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Electric van range HALVES when fully-loaded

Electric van range HALVES when fully-loaded

Electric van range HALVES when fully-loaded

Research by a fleet management company has discovered that the electric range of a plug-in van could HALVE when it’s actually used to carry loads.

The study, carried out by Arval, found that a fully-loaded electric van lost more than 85% of its range over a 33.58 mile course. The same van, carrying nothing, lost just 45%.

“This is a great example of the operational factors that fleets looking at operating electric vans may have to consider,” said Arval UK’s commercial vehicle consultant, Eddie Parker.

“The loss of range is significant at almost 50% and shows that, if you were expecting a fully laden EV commercial vehicle to reach anywhere near the stated range, then you would be disappointed.”

The 35.58-mile test route was designed to represent typical van use, says the company, consisting of 16.8% urban road, 32.5% rural, 21.5% carriageway and 29.2% motorway.

The van travelled between 30 and 70mph, driven by the same driver, with the air-con and non-essential electrics turned off.

Despite the worrying research from Arval, Parker says it shouldn’t put people off electric vans entirely.

“We undertook this test in response to requests from customers who were looking to gain an operational understanding of this kind of vehicle.

“The fact is that, in general use, few vans of this type would ever be fully laden. A typical load for most uses would be much nearer the 50% mark, where the loss of range is much less pronounced. For this reason, we believe the study shows that there is a wider application for EVs than may at first have been thought.”

The popular Nissan E-NV200 electric van has an official NEDC range of 106 miles and features a number of features to extend the range – including regenerative braking and an advanced route planner to help pick the most efficient route.

Parker added: “Of course, all vehicles lose range when fully laden. A diesel van with a full payload would typically see its range reduced by around 35%.”

Nissan Micra

Nissan will help you find friends to buy a car with

Nissan MicraNissan has launched a new shared car ownership scheme that is 100% digital and uses social media channels to match up groups of compatible sharers.

The scheme, called Nissan Intelligent Get & Go Micra, will launch in Paris in April 2017. Other cities, such as London, are expected to follow.

The firm argues it has the potential to “transform the traditional car sharing industry”. This is through the use of social media profiling: Nissan will use social algorithms to pair up suitable groups of people to co-own a Micra.

Nissan Intelligent Get Go Micra

With an added layer of geo-location tech, Nissan believes the new scheme will create a car sharing scheme that works for everyone. Members will pay monthly based on how much they use the car, so they “can expect no nasty surprises”.

The advantage of using social media is that co-owners will be paired up with like-minded people. They’ll likely be a similar age, live in the same area, share similar music tastes and so on: all important considerations when cars are used by multiple people.

And because you’ll know the other people in your co-share group, there’s more incentive to keep the car clean and tidy for others.

Everyone also enjoys much lower cost of ownership – insurance, servicing, smartphone app and in-car tech functions are all included in the price. Bose Personal Audio is also included: this uses speakers in the car’s headrests to enhance sound quality.

Nissan chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn launched the new Nissan Intelligent Get & Go Micra scheme at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal this week. “We are moving toward a future where car usage may be more flexible, social and shared,” he said.

“At Nissan, we’re pioneering new ways to allow drivers to enjoy the freedom and financial benefits of shared car ownership.”

The Nissan initiative comes a week after UK car insurer Admiral announced it would use Facebook profiling to help younger drivers get discounts on car insurance – a scheme quickly BLOCKED by Facebook itself.

It is not yet clear if Nissan plans to use Facebook profiling in its Micra car-sharing scheme. 

Nissan Qashqai N-Connecta 1.6 DCi quick review: the ultimate crossover?

Nissan Qashqai N-Connecta 1.6 DCi quick review: the ultimate crossover?

Nissan Qashqai N-Connecta 1.6 DCi quick review: the ultimate crossover?

The Nissan Qashqai is often credited with being the car that started the crossover boom. It began in 2007, when the original Sunderland-built Qashqai replaced the more conventional Primera. It enjoyed huge success, hitting one million worldwide sales in 2011 – and smashing its target of 100,000 a year.

