Chancellor champions eco car
V ETERAN eco-campaigner, Jonathan Porritt, was on hand to see Keele University take delivery of a zero-emission Nissan LEAF electric car this week.
The car has been supplied for a year via a contact at Holdcroft Nissan and was handed over at the university's Sustainability Hub. Jonathan, Keele's chancellor, who does not actually own a car and says he only drives around 500 miles a year when he borrows his wife's vehicle for shopping trips, says: "We are at the start of an electric vehicle revolution and will see Electric Vehicle growth across the world, here and in developing markets.''
And he rebuffed consumer fears about the limited range of EVs. Only this week Stefen Jacoby, the former chief executive of Volvo, was quoted in an interview with Automotive Management magazine as saying that electric cars will not play a significant role in the future because of this limitation and their cost.
Speaking to AM, Jacoby says: "If the battery goes down on their cell phone people feel really bad.
"If it's your car in the middle of a traffic jam you will feel even worse.
"I don't believe EVs will have a major role in the future.
"They will have some sort of role, for example, in cities as taxis or urban delivery vehicles, but for a normal household, no.
"It's that emotional connection which is a major stumbling block for electric vehicles. That, and the price.
"Over the next ten to 15 years we will see various hybrid solutions, mated to the conventional internal combustion engine playing the dominant role."
But Jonathan retorts: "It makes me angry when the old guard say EVs are limited. As if they have got everything right. Already EVs have enough range for most people's commutes or shopping trips and people are now talking of vehicles with a 100 mile range coming soon and IBM has issued a challenge to get the first EV with a 500 mile range.
"If you look at where internal combustion engines were 100 years ago and see how they have developed why can't zero emission cars? We are only just at the start of this revolution.''
Paul Parry, Holdcroft Nissan EV relationship manager, says that interest in the LEAF is picking up: "We are getting more inquiries from fleets and retail customers as the message gets across that they are very easy to live with as well as the obvious tax and environmental benefits.''
Last week, Sentinel Motors reported on driving instructor, Paul Tomlin, of Waterdale Grove, Longton, whose ASK driving school became one of the first in the UK to run an EV when he ordered a LEAF.
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