toward it.

    Maybe I just haven't had enough coffee this morning. Don't get me started on the green impact of supplying coffee beans to IT workers who have nothing better to do than comment on tech sites about things ....blah blah blah blah blah

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      it's heavy but

      it's likely mostly battery.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Boffin

        It's heavy 2/too

        1.5 tons isn't that bad these days.

        A passat is nearly 2 tons, a new BMW 5 series estate is 2.3 tons (but can still manage an incredible 53mpg combined apparently), a Focus is up to 1.4 tons, a Skodia Fabia is 1.1 - 1.25 tons...frankly I think you're lucky if you can get a modern, safety-equiped car *below* a ton these days.

        It doesn't make it right though.

        1. TheRealRoland
          Happy

          US/Imperial gallon?

          There's a difference between US Gallon and UK/Imperial Gallons... I made that mistake once, but I think I got away with it...

          So maybe instead of using 'gallon', quote in liters per 100 km... Or any of the approved Register Standard Units ;-)

        2. MJI Silver badge

          Weights - so heavy now

          A few of my cars weights

          1978 1.6 hatch with comfy seats and live axle 900kg, similar size cars now up to 500kg heavier, no weight loss, that was how light it was. It had heavy things like a cast iron engine and a live rear axle, metal was a decent thickness but it was so light.

          1988 2.0 executive 1200kg - at the time I had it, same weight as things like Golfs but it was much larger inside.

          2001 V6 executive 1600kg - about 200kg less than the latest direct equivalents, similar weights to cars in up to two groups down market. Similar floor pan to the previous example.

          Even 10 years has made a big difference.

          Where are the light cars with reasonable power outputs, I remember that a 900kg car with over 100bhp was pretty rapid but similar sized cars nowadays need that much power to move themselves.

    2. Frank Bough
      Stop

      No Diesel is "low emission"

      ...especially in urban driving scenarios. Diesel is poisoning the very air we breathe.

      1. John 62

        Re: No Diesel is "low emission"

        Even with the nice, new particulate-burning and filtering exhausts that Peugeot developed _several years ago_ and almost everyone uses now?

        1. Frank Bough

          Yes

          Even with those

        2. MJI Silver badge

          They stink

          As above

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    One problem....

    ...yes you get a subsidy now, but what about the appaling resale value in 3 / 5 years time when the buyer whacks in the app and find it has only a 20 mile range on a "full" charge?

    Most fossil burners will happily have a lifespan of 10 years+, so is a pretty much scrap* 5 year old leccy car that much more eco friendly?

    * are you willing to pay £ 5 - 10k for a new battery pack on a 5 year old Micra? Nope thought not.

    1. There's a bee in my bot net

      Battery cost per month

      Worst case, if the battery pack costs £10k and lasts 5 years before the range is low enough to need replacing then you are looking at £166 a month.

      I would like to think Li-ion will get significantly cheaper but I doubt it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        remember too

        £166, is far less than one friend spends a month on fuel (he only makes a few mid distance journeys a month) and far less than another spends per month (he commutes a couple of hours each way on a route that doesn't have an efficient public transport set up - one of those "go into london, go across london, and pop back out again routes.)

        But as said the vehicle is only really of use to people doing lots of short trips, and changes in the way society works would be far more useful than an electric car, more bikes, fewer cars, better public transport, more walking, getting the shops to deliver your food too you, etc.

        1. bobbles31

          Your mate by the way....

          Is also paying for servicing plus repairs and replacements, clutches at 100k miles, don't get me started on Dual Mass Flywheels, Batteries, brakes, spark plugs, cam belts and exhaust pipes, to name a few that are found on a petrol/diesel and not on a leccy tech.

          Suddenly that £165 per month cost for a battery doesn't look so disproportionate, no doubt the city will come up with insurance schemes to replace them when they fail at a mere £35 per month.

  7. TheProf
    Headmaster

    Brum brum hum hum

    "..... run up to to the Peak District for the weekend. But you can't, of course - it's too far away."

    You're wrong. According to Google maps I could drive there and back.

    More accuracy in your reviews please.

    1. Chris 244
      Grenade

      More accuracy in your comments please

      The Reg UK editorial office is located at 22 Glasshouse St, Westminster. According to Google mpas, there to Chatsworth ("one of Britain’s best loved historic houses and estates") is brum brum hum hum 157 miles. Maximum range of the Leaf is 138 miles (at 38mph on a cool day with AC off), but more like 70 miles if driving to Peaks District (55 mph on a hot day with AC).

