Nissan is celebrating record sales of the LEAF in September 2014, with 851 sold – a total of 2969 this year so far. Small potatoes for sure when it comes to mainstream manufacture, but more than Citroen managed to sell XMs here for all but three years of that car’s life. The LEAF’s sales are 156% higher than the same month last year. Are electric vehicles now being taken seriously?
Paul O’Neill, EV Manager, Nissan Motor GB Limited said: “Sales of the all-electric Nissan LEAF continue to go from strength to strength and it’s no surprise that the vehicle that pioneered the EV sector in the UK continues to blaze the trail for the rest of its class.”
“September’s result gives us a clear indication that motorists are beginning to recognise that switching to a Nissan LEAF is not a compromise but an opportunity.”
I have to echo those sentiments. While there is still some range anxiety, especially where I live in rural Wales, the LEAF is a car that really does feel like a proper car – not some knocked-together-in-a-shed conversion job. It’s spacious, powerful, supremely comfortable and all of the technology works really well.
Yet electric vehicles are still ignored by a lot of motorists and enthusiasts. They’re still seen as a thing for environmentalists to pootle about in, feeling all self-righteous. The myth is maintained that if you’re a proper petrolhead, electric vehicles are of no interest.
This simply is not true, as I’ve discovered myself. That test was almost a year ago now, yet I’m still thrilled by the idea of electric. Worse than that – I find that driving internal combustion engine (ICE) cars leaves me feeling just how wasteful they are! Remember that an electric motor is much more efficient – so 80% of the energy you hurl into it via a 13amp plug results in you moving down the road. Petrol engines may be increasingly efficient these days, but they still struggle to get 25% efficiency for every lump of energy you put into one. It isn’t just the case that every £1 of fuel contains lots of tax, most of it is actually used to keep the radiator warm, so it just lost as heat to the atmosphere. Traffic jams result in you burning loads of fuel for very little movement. An electric car burns very little in such conditions.
I know zero-emissions depends entirely on where the electricity came from, but even here it is thought that even an electric car powered by a coal-burning power station results in less carbon emissions than a car – after all, getting oil, turning it into petrol and transporting it halfway around the world is not very environmentally friendly either.
The buzz of electric isn’t going away for me, and it seems that’s also increasingly true for the general public. Bring it on.