A replacement Qashqai was introduced in 2013 – and that’s the model we’re testing here. Does it deserve to be the huge success it’s proving to be, or is it living on a tidal wave of popularity triggered by its predecessor?

Prices and deals

The Nissan Qashqai starts at a very reasonable £18,545, but the high-spec turbodiesel N-Connecta will set you back a slightly more eye-watering £27,160. A search of online brokers suggests you can comfortably shave £4,000 off that price.

What are its rivals?

While Nissan can lay claim to having one of the first trendy new crossovers on the market, there’s no shortage of rivals available in 2016. There’s the affordable MG GS, good-value Hyundai Tucson and popular Kia Sportage – not to mention the Renault Kadjar, which shares a platform with the Qashqai. The SEAT Ateca is now on sale, and could also be a serious threat to the Qashqai.

What engine does it use?

What engine does it use?

There’s a range of petrol and diesel engines available in the Qashqai. The model we’re testing is the more powerful 130hp 1.6-litre dCi turbodiesel.

How fast?

Even with 20hp more than the lesser 1.5-litre diesel, the 1.6 isn’t a quick car – hitting 62mph in 9.9 seconds, and a top speed of 118mph. It’s plenty for a car such as this, though, and the manual gearbox is sharp enough that you don’t mind working through the gears to extract the best from the Qashqai.

Will I enjoy driving it?

The latest Qashqai isn’t as fun to drive as the original model, and those seeking thrills should look elsewhere. But it’s a refined and relaxing car to drive, with very few of the minor grievances that plague rival cars.

The electrically-assisted power steering provides confidence, while the Qashqai feels composed through corners. Road and wind noise are minimal, adding to the feeling that you could drive this all day without feeling stressed.

Fuel economy and running costs

Fuel economy and running costs

The 1.6-litre diesel returns 64.2mpg in the combined NEDC test. With a bit of effort, this is probably achievable, while mid-50s should be easily possible with sensible out-of-town driving.

What’s the interior like?

Bland, but robust, with everything where you’d expect it to be. The seating position is high up, giving you a good view of the road ahead – but equally, good visibility means it’s easy to drive around town. Despite a large infotainment screen in the middle of the dash (we’ll come to that shortly), there seem to be buttons everywhere in our high-spec model.

Is it comfortable?

It’s very easy to find a comfortable driving position in the Qashqai. The steering wheel adjusts back and forth – as well as up and down – while the seats offer plenty of adjustment. Legroom is also decent for front and rear passengers.

Is it practical?

Is it practical?

Unlike the previous model, the latest Qashqai is only available with five seats. It offers more space than a Golf, though – the attraction of a crossover for most – with 430 litres of boot space with the rear seats in place.

Tell me about the tech

The N-Connecta model tested here comes with Nissan’s seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system incorporating sat nav, DAB radio and smartphone integration. It’s a slick system to use, while Nissan’s fancy around-view monitor, standard on the N-Connecta, makes parking a breeze.

What about safety?

Nissan knows the Qashqai is popular with families, and it hasn’t scrimped on safety. On the N-Connecta you get lane departure and emergency braking systems as standard, not to mention driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags. It scored five stars for safety when NCAP tested it in 2014.

Which version should I go for?

Which version should I go for?

The high-spec N-Connecta on test here is a good choice if your budget stretches that far. However, the lower-spec Acenta offers good value for money, and the 1.5-litre diesel won’t leave most drivers feeling short-changed.

What’s the used alternative?

With a near-10-year production run so far, and the Qashqai’s popularity what it is, there’s no shortage of secondhand models on Auto Trader: more than 6,000, in fact. A £5,000 budget will get you a tidy early model from a dealer – we’d recommend a petrol engine at this age – while £14,000 buys a two-year-old second-generation model powered by the 1.5-litre diesel.

Should I buy one?

A Qashqai doesn’t make for an exciting purchase, but it is a really easy-to-live-with crossover that will tick all the boxes for many families. There are more interesting rivals out there, but the Qashqai is a quality all-round package.