      On the plus side, adding a bit of walking to your weekend trip will be excellent for your health.

      http://www.nissanusa.com/leaf-electric-car/tags/show/range#/leaf-electric-car/theBasicsRange/index

      1. TheProf
        Happy

        I was spot on

        Ah, I should have added that I live in Liverpool. 108 miles return.

  8. Richard Fletcher

    Peak Disctict.

    I can walk there in 2 hours, so it's not "too far away" for me. And I live in central sheffield, and with Manchester on the other side of the peaks, there's probably a couple of million for whom the range would do that.

    Anyway, aren't we running out of Lithium yet?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Hybrids

    Just buy a hybrid. No range problems, no recharge problems and, primarily because of their ability to make use of the over run and trailing throttle conditions to recharge their batteries, the most efficient petrol cars ever. Diesels of course will shortly be dead in the water, killed by emission regulations.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    I'll take the cynical hat off

    Ignoring the problem with electric cars using power taken from burning fossil fuels, and the blatant fact that we don't have the capacity in the electric grid to run a country full of electric cars...

    £30k (-£5k from the tax payer) for a frickin Nissan Almera / Fat Micra. I could actually use this car to commute to work, and charge it over night in the garage. I genuinely could use it day to day. But £25 frickin grand!

    I can buy a new diesel Citroen C3 for £11k. Quality would be on a par and you can buy a lot of diesel for £14k even at today's prices.

    An electric car right now needs to be cheaper than a petrol/diesel to make up for the shortcomings of range and lack of availability (it needs to charge).

    If I had £25k to spare on a car I'd be getting a year old diesel Audi/BMW.

  11. Miek
    FAIL

    Fugly like the new micras

    I feel sick

  12. Steve Crook

    Where's your drive...

    For me the key point in the article is the point about recharging. If you don't have somewhere off road to overnight charge then the vehicle is useless. This is going to be an issue for widespread adoption of electric vehicles. Closely followed by insufficient capacity in the electricity generating network if we build the infrastructure to recharge them.

  13. Andy Scott
    Go

    Idea from a Bike

    It may sound daft, but why don't the fit dynamo's to a couple of wheels and get the power from that to charge the batteries on the go?

    1. David Gosnell

      Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeees...

      And where exactly would that energy come from? Perpetual motion here we come!

      This does have regenerative braking, which exploits that idea during deceleration, the time when otherwise energy would be being utterly wasted.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re Idea from a Bike

      What a great idea - I think you may have invented perpetual motion sir!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Charging

      In general you will have 2 types of leccy car owners - those who live in the city and those who live out of the city. Most city dwellers don't have the means to charge the car themselves but they do on average 25 miles per day and so only need to charge up once or twice a week. Others will probably need to charge daily but are far more likely to have access to a garage or similar.

      So the solution is to charge up at a communal area - it is very likely that your average supermarket will start providing leccy charge points once leccy cars take off. 30 minutes to do your shopping seems reasonable so no need for overnight parking there.

      Many workplaces / multi-storey car parks will also start providing charging facilities - works for the green cred and car parks as both a USP and for the extra moneys.

      Leccy cars are not there yet, but they are a lot closer than the doomsayers are trying to make out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        so it takes you 4.5 hours to do your weekly shopping!

        It wouldn't fit in this thing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Welcome

          @AC 12:07

          No it takes 30 minutes. Try reading what you are commenting on.

          Everyone agrees that fast chargers will charge leccy cars to 80% in about 30 minutes.

          I have no idea where you got the 4.5 hours thing from, but it isn't from me - do please try to keep up.

    4. L.B
      Megaphone

      Perhaps...

      because even Homer Simpson is smart enought to know:

      "In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!"

    5. A handle is required
      Thumb Up

      Strange,

      I always thought that lithium was a renewable resource...

    6. mmiied

      even better

      a range extend electric like the vauxall ammpe

  14. Valerion

    Too expensive

    £25k? For a car that can go 100 miles at a time? A car that'll take you more than 2 days to drive from London to Birmingham is going back to the time of the horse.

  15. Neil Milner-Harris
    FAIL

    Am I the only one...

    Who thinks putting a wifi access point into an electric vehicle is really dumb?

    When you are trying to conserve all of the power you can to extend the range surely just not having the pointless iPhone app and its supporting wifi network would be preferable over having to turn off the heater?

