Why we’re operating it: To see if Nissan’s superior the reason for EVs on the inexpensive finish of the market
Month 1 – Month 2 – Specs
Life with a Nissan Leaf: Month 2
Have electrical automobile. Will journey. Distance no object. (Fast chargers allowing.) – 15th August 2018
Our Leaf has racked up a stunning variety of miles in its first few weeks with us, instantly proving that it’s able to way more than simply pottering about on the town – though it’s sensible at that too.
Not solely have I taken it on at the very least three journeys of near 200 miles every, however a few of my extra masochistic colleagues additionally nabbed it to make use of as unconventional transport for this yr’s Three Peaks Problem.
Though 160-170 miles of indicated vary doesn’t sound like sufficient to provide you full freedom, the fast charging infrastructure at motorway providers and different places alongside main routes now appears to be adequate that longer runs might be comparatively painless in an EV with the Leaf’s functionality.
As soon as, I may need been deterred from trying such journeys by the prospect of getting to attend for hours whereas the batteries recharge. However in actuality, I gained’t need to, as a result of in these conditions, the Leaf is never prone to want a Zero-100% cost. Typically, a strategic top-up from, say, 30% to 80% in 30 to 40 minutes is sufficient to permit me to finish every journey. That I can deal with.
Admittedly, I’ve tried this quick-stop method solely a few instances up to now, however it seems that different EV drivers are doing likewise and, to me, it appears fairly liberating. It not solely reduces vary anxiousness (by not letting the battery pack get near operating dry) but in addition permits me to drive the Leaf on the velocity I need to – by which I imply comfortably maintaining with most different visitors on motorways – versus chugging alongside at snail’s tempo, attempting to eke out each final mile of vary from every cost.
When it’s working correctly, Ecotricity’s Electrical Freeway smartphone app looks like a neat approach of connecting with the charging level, paying for the vitality used and protecting tabs on progress. Nonetheless, on one event the app went AWOL part-way by a top-up and refused to let me cease the method early, as deliberate. I needed to cellphone Ecotricity to get them to do it remotely.
The one draw back of pay-as-you-go chargers akin to Ecotricity’s is that they’re comparatively costly in contrast with recharging at residence. A 30-minute top-up, including about 80 miles to the Leaf’s vary, is roughly £6 – in all probability thrice the price of a full in a single day cost at residence. You’re paying for the velocity and comfort, although, and that determine nonetheless looks like a cut price subsequent to the price of the petrol or diesel you’d use to cowl the identical distance.
In the meantime, as anticipated, the flexibility to drive the Leaf utilizing only one pedal is proving indispensable – round city at the very least. The e-Pedal perform is very handy in stop-start metropolis visitors and on stretches of highway with a lot of sleeping policemen throughout them. It’s additionally fantastic when taking place ramps in multi-storey automobile parks, controlling the velocity of your descent completely with out you actually having to do a factor.
In fact, e-Pedal is barely nearly as good as your skill to precisely choose when to carry off the accelerator, particularly in order for you the automobile to come back to an entire halt. It quickly turns into second nature, although – and albeit, you don’t need to use the brake pedal until you actually need to as a result of it feels horribly spongy at first after which very abrupt. The mixed impact of the 2 braking methods ends in an uncomfortable cease, with something that is perhaps sitting on the again seats slamming into the footwell.
More often than not, although, the Leaf is proving to be a extremely agreeable automobile to drive each day. With its perky efficiency, absorbent experience and fairly fast, well-weighted steering, it’s exceptionally good for commuting and zipping round city in.
And if my technique of creating higher use of motorway fast chargers for fast battery top-ups pays off, I can simply see me having the ability to use the Leaf as my solely automobile for the following six months.
Find it irresistible:
REFINEMENT Noise ranges are exceptionally low all spherical and the powertrain is silky easy, as you’d count on of an electrical motor
TAILGATE RELEASE Moving into the boot is trickier than I’d like. The button on the tailgate is awkward to find and function and there’s no different technique of opening it
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Life with the Nissan Leaf: Month 1
Taking cost of electrical top-ups – 1st August 2018
I’ve had a Chargemaster wallbox put in in my storage for in a single day recharging. I needed to make do with a 3kW wallbox fairly than a quicker 7kW one, but it surely’s nonetheless higher than plugging the automobile right into a home socket. It has its personal tethered cable, too, so there’s no must faff round with the one which comes with the automobile. And it’s paid for by the federal government.
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Welcoming the Leaf to our fleet – 18th July 2018
I’ve a idea about electrical automobiles. As these items go, it hardly ranks up there with Einstein’s Idea of Common Relativity, however right here it’s anyway: I reckon EVs are good in your well being.
I’m not simply speaking about the truth that they don’t produce any exhaust emissions, thereby contributing to an enchancment within the high quality of the air we breathe. I’m satisfied that driving an EV can be a assured approach of decreasing stress ranges and blood strain. Even essentially the most humble of EVs are so stress-free to drive that I not often really feel any form of aggression in direction of different highway customers or like I’m in a rush to get anyplace.
For that motive – plus the truth that petrol and diesel costs are creeping as much as extortionate ranges – I’m exceedingly completely happy to be again behind the wheel of one other electrical automobile (having beforehand run a Renault Twizy and a BMW i3) for the following six months.
