This is a bone yard near Paris, France with hundreds of electric powered cars. Mind you these are only cars used by the City of Paris and not personal vehicles. All of these have the same issue … the battery storage cells have given out and need replacement. Why not just replace them you ask? Well two reasons. First, replacement battery storage cells cost more than half the new vehicle cost (this is why for many EV models the price is more approximately double the cost of a petrol/diesel model) and second no landfill or disposal site will accept the batteries. So these green fairy tale electric cars are all sitting in vacant lots while their batteries drain toxins into the ground.
Still think we need to go green???
2 Nissan Leaf – a real story here in Australia
Phillip Carlson bought a Nissan Leaf in August 2012, which cost about $53,500. Its seven years old today, and it’s worth maybe $12,000 – if you can find someone dumb enough to buy it. But, let him tell the story.
“I bought an electric car from Nissan with 5 years warranty on the battery. They claimed 175km range. >From new I only ever got 120km. Now I can BARELY get 35-40km during winter or even 25km if I use the heater. The warranty says the battery is bad if it drops to 8 out of 12 bars, which mine has.
“I took it in and they claim the battery is totally fine and there’s nothing wrong with it and gave me a $33,000 invoice for a new one!!!!! Nissan just won’t listen and I’ve run out of all hope. I paid $53,500 for this car and it’s pretty useless now.” - Phillip Carlson
The $33k quote
Here’s the official battery replacement quote from Lennock Motors in the ACT.
An incredible $29,600 for the replacement battery, $750 to fit it plus GST: that’s $33,385 in total. For a car now worth $12,000? If you are lucky.
Nissan and other carmakers are moaning about the lack of government support for EVs in Australia. And I’d suggest that if you’re a carmaker like Nissan, seemingly hell-bent on taking your small group of EV first adopters in this way, then you simply do not deserve any taxpayer support.
This is a tacit admission by Nissan that the Leaf is a disposable car. A $50,000 disposable car. Which doesn’t seem very environmentally sustainable to me.
Think about it.
Replacing this battery for over $30,000. You could buy about 20,000 litres of petrol for that. Which is enough to drive a similar sized conventional SUV about 400,000 kilometres.
So if you are buying your Leaf EV to save money on fuel, even if you are getting your electricity free from a rooftop solar array, every day, you better hope you get 400,000 k’s out of the battery. Unlikely.
If you don’t, you’re just kidding yourself. And the leaf is about $30,000 more expensive than similar sized conventional SUVs. So make that somewhere closer to 800,000 k’s – to break even, financially. In what universe does that sound like a sound financial plan?
If you’re saving the planet, with your Leaf, it’s even worse: Consigning the Leaf to landfill at seven years of age because it’s grossly uneconomical to repair seems to me like a fairly unsustainable use of the earth’s limited resources. So does throwing away the old battery and replacing it with a new one every seven years.
This is a vital point. EVs and internal combustion are in a race to reduce CO2. And there’s no question: Internal combustion starts off ahead because EVs are filthier to produce – that’s mainly the battery. So, in other words, on a lifecycle assessment basis, EVs start filthy and get cleaner over time, while internal combustion starts cleaner and gets filthier as the K’s mount up.
An ADAC report out of Europe from April 2018 found that equivalent EVs and petrol cars broke even on CO2 (on a lifecycle basis) at about 116,000 kilometres, and after that, EVs crept ahead. That’s based on Germany’s grid composition.
(Australia’s grid is filthier, admittedly – so it takes a greater distance to reach this point of emissions equivalence.)
This means EVs cleaning things up is – at best – a long-term proposition. And if you’re throwing the vehicle away at 88,907 kilometres, which is where Mr Carlson’s Leaf is at right now, or if you’re replacing the battery, your EV is never going to be cleaner than an equivalent small petrol powered car
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