  16. Chris_B

    Overnight charging

    If this is aimed primarily at city dwellers where space is at a premium and most don't have drive-ways (as the writer alluded to) how do you charge the thing overnight ?

  17. Neill Mitchell

    Are you sure you want to start charging?

    FFS - nagware in a car! Pointless extraneous confirmation messages like that drive me nuts. In this case it would be literally, or not if I forget to click "Yes" to the charge confirmation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, probably are

      Don't think anyone will really notice the Wifi network chopping off a whole 10 meters (if that) of range out of this thing.

    2. xj25vm

      Wifi AP

      Like the other poster highlighted - when you have a battery pack of 25000W - do you really need to worry about the wifi AP sucking (maybe) 3-4Wh?

    3. Charles Manning

      Not if the power is signed with a Nissan authentication key

      If it is Nissan brand power then it just charges.

  18. Stuart 22
    Grenade

    To those that hath, shall more be given ...

    Libraries closing, education costs soaring, healthcare we apparently can't afford.

    But we can give five grand tax free to those rich enough to afford a 25 grand car to further the cause of traffic congestion? Madness!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    I want one

    ...it's not bad!

    I can keep my lunch down while looking at it, the wife will love it (it's an auto, more room, safety and refinement than the current bucket). And we were saving up anyway for a 2nd, cheap runaround for shopping, nurseries etc.

    So, I'll just get on and order from the next batch, so lets see, where do I pay...

    I'll just get my plastic out...and....wait a minute...IT'S 25 GRAND FFS!!

    Looks like it's an eco-diesel afterall then...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Alternative viewpoint

    £25k might not seem so bad, if you've been considering a motorbike lately (which I have) - they cost £11-14k now. Half the price, for a lot less metal or fancy tech. Though it will do 0-60 in as low as 2.6 seconds, which is a trifle faster.

    And don't forget that new 'old skool petrol' metal - in general - is trending upwards at higher than the already high inflation, and thanks to 20% VAT. Witness some Ford Focuses which now cost over £20k.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Another alternative viewpoint

      A commuter bike does not need to cost £11-14k.

      Google 'Houniao HN125' and you can pick up a brand new Honda clone for less than a grand. £15/yr tax and 100mpg. Top speed of around 60mph.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Clones

        Aye,,,but it'll be pure garbage if our Chinese import was anything to go buy. I was glad to be rid of it - worst £800 I ever spent. Should have gone with a Honda.

        Besides - most bikers would not be content to ride at < 60mph; it makes motorway work pure purgatory.

  21. defiler Silver badge

    Diesel/Electric

    Is is just me that thinks a diesel/electric system would be best? Have enough batteries to cover (say) 20 miles, and a diesel engine to recharge them when they drop too low. All the range you need, your engine is running optimally (because it doesn't have to be throttled up and down, and can be tuned to a very narrow rev band), and you could even plug it in overnight to top the batteries off for the morning.

    After all, it's not significantly different to a Prius or something - you're just disconnecting the diesel from the drivetrain. Maybe there are too many losses in the system to make it viable, or maybe it's a marketing thing - I don't imagine Joe Bloggs would be pleased with a car that sounds like a site generator.

  22. Andrew Alan McKenzie

    Two car households

    Arguments against these cars on the basis of cost are fair enough, but arguments around range and the possibility of doing long journeys always seem to overlook the fact that lots of households (>30% in 2009 ) have access to more than one car, so having a short range electric for trips around town and a conventional motor for long trips is not so dumb.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Sound concept

      Nah, this is a sound concept IMO, ruined by the twats at top gear (who built their own). You only need a tiny motor, and it can be designed to run at an optimal level; refinement and quiteness would also be easy to engineer in - BMW have mastered it no problem for their conventional diesels.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's called a series hybrid

      The GM Ampera has that design (although not a diesel, IIRC).

      I like the Jaguar prototype. No manky diesels, but a couple of shoebox-sized gas turbines to recharge. They'll burn almost anything, too.

      A much more practical idea than the Leaf. Just wait until autumn...

    3. David Barrett Silver badge

      Hire?

      I can see a market for hire companies here... eCar for weekly commuting cheap hire for long haul.. how many people need to travel more than 50 miles to work? (Probably a few and for them Id suggest a normal car for now) - that assumes that you cant recharge at your place of work.

