Learnmoore Driving trainers have been testing the lastest in Hybrid and Electric car technology on fleets in London’s Excel at the EcoVelocity show running until 13th of May 2012.
Driving the Nissan Leaf which is all electric there is a realization that this is the way forward for fleets of cars in the coming years. With rising fuel prices and increasing motoring costs the Leaf offers realistic range of 100-120 miles for normal commuters, and with the option of a 30minute charge with DC current for up to 80% of range available this offers very attractive and realistic travel costs for longer distances with very few drawbacks. The car is beautifully thought out and built and so simple to drive. It drives like most regular automatics but with a near silent noise level. Of course this can cause it’s own issues particularly to pedestrians, however an audible noise is emitted to make them more aware. In terms of comfort the low noise levels make it a very relaxed place to be, with very impressive acceleration when necessary. Overall a very attractive alternative to a petrol or diesel however the £25,000 price tag even with the government grant makes it an expensive initial outlay. Running costs will slowly offset this as to charge up fully is approximately £1.30 for 100-120 miles comparing to £10-15 for the average petrol or diesel model of a similar size.
Chevrolet Volt and Vauxhall Ampera is what I believe is the way forward, just like the leaf it is all electric drive, however it has an ‘on-board’ charger powered by an efficient petrol engine which tops up the charge when it runs low. This allows the range to be hugely extended with very little petrol been used in the process, with our techniques of eco driving which we use in fleet markets we achieved a 250+ MPG figure from these cars. Driven by others during the day the car averaged 79.8MPG which is a saving of 300% by driving more efficiently than others. Even so 79.8 is a good figure, but considering we can achieve these figures by our 1.9 TDI 2006 Skoda Fabia, drivers have some way to go. Due to the lack of downfalls in range possible of this car I believe this offers the best of both worlds, but at c.£30,000 outlay initially this is not for the cash poor.