As is always the case, I post some information on Twitter which in my stupidity I hope will answer some questions I’ve received about using electric cars.
This always results in one thing, a veritable torrent of new questions I hadn’t even considered.
I’m going to try and answer some.
Today I stopped in at Nissan’s Oxford dealership to use their fast charger. In 12 minutes this charged the Leaf with a two thirds charged battery to 100%. At home, you can use 240 volts at 13 amps. With a fast charger it’s 440 volts at 60 amps so it’s more juice more quickly.
I said that Nissan dealerships in the UK with fast charge units installed allow Leaf drivers to re-charge their cars there free, at present. They are offering this service to all Nissan leaf drivers, not just self important tossers like me.
I then posted a picture of the Leaf’s mileage estimate after I had charged it.
It said 108 miles. I should learn that I cannot explain the complexities of the Leaf’s range estimator with one picture and 140 characters.
What it’s saying is, if I continued to drive at around 15 mph, through the centre of Oxford in heavy traffic which I had just been doing, I would have been able to drive 108 miles.
The real world range of the Nissan Leaf with a fully charged battery on a warm day on average UK roads at the legal speed limit would be nearer 90 miles. If it’s very hilly, 85 miles, if you constantly break the speed limit and hammer the hell out of it, 65 miles.
If you charge the battery from utterly flat (in 18 months of electric car driving, I’ve never had an utterly flat battery) to 100%, it will cost about £2.50 in the daytime, and £1.50 at night. (off peak electricity is considerably cheaper per kilowatt hour.
I am having meters and lots of gubbins fitted at my house so I can give very accurate costs in the future, but for the time being, let’s be very generous and say £2.50, and lets be conservative on the range and say 85 miles. That’s 3p a mile.
To compare apples with oranges, the per mile cost for a similar sized petrol car, 40 mpg, is 15p a mile, for diesel, 55 mpg is 11p a mile.
I want to add that I normally charge the car at night using off peak electricity at which point the per mile cost is under 2p per mile.
Will the batteries wear out if you keep re-charging them, like they do in lap tops.
I think the answer is eventually yes, their efficiency will drop over time, but not in a week or a month, all the estimates are that they will be good for 100,000 miles. They won't suddenly stop working, but the cars reliable range will slowly reduce. As this is new technology no one truly knows for sure but as an example Nissan are running a battery re-furbishment program. They‘re not going to chuck the old one away they are going to recycle everything they can, over 90% of the battery components can be re-used.
There’s lots more questions but I’ll shut up now. More soon.