Not part of my Tesla series, but this is related as I had an interesting electric car experience while traveling in London.
This is part of a series that covers my experience with a Tesla Model Y.
I have known people using Teslas as taxis or Ubers, and I rode in one in Antwerp, but it was luck of the draw. The same thing happened in London, but it was a more interesting experience.
I was staying at Heathrow Airport, which is well West of London. I had an engagement in the center of London, at the Tower Bridge. A Google map shows this to be a 20 mile journey, but 90 minutes, traffic is bad. In a gas car, without enough fuel, this could be disconcerting. However, it works well for electric cars since minimal power is lost sitting in traffic.
It was an all electric day in London. I booked an Uber from LHR to the Tower Bridge. As it happened there was a Kia e-Niro that responded quickly. I got in and started chatting with the driver. He had been using the car for 10 months as an Uber and was very happy.
The car drove well, was well sized for 4 adults. I think 5 would be cramped a bit as it’s narrower than the Model Y. It was fairly comfortable for me in the back, but the seats were a little thinner and harder than Tesla seats. The car had quick acceleration but not Tesla quick. I’m glad as the driver would quickly accelerate when there was space in roads and Tesla levels would have me jerking around.
The finish felt a little cheaper and definitely not luxurious. Not sure it’s worth it. Starting at $40, maybe. Perhaps the $45 Premium is better, and since a Model Y is now $60, perhaps. I have to think more about this.
The driver said range was 200-220 for him and the cat had worked well as an Uber. He could go quite a few hours before charging and there was plenty of places to charge. He said charging was about 0.50p UK per kW, so for his 60Wh batter, that’s 30 pounds sterling. Not cheap, but a lot cheaper than petrol. He also said that he tended to run to about 20% and charge to 70-80, depending on time. Usually having a coffee and a short walking break. Not a bad idea.
My return was a Nissan Leaf. Again, I didn’t pick this, it just happened to be close. It’s still 20ish miles, but a 90 minute drive from the Tower Bridge. I have a friend with an older Leaf, which gets about 80 miles on a charge, but the newer ones go over 150miles.
This driver wasn’t fazed. He’s had his over a year and it works for him. Again, he takes a few fares, then stops for coffee and charging. This was definitely a smaller and cheaper car, with much less acceleration, or at least the driver didn’t bother trying to hurry. The finish was cheaper, and felt like an economy car.
I haven’t been sure these cars would make sense for constant use but these two were finding ways to make it work. Apparently there is good charging infrastructure in London that works well enough for people to use electric cabs.