    4. A handle is required
      Thumb Down

      No, it's still dumb

      when you consider that you could get *two* conventionally powered cars (sedan, of course) for the cost of this one. Plus, power isn't free (nor is most of it "clean", anyway). Also, lithium doesn't grow on trees.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Diesel hybrid

      Diesel hybrid in theory is the ideal combination, much better than the current petrol/electrics. One of the reasons for the retreat from diesel is the Euro emission regulations.

      The Euro IV regulations introduced the dreaded DPF (diesel particulate filters) which trap diesel soot and then burn it off by injecting more diesel to increase the temperature in the filter, a bit like a self cleaning cooker.

      DPFs cause no end of problems (google them) and are reducing fuel consumptions and the lifespans of diesel cars. Wanna buy a 5 year old diesel BMW, running fine with 100k on the clock, good for another 200k maybe?. Well it'll need the DPF replaced at £1500 every 100k.

      Euro V regs are coming into force now and they are so stringent they're making diesels even less reliable and more expensive.

      More good works by the EU.

      Also another major reason is that they don't like diesel for the most part in the USA but they do like hybrids because the make celebrities feel smug.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        *Sigh*

        Reasons people don't like diesel in the USA:

        - The cars are all more expensive than a base Prius. Even the VWs. All the diesel cars are German imports. (The only US diesels are pick-ups.)

        - The cars' EPA ratings are all worse than the Prius.

        - Additional NOx emissions controls hit the economy further.

        - No micro-diesels are available: the smallest, the Golf, is a 1.9l.

        - Diesel has higher taxes than petrol and is in general more expensive so efficiency gains are balanced by wallet losses.

        Put all of the above together and you have the answer to why I have a Prius.

        Issues for Americans :

        - Because they were shit last time people were interested. The collective memory is that diesels are dirty and noisy.

        - Diesel isn't available at all stations.

        - Americans are less interested in fuel economy: they'll either ignore it or buy something that's good enough.

        - Diesels are perceived has having cold weather problems so people who deal with proper winters are put off.

        - Hybrids perform best in warm weather which means that for a large part of the US market the cold weather economy drop isn't an issue.

        - Hybrids perform well in traffic, which for many US drivers is a lot of their driving time.

        Having written all that, diesel sales are increasing. There's a decent conversion rate for Audi and BMW and over 70% of the Jetta Sportwagen buyers go for the diesel, although once the Prius v arrives here I'd expect to see a drop in the Sportwagen TDI sales, since it's the cargo space that sells it.

        There are rumours that GM will release a diesel Cruze and that Mazda are trying to produce a diesel that they'll sell in the USA.

      2. handle
        Thumb Up

        Roll on particulate filters

        Diesel hybrids, or any car, will never be as efficient as a bicycle, and when I'm cycling I'd rather not breathe in the guff they produce carrying a single occupant and no luggage over short distances, which is the mode most of them are used in.

    6. mmiied

      petrol/ electric

      it is called the vauxhall ampera

      http://www.vauxhall-ampera.co.uk/index.php/eng/home

  23. Matthew Malthouse
    Pint

    There's an App for that

    but how do you install in on a leaf?

  24. Frank Bough
    FAIL

    Christ on a bike

    Do reviews of electric cars EVER get over the range limitation? We fucking KNOW that it's range limited, we know EXACTLY what this car's designed to do, why must you keep banging on about what it CAN'T do? Why not mention that you NEVER need to stop at a petrol station? Apparently this is one of the most noticeable benefits of a plug-in electric in the real world yet is seemingly never mentioned in reviews. What about servicing costs? What about charge-up costs? Would it kill you to review it appropriately?

    Frankly, I'd buy one of these tomorrow if I had the cash, it's a perfect commuting vehicle.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      To be Frank

      The reason these articles concentrate on the range is because....dun dun dun....basic shopping cars are boring. Sticking an electric drivetrain in makes them slightly interesting and news worthy, without the EV tech it is just another boring Nissan.

      Even if the range problem can be solved you still have the problem of changing the batteries every 3 years, at a minimum cost of £5k...Perfect commuter vehicle, when you don't consider a moped.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Dear Mr Bough

      It's a perfect commuting vehicle for YOU! Some of us commute a darn sight further than three hundred yards. Using lights/heater etc the Leaf will get me to work sure but will deposit me some fifteen miles from my home on the return trip (at BEST - further away as the battery ages).

