News : Nissan LEAF production now underway in the UK

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Nissan LEAF (2)

The facelifted Nissan LEAF, incorporating more than 100 updates, is now rolling off the line at the company’s record-breaking Sunderland Plant, using advanced lithium-ion batteries manufactured in Nissan’s new UK Battery Plant. After four years of preparation at the plant and a previously announced £420m investment by Nissan.

Together the Battery Plant and Nissan LEAF production are supporting jobs for more than 2000 people in the UK car industry, including more than 500 directly at Nissan. Britain’s biggest car manufacturer is now responsible for production of the European-spec LEAFs, which have been updated with more than 100 impovements aimed at making Nissan’s zero-emissions technology accessible to even more drivers. These include an increased driving range of 199km (124 miles) and the ability to recharge in half the time of the first-generation LEAF.

The launch event came as Nissan Sunderland Plant celebrates making more than seven million units since its opening in 1986. Last year it produced 510,572 vehicles and so became the first UK car factory ever to make more than half a million cars in one year. Nissan’s Executive Vice President Andy Palmer celebrated the official start of electric vehicle production with the 6100 staff now employed on site. ‘Today’s announcement progresses Nissan’s unwavering commitment to zero emissions motoring,’ he said.

With more than 55,000 Nissan LEAFs on the world’s roads today, and with two years of real-world zero emissions experience behind it, today’s announcement marks the start of an exciting chapter for Nissan. The Nissan LEAF is now built in three locations worldwide: Sunderland, UK; Smyrna, Tennessee, USA; and Oppama, Japan.

Integrated on the same line as the best-selling Nissan Qashqai, the new LEAF is a major milestone in Nissan’s global zero-emission leadership. In just 12 months, Nissan has increased the number of dealers selling the LEAF from 200 to 1,400 and the number of charging points in Europe has grown from 12,000 to more than 20,000, proving that electric vehicles are becoming increasingly attractive.

The new Nissan LEAF soon will be joined by all-electric versions of the award-winning NV200, to be called e-NV200, in both light commercial van and five-seat combi versions. Development of a dedicated EV taxi based on the e-NV200 is also underway. An Infiniti EV is expected in 2015.

Nissan LEAF (1)

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

67 Comments

  1. Hard to believe it’s 26 years since Nissan started manufacturing in the UK. They have come a long way since the first Datsun’s were imported in the early 70s.

    I didn’t realise that 55,000 Leaf’s had already been built. Although I don’t have intentions to buy one I do wish them well. At least they make a huge contribution to the UK economy.

  2. They can’t be selling that many – the Nissan dealer round the corner from where I work has a fast charge point. Until yesterday there was a skip dumped in front of it blocking access.

  3. The reluctance of the British public to accept change will hinder sales. They would rather be sheep and buy aggressive, arrogant German cars. The Leaf won’t look aggressive enough in a victims rear view mirror when tailgating 6 foot away from their rear bumper.

  4. It’s not just the reluctance of the British public to accept change; it’s their realisation that the Leaf is a rather expensive and inconvenient proposition.

    A cost of £23,00, and a range of 120 miles. What’s the break-even point to make a saving against a normal car?

  5. As it stands the Leaf has a place only as a second or third car with very low running costs. Due to no road tax and only 5% VAT on the fuel, the unknown is depreciation, but it still looks like the vast majority of UK car owners are subsidising the wealthy few.

    I can also reveal that Andy Palmer used to work at Longbridge in the Powertrain department.

  6. I worked for the Regional Development Agency, One North East, when the decision was taken to put the Leaf into Washington. A lot of money (10s of millions I suppose) was made available to Nissan, mainly for the battery plant, in return for assurances of new jobs and safeguarding existing ones. There was also a continuing halo effect for the North East from having Nissan (the most significant employer in the region) and its high-tech product. The RDA also paid for 700 charging points to be installed in the North East – and they are everywhere, if you know where to find them. The death sentence was served on RDAs shortly afterward, so this contribution was never made sufficiently well known.

  7. When will people stop calling them “zero emissions” cars?

    They are only “zero emission” is the use of them does not cause ANY emissions. There are plenty of emissions produced producing the electricity to drive the miniscule distance they are capable of.

