Hazardous levels of pollution have caused authorities in Paris to enact its first car ban since 1997.
The French capital will ban all vehicles on alternate odd and even license plates today and tomorrow in an effort to reduce the output of polluting particles in the air, following a run of warm, windless days that have trapped pollution in the city.
However, drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles will be exempt from the restrictions, reports The Independent, as are taxis, buses, emergency vehicles and cars carrying three or more people.
All French license plates end in a two-digit number. This number will be used to determine which cars are allowed through the city each day–a similar system has previously been used in China to curb its own pollution problems.
As pollution levels climb above 80 micrograms of particulates per cubic meter, Parisian pollution problems are being blamed on the high number of diesel vehicles on French roads.
In the 1960s, the French government and industry made the decision to move to diesel, which was deemed less polluting than gasoline at the time.
As a result, the country taxed it less heavily than gasoline, and the major French automakers turned their attention to producing diesel engines.
Unfortunately, this has since proven an unwise move. Until the latest generation of diesels, equipped as they are with particulate filters, urea injection and other emissions-scrubbing systems, diesel emissions have been much more harmful than their gasoline counterparts.
High levels of particulate matter are blamed for various respiratory diseases, while higher oxides of nitrogen are a primary cause of smog.
Fear of voter reprisal has seen successive governments shy away from increasing diesel taxes, as two thirds of cars on French roads use the fuel.
Paris previously raised the idea of banning classic vehicles from the city’s roads as a way of reducing levels of pollution.
Such a ban would remove some of France’s most iconic vehicles from the capital’s streets, and angered classic car fans–whose vehicles make up only three percent of traffic in the city.
And in 2010, Paris trialed a ban of gas-guzzling SUVs, hoping to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas outputs.
The latest ban is sure to be unpopular with the city’s residents, though some bus and underground services are offering free transit for the days of the ban, in an effort to help keep cars off the road.
But as traffic levels increase, the French capital’s ban on polluting vehicles is unlikely to be its last–and could be adopted by other cities facing similar challenges in future.
At the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, Tesla Motors revealed the next phase of its European expansion plans, which center on the installation of more Supercharger DC fast-charging stations and opening many more service centers.
Tesla will install more Supercharger stations to fulfill CEO Elon Musk’s promise–made last month during a Q&A session with European customers–that drivers will be able to travel “almost anywhere” in Europe using only Superchargers, by the end of the year.
The company did not release details on how many charging stations it planned to build, or where they would be located.
In addition, Tesla plans to add at least 30 new stores and service centers across Europe.
The company is undertaking this expansion in hopes that Europe will become one of its largest markets, along with North America and China.
By the end of 2014, the company says it expects to be selling almost twice as many cars in Europe and Asia combined as it does in North America.
Much of that growth is expected to come from the U.K., where a right-hand drive Model S electric car will soon be available for delivery..
The Model S has already proven popular in electric-car friendly Norway, where it was the best-selling new car in the entire country in September 2013 and remains among the most popular models.
Tesla currently ships cars to Europe for final assembly and distribution from a facility in Tilburg, Netherlands.
The Cadillac ELR is no underdog. Really, it’s in a class of one. That class is a range-extender luxury coupe, and one that costs $76,000 at that.
The ELR was previewed by the Converj concept of a few years ago and there have been a few changes. The super narrow headlights have been replaced with wider units while the exaggerated taillights seem to carry over. The ELR powertrain is based on the Volt architecture, so that means you have a battery good for about 40 miles and a gasoline range extender. That means a 300 mile point-to-point journey will happen before all the moving juice is depleted. Take a look. It could only be in America.
The ad for it called “Poolside” features Neal McDonough – the pride of Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood who once played Nicolette Sheridan’s creepy husband onDesperate Housewives – as the typical electric car buyer. Well, the typical Palo Alto electric car buyer with a $3.5 million home. And he’s apparently all about hard work.
“Other countries, they work, they stroll home, they stop by the cafe. They take August off. Off.
We’re crazy, driven hard-working believers. Those other countries think we’re nuts. Whatever.”
