Tesla has had both the best and worst quarter in its history after it revealed it had burned through a record $745.3m in cash.The electric car company has struggled to reach profitability since its launch due to huge R&D costs and production h…
K E Y P O I N T S
The new Nissan Leaf is a fully electric car comes with a range of 235-miles.
Unlike other electric cars the Leaf feels within the realms of affordability: it starts at £21,990, compared with say BMW’s i3 which starts at around £33,000.
It also comes with something called e-Pedal. This allows ‘one pedal driving’ by braking as you release your foot off the accelerator. It is incredibly weird to start with but once you get the hang of it it genuinely changed my driving style to be more economical.
The Leaf can come with Nissan’s self-driving technology, ProPILOT, which will accelerate, brake and even steer while the car is on the motorway or in slow-moving traffic. It’s brilliant – as good as any other self-driving technology we’ve tested.
For an electric car the media system feels agonisingly dated. The screen is low resolution, slow to respond and the SatNav looks like something you’d find in Windows 95.
The interior won’t win any design awards but it is functional and there’s plenty of storage space for four.
The boot is HUGE, even with giant charging cables snaking around it.
V E R D I C T
Before Elon Musk wowed us all with the Tesla Model S there was the 2010 Nissan Leaf. It wasn’t perfect, in fact when I drove it from London to Essex it was a terrifying experience that involved religiously sticking to 55mph and keeping the AC permanently off for fear that I would run out of electricity. Oh and driving it was like sailing a bathtub through treacle.
Yet it had its charm, it cost pennies to run and for those forward-thinkers not driving epic distances everyday, it offered a way of saving money.
Almost a decade later there’s a new Nissan leaf: it now has a range of 235-miles, can be charged to 80% in just 40mins, and can drive itself even in slow-moving city centres.
Although it feels pretty good when you’re driving yourself. The steering is sharp and light while, thanks to the Leaf’s powerful electric motor, it has a seriously zippy 0-60mph. The ride is firm but not uncomfortable and actually sounds truly silent when you drive. It’s blissful. (Unless maybe you’re a cyclist or a pedestrian keeping an ear out.)
As you can see this new Nissan Leaf looks a lot better than the old one. Gone is the old design and instead this looks more like a hot hatchback than what is ostensibly a large family car.
Inside, the Leaf is slightly less wow and considerably more sensible. Too sensible in fact. Nissan appears to have completely forgotten the concept that just because something is affordable, doesn’t mean it has to be unexciting.
The interior looks and feels about as futuristic as Windows 95, which is a real shame. Considering the industry’s desire to actively move people over to electric cars, this feels like a missed opportunity.
There is half a digital screen behind the wheel which offers a glimmer of technological hope, but is actually quite confusing to navigate. And the screen in the centre console is not great. Car manufacturers who won’t use high-resolution touchscreen displays for their cars are frustrating: it’s not technically difficult, yet so many skimp on the display. The result is something that’s low-resolution and really slow to respond.
Thankfully the Leaf supports CarPlay and Android Auto so you can run both Apple and Google’s own operating system through the screen by plugging your phone in via USB. I would 100% recommend doing this.
The car’s range is well over 180-200 miles in everyday use. Thanks to fast-charging dotted around London (the fast-charging network is actually pretty good around the UK) and the fact it takes less than 7 hours to charge overnight, I never found myself worrying about range in the week I drove the Leaf.
The car’s extra driving features such as ProPILOT are also impressive – this car can essentially drive itself in traffic. It’s a fantastically lazy thing to do but if you’re someone who spends hours in traffic during rush hour, it could be a shining ray of light you’ve been waiting for. What’s as impressive is that it’s actually only a £400 extra on the Leaf’s mid-range N-Connecta model and standard on the top-of-the-range Tekna.
The e-Pedal, which turns the accelerator into a brake when you pull your foot back, feels deeply odd to begin with. But you do get used to it, and the premise is that you can do everything with one foot.