    AND…. Much more emissions produced making them compared to a petrol/diesel car too.

  8. This is great news for Nissan and the UK but I cannot reconcile electric cars in my head yet as a worthy proposition. They cost twice as much as a normal car, they have little range, they are a pain to charge and take too much time. I am not sure who the buyer is going to be, a company driver will not find it has enough range for them, a private motorist isn;t going to save any money on fuel because the car is so expensive and I believe there is also a battery rental cost? (may be wrong, but there is for the new Renault Zoe) In that sense, it could take you 10 years to recoup the cost by which time who knows whether it will still be useable, working or otherwise. And they are not ZERO emissions, as they use power from coal burning power stations not to mention the high cost of manufacturuee and dangerous chemicals that make up the battery.

    This still is fantastic news but the Electric car is, frankly, not all that! (yet, if ever)

  9. With all the talk of power shortages as old power stations close down, there soon won’t be enough electricity to go around anyway!

    £23000 for a second/urban car, that rather restricts the market to a small niche of rich urban liberals.

    Renault and Nissan have invested heavily in electric vehicles, the Zoe is a nice looking car, but I’d much rather have one with a modern petrol engine like the 3 cylinder Ford ecoboost.

  10. When Nissan announced their decision to start production in Sunderland, apart from the moaning from British Leyland unions and supporters, the decision was overwhelmingly welcomed in Sunderland. You have to understand one man in four in the city was unemployed at the time and the city’s shipbuilding industry was in its death throes, so an announcement like this was essential for the city.
    From 500 workers assembling Bluebirds in 1986 to 6000 making four popular ranges of cars, Nissan UK has been a huge success. Also in 27 years it has never had one day’s industrial action and productivity is the highest in Europe.

  11. At 23k it costs the same as an equally specified Golf, but hey you never see them on the roads do you?

    I honestly can’t see why it’s range is laughed at – effectively 2 hours of motorway range, there are not many drivers that do that drive regularly. Effectively you can’t do your twice a year family holiday in it, but the other 50 weeks of the year your laughing!

  12. @3-Paul
    My contact in the Police told me last weekend that by far the most complaints about road rage and arrogance on the roads now involve Audi’s.
    So maybe you have a point.

  13. Also the spin offs from Nissan extend to the once declining Port of Tyne, which now that the mining industry has gone has seen Nissan as a lifeline and led to an expansion in the port. The Port of Tyne at Jarrow is now the export point for 250,000 Nissans a year. Also component suppliers in the region have seen a spin off from Nissan.

  14. I hope they don’t have as many problems with the lithium – ion batteries as Boeing is / are having with the Dreamliner.

  15. #11. The range is the major problem . Even if the given range is taken as correct ( far from the case in the Tesla which one of my sons had on trial , which had a nominal range of up to 192 miles, but an actual range of perhaps 130 miles at best – no lights, heating etc) what do you do when you reach the end of your journey and can’t find a charging point ? And unless the technology is radically different from the Tesla, which I doubt , it can take 16 hours to recharge . The plain fact is that unless the electric car has a backup means of propulsion, it is impracticable other than as a local runabout

  16. @11 – Andrew – Nissan’s own website suggests you might get around 70 miles when doing just 56mph (yeah right!) on the Motorway – so in actual fact, I’d be luck to get from Leeds to Manchester and back (about 70-80 mile round trip) – which is a fairly typical worker commute in my area. For most people the range is still too little, and anyone doing less would, frankly, be foolish to spend £23k on such a car unless they really wanted to of course. A lot of people doing such mileage are probably the sort of people who buy city cars and supermini’s with petrol engines, factor in the massive cost in buying a leaf to start with and it makes the car a daft choice. I understand the argument that a similarly spec’d Golf is the sam cost, but at least with that car you can fill it up and travel for hundreds of miles to anywhere you might want to go – instead with a Leaf, on a day you might want to pop to the coast you simply cannot do it – so you have a £23k ornament on your drive.

  17. Though I am pleased for Nissan and the plant, the car will sell and this will help jobs – the car itself is what I have an issue with.

