Friday, August 5, 2011

all the leaves are brown...

there has been a lot of talk in the news about top gear "faking" the results of their recent nissan leaf test. what these journalist fail to realize is that in order to fake something you must first tell people the truth then assert that it didn't happen. luckily, top gear did neither of those things.

if you haven't heard, top gear has been accused of running down a battery on the nissan leaf before they road tested it so it would run out of power earlier on in the test. this is true. it's also true that they didn't tell the public they'd done this. where the accusation falls flat however is that no one ever said, "what a piece of junk. i had a full charge when i left and only got 40 miles not the 100 miles it's supposed to."

the point of this test was to show consumers that charging stations are difficult to find because they are spread quite far apart. if you do fill up at a charging station regularly for a "quick charge" then you risk halving the life of your battery. charging at home will take all night. this test drive was meant to highlight the fact that if you're running around town and your battery dies then you'll have to come up with some inventive ways to recharge, kill time or do both.

so what was the real problem people had with this piece? where were the falsehoods? what trickery was really attempted? clarkson said he actually liked the car and that it was comfortable and came with a number of good options. he even commented on the ample trunk space, a feature he hasn't mentioned since the 80s. all and all he said it was a really good car. it seems that people took offence to the truth. electric cars are overly expensive at the moment, are mostly made of non-recyclable materials, have poor range compared to other cars and require hours to re-fuel. the fact that they're the "green" alternative is hogwash. what's green about a car that's being charged by a nuclear or coal plant? where do these people think all that power is coming from?

this entire ordeal smacks of nissan looking for free publicity and they've achieved that. the review wasn't negative in regards to the leaf and wasn't really negative to electric cars in general. the truth is they aren't ready for prime time and won't be till battery technology gets much much more efficient. you shouldn't have to pack close to 7000 lithium ion batteries in a car to give it range and power but that didn't stop tesla from doing it. (the car manufacturer, not the genius.)

i would love to hear someone else's take on this story so please comment or email me if you disagree. it's refreshing to see that someone had the sense to remind people that top gear is an entertainment program designed to make you laugh and enjoy the antics of a bunch of middle aged men acting like children.

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