Overall, I’m still happy with my Nissan Leaf which I bought in 2018. It has the 40 kWh battery and for most of my journeys is just perfect. During this time there have been a couple of journeys where I have suffered range anxiety. I did a trip to Arles in France to see an exhibition of Vincent van Gogh’s work projected into a quarry. I didn’t run out of electrons during the trip, but I did have to change my journey to take account of the smaller battery. At the end of the journey I wished I’d stayed for an extra day so I could have left on the Monday morning with a full battery. The Nissan dealership just around the corner from the hotel where I was staying wasn’t open on Sundays. The other rapid charger in the town didn’t seem to want to work for me. I could have had a more relaxed journey home when starting with a full battery. It would have even been nice if I could have charged while at the hotel. Next time I’ll look for a hotel with charging facilities for electric cars.
I've Gone Slightly over to the Dark Side
After taking a trip to Dubai and going for motorcycle rides with my sons, I got the need for a motorcycle. Of course I looked at the availability of electric motorcycles, but nothing fitted the bill. The only two electric motorcycles anywhere near my requirements were either €10,000 or €20,000 more than I was halfway close to being prepared to pay. In the end I bought a Honda NC750S which at least does have the advantage of being frugal with the dinosaur juice. It’s been a little bit strange to visit petrol stations after two years of not doing so. Because of having so much fun riding a motorcycle during the summertime I’ve used it for my trips to work more than I’ve used the car. I’ve missed having the car with me. It’s good to use as my island of peace for my lunch break. I missed having a place to escape which was air-conditioned and free from mosquitoes. I still preferred to ride my motorbike just for the fun of it. I would have a Harley-Davidson Livewire motorcycle in a heartbeat if I had four times the money had paid for the Honda available to me. The Zero Motorcycles are also phenomenal, but still not up to the range requirements. I couldn’t justify buying a motorcycle for €22,000 which didn’t measure up to the €8000 internal combustion engine option. I’d like to think in a couple of years time I could consider an electric bike from a range of possibilities. At the moment I don’t think is very likely due to the size of motorcycles compared to cars. There’s just not enough space to put a decent sized battery. Batteries are getting more energy dense, but it’s a least five years before anything good happens with any motorcycles. It just doesn’t make sense to have a motorcycle which weighs so much and gives so little. The other problem to overcome with motorcycles is the lack of aerodynamics.
What about My EV Future
I bought my Nissan Leaf outright with cash and I always planned to get as many years out of it as possible. I’d like to get 10 years of use from the car. Over that time the range will become less. There will also be new electric vehicles becoming available which will be better in many different ways. There will be cars with more range. Indeed, there are already cars with better range in just the short time I’ve owned the Leaf. There will be other improvements such as faster charging. Rather than buying a complete new car I’m thinking along the lines of improving the one I have. There’s a company in Netherlands which which fits extended battery packs to Nissan Leaf vehicles. I believe they also do an exchange of batteries and I could fit the 62 kWh Leaf battery to my car. I could even upgrade to the 62 kWh battery and still add an extended battery pack. That would give me a huge range for my car. Much more than I would need. I also do an update to the charging facilities. I could get three phase charging which could give me up to 22 kW charging. This would take the car halfway towards the rate of charge I get with DC charging at the moment. These options are definitely worth considering.
The Change to Electric Vehicles Is Not Fast Enough
When I see brand new petrol powered cars on the roads I feel disappointed. There are not enough reasonably priced electric vehicles for the ordinary buyers yet. The government in Spain are not doing enough to encourage people to buy electric vehicles. There is a grant available, but it’s difficult to get your hands on it. The Spanish government are also not being proactive enough in putting out the rapid chargers around the country. I still think it’s too difficult to use many of the charging facilities available. There are lots of free chargers to use around Barcelona for example, but you need the RFID card to use them. I think they will get more use if you could pay to use them with a credit card. I like them being free now, but that’s one of the things that’s holding back the implementation of good EV infrastructure in the country.
New Models of EV Coming to Market
It’s good to note there are many more electric vehicles available for consumers. The new electric vehicles from Volkswagen are being noticed by the general public. I was pleased to see on one of the large advertising boards at the side of the road an advertisement for the ID3. This was in the small town in which I live. I’m sure there are many more of these ads all around the country. Volkswagen are trying to get past their Diesel-Gate debacle. It would be good to see other major car manufacturers get on board with the change to EV.
EV Myths Still Abound
When talking to ordinary folk about electric cars they still think you have to have a car which will do 500 km on one charge. But don’t realise you can start every day with a full battery by charging overnight. Most days of the year you won’t need to use half of what you can charge to during that overnight charge. When you go on a longer trip the time it takes to charge a battery to continue on your journey is only about as much time as you need to get something to eat. Even when you have a quick stop you can plug-in for 15 to 20 minutes and that could be all you would need for your journey. People are starting to realise that the electric vehicle is the future, but there needs to be more encouragement. The government should put higher taxes on petrol and diesel vehicles, especially the diesel. There needs to be better incentives which are easier to get to by electric vehicles. Something like the interest-free loans you can get in Scotland would be nice.
Tesla's Battery Day
The highlights of the battery day presented by Elon musk gives hope for the future. He’s promising a car which would be in the region of $25,000 and this really could be a car for the masses. He did promise a Model 3 in the region of $35,000 and we’ve yet to see that. He doesn’t really need to bring the price of the Tesla Model 3 down when he selling so many of them at €50,000. The long term prospects look good though. More non premium EV vehicles will become available over time. The battery technology will improve and the economies of scale will come into play also.