  18. I said in this blog – http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/blogs/why-the-nissan-leaf-could-well-work-for-me/ – that if the Nissan LEAF fits your lifestyle, it’s brilliant. I subsequently found over an extended period of trying one out that it indeed did work for me. And this is why – it would not be my only car and (at the time), my daily commute wasn’t that huge.

    It’s certainly not ususual these days for professional couples to have a £23K second or third car. Seriously, if it fits your lifestyle, the LEAF is ace… if not, it’s useless.

    My real word experiences here –
    http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/cars/nissan/leaf/

  19. The other thing about the range of electric cars, is that batteries don’t like cold weather, so in the recent interminable winter, the range will be much less than in the summer. Especially if you have the heater and lights on…

    But as I’ve said before, for a few people they will be ideal, but I genuinely don’t see it as a mass market. Besides, if people in big cities want to be environmentally freindly, they should use public transport like I do 🙂

  20. The car is pointless, 120 miles range? get real.This car will probably leave you in the shit sooner,its range is small beer, another expensive stupid “green idea”.
    Only good enough for our local councils to fritter our money on one of these things “To showcase its green credentials”.
    To be honest,i have had enough of this green BS it started with global warming codified into every enviro zealots mind and because that was proven false it turned into climate change,and we have money stole off us in green taxes and high energy bills.
    Instead of investing in this white elephant why didnt they invest in a new Micra people would want to buy?

  21. I think this is a very good idea.

    I think a lot of folks miss the point.

    You can drive say a 100 miles a day, and simply plug it in when you get home.

    One of my neighbours has ordered one (he works for Nissan) and I am looking forward to be taken for a spin.

    Petrol and Diesel was aroud £1 a litre 4 short years ago…when its £10 a litre the development of a plan B/C will make a lot of sense.

    The range is improving all the time.

    This is surely a technology to watch.

    If our talent(less) governments could get into gear with Nuclear, we could all have cheap electricity!

  22. @22,Or save yourself a load of money and buy a n reg 306 and run it on chip fat.
    I have been watching this technology since i was six when it was on tomorrows world,im forty two now.Ok they are not lead-acid batteries but still toxic and expensive components and are sensitive to temperatures either end of the scale,the Ampera makes vastly more sense than a leaf.

  23. Leslie @ 7
    “When will people stop calling them “zero emissions” cars?”
    Exactly! Only the source of pollution is shifted. The vehicle itself may have zero emissions but this is hardly the case for the electricity generation.

    However, overall I think it’s good news. It’s the latest in automotive thinking and great for the North East and UK plc.

  24. How much do they actually cost in electricity consumption?

    If you left one charging overnight, how much will that add to your electricity bill?

  25. My friend (I jest) Jenatzy reached 65.79mph in his battery powered race car. That was in 1898. I’m interested in any reference to significant improvement over the years.
    #22 – I see a certain market for the Leafy thing – may be me. I will be completely retired and use the thing for shopping and church and stuff. For what I call ordinary journeys (and will remain ordinary journeys even when I’m retired) I will have to resort to a proper car with an internal combustion engine. My 34 Wolesley Nine will get me down to relatives in Cornwall (about 250 miles away) with no problem, up to friends in Yorkshire (about 200 miles away) and across to Pembrokeshire to friends (about 150 miles away). If I do keep some clients on after I officially retire I’ll have to use the Wolesley again because non of my present clients are within 60 miles from home.
    I probably can’t compete with the Leafy thing on running costs of course – although I pay no road fund licence, have incredibly cheap insurance and have nil depreciation – and possibly even appreciation.
    On the negative side I will have to buy a good quality blanket as there is no heater. But on the positive side my crusing speed will be higher than the Leafy thing. And it’s a proper car.
    Seriously though? My honest view is that if anyone (including the AR Online hierarchy) want to sell their soul to the devil, ignore the hundred plus years of internal combustion engine history, turn their back on the soul and spirit of the motor car which has been their life and invest a fortune in a trendy milk float – then they must be allowed to do so.
    I have written to my MP of course recommending that electric vehicles should be required to pay £1000 pa road fund licence for no other reason than I don’t like them. (Smiley face at this point – no nasty swearing at me please)

  26. @23 You hit the nail squarely on the head there. These electric cars are currently too expensive, too inflexible and too impractical for the vast majority. (It also doesn’t help that the Leaf is about as desirable as a turd on wheels). If the technology improved (and you are limited by chemistry and physics) where would the extra electricity generation come from the charge these things en masse? Basically its a glorified milk float for “right on” liberals that like the smell of their own farts (thanks South Park).

