The Nissan Leaf will this month be available across the UK, amid signs that finally we are starting to see a change in attitude towards electric vehicles. A number of green parties across the UK have been commenting upon the apparent change in "attitude", amid signs that the government is increasing its interest in the industry and motorists now seem more willing to at least consider an alternative form of transport.
The introduction of the Nissan Leaf 2013 into the UK brings to 36 the number of electric vehicles now available in the country. While there is still some scepticism as to whether the electric car market has and will actually break into the mass market in the short term, the fact remains that the choice of 36 electric cars across the UK is far more than anyone ever predicted at this stage.
Putting the minds of motorists at rest
One interesting fact which has emerged from the delivery of Nissan Leaf’s to the UK is that once you open the bonnet of a Nissan Leaf, aside from the various wires you will see, the "bulkier items" of the engine are very similar to that of a traditional fuel powered vehicle. The fact is that manufacturers such as Nissan have taken a conscious decision to make the look and feel of an electric vehicle the same as a traditional powered vehicle where possible. This has meant "bulking up" various components of the engine which weigh significantly less than their traditional fuel counterparts but give the same look and feel.
It is becoming ever more apparent that one of the major challenges for the automobile industry is actually putting motorists minds at rest and giving them confidence in this new style of transport. It will be interesting to see if these conscious changes have a material impact in the short to medium term.
Learning from history
Many people will not be aware, but when the automobile industry first kicked in there were slightly more electric powered vehicles on the road than there were gasoline powered vehicles. It seems as though there was a steep decline in ownership of electric vehicles in the 1920s, which has yet to be reversed by the automobile industry.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "As the Nissan Leaf phenomenon continues to grow around the world this thread is the place to discuss your experiences having received your own Nissan Leaf. Was it exactly what you expected? Are you happy with the vehicle? Have you had any running problems?"
There have been a number of breakthroughs over the years and there have been a number of inventors bringing revolutionary ideas to the market but so far these have not yet caught the eye of the mass consumer. Indeed, if we look back to Sir Clive Sinclair and his infamous Sinclair C5 this was ridiculed at the time but looking back it was perhaps just ahead of its time. In many ways this was the precursor to the ever popular neighbourhood electric vehicles we see today across the U.S. and across the world.
We may look back in years to come and pinpoint cars such as the Nissan Leaf, and even the hybrid Prius, as the vehicles which helped to build the electric car market. There are growing suspicions that the electric vehicle market is on the verge of mass acceptance, although in reality this may still be some years away. It will be interesting to see whether there is an increased take-up of the Nissan Leaf in the UK and indeed whether other governments around the world are able to inject more confidence into the industry.