Vehicles have become complicated. In days of old when knights were bold I used to be a motor mechanic cars were so much simpler. This was in the days before electronic ignition and the firing of the engine was controlled by a distributor with a set of points inside. The mechanical switch, when it opened made a spark occur in the engine to light the fuel. Terrible things to work on and needed adjusting frequently. The points switch itself would also spark and create a bad connection, the parts used to wear out and the gap would need to be reset. Honestly, it was a nightmare to work on these things. Now we have cars which have computers in them. They are so much better made and have technology loaded up the wazzoo to make them computers on wheels. It is getting even better with the change to electric cars now we have batteries making it possible to ditch fossil fuels. It’s getting extremely exciting in the realm of electric transport. The Good and Geeky thing to do now is to get an electric car, so Nissan Leaf vs Tesla Model 3?
We can dream about getting a Tesla and it could be more of a real prospect with the new Model 3 coming. Or you can go for one of the other electric cars coming out of both established car makers and new ones just getting in to the car making business. It’s going to be all about the software. Maybe that’s what Apple have been working on rather than a whole car. Cars receive software updates over the air and can even be attacked by hackers. The car software engineers know this and put in as many safeguards as they can. Wouldn’t be funny if you told your car to take you to Barcelona and it set off in the direction of Madrid instead. The whole idea of using cars as a personal transport is changing. Even more so with artificial intelligence controlled self driving cars on the horizon. It’s amazing how fast change is happening, it may and come to a point where we are not allowed to drive cars ourselves because it’s too dangerous. Not only will it become safer to let the vehicles drive for us, but we’ll have better things to do anyway. While we’re travelling we can read a book, watch movie or talk to our friends without having to keep our eyes on the road. It’s with this in mind I’ve been considering upgrading my car to the latest Nissan Leaf 2018. Not fully autonomous but does have some driver assistance built in. A light touch of the hand on the steering wheel and the car will drive itself on the highway. Tesla cars can have more capability for autonomous driving if you pay for the extras.
The new Nissan Leaf 2018 electric car
There are already some of these cars on the road in Japan and other right-hand drive countries are following pretty soon. Left hand drive models for Europe and United States will be hitting the streets in March or April 2018. There’s an offer available from Nissan at the moment to preorder one of these Nissan Leaf 2018 electric cars. The offer is a top of the range version of the car with a couple of thousand knocked off the usual price for that level. Unfortunately there are only two colours available at present, Spring Cloud and Black. In the videos I’ve seen from Nissan showing the other colours they have available I do like the look of the blue one. I’m tempted to wait even though the cost will be more.
The level of autonomous driving in the new Nissan Leaf 2018 is interesting. For starters, I’ve been looking forward to having a car with intelligent cruise control. It’ll be cool to set the speed to the maximum desired on the highway and then let the car keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Even if the car or lorry in front starts to slow down. The same technology will also give frontal crash protection. If a vehicle in front stops suddenly, the Nissan will stop and the crash will be avoided. Someone behind could still run into your rear I suppose. I hate it when drivers run too close behind me. Driving will be made safer and easier by having the car keep itself within the lane on the road. Keep a light touch on the steering wheel and the car will be doing all of the work for us. The Nissan Leaf has cameras and sensors around the vehicle so if a pedestrian stepped out in front of the car or behind the car, the driver gets a warning. Not only will it be safer for people around us, but we’ll have fewer scratches and bumps on our cars too. There’s a feature on the car which will do the parking manoeuvre to get itself into a parking spot alongside the road. In the videos showing this feature the car goes very slowly and is so cautious you’ll probably want to do it yourself instead. Still cool though!