  27. This thing isn’t £23.5k, its £28.5k less a £5k government “incentive” – why are my taxes being used to subsidise (and make the general public think these things are cheaper than they actually are) someone buying a car? The subsidy smacks of the one there used to be on “energy efficient” lightbulbs, that miraculously disappeared when the EU ban on incandescent light bulbs kicked in. Get rid of the subsidy, if the electric car makes sense it should do so on a level playing field.

  28. Hold on, people. I admit we’re a site of petrolheads, so we can’t compare the glorious growl of a TVR with the whim of a Leaf.

    It certainly looks crude, slow, ugly and is used by hippies. But then, diesel engined cars were exactly the same thing 40 years ago: crude, slow and without street cred. I believe that, as technology has made the diesel engine a very capable alternative to petrol, the same will happen with electrical – hybrid cars. Even when I also think the way is hybrid, maybe with a small turbine which can run in lard if needed. But the glorious growl of a TVR might be seen then as outdated as a steam-powered locomotive today…

  29. If this car was really cheap, around 5-6K, it would make sense as a cheap to run city runabout, but 23K. Ludicrous money, get one of those blue motion diesels, leaving you more than enough change to fuel and tax it. The diesel can also be fueled in minutes instead of hours.

    The real problem with these electric cars is the battery lifetime. If the battery pack wears out, you would be looking at a huge bill to replace it.

  30. Forget all this hoo-hah about the car, the price, the bung you get from Osbourne for buying it.

    Why are we not arguing about the geographic location of the plant?!?!?!?

  31. I spoke to car mechanics at a Nissan garage and asked them what they thought of the leaf.

    First thing they said was it’s fast, it’ll overtake stuff easy, but having fun with it eats battery power.

    Secondly they said we charge it up at work, so it doesn’t cost us anything to use it.

    Thirdly they said it’s reliable, they don’t need much servicing.

    Their conclusion it’s a great short range get me to work commuter car and have a petrol sports car for longer trips.

  32. ZEV is possible, but only if we build nuclear power plants. Hitachi will be building them in the UK, but successive governments have dithered so long, we’re gonna be well behind. As it stands today, electric vehicles are a cul-de-sac.

    My own company, Enelpower, have a consortium ready, with Ansaldo Energia and ABB Alstom Power, to build nukes. It’s been on paper since 1998. GE is ready to go also. Instead, the plans remain on hold, and the Germans have chickened out of nuclear power.

    For the moment, we’re stuck with building CCGT and even pulverised coal plants because politicians don’t have the stones to tackle the left.

  33. Nissan can put in a dozen more factories worldwide to make the Leaf and its battery pack, but if nobody buys them, what is the point?

    Total global sales in the three years or so that this thing has been on the market are just over 50,000. About 20,000 each in Japan and the US, 7,000 in Europe, the remainder bought by wide-eyed gormless folk in the rest of the world.

    Carlos Ghosn and his brain trust at Nissan and Renault must know something noboby else does.

    The question is, what is it? Because by investing hundreds of millions in capital to build them requires something more than a feeling, surely. Especially considering that using the SuperFast charger to goose the battery to 80% in half an hour or so seems to ruin the battery’s capacity.

    I just don’t get it. Nissan is facing class action lawsuits about the battery in the US, and yet they blunder on making more.

  34. Here in Seattle there are many Leaf’s and just as many Tesla model ‘S’. There used to be a few Tesla roadsters but they seem to have disappeared. The home grown Chevrolet Volt population looks smaller than the all electric one which is probably down to the Chevy badge and it’s working class image. The point being Seattle has many affluent residents who live & work within the electric cars ideal commuter distance. They work and therefore sell well here. Just recently I have begun to feel different when I park my 4.6 V8 Disco next to a Leaf at the park & ride or next to a model ‘S’ in my offices underground car park. A mind shift has definitely happened here in the past year or so..

