The Leaf dubbed ‘the world’s first affordable, full production’ family, electric car has been available to order in the UK since September, with its first customers waiting until March 2011 for delivery. Two such customers have finally got their cars, read the full article.
It's a fascinating problem isn't it. Those who live in towns are likely to reap the biggest benefit of such as car, but I suspect that many wouldn't buy one just on the off-chance that they might make a longer journey once every year. Those who live in rural areas will be too scared to have one – after all, there might not be enough charge to get somewhere (and back). Until we have an integrated transport strategy, very limited range cars will always have a problem. If people thought that they could drive to a train station and comfortably get where they need to do, they would probably do it – even in rural areas; but at the moment a good percentage of the population has never or would never travel by train/bus as they are car centric.
For cars like this to make mass market they either need to improve the range (or options for recharging) to compete with existing car stock, or we need to reinvest in our transport strategy. But heavy investments would be required to change our car centric people into trains/bus users and I'm not sure any political party has the will to attempt this in one go – especially as the state of our public transport is poor at best.