Finally we have cars with Apple Carplay
As you may have read in previous blog posts I’ve been wanting to use Apple Carplay for some time. I was hoping to install it into my Renault Clio and I was highly disappointed when it wasn’t possible. With the Nissan Leaf 2018 Apple Carplay is available as standard. When I tried to talk to Siri when the iPhone is connected to my Renault Clio it gets incredibly confused and just tries to make a phone call. I can’t wait to see how well this works with Apple CarPlay in the Leaf. When I use Siri at the moment sometimes she understands and sometimes she doesn’t. Siri is always improving behind the scenes though. A quiet electric car is better with less background noise than a car with a combustion engine engine. I wonder if there is a microphone connected to the native Nissan information and entertainment console. It would be nice to control that device by speaking to it. Asking the computer to set a route for wherever we’re going to for example. It’s often going to be necessary to use the in car software to give us information about where the next charging station is. It would be lovely to inform the computer to change to a specific screen to give us the information we need. This could be information about the state of charge of the battery or how many kilometres we’ve got left to get to the next charging station. This Nissan is aware of traffic lights ahead. I don’t know if it will let you know if they are on red or green, but it knows they are there.
It’s all getting automatic in cars
There’s a fancy 360° camera which somehow gives you the impression in the screen as if you are looking down from above the car. So you get a full view of what’s going on around the car in the centre console screen. There are sensors for when it is raining and the car will turn on the windscreen wipers by itself. The lights are also automatic so when it’s dark enough they will turn on as if by magic. This gives you main beam as you are driving and will automatically turn to dipped lights when there’s a car coming in the opposite direction. I suppose if that’s the case it should also notice if there is a car in front so you don’t blind the driver through the rearview mirror.
Range Anxiety or the fun of planning?
One of the things people worry about in the first instance with regards electric vehicles is how far it will take you on a charge. For 90% of my driving it will not make any difference to me whatsoever. When I’m working I drive about 25 to 30 km each day and I’ll only have to plug in once a week. It’ll get to be more fun when I need to take a trip to Barcelona airport. It will be extra interesting when I go to a holiday destination which is 300 km away. We go to a place in France and I think it’s going to work out okay. We have the use of the chargers at Nissan garages with the Nissan Leaf. There is a Nissan garage in Perpignan with a charger, there’s also a charger at a nearby shopping centre. Probably also a Renault garage where I could plug in. More and more electric vehicle charging stations are being installed and something we are not really going to think about too much in the future. The Nissan rapid chargers will get a car up to 80% in around 40 minutes. Usually after I’d driven 150 km I am more than happy to stop for a break. Chilling out for about half an hour to stretch the legs and have a nature break is necessary on long journeys anyway. It’s not going to increase the time needed to travel long distance by much time at all. Nissan are claiming it’s possible to do 378 km on a single charge, but that will be unusual in normal driving circumstances. Depending upon the roads travelled and the style of driving it’ll be more reasonable to expect around about 300 km. I reckon I could get to Barcelona and back on a single charge. The really nice part of driving around the city in an electric car is the knowledge of not using any fuel while sitting in a traffic jam. Electric vehicles are perfect for driving around town.
Definitely Going Electric
I have already made the decision to go electric for my transport. I have withdrawn from my bitcoin wallet a third of what I need to pay for the car. I now have a larger limit with Coinbase so I can withdraw the rest of what I need in one go. All I have to do is to go into the Nissan showroom and hand over the money.
Nissan Leaf vs Tesla Model 3
It did cross my mind to hold out for a Tesla model 3. There are a couple of things which make me want to have the Nissan Leaf instead. First off, the Model three will not be arriving in Spain until 2019. If I was to put in an order now I could expect a wait time of around 18 months. I could be enjoying driving an electric vehicle in three months time if I go with the Nissan. Secondly, the price of the Tesla with the autonomy features necessary to be better than the Nissan Leaf level will add about eight or ten grand to the base price of €35,000. That makes the Tesla to expensive for my wallet. Thirdly, Nissan have been making cars for a long time and they make a quality product. Even though the Tesla is exciting in terms of the technology in the car I couldn’t justify spending the extra. The Tesla cars are known to have some quality control issues. Tesla are also known for doing a good job of looking after their customers so I wouldn’t be too worried about the overall fit and finish of the car. The self driving capabilities in the Tesla Model 3 are probably more than I require at this present time so I’ll be happy with what I get from the Nissan Leaf.