Sadly, it isn’t a Jaguar I-Tempo, but it surely’s no much less attention-grabbing or vital. It’s a brand new Nissan Leaf. The automobile that kicked off the fashionable period of EVs in 2011 has moved into its second technology as of early this yr, and it’s a helpful step ahead in contrast with its predecessor in each approach.
Amongst different issues, it’s received extra energy and efficiency than earlier than, a much bigger battery pack, an extended claimed vary and a wiser inside. Its progress prompted us to provide it a game-changer award at this yr’s Autocar Awards.
The claimed 235-mile vary beneath the previous NEDC take a look at process might be discounted as unachievable, however Nissan is now quoting a real-world vary of 168 miles, based mostly on the brand new WLTP take a look at. That’s higher than the 124-mile determine that Volkswagen claims for the e-Golf, however solely about the identical as what you’ll be able to already get out of a Renault Zoe. Frankly, I’d been hoping for one thing nearer to 200 miles this time round.
The 40kWh battery pack might be recharged with a three-pin home socket (taking a tedious 21 hours), a seven-pin plug (seven and a half hours through a 7kW wall field) or a 50kW public fast charger (40-60 minutes, to 80% capability). With a subscription to Chargemaster’s Polar community, we’ll have entry to greater than 6500 public charging factors in city areas across the nation.
For longer journeys, I’ve additionally registered the automobile and a bank card with Ecotricity, which offers all the fast chargers at motorway providers, so I’ll be capable to entry them and pay for every recharge through a smartphone app. Nonetheless, earlier expertise suggests that almost all of the recharging will likely be carried out at residence or the workplace, each of that are handy for me.
Of the three trim ranges accessible, mid-range N-Connecta offers you as a lot equipment as you’re prone to want, however we’ve gone for range-topping Tekna, primarily as a result of it opens the door to the total gamut of Nissan’s newest security expertise and driver aids. Commonplace tools contains ProPilot (which mixes lively cruise management with lane-keeping help and blindspot screens), in addition to heated entrance and rear seats with leather-based and ‘ultrasuede’ upholstery, a surround-view monitor, a Bose premium audio system and full LED adaptive headlights.
On high of that, we’ve added ProPilot Park (£1090 with Tekna trim solely), which is an virtually absolutely automated parking help, and Spring Cloud Inexperienced metallic paint (£575).
I used to be by no means a fan of the earlier Leaf’s inside or driving place, however the brand new one is a particular enchancment, with a way more modern design and higher-quality supplies. On first acquaintance, I nonetheless have some reservations concerning the driving place, primarily as a result of the steering column doesn’t alter for attain and I really feel as if I’m perched on high of fairly unsupportive seats. Nonetheless, I’m not anticipating this to be an excessive amount of of a difficulty as soon as I’ve settled in correctly.
Practicality is a robust level for the Leaf, with loads of house entrance and rear and a good-sized boot that’s hindered solely barely by the presence of a subwoofer on the ground. There’s a cargo internet on both aspect of the boot for retaining the 2 charging cables – inferior to a separate compartment however hopefully handy sufficient to forestall the boot from getting cluttered up with tangled cables.
One other piece of recent expertise for the Leaf is e-Pedal – a robust regenerative braking perform that means that you can drive pretty simply more often than not with out touching the brake pedal. I do know from earlier expertise with the i3 that this skill to drive utilizing only one pedal makes for exceptionally easy progress, particularly round city. There’s no creep on this mode, although, so it isn’t ideally suited for parking. Through which case, you’ll be able to swap it off, giving the identical stage of creep as you’d get in a standard automated.
As you’d count on, the Leaf is splendidly easy and quiet when it’s rolling alongside, and its experience is remarkably snug, whereas the 148bhp electrical motor offers full of life, linear efficiency. The brand new automobile additionally feels extra secure than its predecessor did, so I’m hopeful that it’ll be extra assured on the motorway.
The massive questions for me are ‘Has Nissan made a sufficiently big step ahead in contrast with the unique Leaf and its contemporaries?’ and ‘Is the Leaf now usable sufficient to provide it widespread enchantment?’. It doesn’t matter what the solutions develop into, there are two issues I can depend on. One: my operating prices are about to drop dramatically. And two: my physician will likely be completely happy, as I’ll be in impolite well being.
Hats off to highway tester Ricky Lane for recommendations on easy methods to extract the very best from the Leaf. Should you’re keen to busily shuffle the gearknob between ‘D’, ‘B’ and even ‘N’ to swimsuit the highway and terrain, you’ll be able to match and even beat Nissan’s claimed battery effectivity.
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Nissan Leaf specification
Specs: Value New £28,390 (together with £4500 authorities grant); Value as examined: £30,055; Choices: ProPilot Park £1090, metallic paint £575
Check Knowledge: Engine AC synchronous electrical motor Energy 148bhp at 3283-9795 rpm Torque 236lb ft at Zero-3283rpm Kerb weight 1580kg High velocity 89mph Zero-62mph 7.9sec Battery capability 40kWhClaimed vary 235 miles (NEDC) 168 miles (WLTP) Check vitality consumption Zero.25kWh/mile CO2 0g/km Faults None Bills None
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