Pub fact

Pub fact

The first Nissan to be built at the firm’s Sunderland plant was the 1986 Bluebird. In the plant’s first year, it produced just 5,139 cars. Last year, that number was 475,000, and it’s set to rise to more than 600,000 when the next-generation Qashqai and X-Trail enter production over the next few years.

Nissan Sunderland

Nissan decision ‘massive vote of confidence in Britain’ says Unite union

Nissan SunderlandNissan has secured 7,000 jobs at its Sunderland factory, and a further 28,000 in the supply chain, by confirming the next-generation Qashqai and X-Trail will be built there. The Unite union says this is thanks to the “world class” workforce employed there.

It is a “massive vote of confidence in Britain’s world-beating car industry”, claims Unite.

The surprise announcement, which came today ahead of a decision previously expected next month, confirmed the next-generation Qashqai for Sunderland. In an added surprise, Nissan announced the X-Trail seven-seat SUV will also now be built there.

Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: “Nissan’s decision is a massive vote of confidence in the skills and expertise of a world-class workforce and testament to their hard work which has made the Sunderland plant one of the most productive in the Nissan family.

“The decision to build the new Qashqai and X-Trail in Sunderland is recognition of the UK car industry’s status as a world leader and secures tens of thousands of jobs at the Sunderland plant and throughout the supply chain.”

Burke also sounded a warning for the government, though, as discussions around Brexit continue. “It is vital that the government supports the car industry and secures tariff-free access to the single market to ensure other manufacturers follow Nissan’s lead and invest in the UK car industry.”

Although the future Qashqai has been secured, several other car manufacturers are due to make investment decisions for UK facilities, said Burke. Tariff-free access to the single market, stresses Unite, will play a key role in these decisions.

The next major UK car factory due to make an announcement regarding future product is Toyota. Its Burnaston facility makes the Auris hatchback and Avensis large family car. It’s unlikely the slow-selling Avensis will survive: all eyes are therefore on what Toyota decides to do with the Auris.

Nissan Sunderland

Sunderland safe: Nissan confirms car production will stay in UK

Nissan SunderlandNissan has confirmed that car production will continue in Sunderland following the Brexit vote.

The future of the factory appeared in doubt after Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn met with prime minister Theresa May two weeks ago. However, Nissan has now committed to remain the UK, stating that both the next Qashqai and X-Trail will be built in Sunderland.

The decision will come as a relief to the 7,000 workers at the plant, which is one of the largest employers in the north of England.

Sunderland opened its doors in 1986, and one in three British cars is now built there. Around two million Qashqai crossovers have rolled off the line over the past decade, with 80% of production currently exported.

Carlos Ghosn said: “The support and assurances of the UK government enabled us to decide that the next-generation Qashqai and X-Trail will be produced at Sunderland. I welcome British Prime Minister Theresa May’s commitment to the automotive industry in Britain.”

Mrs May called the decision “excellent news”, while business secretary Greg Clark said it was “proof of the strength of the sector”.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Today’s announcement is good news for UK Automotive and jobs, confirming Britain as a leader in automotive production. To secure this position, however, we need government to provide public assurance to investors that our advantages will be maintained – namely, a competitive business environment, the ability to recruit talent from abroad and the continuation of all the benefits of the single market as we leave the EU.”

Nissan makes the Juke, Qashqai, Note, Leaf and Infiniti Q30 models in Sunderland at present, so the addition of the X-Trail SUV is an unexpected bonus.

Carlos Ghosn

Nissan has taken control of Mitsubishi

Carlos GhosnNissan taken control of Japanese rival Mitsubishi by completing a deal to take a 34% equity stake in the crisis-hit manufacturer.

Mitsubishi will become part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance – which is now one of the world’s top three car groups. Combined, they will this year sell more than 10 million cars.

It means the tireless Carlos Ghosn, already CEO of Renault and Nissan, now becomes chairman of Mitsubishi too. He has conducted a reshuffle of his management time so he can find the time to do it – and one of them is a Brit: Nissan chief performance officer Trevor Mann now becomes COO of Mitsubishi.

