Last week deputy prime minister of the UK Nick Clegg announced a £500 million scheme to encourage the adoption of electric cars, improve the national rapid charge network and invest into new technology. But just days later he managed to undermine his own announcement by saying that electric cars wouldn’t work for him or his family.
Clegg, who currently drives a Ford Galaxy people carrier (minivan), when asked why he didn’t drive an electric car himself said: “As far as my own personal car, as it happens I would love to buy an electric car if they produced more of the family size, people carrier kinds.”
Due to this, we thought we could compile a list of potential electric cars that may suit his current lifestyle to show that even someone who needs a “family-size people carrier” can make the change to plug-in driving. Assuming Clegg drives the latest and most efficient Galaxy his vehicle is rated as getting 54.3 mpg (45.2 mpg US) and emitting 139g CO2/km.
Fully Electric Vehicles
A fully electric car would be the ideal solution here especially as Nick Clegg is the figurehead for the new cash injection in the UK electric car sector. While many regular electric cars exist that could fit the bill, the one that we think fits it best would be the Nissan LEAF. While not quite as big as the people carried/minivan he is use to, the Nissan LEAF is no slouch when it comes to space. Its back row can hold three child seats at once. With a wife and three children (ranging from 5 years old to 12) an electric car with as much space as possible is needed.
The e-NV200 is due out in the UK over the summer too which uses the same drivetrain as the LEAF. In some ways it could be seen as a ‘LEAF people carrier’ which may make it the perfect car for Clegg.
The Renault ZOE could also be considered, but with its slightly smaller size we feel it may not be the right choice for the deputy prime minister.
As Clegg works in London he has easy access to all the Source London charging stations, a Nissan LEAF with upgraded onboard charger would work very well for him and always be topped up.
The ability to for the LEAF to rapid charge through CHAdeMO charging stations would also allow him to drive further out from London as needed as well as get first hand experience at using the rapid charging network his scheme is working to create.
Tesla Model S
Of course, Nick Clegg could always look at the ‘no compromise’ electric cars made by Tesla Motors. Clegg could even make use of his ‘in’ with Tesla, he was responsible for signing up Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, is the UK advisor for electric vehicles, to speak to Elon Musk directly about this.
The Model S is a car of style, beauty and size. It has enough space for his whole family plus luggage and an additional two adults. And it its amazing performance is perfectly suited to the UK’s second in command. As the UK’s supercharger network grows over the coming year, Clegg will be able to use this car to make the trip from his Sheffield constituency to London with just one short stopover.
However, as Clegg’s current ride is a Ford Galaxy it is unlikely a £100,000 car projects the image he is going for.
But if Clegg can get over the price-tag but feels the Model S is still on the small size he could hold on and wait for the Model X. Larger and more powerful than the Model S due to its all-wheel drive the Model X will undoubtably make heads turn.
Plug-in Hybrids and Range Extended EVs
Maybe Clegg and his family aren’t ready to go 100% electric. In which case getting their hands on a plug-in hybrid or a range-extended electric vehicle could be a way to go.
Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid
If Nick Clegg believes he needs as much space as possible we’d suggest he looks at the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid. If he needs a car that can do the school run, pick up the organic locally-sourced food shop, tow the family horse cart and go on extended holidays to Scotland then these cars could be for him. Sure, it may not be the easiest of cars to park in London, but if Clegg doesn’t believe the LEAF or other electric cars are big enough for families, this will convince him that not all plug-in cars are small.
Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid
The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid is the only diesel plug-in car on the market. Its technical and complex drivetrain is ready for any environment it could come across in the big bad world, making journeys around London and Sheffield and walk in the park for this car.
As a bonus for any family who likes to travel it can tow, meaning that caravan holiday (not that we expect the deputy prime minister goes camping) is perfectly possible with this car.
Toyota Plug-in Prius
A great transition vehicle for Nick Clegg and his family could be the Plug-in Prius. Operating as the usual Prius does with a larger battery, this vehicle would allow his family to get use to the idea of plugging in and driving on electric mode.
As with its non-plug-in version this car has five seats and ample storage. Due to the number of seats and the efficiency of this car when the battery is run down, it may also be better for him than other plug in hybrids/range extended electric cars like the Vauxhall Ampera or BMW i3. The five seats would allow him to take it on trips with his whole family (wife and three children) and its economy of 95MPGe beats out the Ampera/Volt’s 93MPGe on longer trips.
Use Public Transport
This may be a controversial idea, but it could be argued that for him alone, he doesn’t need an electric car. His constituency – the area for the UK he represents in the UK parliament – is in the northern city of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam to be exact. As his time is be mainly split between Sheffield and London he could make use of public transport in the form of trains between the two locations.
While in London he could use the electrically powered Tube underground system or, even better, get some exercise with London’s rent-a-bike scheme (otherwise known as Boris Bikes after the current Mayor of London). Although we understand that turning up to an important meet all scruffy and sweaty after a bike ride probably isn’t going to set the best impression. In this case, he could even order up a Nissan LEAF to chauffeur him to where he needs to go.
But what does all this come down to? As one can see above, there are plenty of options that would suit Nick Clegg albeit some with a few compromises. But we are far from the world that the deputy prime minister perceives we are in where there isn’t an electric car he could make work.
No one is suggesting that he has to make the total leap to fully electric powered transportation or even that a plug-in car has to be his only car. Even more, if we were to consider an electric car for Clegg and his family to use as a second car the list above expands to included many more examples.
Why do you think the deputy prime minister isn’t aware of the options open to him? Is there a cause for concern that the figurehead of the £500 million scheme seems to have an outdated view of the sector? What do you think of his announcement that EVs aren’t for him? Let us know in the comments below.
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