My First 3 Months in a Leaf

Driving an all-electric car has certainly been an experience. At first the car felt so different to driving my wife’s Rover; and there was all the guidance and encouragement from the dealer and other Nissan Leaf owners about mileage and economical driving.

IMG_5688aThe first novel experience was more to do with the quietness and responsiveness of the car. Driving along country lanes with a quite passage from Elgar’s cello concerto, or some Jaques Lousiwer ‘Play Bach’; and the way that the car moved the instant I touched the pedal, no delay for the engine to pick because there isn’t one; made the experience special.

When I got into the car in the morning and switched on I had to remind myself that I just needed to touch the accelerator pedal to go forward. Not having to start an engine was quite strange after nearly 60 years driving and old-fashioned combustion engine.

The car is fitted with displays that help the driver to drive economically to get the maximum distance from a charge and that quickly becomes something of an obsession. There are drivers in the Leaf Forum boasting of the distances they get – but sometimes at the price of a heater which, if used, would reduce the mileage reach by perhaps 5 miles.

Then I remembered why we bought an EV. It was to have a car for local journeys which, in aggregate, made up most of our total mileage and to ensure we had a second means of transport if the much loved Rover went into the garage.

The very careful driving option not only meant care over the use of heater or air con, but also keeping acceleration and top speed restricted. Now, after an overnight charge, I can expect around 93+ miles to go to a flat battery; with heater that’s below 90. Drive the car hard and it is probably less than 70.

But, I rarely do more than 60 in a day so what’s the worry. After all it’s a great car so why no enjoy it. I don’t mean to do fast driving or rapid accelaration but neither do I need to crawl of travel cold – or hot in summer.

So now my leaf drives like any other great car – but more quietly, with zer0 emissions, and still for no more than 2.5p per mile.