Electric Vehicles Are Here, But Can They Really Compete With Conventional Cars?

Nissan Leaf. Car of the year 2011. The first 100% Electric car to win. Ever.

We believe the best way to address the problem of emissions is simply not to produce any emissions at all. So say Nissan, makers of the new Leaf.

The Nissan Leaf is a battery-powered car. But don’t let that put you off! Nissan have spent a lot of time and money on the development of this plug-in electric vehicle. It EV may have cost the company billions and it’s now going into mass production in the UK and at Nissan plants around the world.

This car already has a reputation as a purpose-designed electric car rather than a modification of an exisiting model which makes it very exciting.

Carlos Ghosn Nissan President and CEO claims the ‘Nissan Leaf (is) competitive to conventional cars in terms of safety, performance, spaciousness and handling.’

But can it give conventional established petrol and diesel cars a run for their money? Some critics think so.

Here’s some of the good things they are saying:

High top speed – they claim a top speed of 90 mph (144 kph)

A very smooth and quiet drive train

The car has excellent handling and road-holding.

Careful design means the batteries are well-hidden

Plenty of space for passengers and luggage.

Good build quality and careful attention to detail

Like all present-day electric vehicles it’s biggest downside is the range it can travel before needing to be recharged. You may be lucky to get one hundred miles on a battery-full.

But we have to start somewhere. The first internal-combustion cars had problems of reliabilty, were difficult to drive and exposed to the weather but gradually improved. Likewise drivers will most likely adapt to the electric vehicle and learn to deal with the limited range by changing their driving strategies. Technology will improve and more charging points will appear, especially in urban areas.

Will you ‘Turn over a new Leaf’? Will driving one of these vehicles actually help the environment? – it has zero tailpipe emissions – but the electricity has to be produced at a power station.

To buy or not to buy? Well it will probably not be your first car. It’s price-tag make it hard to recommend if you don’t live in an urban area. If you have the money and only short journeys to make in town this lively little Nissan could be just the car for you.