They think we’re nuts for other reasons. But hey, they can go eat sheep pancreas, I’ll add more cheese to things and we’ll call it even.
Neal, unfortunately, compares the ELR to Les Paul, Microsoft, landing on the moon and so on. That’s going too far. It’s all so smug-feeling. Smug in a way that makes you feel gross after watching the whole 60-second spot.
Not surprisingly, this ad was on Friday night between the coverage of the Opening Ceremonies for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. There was less flag waving when the U.S. team walked out than in this ad.
Electric vehicles in Norway now account for 12% of new car sales. How can this be?
According to Opplysningsrådet for Veitrafikken, the Norwegian information council for road traffic, 12,079 cars were registered in November. Of those, 1,434 featured electric drive–almost 12 percent of the new car total. Most other countries struggle with sub one percent of EV sales.
As mentioned recently the Tesla Model S was Norway’s highest-selling car in September, with 616 units and an impressive 5.1 percent share of the market overall. Last month, reports Reuters, Nissan’s Leaf headed the car sales table, with 716 units–more than the Volkswagen Golf, at 646 cars. It took a 5.6 percent share of the market in October.
Norway’s electric car sales share was 8.6 percent of the market in September and 7.2 percent in October–with Leafs and Model S making up the majority of those sales.
Last month, reveals Best Selling Cars Blog, Tesla’s Model S once again scored highly, sitting in second spot with 527 sales. The Leaf has moved down to fifth with 512 units, while topping the chart is the ubiquitous VW Golf at 666.
November marks quite a jump then, and EVs now outsell hybrids in the country–with 849 units, hybrids accounted for an 8.9 percent share last month, and sales are 57 percent higher than they were last year.
That’s probably why Norway’s average CO2 output for new cars is dropping rapidly, averaging just 113 grams per kilometer of the greenhouse gas. For some perspective, that CO2 figure is barely more than the average small-engined subcompact car produces in European testing–and the high proportion of electric and hybrid vehicles has undoubtedly played a part.
There’s a very good reason electric cars are selling well in Norway of course–as well as providing a comprehensive recharging infrastructure and lavishing the cars with tax incentives and other benefits, EVs also avoid the heavy taxes applied to regular vehicles in the country.
This means a car like the Nissan Leaf costs no more than the equivalent Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus.
And while Norway is a large, elongated country most of its habitable areas are located within short distance of Oslo. This means vehicles rarely embark upon long journeys, perfect for electric vehicle adoption.
In the greater scheme of things, 1,434 cars in November–or even the country’s total 12,000 vehicles–is a fairly small figure. In October, over 1.2 million vehicles were sold in the U.S.–a hundred times more than in Norway. But it’s proof that given the right market conditions, electric cars really can work very well indeed.
How do they do it in Norway? The answer is of course the old carrot and stick with Tax and incentives.
The country’s various subsidies for electric vehicles amount to as much as $8,200 per car–every single year.
That’s partly down to Norway’s heavy taxation, which sees the prices of regular cars pushed significantly higher than they are elsewhere. A basic Volkswagen Golf, that costs the equivalent of $24,600 in the United Kingdom, can cost $42,000 in Norway.
While a Nissan Leaf is still cheaper in the UK than it is in Norway, at $35,500, in comparison to that same VW Golf, the price looks much more attractive–$42,500.
You can bet Nissan Leafs would sell quicker in the U.S. if they cost only $500 more than an equivalent gasoline car, that’s for sure.
The tax breaks on purchase amount to around $1,400 per year over a car’s lifetime, according to a study by Statistics Norway analyst Bjart Holtsmark. To this, the average driver can add $1,400 in road toll savings, free parking worth $5,000 and avoid other charges of around $400. All those figures are per year savings.
In addition, electric car drivers can save time as well as money–as they’re allowed to use the country’s bus lanes, denied to normal traffic.
These incentives will run until 2017, when the scheme will be reviewed.
Nissan UK have just released the details for the updated Leaf:
We have known the US specifications and pricing for some time and now we have ours.