S P E C I F I C A T I O N S
- Car tested: Nissan Leaf Tekna
- Engine: 40kWh battery
- Range: 235 miles NEDC
- Top Speed: 89.5mph
- 0-60mph: 7.9 sec
- Cost: The model I drove costs £28,755 OTR
- Features: This model came with ProPILOT which gives the car partially self-driving abilities on motorways and on roads. It’s standard with the Tekna model but a £400 extra on N-Connecta.
T A K E H O M E M E S S A G E
Nissan have accomplished something special with the Leaf. Despite its uninspiring interior, after a week driving it, I’m genuinely excited for the future of electric vehicles.
Somehow Nissan has managed to create a fully-electric car that has a range of 200+ miles, great storage, the ability to self-drive in the cities and on the motorway – AND the entry-level model starts at around £21,000. For comparison, the Tesla Model S I drove to Glasgow cost over £100,000.
If Nissan can offer that value for money, then I can’t wait to see what the competition have got up their sleeves.
While we’ve heard a lot about self-driving taxis very few of us have actually seen one actually working, until now.
Over at SXSW in the US, Google’s self-driving car company Waymo has been operating a completely driverless taxi service and to prove it they’ve actually put together some footage of some of the journeys.
As you can see from the video there is no-one in the driving seat and aside from the Waymo employee that’s obliged to be there the only other occupants are the passengers.
What’s really remarkable then about the video is just how unremarkable the car makes self-driving look.
The car interacts with traffic, intersections and all the other daily obstacles that humans have to cope with and it does it without breaking a sweat.
In fact, the car is so good at driving people around that one passenger even manages to drift off:
Now to be absolutely clear, you’re not going to start seeing Waymo’s self-driving taxis filling the streets just yet. Instead this is one of those benchmark moments where a company can show us just how far it has come, and honestly, it feels like they’ve come a long way.
When you think of the word ‘muscle car’ it’s likely that the gas-guzzling icons such as the old Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro will immediately spring to mind.
While iconic, they are not environmentally friendly cars, they never have been. Buying and owning one comes with the acceptance that you are sacrificing some part of the ozone layer for your own pleasure.
Volvo however thinks it has a solution to this moral problem and it’s called the Polestar 1.
Designed and built by Volvo’s high-performance wing Polestar, the 1 is arguably the first guilt-free muscle car.
It is a two-door hybrid that pairs two powerful electric motors with a conventional 2-litre petrol engine under the bonnet. Combined the car will have a whopping 600bhp.
This is no novelty hybrid engine either thanks to a large 34kWh battery that will give the Polestar 1 almost 93-miles of purely electric range should you want to go all-in on the eco-friendly driving.
Like all Volvo’s the Polestar 1 is as state-of-the-art inside as it is outside. It’ll come with a ‘phone as key’ system that turns your smartphone into the key for your car.
It’ll also feature a large touchscreen display in the centre-console and a custom-made Bang and Olufsen sound system.
Sadly there’s no word on how much the Polestar 1 will cost to make but the company is already letting prospective buyers register their interest. It will go into production sometime in the middle of 2019.
The Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion is not like most of the concept cars you see unveiled at a motor show.
You see unlike most concept cars Volkswagen has confirmed that this fully-autonomous electric saloon will actually be on sale by 2022.
This is impressive not only because it gives VW just four years to turn the car into a reality, but also because of the incredible technology that’s inside it.
VW claims that the car you buy will have a 400-mile range thanks to a whopping 111kWh battery (larger than anything we’ve seen so far) and will support the new fast-charging standard being introduced across Europe.
Take a look inside and you’ll notice there is, well, nothing.
Now while VW says that the the production version will have a steering wheel, it does envisage that in about 12 years or so you will be able to buy this car as you see it now.
To do that VW says it will have developed a Level 5 autonomous driving system that will be able to take you anywhere at just the press of a button.
So while it won’t be completely self-driving when it launches in 2022 you can still expect it to have some pretty advanced autonomous features including self-driving on motorways and perhaps even some level of automation in city centres.
Volkswagen has been pushing its focus on electric cars in a big way, in fact the parent company announced late last year that it would be spending around €50bn on battery orders to power the cars.
While the Vizzion is expected to be the flagship of VW’s electric fleet the company has previously announced that its other I.D. cars would include the return of the iconic VW camper van.