Mitsubishi was ripe for takeover after admitting it had been lying about the fuel consumption of dozens of models for the past 25 years. Ghosn, never one to mince his words, admitted Mitsubishi was on the ropes and the equity takeover was one charged with helping it recover.

“We are committed to assisting Mitsubishi Motors as it rebuilds customer trust,” said Ghosn. “This is a priority as we pursue the synergies and growth potential of our enlarged relationship.”

Economies of scale will give the giant new global group “breakthrough technologies and manufacturing capabilities to produce vehicles to serve customer demand in every market segment and in every geographic market around the world.” It possesses a formidable arsenal of size, reach and technology.

“At a time of unprecedented change in the global auto industry, this strategy will build on our existing strengths and management capabilities to ensure increased competitiveness, better products for our customers and attractive returns for shareholders.”

Buy a used Nissan Leaf for £175 a month - with a tiny deposit

Buy a used Nissan Leaf for £175 a month – with a tiny deposit

Buy a used Nissan Leaf for £175 a month - with a tiny deposit

More than 15,000 Nissan Leafs have been registered in the UK this year – meaning it holds onto its crown as the country’s most popular electric car.

But the firm says, after four years on sale, the number of used examples on the market are increasing – making it more accessible than previously.

As such, Nissan is launching a £1,000 dealer deposit contribution towards a PCP deal on used examples of the Leaf – meaning you could drive one for £175 a month, following a deposit of just £175.

Available on the 24kWh Acenta model, buyers get a 12 month warranty and free home charge unit, while interest works out at 3.9% APR.

You’ll own the battery outright – although new examples are available with the battery leased from £70 a month – and Nissan will replace any part of the battery causing capacity loss below nine bars (out of 12), within the three-year battery warranty period.

A search on Auto Trader, meanwhile, reveals you can buy a three-year-old Leaf with 61,000 miles on the clock for £5,599 – and the dealer selling it is offering 0% finance.

If you’d prefer a new one, you can buy a new Acenta 24kWh for £249 a month over three years. This follows a deposit of around £2,500, while interest works out at 5.99% APR.

Brexit: Nissan 'confident' car production will continue in UK

Brexit: Nissan bosses 'confident' after Theresa May meeting

Brexit: Nissan 'confident' car production will continue in UK

Nissan’s chief executive Carlos Ghosn has said he feels confident that the firm will continue to do business in the UK after meeting prime minister Theresa May to discuss post-Brexit Britain.

The firm’s Sunderland factory employs around 7,000 people and churns out 500,000 cars a year – with 80% being exported to more than 130 countries around the world. This means it could be a huge blow to the UK car industry if the Japanese carmaker moved production elsewhere.

“Since Mrs May’s appointment, we have maintained a clear dialogue with the UK Government during this challenging time,” Ghosn told reporters this afternoon. “It was my pleasure to be here today for a positive meeting with the Prime Minister and key members of her Government and I welcome their commitment to the development of an industrial strategy for Britain.”

At this month’s Paris Motor Show, the Nissan boss said he needed ‘a commitment’ from the Government if he was to continue investing in the UK. Along with the Sunderland plant, Nissan operates a design centre in London, a research and development centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, and a sales and marketing HQ in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire.

“Following our productive meeting, I am confident the government will continue to ensure the UK remains a competitive place to do business,” added Ghosn, not hinting whether a firm tariffs had been made with the prime minister.

“I look forward to continued positive collaboration between Nissan and the UK Government.”

Following the discussions, May spoke out in praise of the UK’s automotive industry, describing it as a “great British success story [with] Nissan at the heart of it”.

“Over the past 30 years [Nissan has] had an excellent relationship with the UK Government,” she added, “a track record of investment and innovation, and their Sunderland plant is one of the most productive anywhere in the world – a testament both to their company and the skill of our workforce.

“We are now at the start of the complex negotiating process as Britain exits the EU and I have been clear that there will be challenges ahead. But I am confident we will achieve the best deal for Britain and the Government will engage closely with employers and investors as part of our work to create a global Britain.