      Since the cost of a fifteen to thirty mile recharge lead and the time to pop home and plug it in is a bit of the lengthy side. Fail indeed. I'll stick to my shale gas powered LPG vehicle. Ta very much.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        WTF?

        3 years?

        So that's why they're so expensive: the 8 year warranty means you're really buying 3 batteries with the car.

        No, wait, maybe the warranty's 8 years because the manufacturers think the batteries will last that long. I wonder if their testing and the real-world reliability in hybrids over the past 10 years has given them confidence.

      2. Frank Bough

        Real World

        But, as car companies are forever pointing out, the VAST majority of journeys fall well within the 100 odd mile range of the plug-in EV.

        1. Leona A
          FAIL

          I bet it will not be...

          ... covered by the warranty, check the small print, it'll be listed as a consumable :)

        2. Steve X
          FAIL

          Most journeys fall under 100miles

          Which is not at all the same thing as saying that most cars are used exclusively for short journeys.

          My daily commute is ~ 30 miles, but every month or so I do a 200-mile airport trip, and a couple of times a year I do 1000mile+ trips. If I had a car with a 100mile range, I'd need to buy a second one just for the long journeys, which would be both uneconomical and environmentally wasteful.

          Ah! I hear the cries, just rent one when I need it. Not viable; most of those longer journeys are at weekends or holiday times, when everyone will want to hire long-distance cars. The only way to meet demand would be for the rental companies to keep huge fleets that lay idle most of the time, which would be both uneconomical and environmentally wasteful.

          What about trains/planes? Drive my short-range car to the station, train to near my destination, rent a short-range car when I get there? Fails again, since it:

          a) assumes I have a point-to-point journey to a single destination

          b) costs a lot more

          c) means I can only take luggage or other items that fit on a train/plane

          d) all the other inconveniences like not having my choice of music, temperature, company, or the option to stop at interesting places on the way past, etc.

          Short range electrics are really only useful as second cars, in households that can afford a main large car. These are unlikely to be the households that the taxpayer should be subsidsing with 5 grand off the electric runabout.

          And don't forget that plug-in EVs are only cheaper because you're not paying the duty and tax on road fuel, the power they use is still probably coming from oil or gas in the first place. As soon as the fuel tax income drops significantly, the government will simply raise the same money from motorists in other ways, by road charging, or an annual electric car fee, or...

          1. Steven Jones

            Not oil....

            "the power they use is still probably coming from oil or gas in the first place". The electricity will only come from oil if you live in Saudi or the like. Far, far too expensive - London got a nice big venue for modern arts at the old Bankside generating station largely because generating electricity from oil became increasingly uneconomic during the late 1970s.

            The primary fossil fuels used for electricity generation are gas and coal. Gas isn't too bad (from a CO2 an pollution perspective), but coal is fairly dreadful - not just CO2, but other pollutants not to mention putting quite a lot of radiation into the atmosphere.

            Anyway, the general point holds true that if electric cars had to pay the same duty/VAT for their power as do IC vehicles (at least in the UK) it would put the per-mile costs up from about 2p to about 6p (assuming optimal range and off-peak electricity).

  25. Magnus Ramage
    FAIL

    Sorry, no Android app...

    ... no purchase. Never mind the planet. If it's iPhone only, then it's not worth having.

    More seriously, this car is impressive, but as others have said the combination of price tag and range make it feel rather v1.0.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nissan

    Whilst lamenting the fact that Nissan no longer sells a saloon car nor a mid-size Hatchback, some of their recent reliability records have been shocking. See the last Primera and the Navara D22 for details.

    If I am to was to buy an electric car, I want to know that it was designed by engineers, not built and produced by accountants with known defects that they wash their hands of.

    On the one hand they are telling old Almera and Primera trade-in customers to upgrade to Qashqow, Morono and En-Trail SUVs, and on the other they are trying to act all green.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      At least they make the GT-R

      Just wish I could afford one

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        True

        GTR is the exception to the rule, in the way that the Inspiron Duo is the only Dell I would consider.

  27. Martin Huizing
    Go

    Screw charging!

    I want a car I can take to a pump station and instantly replace the drained battery-pack with a fully charged one. Yes? No?

  28. Dennis 6
    Unhappy

    Electicity for cars won't always be as cheap as it is now....

    Using the current price of electricity in running cost comparisons isn't really realistic. If electric cars ever start to sell in larger numbers the government will do something to recover the lost fuel duty by applying a duty to the electricity we put into cars. They might put a purple dye in it, or something.... They will certainly do whatever they can to make private motoring expensive, even if they can't quite manage to make it as expensive as public transport.

