What’s to Like About the Leaf?

After six months I reflect on why I still get a kick from my Nissan Leaf. Is is the quietness when I drive? Could it be that I don’t have to stand at a smelly petrol pump to re-fuel? Or the very low cost – no car tax and only about 2o a mile? maybe the size – whilst a medium sized car is comfortably seats five. Perhaps it’s the free charging when I ‘re-fuel‘ on the motorway?

Well, yes, all that.
But the driving experience is also special.

IMG_5688aWhen my wife uses my car instead of her Rover 75 she says how very different it feels. And that’s so true. The way it starts, the way it handles and the clear sense of driving something quite unlike any car I have ever driven before; and there have been many over the years.

The first is to put the foot on the foot brake to tell the car that you want to drive and then press the start button, no key needed; release the parking break with the other foot and slide selector into D (for drive of course). Then remove your foot from the foot brake and the car immediately starts to move off. Press the accelerator and it can be a sudden start. The electric motor is at full power from the very start so this can be really quite fast!

Then there is the climate control – no waiting for the engine to warm up to clear the windscreen, and the heater is almost immediate. So nice on a cold day, but when the weather is so much warmer the cool flow from the A/C is also a fast start. This car is all comfort.

Once on the road the next thing that excites me is the road holding. I guess it helps not to have a big heavy engine above axle height and , instead, a big battery under the seats. Centre of gravity is demonstrated to be low when taking bends on a dry day that bit faster than the fast car behind that seems to want me to go faster – he’ll catch up again a little way down the road but, by then he may appreciate this strange electric car a bit more?

In town another feature becomes obvious and that’s the way it stops. The motor acts as a brake – lift the foot from the accelerator and there is a distinct feel that braking is happening steady and constant. You get to sense where you need to let go so that the car will almost stop close to the car in front. But that’s not all. Apart from saving on brake disk wear the regenerative breaking system kicks in and uses the deceleration to put power back into the battery – very neat!

This morning was also special for another feature. The car has been recording my driving over the weeks and estimating my driving mileage based on that.


This morning it forecast that I could go 103 miles on the full charge. I normally ensure that, on longer trips, I need to be sure I can re-fuel within 80 miles – so this forecast reassures me that I have power to spare.

Back home after my shopping expedition I plugged in again and let my home charger prepare the car for tomorrow whilst it sits on my driveway.

So, what’s not to love about the Nissan Leaf?