GOOD NEIGHBOURS: A group of 23 neighbours has all been driving Leaf electric cars and they say they’re ready to convert. Image: Nissan.
SUNDERLAND, England -The journey from being interested in electric cars to being converted to electric-car drivers is now complete for participants in a My Electric Avenue trial.
It's something that could have relevance for South Africa as, perhaps inevitably, battery-powered cars begin to catch on in major cities.
It was a project to see if local power networks could cope with charging a group - a ‘cluster’ - of electric vehicles at peak power demand times. The project is testing new technology that can control car-charging if the local electricity grid becomes overloaded.
CHEAP TO RUN
The project needed groups of at least 10 neighbours to each lease an all-electric Nissan Leaf for 18 months
Targets were exceeded: there are now more than 200 participants in the trials, each driving an all-electric Leaf. One pod in north-eastern England has 23 neighbours involved. One, a 21-year-old, loved the Leaf. Jack Hamilton said: “The Leaf is great to drive, carry five people, and is amazingly cheap to run. It’s also more interesting than the average car.
It’s now well known that the Nissan Leaf offers low running costs, but one participant of My Electric Avenue has even found a way to improve on that. Ian Finch works in the field of renewable energy and has harnessed the power of the sun to charge his Leaf.
SALES MORE THAN DOUBLED
“The electricity to charge the Nissan Leaf to cover 130-160km costs the equivalent of only R36 but I’ve managed to drive the car completely free in summer by using the solar panels on my house to power the car.
“Of course this also means that the energy to recharge the car has zero-CO2 emissions. Add in the fact that the Leaf has no exhaust emissions and surely this must be one of the most sustainable and affordable transport solutions available at this time.”
Paul O’Neill, EV Manager, Nissan Motor GB, said: “In 2014 UK sales of the Nissan Leaf more than doubled as the benefits of switching to a pure electric vehicle become more widely known. Not only does the Leaf offer motorists a driving experience that often betters its traditionally-powered rivals, it also delivers lower running costs and tangible savings."
Read more about the project at www.myelectricavenue.info.