As I await delivery of my 120-mpg electric Nissan Leaf, my thoughts are now increasingly concentrated on battery charging. Battery technology is the only thing holding back the adoption of electric vehicles (apart from the obvious one of the price premium, but that problem would right itself in time). I will be lucky to get a range of 85 miles from the Leaf and, already, my scheming brain is toying with improbable tasks such as driving from London to Manchester and back. I hear that Nissan dealers offer a 30-minute charge, so in theory I could cover the 200 miles to the north by navigating from one dealer to the next. Once there, though, I might never get the car back to London except on the back of an RAC low-loader.
This is all fantasy, of course. I will probably never venture more than 30 miles from the comfort of my little home charging port and I will be content because 90 percent of my car mileage is local. All this makes the Nissan both a niche product and an expensive vehicle, suitably only as a second car. This is a pity.
There is hope, however. A new system could be offering a 30-second iPhone charge by the end of 2016. Just imagine how this would transform the usability of all mobile devices. And scaling up the system, just possibly, could help with the greater task of charging my car. One day soon, I firmly believe, there will be a sudden breakthrough in battery technology, not just in charging times but in terms of power storage. I can’t wait, although spare a thought if you see my white Nissan stranded on the hard shoulder of the M6. My trusted Mophie Power Station wouldn’t cope with that.