A New Deal for New Car Buyers – The Electric Option.
It’s difficult to be negative about electric cars. After all, everybody else from governments to manufacturers are pumping millions into developing and subsidising the technology involved.
But now that electric cars are a reality, with Nissan beginning production of their Leaf in 2013 and other manufacturers following suit, a few dissenting voices can be heard amongst the positive majority.
Some of the concerns regard the price of these new cars. A new electric car from Nissan will set you back £28,350, a figure which nudges the Leaf into the premium car territory with Mercedes and BMW, but without the luxury pretensions. And a new car deal from BuyaCar can get you a healthy discount off the list price.
This sort of comment however is founded on what must surely now be regarded as an old-fashioned mode of thinking. In the post-petrol age, drivers with environmental concerns will surely be willing to pay a premium to keep their cars and their conscience clean.
To think about electric vehicles in solely economic terms is reductive to say the least, though typical and understandable from an entrenched and conservative car buying segment.
The challenge, and manufacturers have taken up this challenge, is to alter people’s very perception of the driving experience.
New cars from Tesla and concepts from Lotus and other sports manufacturers will go a long way towards altering perceptions. They fit false gearboxes and add rorty engine noises to fast but silent and linear powertrains, just to help us get our heads around this new way of driving.
The truth is that electric driving will be a deeply weird experience for most. But, as with all technologies, the trickle-down is from the top. If premium brands make green seem real then everybody else will fall into line.
Green Formula 1 anybody?
Other concerns for sceptics are natural and to do with resale values, for servicing costs and all those things you cannot know until the thing has gone into production.
Sceptics should take some solace from the fact that both Audi and BMW are also focussed on 2012 or 2013 as the date for their lunching a wholly electric vehicle. That’s really not very long and one can only imagine the scenes at Manufacturer HQ, seeing as prototypes are thin on the ground and competition is typically fierce.
BMW have announced the development of a carbon fibre monocoque body for their Megacity, a feature which not only brings the price and the weight down but performance and the range of the car up.
Manufacturers are forcing the pace of change, and reality is struggling to keep up.