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Sky raced an electric vehicle vs a fuel cell car from London to Paris

Sky News staged a race between Nissan’s battery-powered LEAF and Hyundai’s hydrogen fuel cell ix35 SUV. The race started at Sky’s studios in London and the finish line was in Paris for the COP21 Conference. Spoiler alert: the ix35 won.

The 270-mile journey was well within the 369-mile range of the ix35, but with the LEAF’s 84-mile range, it needed to stop to charge its 24 kWh battery pack. The ix35 took the cross-Channel ferry and the LEAF travelled through the tunnel. The ix35 missed the first ferry, which gave the lead to the LEAF, but apparently the technology correspondent driving the LEAF couldn’t find a charging station and ran out of charge, giving the win to the ix35 which reached Paris with 60 miles of range left.

If you read Sky’s article on the race, Hyundai’s hydrogen fuel cell technology comes out as the clear winner, but the comparison to the LEAF is rather useless.

First of, the fuel cell ix35 is a £53,105 ($80,000) vehicle, while the LEAF starts at £20,790 ($31,300) in the UK. Regardless of the type of fuel, 9 times out of 10, if you compare a vehicle which costs half the price of another, the more expensive vehicle will win.

Secondly, it’s difficult to imagine how he couldn’t find any charging points. Of course, if Sky would have compared the ix35 with a similarly priced battery-powered vehicle, like the Tesla Model S for example, it would have been easier with Supercharger stations on each side of the tunnel (picture above on the right), but there are plenty of other public charging stations between London and Paris (picture from Plugshare above left).

It’s not entirely clear where Sky’s LEAF ran out of charge, but in my opinion, the race is not proving anything. Nonetheless, if it can bring more attention to the COP21 conference, it’s all the better.

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  1. What that experiment showed is the driver of the ix35 is a much more intelligent driver… not telling us anything about the car at all though

  2. Rikaishi - 7 years ago

    The leaf has never pretended to be anything other then a short-range inner-city runabout. Using it in a cross-country race against a vehicle whose main selling point is range is ridiculous.

  3. Roy - 7 years ago

    “staged a race” is a 100% accurate definition of what happened.
    If they had wanted to do it properly they would have used a Tesla with comparable range to the Hydrogen joke car.
    It might have also been nice to compare prices – given it takes 3 times the electricity to make hydrogen as would drive an electric car the same distance.
    No mention that 95% of hydrogen is made today from Natural Gas , so still dependant on the petrochemical industry & hydrocarbons


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