As well as updating the Leaf is terms of looks and specifications Nissan have also updated the way you can purchase a Leaf. There are now three models: Leaf Visia, Acenta and Tekna with an outright ownership or purchase prices of £21K, £23,500 and £25,500 or you can now select Leaf Flex where you own the car and lease the battery pack: These prices in turn are £16K, £18,500 and £20,500 with a £70 per month leaf battery lease cost.
We welcome the increase in options that Nissan have dreamt up as this will allow more customers to take advantage of the all-electric Leaf.
If you regard the monthly battery fee of £70 as a fuel cost which is about the same as filling the tank on any car in the UK then you can regard this as a running cost rather than a capital charge. This is reasonably smart thinking.
The 2013 Leaf offers:
INNOVATION DESIGNED FOR EXCITEMENT
Nissan’s innovative customer focused approach has resulted in over 100 fascinating new features for the Nissan LEAF, including an updated Carwings system, and even a warranty plan for lithium-ion batteries. Other enhancements include an increased boot capacity, an improved front charging port area, better i-Key features and an improved overall comfort level.
THE NEW LEAF: MAKING THE BEST, BETTER
Remote access to the front charging port, introduction of an LED light within the charging port area, increased boot space, much improved comfort and the availability of the New Nissan LEAF in not one, but 3 versions – all as a result of customer feedback.
A SMOOTH, COMFORTABLE DRIVE
QUIET, REFINED AND MORE RELAXED
The New Nissan LEAF’s improved chassis, adapted by Research and Development for the European market, makes for better handling resulting in more fun and excitement at the wheel. Improvements in performance and power have meant greater choice in terms of the size of vehicle, whereas previously electric cars were tiny, funny looking cars, now they come in all shapes and sizes up to attractive family sized cars. Power steering, air conditioning and all the comforting luxuries you’re used to are all included, plus a few new ones. Your smart phone and laptop can communicate with your LEAF so you can check out charging points on your route, start the cabin heating or cooling so it’s comfortable as soon as you get in. There’s no exhaust pipe and nasty fumes to inhale when you walk into the garage either, that is something to make a noise about.
Electric vehicle performance
Dynamic acceleration and motorway speeds from an electric car
Since the first generation of electric vehicles many years ago, technology, design and efficiency have improved beyond recognition. No longer a slow, unresponsive drive – electric cars like the Nissan LEAF are now a viable, attractive option for all kinds of driver. More and more of the world’s major car manufacturers now have, or are planning to introduce an electric vehicle to their range, maximising Government incentives to make them an affordable choice. Electric vehicles now offer dynamic acceleration, improved torque and motorway speeds that deliver comparable driving experience and comfort to petrol and diesel vehicles, only quieter, cheaper and with significantly less impact on the environment. All the fun – none of the fumes.
THE NEW NISSAN LEAF AND TECHNOLOGY
Hidden within the three available models are surprising technological innovations waiting to be discovered.
Easy to use technology
TECHNOLOGY THAT’S SOPHISTICATED BUT FRIENDLY
The new Nissan Carwings system enables you to control the heating and charging of your Nissan LEAF remotely and also logs information on charging, usage patterns and distance driven.
Bose speakers and subwoofer
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO LISTEN TO?
With BOSE Energy Efficient Series sound system installed within its plush exteriors the new LEAF is equipped to please. Want subwoofer bottom end? You can have it. So no matter what’s playing, the New Nissan LEAF will ensure you enjoy the music to the full.
B-MODE ADDITIONAL DRIVE
B-mode is a new additional drive mode that complements Normal and Eco drive modes. It allows you to engage in regenerative braking while decelerating and maximise energy recovery. It’s particularly effective whilst going downhill.
EASY PARKING AND MORE SAFETY
The New Nissan LEAF comes with an Around View Monitor (AVM) that helps you to park precisely. A network of cameras helps that you see the vehicle’s 360° surroundings as from above. The result: perfect parking every time.
