Electric cars are the future and here are three examples of ecologically orientated cars that are quite different. In common they all are completely electric but aims at different sectors of the car buying public. A cheaper runaround commuter car, a family car and a super sexy sports car. We can all save money on the cost of motoring.
- Nissan Leaf
- Tesla Model S
- Tesla Roadster
The Nissan Leaf electric car.
Nissan Leaf electric car has a lithium-ion battery pack and it’s one of the first of these types of electric vehicles to use this advanced battery technology, With this sort of battery technology you get better acceleration and a longer range than with a similar size of nickel metal hydride batteries.
When you buy a fully electric car you do have to have a routine of shorter trips. It wouldn’t be very good if you wanted to drive from one end of the country to the other, because there are not many charging points yet. I suppose they will come in time, as will using solar power to charge cars.
So if you are the sort of driver that would be buying a Leaf, it would be excellent to drive from your home to the centre of the city on a daily basis, and back home again. If you’re able to maybe even charge the car while you’re work as well, it could work very well and be ideal for you.
Nissan says that recharging at home can be done in about 4 to 8 hours with a special 220 V charger. There will be some commercial quick charge stations that will be able to do it in about 30 min. It is going to be sometime before there are any of these quick charging stations, at the moment just think about getting one of these if you’re going to be doing a regular commuter run.
It is reckoned that when fully charged the Leaf will have an effective range of about 100 miles, not as much as you would get with a normal car. This could be enough for driving in and out of work. So why worry too much about a maximum range in that case.
The maximum distance you will be able to drive will also depend upon your driving style. Also the range is dependent on the traffic conditions, cruising speed, and the battery age. The ambient temperature will also have a role to play in just how far you’re going to be able to drive on a charge.
Technical Details Of The Motor
The battery pack powers an 80 kW synchronous electric motor and puts out about 24 kWh in terms of power. Output of the motor is 107 horse power.
The batteries for the car are underneath the floor, beneath the seats and it seems that the back seat is still quite comfortable for adults to sit. The front seat has plenty of space, even for tall drivers and the seats are quite supportive and comfortable too. You can put down some of the seats and have extra storage space if you’re going carry a larger load of shopping.
Driving the Nissan Leaf
Drivers that have had a chance to drive the Nissan Leaf have reported that they are pleasantly surprised by how well the Nissan Leaf goes around corners, it is responsive and seems to be well engineered. In most ways the Nissan Leaf is a normal car to drive.
When you’re driving a Nissan Leaf it will seem a bit strange. Seeing as it’s more or less silent you’ll be kind of floating, while going places. Without the engine noises, you may notice more, that there is some wind noise. As you become used to the Nissan Leaf you will be able to relax and enjoy driving the car. There is a feeling of plenty of space within the car to feel comfortable.
Tesla Roadster and the Model S
The Roadster is totally different in concept to the Nissan Leaf as it is a sporty car aimed at the tech head speed freaks instead of the commuter guy. That is what makes it so great, that there is a strange mix of being ecological and being sporty. Certainly makes the car get noticed and then they are using the technology to make a car for the rest of us. The Roadster can do 3.7 seconds to 60 mph, 245 miles per charge, and of course zero tailpipe emissions.
The Tesla company started with a sports car, The Roadster, and now has a family car called the Model S. Both are designed from the ground up to be electric cars and they boast smooth uninterrupted acceleration. Tesla have models with three battery options to suit typical driving needs. So you can have 160, 230 or 300 miles per charge. It has the ability to recharge in 45 min. Tesla want let you get out on the road in the car as quick as possible and make it as enjoyable to drive electric.
Filled With Electronic Gadgets
The body of the Model S is made from stamped aluminium and is especially aerodynamic. Inside the car you have a 17 inch touchscreen and also have 3G connectivity. So you have access to streaming radio, GPS navigation, and all sorts of other internet information.
The Roadster has a three phase alternating current induction motor, small but very strong. The motor only weighs about 115 pounds. There is 375 volts and up to 900 amps of current which gives out 288 horse power.
There is a liquid cooled floor mounted battery pack and it has the motor coupled to a single speed gearbox above the rear axle. The simplicity of a single speed reduces weight and eliminates the need for complicated gearshifts. It doesn’t even need a reverse gear, the motor just spins in the opposite direction. The battery pack in the Tesla roadster is also a lithium-ion battery technology. It stores 50 kwh hours of energy.
A feature of the Roadster is the regenerative breaking. It is completely independent of the brake pedal and brakes and is controlled by a power electronics module. The electric drive train instantaneously switches from drive mode, to generating mode based on the throttle position. So you can be charging the car while you’re driving.
While the Model S has an aluminium based body the Tesla Roadster has carbon fibre, which has a very good strength to weight ratio and is another thing that helps makes the car go so fast.
It is a complete myth that electric cars can’t handle cold weather, Tesla have proved that it drives well in winter time as well. The mileage possible from a battery charge will be lower in cold weather though.
Despite it being a sports car the overriding purpose of Tesla is to eliminate the hydrocarbon economy and head towards a sustainable solar electric economy. So a sports car can be ecologically viable, who would have thought it.
The Downside To The Electric Cars Now
The one big downside for electric cars at the moment, especially the Tesla Roadster, is the expense of buying the car initially. As with all new technologies I expect it in time, maybe in the next five years, electric cars will be much cheaper to buy.
Are You Going To Buy An Electric Car
Electric cars and hybrid cars are the future of motoring, the motor industry are well know for the love of the petrol and diesel motors and are being dragged kicking and screaming into the world of ecological considerations. Seeing as we are now seeing eco vehicles from major manufacturers it must be ready for the mainstream. We can all lust after the Tesla Roadster, but would you opt for a regular car like the Nissan leaf for your daily travel?