On a recent Discovery program Wayne Cerini (he of Chasing Classic Cars), drove a 1912 Rausch and Lang Electric Car. This beautiful oldie has a range of 86 miles, Wayne told us. I am stunned. The latest Nissan Leaf electric car can hardly make 100 miles on one charge. Is this progress?
Wayne may have been exaggerating about the range, but does it matter? We have not made any inroads into electric car range, no matter how good our batteries are. This explains why the Nissan Leaf is, despite government subsidies, still a loss-making car. Some motoring journals report that the Leaf will never recover its cost due to huge depreciation in the first year. I say the car is a failure. The new Vauxhall Ampera is not strictly a fully electric car nor does it have a large petrol engine (like a petrol/electric hybrid). A type of generator kicks in once the batteries start to drain and this gives increased range. I've seen the road test and now await the results. I think a lot of customers will shun the Ampera due to its BMW-like price and its quirky set-up. Let's see.
The hybrid car is the way to the future: Most manufacturers are producing them and there's no anxiety of the type you may experience in your electric car. "Darling, the Leaf won't get us to Sheffield. What do we do now?"
These electric-only cars are duds unless you're only going to see Auntie Mabel on the other side of Sheffield.