Driven – the Nissan Leaf

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Electric cars continue to disappoint me, but not in the way you might think. Because, as a committed petrolhead, my experiences with their kind so far have been nothing but positive. It’s almost as if EVs aren’t soulless monstrosities with the sole purpose of putting an end to the fun in driving.

Our recent test drive of the Nissan Leaf was limited, yet we got a good grasp of why it’s one of the most popular EVs in Europe at the moment. Firstly, it looks much better in the flesh, even if the grill-less front end looks a little different, helped undoubtedly by our model’s two-tone alloys and striking deep red metallic paint. The interior was quite comfortable too (opt for the higher levels and the leather seats if you can), and spacious too – even lanky passengers will have plenty of space in the back.

123580_10_5The Leaf comes with a charger which can be used with regular and fast charge charging stations, however a charger which can be plugged into an ordinary three pin socket must be bought separately (useful when you want to charge at a friend’s house, for example). Compared to BMW’s i3, which we tested a few weeks ago, the materials aren’t of the same quality. Then again, the i3 fits into the luxury city car class, particularly when considering its price, while Nissan’s Leaf slots firmly into the family car segment. Driving it is probably simpler than operating an iPhone. Sit in, put your foot on the brake and press start. You’ll almost feel like it should be more difficult, or that you’re doing something wrong. A little gear lever rests in the central console between the front seats – push up and right to move forward, and down and right for reverse. Finally, the parking brake is located where you’d normally find the clutch pedal. And away you go. There are Playstation games with far greater complexity.

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Quant e-Sportlimousine: Introducing the future?

Fast forward 50, 60 or 70 years, and changes in the way we fuel our cars will have undoubtedly come to the fore. Will petrol and diesel still largely feature, or will electricity have become the dominant force? And then, of course, there are the other sources clamouring for attention, including hydrogen and…salt water. Sort of.

Step forward the nanoFLOWCELL AG Quant e-Sportlimousine which made its début at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2014. nanoFLOWCELL AG hasn’t given away too much about the specifics of how their car works. The e-QUANT-e-Sportlimousine_front_doors-shutSportlimousine is powered by nano flow cell technology, which the company claims has five times as much energy efficiency and storage capabilities when compared to conventional flow cell batteries. The technology was initially developed for NASA during the 1970s, and works similar to hydrogen fuel cells. Carried in two 200 litre tanks, negative and positively charged electrolytic solutions flow through a flow cell in the centre. This central cell is split down the centre by a membrane and allows an electrical charge to pass through and produce power for the drivetrain. The addition of super capacitors means that the produced energy can be stored and distributed as its needed. Critics have argued that the energy density of such flow cell batteries has always been lower than that of their lithium ion counterparts, so it’ll be interesting if Quant’s claims are proven to be accurate.

Continue reading “Quant e-Sportlimousine: Introducing the future?”