According to VW, the camper van would have a theoretical range of 600km and thanks to the new fast-charging network could charge itself from 0-80% in just 30 minutes.
Jaguar has finally lifted the lid on its I-PACE electric car.
This is Jaguar’s first fully-electric car and it’s clear from the start that Tesla is going to have a fight on its hands.
The I-PACE has a 298-mile range thanks to a considerable 90kWh battery located in the bottom of the car. With two powerful motors at the front and back the car can then accelerate from 0-60mph in 4.5secs making it faster than most two-seater sports cars.
According to Jaguar you can charge the car to around 80% in 80 minutes using a 50kWh charger or just 45 minutes if you’re able to use one of the newer 100kWh fast charging stations.
Of course in addition to having access to the UK’s charging network Jaguar will also fit your home with its standard 7kWh charging station which provides around 80% in 10 hours.
Despite its hugely impressive performance, this is still every bit an SUV with five seats and 656-litres of rear-load boot space.
It’ll also come with a state-of-the-art interior including the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system that has only previously been seen on the Range Rover Velar. The system includes a digital dashboard and two touchscreen interfaces in the centre console.
Naturally the car can also be accessed using Jaguar’s InControl App which lets you remotely see the car’s location, battery level and even lets you activate features within the car such as the heating.
According to Jaguar the car also comes with an AI-controlled navigation system that constantly analyses not only the route you’re taking but your current battery level.
The car also supports Amazon Alexa which means that you can be sat in your home and ask Alexa how much battery the car has, or you can ask it to turn on the heated seats.
Where the I-PACE might be lacking is in the arena of autonomous driving. While the car will have driving assist technology on board, don’t expect it to start driving you down a motorway like Tesla’s Model S.
Finally there’s the price. Jaguar says that the I-PACE will start at £63,495 (not including the government incentives) which puts it at several thousand pounds cheaper than the absolute cheapest Tesla Model S.
The National Grid has proposed a new ‘superfast’ charging network that would see 90% of all electric car owners within just 50-miles of a charging station.According to the Financial Times, the proposal would see the creation of around 100 h…
I have spent time in many polluted cities, from Cairo and Beijing, all the way to Rome and London. Yet, nothing really prepared me for the air pollution I experienced in New Delhi recently. It’s gotten so bad that the local government has resorted to using anti-smog water mist cannons in parts of the city to try and blast out air pollutants. Innovative as it may be, it seems to be more of a band-aid solution to a life-threatening problem.
Delhi may not be the most polluted city in the world – I believe that dubious honor goes surprisingly to Zabol, Iran for its high particulate count from dust storms – but it’s certainly up there. And with a population of more than 26million and growing, I fear for the health of India’s citizens and, for that matter, those living in cities the world over.
Cites have long been great melting pots. They are places of ingenuity and innovation, and have allowed economies of scale and resource efficiencies to be achieved. Moreover, cities with strong public health measures and medical systems have prolonged human life and well-being. In fact, people living in cities generally enjoy better health than people in surrounding rural areas because of greater access to medical care. But these achievements are being undermined by air pollution.
Today, cities have become more like stewing pots. The shift from biofuels to fossil fuels – a process that comes with industrialisation – has had a significant impact on pollution and health, not only due to CO2 emissions, but also because of the particulate matter released into the air. Coal, used in electricity generation and large-scale manufacturing, is the most polluting fuel, but vehicle fuels are also highly toxic.
It is predicted that over 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas by 2050. That doesn’t leave much time
Air pollution stands out as the most severe in terms of its impact on health. The World Health Organization reports that more than one billion people are exposed to outdoor air pollution annually, with more than 80% of people living in cities exposed to unhealthy air. In developing countries, 98% of urban areas fail to meet WHO air quality guidelines.
Such exposure has contributed to the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world. According to the 2017 Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, diseases caused by pollution were responsible for an estimated nine million premature deaths in 2015, accounting for 16% of all deaths worldwide – three times more deaths than from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, and 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence. In the most severely affected countries, pollution-related disease is responsible for more than one death in four.
