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Old 2nd August 2011, 18:59   #1
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Default Clarkson upsets Nissan by saying electric cars are "not the future"

NISSAN CLAIMS CLARKSON DID NOT GIVE ITS ELECTRIC CAR A CHANCE


Jeremy Clarkson hit out at electric cars during the programme saying they "are not the future."

His comments have riled electric car maker Nissan which has invested heavily in the electric motors and plans to create 800 jobs by building its Leaf car in Sunderland.

Clarkson made the comments on Sunday's episode of Top Gear where he road tested the 31,000 Leaf - and was filmed being pushed around in the car that had a flat battery.



Push! James May pushes Jeremy Clarkson in the Nissan Leaf after it runs out of power

Producers then showed him stranded in Lincoln where he spent the next few hours brass-rubbing whilst he waited for the battery to re-charge. However, Nissan claims that viewers were not told that the battery had been more than half empty at the start of the trip - and only had enough power to go 35 miles.

Information from a Nissan monitoring device which was in the Leaf showed that when Clarkson set off on his 60 mile trip to Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire the battery was only 40 per cent charged.
The firm says the car was delivered to Top Gear with a full battery and enough power to drive 100 miles.
It said the device also showed that Clarkson did not switch on the 'eco-mode' in the car which would have makes the car go further by slowing acceleration.

Nissan's executive vice president Andy Palmer told The Times the programme was "misleading." The BBC said it "absolutely refuted" it had misled viewers over the charge and range.

Top Gear says electric cars, like the Nissan Leaf Clarkson drove, are still too expensive and the charging infrastructure is still poor

Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman said: 'We never at any point in the film said that were testing the range claims of the vehicles, nor did we say that the vehicles wouldn't achieve their claimed range.
'We also never said at any time that we were hoping to get to our destination on one charge.
'We never said what the length of the journey was, where we had started from, or how long we had been driving for at the start of the film, so again, no inference about the range can be gleaned from our film.'

Mr Wilman said the consumer points from the programme were clear, that electric cars are still very expensive, re-charging infrastructure is patchy, the range varies enormously.
He said the Leaf was "a very good car per se" but said the battery, in Top Gear's view "remains the Achilles heel of the whole package.

A Nissan spokesman said: 'The Nissan LEAF battery pack is designed to last the lifetime of the car. If used in normal conditions, it is not expected that owners will ever have to replace the battery pack.

'Some degradation of the battery over time and use is normal, but the battery pack has been designed so that it offers a respectable range even after this degradation has taken place.'

Read more: Top Gear presenters drive into more trouble... this time for using disabled parking bays | Mail Online
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Old 2nd August 2011, 20:03   #2
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Default Re: Clarkson upsets Nissan by saying electric cars are "not the future"

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Originally Posted by noopster View Post

NISSAN CLAIMS CLARKSON DID NOT GIVE ITS ELECTRIC CAR A CHANCE


Hmmm,

Maybe Mr. Clarkson has a better solution to offer. It would be instructive to hear his views on the future of mobility for people since he is such a verbose commentator with a deep insight on all matters automotive.

I would also love to hear him explain why he chose not to mention the charge status of the battery pack, when he started out on his test drive. And yes, battery packs take time to charge - that is a deficiency of the technology which NEEDS to be overcome either by reducing charge time or creating workaround solutions such as the one conceived by the folks at Better Place, Israel.

It is also common knowledge that the economics of electric vehicles have to reach a level where they can become more viable, to enable mass production. This however does not mention they are un-viable as of today. Several DIY enthusiasts have converted their rides to EVs' and are enjoying the economies they offer vis-a-vis the petrol/diesel powered vehicles. What most people do not acknowledge or are aware of, is that EVs' allow the advantage of much lower operating costs WRT fuel and maintenance.
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Old 2nd August 2011, 20:13   #3
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Default Re: Clarkson upsets Nissan by saying electric cars are "not the future"

While I agree with a lot of what you say, the fact is that the car's range on a full battery seems to be only 100 miles and this little thing costs 31,000 GBP! The brass-rubbing while waiting for it to charge is a typical Clarksonian humour device that anyone who watches the show will recognise.