  35. I used to live in Islington in Central London and a car like this would have been ideal as really all the car was used for was trips to shops and occasionally the tip. The longest ‘normal’ journey I did was under 20 miles – for everything else I could have rented a car.

    Now, here in Harrogate it would not work for me – a trip to Durham or Newcastle would be impossible, Leeds marginal and York possibly ok. It would work well for our second car.

    It has potential this car but only in the big cities.

  36. #29 – o’h yes please Juan! Lets have some steam engines back!
    I believe that the whole idea of these battery powered cars is that they are environmentally friendly and economical to operate. I have no figures to support this but I get the feeling that if several thousand people from my little country town didn’t use their battery cars (hypothetical as there aren’t any), their diesel and petrol cars to drive the 4.5 miles into the main nearest town every day – all jumped on a Steam Train (thrown away by Beeching in 67) it would be more environmentally friendly and cost everyone less – and a few thousand blokes would have been employed getting the coal.
    I’m not serious of course but sometimes when you stand back and think out of the box – you wonder what we doing to ourselves. If you have ever sat in traffic on the A4/M4 coming out of London on a Friday night – taking 2.5 hours to do a journey that would take just over an hour on a Sunday – it must cross all our minds that this is sheer madness. Whether we are sat in a V6 Alfa, a diesel mini or Leaf only changes (slightly) the degree of madness.

  37. I should mention that I have tried using the present train service but £137 return because I need to be London by 0900 is not a goer for me. If I can arrange meetings later in the morning I can do it for £50.50 but I’ve got to be on my way out of London by 1600.
    Just didn’t want you to think I hadn’t tried the alternatives!!!!!!!

  38. And the first time you forget to plug it in to recharge and you have no power to get to work 30 miles away on a freezing winter day? That will be a good conversation with the boss…… What if you live in a terrace house with on street parking? How do you charge it? towing? i don’t think so….. The reality is the market for EV’s is simply not developing as predicted by the tree hugging yoghurt knitters because car drivers want convenience. The only electric vehicle for me is a range extender and even then the typical mpg of an Ampera or Prius is still bettered by my 62mpg 8 year old 127k mile Audi A2 TDi…… and I have yet to see a hybrid/range extender capable of towing a caravan.

  39. My Commute (lol) is 4 miles round trip , I could use one of these all week and charge it at weekends! If Berwick Borough Housing put a charge point in my rented lock up then maybe I would have one.

  40. According to my neighbour it is easily possible to do a longer trip, and do a steath charge at the services. an hours fast charge gets about a 100 mile range.

    My brother managed to get through a tank of liquid gold (petrol) in a loaded rangie V8 in 240 miles….so maybe the range is not so silly!!

    My cars range is 550-650 miles which suits me to a T

  41. I can see the reasoning behind electric cars, but the poor range and lack of charging points must count against them. I think hybrids are the way forward and Nissan must look at the massive success Toyota have had with the Prius and should maybe consider a hybrid Leaf.

  42. OK you lot – I give up. You’re all doing my brain in now with this economical environmental crusade. Be off with you and enjoy!
    I’ll stick to me 6 pots in a 250bhp Italian doing a creditable 26mpg. You can all be green and save loads of money but you ain’t never going to get the enjoyment I get. I paid about eight grand for a 2002 GTV 2 years ago and like all my Alfas before it, it has proved utterly reliable and Alfaholics are great crowd!
    I would struggle wearing sandals, reading the Guardian and having green chats with my chums anyway.
    Now you go steady with that throttle pedal and remember the partially sighted can’t hear you coming – toot toot, toot toot.

  43. I wa impressed with the Leaf when I tried one a few years back. For most people range is just not an issue as most people live close to work etc. Once you get over the range anxiety it’s actually quite good. The acceleration on an electric car is fab!

    Would I buy one? No, it’s too expensive and does not meet my needs for range. Would I buy a range extended model such as the Volt/Ampera? No, because I don;t like the way it drives.

