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Rory Reid and Robert Llewellyn test a Nissan Leaf – Click above to watch video after the jump

In this week's episode of the plug-in centric show, Fully Charged, Robert Llewellyn rides passenger as CNET writer Rory Reid takes the 2011 Nissan Leaf for a spin. Reid, who recently posted an article titled "Ten reasons electric cars still suck: We unplug the EV hype" on CNET's Crave UK blog site, takes the position of devil's advocate, while Llewellyn defends electric vehicles (EVs), attacking and dispelling some of Reid's uninformed and misleading claims.

While watching this episode of Fully Charged, keep in mind Reid's top ten reasons (listed below) why he believes that electric cars suck:
  • They're useless for inner-city inhabitants
  • Where's the resale value
  • EVs could raise electricity rates
  • EVs make other appliances more expensive
  • The driving range is pathetic
  • Quick charging can damage batteries
  • They take forever to recharge
  • Zero emissions is a lie
  • They're expensive to run
  • They're expensive to buy
Hop the jump to watch Reid and Llewellyn argue out the virtues and drawbacks of EVs. It's good fun, and might provide some tips for Thanksgiving table discussion. Hat tip to Chris!

[Source: You Tube]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Damned good debate, though I think Llewellyn failed to throw down numbers on how much LiIon batteries are improving over the past few years, he still won. Reid raised some good points about the cost of carbon neutral electricity in the UK, but failed to acknowledge that even if you use a mix of mostly coal with some nuclear and a tiny bit of renewables (which is where the UK gets their electricity) the electric car is still emitting a lot less carbon and/or particulate matter. BEV's have the same range now as they did in 1908 because they can't afford to put in more at today's prices. As the price comes down and as the weight per kWh comes down the BEV's will slowly grow the price, while dropping the weight of the pack. It will take years, my guess is 8 or 9, before BEV's will nearly completely vanquish ICE autos and EREV's. But it will happen, and hopefully sooner rather than later. But there will always probably be ICE vehicles, just not a lot of them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hearing Rory Reid spill his baseless absurdities makes me mad. How can anyone take the guy seriosuly? He's about as smart as a stone.

        /rant
      • 4 Years Ago
      (sorry about the previous inadvertent post).

      Why is it that when the range argument comes up no one asks what is the range they need. I very rarely, 20 times a year at most, drive >100 miles in a day. Ideally I would use the LEAF most of the time and a reasonable rental car like a zip, for those rare occasions when I drive > 100 miles.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Zipcar is cost-prohibitive for long trips. You pay for the entire time the car is away from where you got it. So parking it overnight costs a lot.

        If you use a zipcar 20 days a year it will cost you $1400 for the zipcar rental. It may be a bit more because you only get 180 miles a day (gas for those 180 miles is free though!). I know that's a lot, but given that you'll only be renting the car for long trips, it might be a factor.

        This is a pretty substantial chunk of change. If you do this for 5 years, you've effectively added $7000 to the price of the car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @why not the LS2LS7?
        That's what I don't like about car sharing services, really reduces their usefulness unless you are going on a trip for only a day.

        If it is rare enough probably normal car rental makes more sense.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The torque characteristics of the electric motor are so much better, that there will be a set of customers who will ONLY want an Electric car.

      Secondly, an electric car can essentially be powered from your home.

      The NEW combination Solar and Solar hot water panels just introduced are 80% efficient. In other words the GAME is OVER for COAL. It will take time to get these panels built as a mass market product, but we could be free of Coal in 20 years.

      My only question is will the US let China, India, the UK and the EU beat us to the race for affordable future energy technology. Will the Oil Monopoly continue to control US politics, keeping us Last in Innovation.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Mike, can you post a link for these co-generation panels, please? :-)

        Back on topic, the newest laptops have batteries that last 6-7 hours on serious laptops (Macbook Pro is one i know about). And if the DBM Energy Hummingbird batteries are "real" then both the charge time and the range questions are pretty much solved.

        I want to know more specifics about the carbon numbers they mention in the video -- 40-80gm/km "pit-to-wheels" for electrics (in the UK, probably slightly higher here in the USA) is really good! The Royal Academy report Robert mentions says 3X more for gasoline -- I am unclear if the is 3X more than what is contained in the gasoline (so for the Prius, 89gm x 3 = 267gm/km for the well-to-wheels) OR is it 3X more than electrics? Robert says his calculations have most ICE vehicles in the 300-500gm/km (mile?) range.