“This government is committed to creating and supporting the right conditions for the automotive industry to go from strength to strength in the UK, now and into the future.”

May added that she was pleased to meet with Ghosn today and said she’d continue to work closely with Nissan.

Brexit: Nissan 'confident' car production will continue in UK

Brexit: Nissan bosses ‘confident’ after Theresa May meeting

Brexit: Nissan 'confident' car production will continue in UK

Nissan’s chief executive Carlos Ghosn has said he feels confident that the firm will continue to do business in the UK after meeting prime minister Theresa May to discuss post-Brexit Britain.

The firm’s Sunderland factory employs around 7,000 people and churns out 500,000 cars a year – with 80% being exported to more than 130 countries around the world. This means it could be a huge blow to the UK car industry if the Japanese carmaker moved production elsewhere.

“Since Mrs May’s appointment, we have maintained a clear dialogue with the UK Government during this challenging time,” Ghosn told reporters this afternoon. “It was my pleasure to be here today for a positive meeting with the Prime Minister and key members of her Government and I welcome their commitment to the development of an industrial strategy for Britain.”

At this month’s Paris Motor Show, the Nissan boss said he needed ‘a commitment’ from the Government if he was to continue investing in the UK. Along with the Sunderland plant, Nissan operates a design centre in London, a research and development centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, and a sales and marketing HQ in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire.

“Following our productive meeting, I am confident the government will continue to ensure the UK remains a competitive place to do business,” added Ghosn, not hinting whether a firm tariffs had been made with the prime minister.

“I look forward to continued positive collaboration between Nissan and the UK Government.”

Following the discussions, May spoke out in praise of the UK’s automotive industry, describing it as a “great British success story [with] Nissan at the heart of it”.

“Over the past 30 years [Nissan has] had an excellent relationship with the UK Government,” she added, “a track record of investment and innovation, and their Sunderland plant is one of the most productive anywhere in the world – a testament both to their company and the skill of our workforce.

“We are now at the start of the complex negotiating process as Britain exits the EU and I have been clear that there will be challenges ahead. But I am confident we will achieve the best deal for Britain and the Government will engage closely with employers and investors as part of our work to create a global Britain.

“This government is committed to creating and supporting the right conditions for the automotive industry to go from strength to strength in the UK, now and into the future.”

May added that she was pleased to meet with Ghosn today and said she’d continue to work closely with Nissan.

The 2017 Nissan GT-R Nismo is more expensive than a Porsche 911 Turbo S

The 2017 Nissan GT-R Nismo is more expensive than a Porsche 911 Turbo S

The 2017 Nissan GT-R Nismo is more expensive than a Porsche 911 Turbo S

Nissan has revealed the latest version of its super-hot GT-R Nismo will cost an incredible £149,995 when it goes on sale next month – making it more expensive than a Porsche 911 Turbo, Audi R8 Plus, and even a McLaren 570S.

That’s a price hike of £25,000 over the outgoing range-topper, and a mighty £58,000 more than the Nismo-engineered GT-R Track Edition.

The pinnacle of the GT-R range, the Nismo is powered by a twin-turbo 3.8-litre V6 producing 600hp. The engine uses a pair of high-flow, large diameter turbochargers used in GT3 competition, while power is distributed to all four wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch paddleshift gearbox.

Performance figures haven’t been confirmed, but with the same powertrain as its predecessor, expect it to hit 62mph in around 2.5 seconds and a 200mph top speed.

Changes to the 2017 Nismo GT-R are minimal. Like the regular model, it gets a new front bumper – made entirely from carbonfibre on the Nismo version.

It also gets a bigger front grille to help cool the engine, while the Nismo’s springs and dampers have been tweaked to increase downforce.

The firm says this results in cornering performance that is almost 2% better than the outgoing model, meaning your £150,000 could buy you the best-handling Nissan ever.

Enhancements inside include a revamped dash, steering wheel and centre armrest all covered in Alcantara. Unique to the GT-R Nismo are leather-covered Recaro carbon bucket seats with red Alcantara inserts.

Order books open on November 1 in the UK.