Just created a new page, where I can jot down my likes and dislikes about the Nissan Leaf: https://notanicecar.wordpress.com/likes-and-dislikes-about-the-leaf/
Today Evie took the family to visit my in-laws, who live 30 miles away. We arrived with nearly 50 miles of indicated range left, meaning we had plenty to make the return journey. Even when I’d spent some time impressing father-in-law with the car’s performance (some days the ECO button seems superfluous) we had enough. Still, ever the adventurers, we thought we’d try the rapid charger at nearby Westover Nissan. That certainly worked well, and the staff were helpful, but it’s a bit of an inconvenience having to get a member of staff to start and stop the charging process. Also there’s not a lot to do at a Nissan dealership (new Leaf, anyone?) although coffee and newspapers were available. So on balance I think we’ll be using the Ecotricity sites where we can.
The return journey was totally uneventful, of course. We could get used to this!
A word about charging. At home we’ve had a charging point installed free of charge (if that makes any sense at all) by British Gas. Works a treat, though we could really do with a longer cable so that we can reverse into our drive. Going in nose-first requires a bit of manoeuvring, which is tricky in an unfamiliar vehicle. I can’t see really why future EVs shouldn’t have charging sockets front and rear for convenience.
Anyhow, yesterday we thought we’d have a go at rapid charging down at our local IKEA. Not that we needed it, but we thought it would be as well to know how to use these DC charger thingies. It might not be such a good idea to wait until desperate! So along we went, and drove round and round looking for the Ecotricity charging bays. Just as well we weren’t short of charge. Eventually a helpful member of staff pointed us in the right direction and we were in business. After a couple of minutes mastering the options provided by the numerous buttons on the charging unit, both car and charger reported that all was well and charging commenced. A couple of hours later we returned, unplugged and set off for the exit. This is where it got interesting. Ecotricity’s web site said the parking would be free, but we were definitely on the chargeable (so to speak) side of the barriers. I found another helpful member of staff who said no, we would have to pay like anyone else. Ah well, thought I, you can’t have everything. So I paid my money and drove up to the barrier. As I approached it the barrier rose and the card reader’s screen showed ‘Free Passage’! Would you believe it? Apparently my face was a picture. My wife and daughter laughed … and laughed … and laughed. In fact we were half way home by the time things calmed down. So I reasoned that the parking fee had been good value in entertainment terms. Note to self, though: must find out how all this is supposed to work.
Here we go then. This is my first blog, and it’s going to cover my experiences of living with a Nissan Leaf electric car. Let’s call her Evie. Evie arrived on Friday 14th February 2014 after a protracted gestation period. I first drove a Leaf in the summer of 2011 and was struck by its refinement. My wife liked it too, but it was simply too expensive for us to consider at the time.
What changed things was the arrival on the scene of the research project My Electric Avenue (www.myelectricavenue.co.uk). Evie is part of the ‘Social Trials’, which means that we have her for the next eighteen months (at least). I’ll probably say more about the project later, but let’s get on with talking about the car.
First impressions have been pretty favourable – this is the first car in which my wife and I have fought over the privilege of driving! Rolls-Royce refinement in a small car and plenty of performance at modest speeds. On open roads, while acceleration is modest, the quietness and lack of fuss can have you travelling rather more quickly than intended. We’ve seen 80mph on a couple of occasions already; OK, it’s not going to win races but it’s fine for everyday use.