Nissan Leaf charging:
All about charging
Most Nissan LEAF owners recharge their cars at home. The 6.6kW charger option lets you charge your Nissan LEAF at home in just 4 hours using a 32A Home Charging Unit. The dashboard LEDs indicate the status of charging. Charging port illumination is standard on all grades, the Nissan LEAF Visia, Acenta and Tekna. To stop charging the lithium-ion battery your Nissan LEAF, simply unplug the cable.
You can find below detailed information on the various ways to recharge the lithium-ion battery of your Nissan LEAF.
The Nissan LEAF lithium ion battery
Nissan LEAF’s battery has the ability to retain the maximum possible charge capacity even after multiple charges.
Resulting from 20 years of experience and investment, Nissan LEAF’s lithium ion battery is compact, powerful, safe and durable.They are located under the car; in other words, that means you have more room in the boot and the cabin while still enjoying a long-range (up to 124 miles on a single charge) and speeds up to 90mph. And true to Nissan LEAF’s minimal environmental impact, the lithium-ion battery is also more than 95% recyclable.
EXTENDING YOUR PEACE OF MIND
NISSAN LEAF OWNERS TO RECEIVE A BATTERY WARRANTY EXTENTION
Nissan is so confident in their revolutionary lithium–ion battery that we are expanding your warranty for all European owners retrospectively. Now, all Nissan LEAF drivers will be covered if the battery range goes below 9 out of the 12 bars displayed on your dashboard, over a period of 5 years or 60,000 miles. That means a guaranteed high performance!
STANDARD ELECTRIC CAR CHARGING WITH THE NISSAN EVSE CABLE
Your Nissan LEAF comes with a 6 metre long cable* allowing you to recharge your battery using a standard household outlet** in about 10 hours. The cable can also be used on some public charging stations throughout the UK.
The recommended method of home charging is via a Home Charging Unit installed by Nissan’s Electro-mobility partner, British Gas. The unit will be installed on a dedicated 16A or 32A circuit ensuring total safety and peace of mind.
Lord Drayson and Drayson Racing set a brand new world electric land speed record for a lightweight electric car at RAF Elvington late on Tuesday evening after reaching an official top speed of 204.185mph.
The former science minister and winning race driver set the new record after averaging the top speed over two measured-mile runs. The run was watched by a number of special guests – including Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt.
The record-breaking run was conducted late in the day as the sun started to set: there was no margin for error. Lord Drayson spoke on Sky News between his two timed runs, after setting a 203.75mph top speed in the first attempt: the pressure was on to turn around the car within the hour but the team made it – and went even faster, with a following wind.
In order to qualify for an attempt on the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile’s (FIA) world electric land speed record it had to make its vehicle weigh less than 1,000kg (2,204lb) without the driver.
To do this it adapted a Le Mans Series car it had previously designed which originally had a bio-ethanol fuel engine and replaced the part with a lightweight 20 kilowatt hour battery offering 850 horsepower.
It also adapted the vehicle’s chassis, which is made out of recycled carbon fibre, to minimise air friction.
“What it, I hope, shows to people is just what the future potential of electric cars is,” Lord Drayson told the BBC shortly after his record-breaking time was confirmed.
“Obviously this is a very special racing car, but by setting this new world record here in Britain we say two things.
“One it is a pointer to the future – the technology that we developed for this car will filter down to the cars we use every day.
“And secondly it’s a message about how here in the UK we’re a world leader with this technology. We’ve led motorsport engineering, now we’re also leading with electric motorsport engineering.”
Google’s Eric Schmidt spent time with the Drayson Racing team ahead of its record-setting run
“Google has a very active R&D programme with regard to electric vehicle technology so it’s great that one of the world’s leading technology companies came to our event today,” Lord Drayson added.
“It was lovely meeting him.”
Drayson Racing’s attention will now switch to the launch of the FIA’s Formula E championship, which is due to begin in September next year.
London will host the first electric car race. Rome, Miami, Beijing and Rio de Janeiro are among the other seven locations.
A different vehicle – similar to a Formula One machine – is being developed for the firm by Singapore’s Spark and Surrey-based McLaren for the first year of the competition.