As urban air quality declines, the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma, increases for the people who live in them. That’s the bad news. The good news is that with better urban planning – that includes energy-efficient buildings, improved public transit, green and open spaces – cities can aspire to much better air quality and dramatically improved human health.
There are already some encouraging signs. The International Energy Agency, for example, says that by 2040, 60% of our electricity is likely to be green, with 715 million electric cars on the road. And according to the Energy Transitions Commission, by 2030 a power system based almost entirely on variable renewable energy generation is likely to be lower cost than a fossil fuel-based system, even without a carbon price. Research by the Coalition for Urban Transitions has also shown that investing in compact, connected and efficient cities could substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3.7 Gt CO2 per year by 2030 and generate savings of as much as US$17 trillion by 2050.
These are just some of the goals and aspirations of the Paris climate agreement and the international sustainable development agenda. The challenge will be to ensure they are adopted at the local level, from city to city. It is predicted that over 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas by 2050. That doesn’t leave much time for cities to clean up their act and their air.
Dr. Doaa Abdel-Motaal is the Executive Director of The Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health at the Oxford Martin School
K E Y P O I N T SThe Tesla Model S is one of the few electric cars that can truly, fully drive itself. It also has one of the longest ranges for an electric car, with a full charge taking you an impressive 393 miles.So HuffPost decided to d…
The Ford motor company has announced that it will be doubling its current investment into electric vehicles to a whopping $11bn and has promised that it will offer some 40 hybrid and electric cars by 2020.According to Ford it will offer 16 fully-electr…
Musk asked his Twitter followers for suggestions about how the firm could improve its electric vehicles and was promptly asked to create a new model entirely.
Need an electric Pick up truck please.
— Vancouver Seed Bank (@VanSeedBank) December 26, 2017
I promise that we will make a pickup truck right after Model Y. Have had the core design/engineering elements in my mind for almost 5 years. Am dying to build it.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 26, 2017
Musk added that the truck would be slightly larger than Ford’s F-150 pickup “to account for a really gamechanging (I think) feature I’d like to add”.
But you may have to wait a while to get your hands on one – or indeed to find out what that “gamechanging” feature is – as Musk stated the pickup truck would not be developed until after the Model Y, which he previously told Fortune won’t be ready for a couple more years.
“I think we need to come up with the Model Y sometime in 2020 or, aspirationally, late 2019,” Musk said.
This isn’t the first time Musk has broached the topic of pickup trucks. He showed early designs for such a vehicle in November, when Tesla unveiled its Semi truck, (which has, according to Musk, a 500 mile range, can drive itself and comes with a state-of-the-art interior that features two large touchscreen displays).
“It’s a pickup truck that can carry a pickup truck,” Musk said at the time. “You’ll actually be able to legally drive that with a driver’s license.”
That ‘pickup truck that can haul another pickup truck’ that Tesla showed off looks to me to be a good size of vehicle to use on the surface of Mars pic.twitter.com/pj6EDS6Yn3
— Bradd Libby (@bradd_libby) November 28, 2017
Musk also revealed some of the other improvements Tesla is working on for its vehicles. Here’s a rough timeline of what he has got planned:
:: Make it possible to turn on heated window via the app and to turn on seat and steering wheel heat remotely – in the next update.
:: Major browser upgrades to all cars’ touchscreens – in a few months.
:: Windshield wipers that automatically change speed based on how much rain there is – coming very soon.
:: Vastly better maps/navigation software – coming soon.
– Rain sensor (AP2)
– All 8 Cameras as Dashcam!
– Ambientlight settings (brightness, footwell front and rear seats)
– Sign Recognition
– music quieter when opening all doors (with settings)
– Disco Mode (Ambientlight to music beat with on/off and brightness)
— MCFlashTube (@MCFlashTube) December 26, 2017
Was gonna say we’ll do all but the last, but that last one sounds like good, cheesy fun 🙂
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 26, 2017
Despite being responsible for the most famous hybrid car in history, the Prius, Toyota has been relatively quiet about its plans for going electric.Well now the world’s second-largest car manufacturer has announced that by 2025, every car it make…