  44. It doesnt matter which way you try to cut it, the energy density of the battery is way less than petrol or diesel, so the range is very short. And don’t kid yourself, the range is reduced by 50% in winter when you want some heat in the car, and anyway a range of 120 miles means you cannot move at that mileage, so the effective range is a lot less. Nobody seems to mention the lengthy recharge times either. OK for a person living in a town who never wants to go anywhere else.

    And how much CO2 and other stuff is emitted to make the batteries ?

  45. My wife currently has an Audi A3 which has a list price of £26k in the spec its in, it gets used for her commute to London 3 days a week at about 65 miles round trip and the odd trip local or to the shopping centre, all under 100 miles. If it wasn’t so ugly I’d consider buying one as our second car, it sounds ideal, I have a company Avensis for long journeys which works out cheaper per mile than the diesel Audi anyway at my private mileage costs. But we always lease our private car, so until it becomes a good lease deal its not for me, I can’t many people actually paying out for one, but if the lease price is good, then I think they will shift a few.

    I have only ever seen one on the road and that was on the Motorway around Manchester.

  46. The UK has a long history of electric commercial vehicles in cities – mainly for milk delivery. I think the best use of pure electrics will be for small to medium commercials in urban areas that only operate in limited ranges of distance (>50 miles a day, with overnight charging) at slow (under 30 MPH) speed. UPS, FedEx, Post Office (package/mail pickup and delivery), repair tradespersons, retail delivery (florists, food catering) and other trades.
    With pure electrics, how do demisters and heaters work on cold days?

  47. Regardless of the how practical or not an Electric car may appear to be the fact is they have sold 55000 Leaf’s to date. Clearly they must be making money doing it or they wouldnt have a business case to expand production in the UK. Like the Princess, its probably not the car for Mr Average. However, it will have a market in urban areas as say a pool car for local authorities, health trusts, utility companies etc.

  48. The fact (as pointed out by Jonathan Carling) that this product is only ‘sustainable’ as a result of £10’s of millions of subsidy (I won’t call it government money as currently there is no such thing as government money, only national debt) tells you all you need to know.

    Actually, the figure is much greater as the £10 million is just the RDA grant for one production facility and doesn’t cover the reduced tax rates (again, more contribution to the national debt).

    The point was made to me once that there has to be an incentive to develop so-called ‘green’ technologies and currently (if you were to compare product development to computers) we are at the ‘Sinclair Spectrum’ level of technology, so 30 years of R+D could improve the product to ubiquitous state. The argument was convincing, but IT development kicked off as a result of two developments that drastically reduced the cost of manufacture – solid state circuitry and integrated circuits.

    Green technology has had half a decade of money thrown at it and those in the know are well aware that the physics won’t change and improvements are always going to be incremental and tiny compared to the investment.

    Electric vehicles are an expensive dead-end as all they do is hide the energy source, which remains the true issue.

  49. Even if the upfront cost and the range of cars like this were dealt with successfully, for me (and many thousands of others) no-one has addressed how on earth you charge an electric car if you only have on-street parking… An extension lead trailed across the pavement?

    Their role seems suited (as mentioned above) to local government, utilities, urban based companies etc, where range isn’t an issue and existing depots can easily be used for charging vehicles.

  50. I’d be very interested to see waht the “cradle to grave” Co2 emissions are for a Leaf versas a Quasqui. Nissian wuold need to calculate the all the manuafacturing CO2 costs, and the end of life diposal for a true comparison.

  51. #53 Interestingly, a Classic Car magazine (and I honestly can’t remember which one but it was about 10 years ago) actually worked out the C0 2 and some other related data of buying an immediate post war car – using it every day clocking up 10,000 miles a year for something like 50 years – compared with buying 25 new cars and running them in the same period.
    It was a no-brainer environmentally – a 1950’s car would never deposit anywhere near the amount of emissions into the atmosphere just by virtue of it’s engine being ‘old technology’ – as the production of 25 ( or even 4 was suggested) new cars. As I remember it, the conclusion was that pollution (in any form) generated by the older car ewould be 10-15% of that required to build and run 25 new ones.
    Clearly the impracticality of most people doing this would preclude it as a rational idea – but it does put the whole thing in perspective.
    As with all ideology there are hidden downsides – such as the thousands of man hours and livelihoods required to build the 25 new cars!!!

