Gareth Huw Davies

Environment Blog / Green Technology

Driving the new Nissan Leaf through the 100 miles barrier.

Nissan LEAF
Creative Commons License photo credit: kosabeMany people are not even considering the  new generation of electric cars (EVs) because of range anxiety.

This is the fear of setting off in an EV, and not making it home, or to a charging point before you grind to a halt.

Manufacturers promise a range of around 100 miles,  but is this really achievable? Until now we’ve had to take this estimate on trust, going by figures achieved in the company’s own tests.

Clearly that Is too much uncertainty for many,  the thought of driving off in the morning on a full charge effectively going no more than  40 or so miles  without having to worry that you can make it back.

Now an American motoring journalist has shown that an actual 100 miles, and more, is achievable.

Nick Chambers of drove the new Nissan Leaf (on sale in the UK from March 2011)  and proved, in his words “with unwavering certainty”, that this particular  neurosis need not kick in until,  provided you don’t imitate a boy racer,  until at least 100 miles.

Chambers  took a test car from Nissan’s US headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, and set off to drive to the Jack Daniels distillery  in Lynchburg and back.  He made it, clocking up, 116.1 miles without a recharge.

He confesses to driving between five and 10 miles an hour under the speed limit.  But he points out that the route took in a range of gradients and speeds, so he considered it  a fairly representative drive. and he had the air conditioning on the whole way.

Chambers may be the first person to push the Nissan Leaf to its limits in the real world – he used 94.9% of the 24 kwh in the battery.

His verdict: “I can tell you with unwavering certainty that the Nissan Leaf can obtain at least 100 miles of range in the real world.”

According to notes on this piece, Chambers is a driving force in the state of Washington to convince politicians to bring electric vehicle infrastructure in rural areas of the state, where electricity is three cents per kilowatts. He says electric cars can be driven in the state for half  is cent per mile on clean hydropower.

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