        The video is great on many levels: civil and robust discussion, and great information on the real issues surrounding all cars.

        Sincerely, Neil
      • 4 Years Ago
      I agree it was a good debate, although Llewellyn didn't seem to be somewhat more effective in countering some of Reid's bogus arguments, for instance the laptop thing (better batteries didn't make laptops last longer... but much lighter and smaller.)
      • 4 Years Ago
      To clear up some misconceptions raised in the video about the UK electricity market:
      1. Green tariffs and conventional tariffs don't differ much in price, conventional electricity is about 13p/kWh, green 15p/kWh (I use Good Energy which is 100% renewables (wind, hydro))
      2. the average UK energy mix (approx gas 45%, coal 30%, nuclear 13%) produces 460g CO2/kWh, but this is much lower overnight as a higher proportion is nuclear and renewable powered (as they can't easily be turned off!) - possibly about 300g/kWh overnight
      3. using a conventional supply at 460g/kWh, the Nissan Leaf has an official CO2 output of 73g/km(69g/km+ charging losses), but if the car is charged overnight this comes down to 46g/km
      4. the Toyota Prius generates 89g/km, similar size petrol cars 130g/km to 145g/km
      5. a Prius at 55 mpg(uk) would use £10,000 of petrol over 100,000 miles, a Leaf ~£3,000 of electricity, significantly lower (less than half) if charged on an overnight tariff
      6. none of the above are well to wheel calculations, which would make conventional vehicles look much worse
      • 4 Years Ago
      Anyone has a reference for the study that mentions a CO2 production between ICE and EV?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have put a deposit down on a Nissan Leaf and I have subscribed to Scottish Power's H2O green electricity tariff for many years. The tariff increased yesterday from 9.48p per kWh to 11.74p. A quick search with uSwitch shows I could save a further £39 PA if I switched to Southern Electric's better plan no standing charge tariff. So some way off the 24p per kWh Rory quotes in the video for a green electricity tariff.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Six sigma!? What about using science and engineering? If this is true Aptera loses all credibility. Six sigma is only good to lower quality to save money until something breaks.
      • 4 Years Ago
      * They're useless for inner-city inhabitants
      * Where's the resale value
      * They're expensive to run
      * They're expensive to buy
      So are gas cars.

      * EVs could raise electricity rates
      EVs can be charged during off peak hours when there is excess capacity. Gas cars raise gas rates.

      * EVs make other appliances more expensive
      Hows that?

      * The driving range is pathetic
      And yet the leaf can handle 90% of peoples daily travel needs. 90% is a solid B.

      * Quick charging can damage batteries
      Most people will charge slowly most of the time.

      * They take forever to recharge
      It doesn't matter how long it takes to charge if it meets your daily driving needs and it charges while you sleep.
      * Zero emissions is a lie
      EVs have much lower emissions than combustion vehicles. You can easily retrofit pollution controls on existing power plants(impossible to do for gas cars) and renewable sources of energy can be brought online to further reduce pollution.
        e85evodude
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Paulwesterberg - "* They're useless for inner-city inhabitants"

        Rory has a point. Inner-city inhabitants will not always have access to plug their cars in at night. Particularly those of us that park on streets. Or rent our place and have to park in a parking structure/lot. You don't have to outlets to just plug your car in. In fact, many condos that provide detached garages, may hardwire the garage door opener and provide no outlets. You cannot automatically assume that outlets are going to pop up everywhere, and you cannot assume that your housing complex will automatically provide you with a charging station.

        Running extension cords around parking lots is just going to invite lawsuits for trip-and-fall accidents. We also cannot forget the possibility of extension cord theft or vandalism. My inner city dwelling experience taught me one thing. People will steal anything not welded to your car, and sometimes they will even try that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That was a pretty entertaining debate.

      Mike!!ekiM, what the heck 80% solar combo panels are you talking about? Have a source or link?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Dey chargin in your garage pushin your rates up...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Night time charging should actually keep rates lower.
        The Utility gets more bang for the buck, profit from the same investment.
        • 4 Years Ago
        hide your plugs, hide your wires cuz they be chargin' with everything out in thurr
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