However, Drayson Racing plans to build its own machine for the 2015 competition using some of the same components used in its record breaking Lola B12 69/EV.
One analyst said such such efforts were an excellent way to promote electric cars, but questioned how many of the technologies being developed would actually find their way onto the road.
The US journal Consumer Reports just published its review of the 2013 Tesla Model S, and it gave the electric car a 99 out of 100 — higher than any other car it has tested.
The independent, consumer-oriented magazine called the Model S “truly a remarkable car,” despite its high price tag (it tested the version with the largest available battery, for $89,650) and the range limitations that make it impractical for spontaneous long trips.
Tesla is having an exceptionally good week. On Wednesday May 8, it announced its first ever profitable quarter, sending the stock up 27% since then.
The company now expects to deliver 21,000 cars in 2013, up from a previous goal of 20,000.
In its review, Consumer Reports wrote that the Tesla S became the top-scoring car “even though it’s an electric car. In fact, it does so because it is electric.”
According to editor Matt Hardigree, the car’s score was originally a 110 out of 100. He wrote:
I spoke with CR‘s Jake Fisher who explained to me that the car actually scored 110 out of a 100-point scale, but that because of the limitations still inherent in owning an electric car (range, access to charging) they regularly subtract about 10% from a car’s score.
The Model S review praised the car’s balance, handling, comfort, roominess, and control system, while noting visibility, early technical problems, and high price as demerits.
Here’s part of the review’s summary:
The Tesla Model S takes everything you know about cars and stands it on its head. It’s a very agile, super-quick electric luxury sedan (with a hatchback!) that seats seven and gets the equivalent of 84 mpg. Got your attention yet?
The magazine has not always been so kind to EVs. In January, it slammed the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, calling it “a glorified golf cart of limited use.” Which compared to the Tesla it is.
Read the full review at Consumer Reports (requires a subscription).
Tesla motors on what is not an April fool joke said it expects to report a first-quarter profit on both a net and adjusted basis following sstronger-than-expected sales of its Model S.
Nissan UK has started production of the new face lifted Leaf EV in its Sunderland factory. It follows a four-year investment in the factory and a new battery plant costing £420m.
The decision to produce the Nissan Leaf in Britain has created 2,000 new jobs, 500 of them directly with Nissan. This raises the total staff number to 6,100 at Sunderland. It has been backed by the UK Government with Prime Minister David Cameron commenting that the arrival of the LEAF in the UK shows that the car industry here is competing with the world.
“The Government has committed £400 million to make the UK a leading market for ultra-low carbon vehicles . Nissan’s announcement shows the confidence the company has in the skills-base and the business environment in the UK and that the UK is open for business.”
Nissan’s executive vice president, Andy Palmer said “The Leaf is our most technically advanced car yet and the launch of this new model, built along with its batteries in Sunderland, is a huge boost not only for the plant but for British manufacturing”.
Visiting the new production facility, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Nissan’s record breaking year last year is a success story for UK volume car manufacturing and demonstrates how our automotive industry is thriving in the global race”.
Nissan’s second-generation Leaf incorporates hundreds of small improvements over the original Leaf. The car’s range is increased to 124 miles from 109, and the battery can be recharged in half the time. A series of suspension changes aim to improve the Leaf’s composure on European roads whilst the introduction of an entry-level Visia trim will bring the price close to £20,000 with a Government grant.
There are now 55,000 Leafs on the world’s roads, being produced at three factories; Sunderland, Smyrna in America and Oppama, Japan.
It is just the start for Nissan too: it will soon introduce an all-electric version of the NV200, known as the e-NV200; as well as an Infiniti electric vehicle which is expected by 2015. Nissan also shares EV technology with Renault, it sister company which has a growing range of EV cars.
In the last 12 months, the number of Nissan dealers selling the LEAF have increased from just 200 to 1,400: while charging points for electric cars have grown from 12,000 to more than 20,000.
It is just the start for Nissan too: it will soon introduce an all-electric version of the NV200, known as the e-NV200; as well as an Infiniti electric vehicle which is expected by 2015.