Despite being opinionated (sometimes wrongly) the show is refreshing and thought-provoking and in this case, methinks Nissan is making too much of a fuss over nothing. If they DO devise a sustainable-energy-source automobile, keeping Jeremy Clarkson happy would be the least of their priorities!
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Old 2nd August 2011, 20:30   #4
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Default Re: Clarkson upsets Nissan by saying electric cars are "not the future"

I do not see how mentioning the full range would have helped. The program highlights a few drawbacks currently and rightly so.

1>If the driver does run out of charge, he has to charge for about 13 hours for a full charge. Thereby questioning the practicality of Electric cars outside city limits. (Even assuming the full range of a 150-160 km on the Nissan Leaf.

2>Electric cars are costlier to start off with; Sure, some governments provide subsidies. But that does not compensate for the expensive battery packs in the long run.
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Old 2nd August 2011, 20:42   #5
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Default Re: Clarkson upsets Nissan by saying electric cars are "not the future"

Nissan Leaf was the European Car of the Year 2011. It can guess it cannot be absolutely rubbish. Clarkson's dramatic reviews especially the humor is to be taken with bagloads of salt.
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Old 2nd August 2011, 21:19   #6
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Default Re: Clarkson upsets Nissan by saying electric cars are "not the future"

At the end of the day, what Clarkson and Top Gear says is practical. For a 31,000 pound car, its not cheap. And, the basic problems of electric cars remain ie range and time taken in charging and lack of charging points, which have been shown in a dramatic way in the show. Top Gear is not a traditional factual show, its entertainment based on facts.
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Old 2nd August 2011, 21:27   #7
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Default Re: Clarkson upsets Nissan by saying electric cars are "not the future"

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
While I agree with a lot of what you say, the fact is that the car's range on a full battery seems to be only 100 miles and automobile, keeping Jeremy Clarkson happy would be the least of their priorities!
Your contention about range constraint is valid and hence irrefutable.

WRT to the price that Nissan is asking customers to pay for the Leaf, there are enthusiasts who have done EV conversions for much less for limited range vehicles such as the Leaf - so here again I will have to agree the Leaf is overpriced. The refinement level obviously will be higher in the Leaf.

Matter of fact once I had gone about this exercise to collect primary info. My cost estimate was approx 20-22K odd USD - donor car excluded - for an EV with a mileage range if I not mistaken something like 250 KM odd. These are off the cuff figures , for exact numbers I will have to dig out the info which is buried somewhere on my computer.
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Old 2nd August 2011, 21:39   #8
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Default Re: Clarkson upsets Nissan by saying electric cars are "not the future"

Clarkson may be right. i know a gentleman who purchased an electric scooter and on the very first day itself ran into great trouble. It took him two days to reach his home hardly 65 kms away. He has to have two battery charges in between and the second one overnight.
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Old 2nd August 2011, 23:12   #9
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Default Re: Clarkson upsets Nissan by saying electric cars are "not the future"

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Originally Posted by rajeev k View Post
Clarkson may be right. i know a gentleman who purchased an electric scooter and on the very first day itself ran into great trouble. It took him two days to reach his home hardly 65 kms away. He has to have two battery charges in between and the second one overnight.

I suggest you kindly take the trouble of becoming familiar with the subject before you make sweeping statements which have no basis in fact.

There are people who have completely repeat completely converted their intra-city/suburban commute to self converted electric vehicles and face no issues of reliability whatsoever. They have the presence of mind to know the limitations of the technology they are using and the constraints it imposes. Since they are operating with in the confines of the constraints that come with the choice they do not have to shoot off their mouths and exhibit a rabid case of foot in the mouth disease as exhibited by Mr. Clarkson.
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Old 2nd August 2011, 23:26   #10
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Default Re: Clarkson upsets Nissan by saying electric cars are "not the future"

Its Clarkson after all gentlemen, As Anshuman pointed out you need to take what he says with a bag full of salt.