  29. handle
    Dead Vulture

    "dead tree juice vehicle"?

    Mineral oil and therefore petrol/diesel comes from sea creatures; coal comes from trees. I would therefore assume you are correct in stating that this is quieter than a steam car...

  30. Simon Rockman

    Benefit in kind

    One element missing from the cost calculations here is that if the Leaf is a company car it's exempt from benefit in kind taxation, which can hugely swing the figures.

    Also note that the £5,000 government subsidy is not unlimited, so if enough people buy fully electric cars there will be no funds left - a bit like scrappage.

    Bad for new customers, good for re-sale. Assuming the government doesn't extend the scheme.

  31. indulis

    Electric cars- The Reg in a quandary

    Electric cars and The Reg- what a quandary!

    Should it be lauded because it might help drive up electricity consumption and therefore the Nuclear industry, with its new "clean and green" (albeit glow-in-the-dark green) image?

    Or should it be criticised as a useless left-wing tree-hugger vehicle which is actually hurting the planet, because we should be burning lots of petrol to warm the planet to stave off the imminent ice age (in 1000-200 years time!)? Ooh, sorry burning petrol doesn't actually cause warming anyway, does it?

  32. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Alternatively

    I do 15mi each way on a carbon fibre+aluminium bodied vehicle that runs on mars bars and chips.

    Only cost 250quid from Edinburgh Bike Coop

    Gets through downtown faster than the cars and gives you an excuse to wear Lycra in public.

    1. Matthew 25
      Headmaster

      @handle

      You can make diesel from coal. Its actually much lower sulfur than diesel from oil.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      I used to do

      25 miles in under 20 minutes

      40 mpg or more

      Aluminium and ABS

      I do miss bikes

    3. Getter lvl70 Druid Silver badge

      Actually it's blue

      Recently did some research by accident (channel surfing at digg, which led me there, and then to here, etc and found fascinating stuff about US nuke accidents from the beginning of the Manhattan Project. Anytime they got a reaction from an awshit, there was a blue glow noticed by the scientists before they died. got sick then died, or 'just got sick'. They had one incident where this poor guy was doing maintenance on top of a reactor and got impaled to the ceiling of the complex after a accident - took them three days to get him down.

      I did all this before Japan got fsckered, made it a hell of a lot easier to understand when it did happen though, I do not envy those folks - not enough compensation and I'd want my family to be set forever, something that won't happen.

  33. thesykes
    WTF?

    Did I read this correctly?

    "push the toggle right, then up for reverse, down for Drive."

    You push the toggle forwards to go backwards and backward to go forwards???

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @thesykes

      standard auto boxes are, from closest to the front of the car and moving backwards:

      park, reverse, neutral, drive

      Which is pretty much the same as what you are seeing here.

  34. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Who cares...

    About how it looks when you can avoid getting gouged rouhly 70% of your fuel costs on tax? Hell, if I had the money and one was available, I'd be in like a shot.

    Run an extension out of the back of the warehouse and charge up at work (after all, everyone else charges up their phones, fondleslabs etc., so why not my car?). Job done. Enough juice in the battery to get me home and back in the next morning to do it all over again.

    If it's a swipe against the extortion that's petrol in the UK, it gets my vote.

  35. Matthew 25

    Erm..

    Hydrogen fuel cells anyone?

    Range and charge time similar to I.C.E.

    Pollution at point of use 0

  36. John Fielder
    Headmaster

    solar panels?

    why no solar panels on the roof? pick up a bit of charge all day and get a few more miles.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Titleist golf balls

      If you put a couple of electricicity windy mills on the spoiler you've got yourself a perpetual motion machine there sport!

  37. Alan Brown Silver badge

    generating trailer?

    For the few occasions when you actually need more range, why not consider one of these. EV/Hypermiler experimenters have been playing with 'em forever...

    One even went as fas as to turn the front end of a volkswagon golf into a pusher trailer for long trips.

    It could even be a flourishing secondary manufacturing/rental industry.

    Regarding the lithium comment - it's a bit like oil prices. There are a lot of known deposits out there but only a few economic mines. If demand picks up then there will be more of them. It's a fairly abundant metal in the earth's crust. I'm more worried about esoteric stuff like tantalum, used extensively in the electronics and only known to be sourceable from a single mining complex in africa.

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