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“It’s handy to wake up to a defrosted, warmed car on a frosty morning”

This blog chronicles my adventures with an electric car, a Nissan Leaf. It’s one of the early UK-manufactured Leafs, from 2013. I bought it outright, including the battery, from a main dealer. I use it for a 50 mile round-trip commute and so far, 6 months in, it has handled this really well. There’s another, diesel, car in our household and so the Leaf could be seen as our “second” car but in fact it’s becoming the “first” car in terms of the number of miles it does.

First off- yes it really is 100% electric. There’s no hidden petrol engine, it isn’t a hybrid, and yes, it works. Sorry but it’s the most frequently asked question I get!

There are many misconceptions about electric cars that are now being dispelled as more are on the road, but if you’re reading this I guess you’re either researching electric cars (EV)s or you have one already and just can’t get enough of them. I aim to show that electric cars are not only advantageous in environmental terms but also financially. Above all though, and you’ll know this if you’ve driven any recent EV, they are FUN! to drive.

The running costs of an electric car are just one area where they score – the cost of electricity is your fuel, in the UK you don’t pay road tax, and servicing is simpler and less frequent than a petrol or diesel car. This is offset at present by the higher purchase costs – but it depends. In 2016, the UK secondhand value of most electric cars is depressed for some reason. This is a great thing for a clued-up secondhand buyer. I got mine for the same price I could have paid for a replacement for my Skoda Fabia. From a Nissan main dealer. With an extended warranty. I’m quite pleased with that.

A caveat to end on – you’ll see electric cars advertised with their claimed range. Now the real-life range depends on many factors, just as the MPG you’ll get from a diesel car does. Just bear in mind that you need to allow for a reduction in your “energy economy” (miles per kWh) for the cold, for rain on the road, for headwinds, for battery degradation, etc etc. In my opinion for a used Leaf, with the 24kWh battery, this really means that the realistic range is 60-70 miles. Yes you might go twice as far in the summer, but if you need a reliable commuter and can’t charge at work, then this is the daily range I’d work on.

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