He is a great entertainer and informative in a humorous way, but if you are a regular to Top gear its not difficult to point out some of the obvious points that are 'overlooked' in the larger interest of humor. The speedo error that Clarkson pointed out of 458 review for example. A great entertainer, who makes his point in the most exaggerated way. Informative - may be, Entertaining - Definitely.
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Old 3rd August 2011, 03:46   #11
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Default Re: Clarkson upsets Nissan by saying electric cars are "not the future"

Any long time Top Gear viewer would never take Clarkson's humor seriously

I think this time they did not put it down as much as they did with the Tesla so it's a good thing. Obviously whatever they said was true but in a way that could discourage EV sales. But in a week or two everyone will forget the talk and move on!
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Old 3rd August 2011, 04:41   #12
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Default Re: Clarkson upsets Nissan by saying electric cars are "not the future"

Quote:
Originally Posted by RS_DEL View Post
I suggest you kindly take the trouble of becoming familiar with the subject before you make sweeping statements which have no basis in fact.
There are people who have completely repeat completely converted their intra-city/suburban commute to self converted electric vehicles
I also suggest you kindly take the trouble of becoming familiar with the matter what I said, repeat the matter what I said.
The guy who bought one, in this case, had to travel 65 kms and was trouble for him. He was not doing intra-city travel there. Though, you did not ask, let me say that he used it for two years before selling it off, because it never suited his requirement of travel. What I quoted was a real case study, and hence please do not make unwarranted statements. One's likes or dislikes of Mr Clarkson can not make a fact a fiction.

Last edited by rajeev k : 3rd August 2011 at 04:46.
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Old 3rd August 2011, 08:30   #13
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Default Re: Clarkson upsets Nissan by saying electric cars are "not the future"

Why they didn't get the Clarkson humor?

Cos Japs just get-up, go to work and do a good job *making cars* (slightly modified words of Clarkson on Belgians who built the Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworth), they did not have time to watch TopGear
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Old 3rd August 2011, 08:51   #14
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Default Re: Clarkson upsets Nissan by saying electric cars are "not the future"

Watch the episode again.
Nissan seemed to be sleeping when Jeremy said the Leaf was spacious and comfortable and like every other car when it comes to driving and equipment.
A price of 31000 coupled with a range of 100 miles (160 kms) and a battery life of a max of say 7 yrs if you are very careful with the charging is not a very good combo.
If I have to go from Mumbai to Pune to attend to work which will take say 4 hours, I'll have to be very careful about the way I drive, reach the outskirts of Pune leave the car there (hopefully at a charging point), go into town by rickshaw, come out again (after 5 hours) and wait for another 8 hours for it the car to be fully charged or else I won't make it back to Mumbai. And because I have spent 31000 already, I won't have enough money to buy a petrol / diesel car. Doesn't sound good.
I support electric cars. I love the Reva. But, its use is limited to the city. If the Leaf is going to cost so much more than a Reva and have a poor range too, then I'm afraid, I'll be forced to call it poor.
Regarding the future, TG have already said, the solution is the Honda FCX Clarity.
While we are on the topic of Nissan, they didn't seem to think Clarkson was biased when he went ga ga over the Skyline.
I'll urge everyone to watch the episode properly before blasting Clarkson or Top Gear.
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Old 3rd August 2011, 09:45   #15
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Default Re: Clarkson upsets Nissan by saying electric cars are "not the future"

Its not like Clarkson trashed it totally like he would have for a G-Wiz/Reva.
He even called it beautifully built,quiet, well equipped, very comfortable and quite "normal" to drive as well.

Quote:
While we are on the topic of Nissan, they didn't seem to think Clarkson was biased when he went ga ga over the Skyline.
+ 1 to that Aditya.
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