It was six months ago now, that we acquired our electric car. Some 4,800 miles later, we can report that the family is very pleased with our choice of a Nissan Leaf 2.0. We should explain the vehicle is not our only car. We live in a multi generation family unit with four adults and two small children. The four adults are all car drivers and besides the Nissan, we have access to two other cars. One, a large Mercedes Benz GLS with six seats, the other a classic Mercedes Benz SL 500 sports coupé that dates back to 1998. The GLS is used by us for family outings and long-distance travel, while the SL is so exhilarating with the roof down when just two people need to go anywhere just for fun.
The Nissan Leaf is therefore the perfect fit into our family fleet. It is the car of choice each morning and afternoon when the school run needs to be undertaken. It is the car that gets called upon to nip to the shops, drop off the dry cleaning and make any other short distance journey that anyone of the grown-ups need to undertake.
A quick calculation shows we are averaging 800 miles a month and in our six months of ownership, we have used a charger away from home just the once. And that was just to see if it all worked! In short, we seldom ever use the full 150 or so mile range the car makes available after each charge.
We charge using a Podpoint 7 kW home charger that was installed on an outside wall of our home shortly after we got the car. We programme the charging to take place during off peak hours when electricity is cheapest, and our average daily expenditure is 88.9 pence per day. That means our expected fuel cost for a whole years motoring covering just under 10,000 miles is expected to be £325.
Filling up the GLS with diesel fuel earlier this week cost £104 and that meant in in mileage terms, we paid 4.62 pence per mile to fuel the GLS against 0.3 pence per mile for the Leaf.
We have never suffered from range anxiety because we have never undertaken journeys far enough to warrant it. It is for us a run around car in the truest sense of the word because when we want comfort, we choose the GLS while the SL is ready to go when we need a spot of fun behind the wheel.
All in all, the perfect car for the job.
There have been, to date, no warranty issues. That is a blessing given with our last new car, we had to fight the manufacturer to accept its return to them. Nothing has fallen off nor has it rusted away and there is not even much of a rattle.
What has been difficult to come to terms with is the utter silence inside the car. It is well insulated of course but the lack of engine noise is a little eyrie and can be a little disconcerting.
One of the greatest surprises of driving the Nissan Leaf is how quickly you forget there is a brake pedal. Use the car in eco mode with the breaking mode switched on and you very quickly learn how wonderfully intuitive the modern EV is. The acceleration is nothing short of awesome, a terrible Americanism I know but truthfully a wonderful word to describe the torque achieved when you put your foot down.
Another thing we really do not miss and that is having to wait in line to fill the car up at a petrol station. During my six months of EV ownership I have driven onto a filling station forecourt just the once. And that was when I needed to fill up a can of petrol for my lawn mower!
So, have we nothing bad to say? Well no not really. Would I change anything if we were the manufacturer? Well perhaps the mapping on the in-car navigation system is weeny bit naff when compared to that on high end cars, but hey – this little gem is otherwise perfect.
When it comes to tech, travel journalists Frances and Michael Howorth are early adopters and that attitude has flowed down into their motoring. They own and drive Zero Emission saloons and even have electric bikes.
Photographs courtesy of Nissan