I write road tests on cars for various publications, and I have long held the belief that these islands are the perfect place for electric cars.
The biggest factor against their general acceptance in Europe is their relative lack of range, and the fact that they use their battery power particularly heavily at high speed. Neither of these are issues here in Lanzarote – the longest possible journey would be from Orzola to Playa Blanca and back, and at 140KM, that’s within the range of an electric car, and of course, we don’t have any motorways, so high speed driving isn’t a problem. Couple that with our abundance of sunshine, meaning we’re one of the few places that can generate substantial electrical power from solar sources, and that means we could have green cars, powered by green, sustainable energy.
With that in mind, I contacted Nissan Europe to ask to test drive and write about their Leaf, with a view to making as many people as possible aware of the potential. I was staggered to find out that Nissan haven’t appointed any Leaf dealers in The Canary Islands - a car that is perfectly adapted for this area isn’t even available here! *Update* The Leaf and Renault Zoe are now available here (2016) but still incredibly rare. The Leaf has a range of up to 220 Kilometers from a charge and of course has zero emissions. .
I know that Cámara, the island’s trade body, recently met with Rocio Arrendondo, the island’s minister of industry and energy consumption, and that one of the things they discussed was the need for Gasolineras to set up a charging infrastructure. That may be a good thing, but it’s not actually necessary – I could, for example, do all the driving I ever need to here, and simply plug in at home to charge the car overnight.
Lanzarote has a real opportunity here to lead the way in terms of sustainable personal transport. What we need are a series of incentives to help people:
- Court the car manufacturers and ask them to appoint dealers here and then insist the dealers run demonstrators so people can see how good these new cars are
- Offer government backed and guaranteed loans to people prepared to invest their own money in buying electric cars
- Over time replace all Cabildo and Ayuntamiento vehicles with electric cars to show them running and working every day
- Work with solar panel manufacturers to allow people to set up their own charging points in their homes at reasonable rates – they can then feed back any excess to the grid
The island’s people and the government are behind the protests about oil drilling here. Becoming world leaders in the adoption of electric cars would be a fantastic demonstration of our commitment to that.
Would you go electric?