  52. Whether electric or hybrid cars are green or pseudo green, whether they are cost-effective or not, one factor limits their appeal at present: manufacturers tend to make only one model in one spec.

    The LEAF, the Prius or the Ampera by their size, shape and trim level won’t suit everyone, but nor would a mid-spec, mid-power, diesel Focus five door.

    When we see a wider choice of sizes, specs, performance levels and above all prices, more buyers will be tempted.

  53. I still think CO2 is a red herring, given importance for tax purposes.

    However, I do support the innovation of electric / hydrogen cars, and the ‘alternative’ fuelled power stations to support them (eg. Throium Nuclear power) as the existing oil reserves are running low, and oil has gotten to the price point where the previously unprofitable reserves are starting to be exploited.
    Once these run out, however, it’ll be game over.

  54. Work is a 90 mile round trip. unplug car from the mains. Drive to work. Plug in car at work. Finish work. Unplug car from the mains then drive home. Plug car into mains.

    The very fact that most workplaces that offer charging facilities will allow you to do this for free adds to the savings.

    personally, I would like a Mondeo sized car though. And SAE-ISO standard removable batteries. From a battery station. That would make it more convenient for everyone and not tie them to one manufacturer.

  55. @Eezee

    The Renault Fluence is close to Laguna size, it is a big fleet seller in Ireland in diesel form.

    The batteries are Renault standard, as can be swapped out if they ever rolled out their ‘better place’ project.

  56. If you have a photovoltaic array (solar panels), “fuel” can be free in fine weather.

    Even off mains electricity, it’s quarter price.

  57. Modern vehicles (like the new RR and RR Sport) use more aluminium to make them lighter, use less fuel etc

    On the other hand, aluminium needs more electricity to make than steel, so some of the gain is lost in the manufacturing process!

  58. Aye,we can be smug doing our bit for the enviroment here, but those rare earth metals have to be mined somewhere,with millions of gallons of toxic by-products festering in open pools,with those toxins going god knows where.
    The enviroment believers are chasing a false god.
    It says littlewoods on sides of buses too!

  59. The trouble is, like it or not, the internal combustion engine is doomed, and there needs to be an alternative power source found soon.

  60. Having just returned from three fabulous days at the Essen show (should need no introduction to the petrol heads on this site) I certainly hope your wrong Yorkie – at least for a long long time.
    If your’e right we’ll have to go from:
    “What do you think Dave – number three SU is coughing slightly at 2,500 wouldn’t you say?”
    “Yes, I think your right Bill – keep blipping the throttle it might clear”
    This conversation accompanied of course by the tantalising aroma of beautifully noxious exhaust fumes from a 1960’s straight six that sizzles and purrs with heat, passion, soul and spirit.
    In the future of course we’ll have:
    “Was that wining sound louder than normal as we arrived Dave?
    “No”
    “Oh. Good.”
    God help us all.
    Forget the elastic trickery nonsense and concentrate every effort, every penny and every minute in finding fuels that will still give life to a proper breathing engine.
    Yes I know – I’m a Dinasore and proud of it. That spelling doesn’t look right but the gizmo hasn’t corrected me……….

  61. They have been saying the internal combustion engine is doomed since the otto cycle was devised,as far back as 1976 we had to find something else and we end up with an electric Datsun.
    For decade upon decade the one thing that has never changed about the internal combustion engine is how inefficient it still is all the energy that is wasted via heat-even to this day the engine is not much higher than 35% efficient in terms of utilising the full potential of the fuel used and converted into energy.
    And all the time we are told fuel is finite and is running out,again they said in 76 there was not much more than 20 years of oil left,who knows.Perhaps they could invent an engine that runs on our own shit? or just reintroduce the CVH!
    One thing for sure, the leaf isnt the future,and 55,000 units sold worldwide-how many billion inhabit earth?

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