Many RMS members keep their thirsty toys locked up until the weekends, and so the “daily driver” is called into play for commuting and practical duties. Normally frugal diesels fit the bill, however inevitably with the rise in popularity and affordability of electric cars, someone on the RMS forum was bound to take the step into the unknown world of the electric automobile.
That member was Simon, known as lightning on the forums, a Volvo enthusiast and bona fide petrolhead. Surprisingly, after a four day test drive provided by Nissan in their latest Leaf, to him, the electric daily driver started to make sense in his everyday life. Simon gives us his insight into why he is now actually considering buying one.
Four Days with the Nissan Leaf
The car itself, surprisingly good. Full leather, heated front and rear, Bose sound, sat nav, and lots of other tech.
To drive is strange. Any one who’s ever driven a golf buggy will get it, smooth take off, no gears just seamless. Quicker than I thought, pulled a higher speed up the big hill outside work with four of our mechanics in it than most rep mobiles would have. Steers and stops well, although not sporty just very competent. Anyone who I’ve taken out has been very surprised at how well it does in fact perform on the road.
Range: the big question
I was pushing on more than the average leaf driver, book says 124 miles, I found 90 to be realistic. I’m sure I could eek out more, but would be boring. The 2014 on models have a different type of heating and power system that means it doesn’t suck power from the battery, in the early ones apparently the heater was not great in the winter.
It takes three or so hours to charge at home, costing around £1.80, or free from a public station, which takes the same time. I found Belfast good as you automatically got the best spaces in town free. There’s also 15 rapid charge stations dotted about which gives a full charge from empty in under 30 minutes. For longer journeys….take another car, but if you had to it could easily be done with a small bit of planning.
Does it make Financial Sense?
With a bit of leg work and if your prepared to travel you can find one for £150 per month over 24 with 1 payment down. There was £99 deals but they’re off at the minute apparently, internet rumours state they may be back at the end of the quarter. So basically if you use over £50 per week on fuel it is worth looking at.
Overall I was a lot more taken with it than I initially thought. Very relaxing and surprisingly fast to drive, and there was something very satisfying about knowing you were not using any petrol. I only live 6 miles from work, and have other cars, so for me it could work. Will I? Can’t answer yet, but if the £99 deals come back I’d be tempted, and not for ‘green’ reasons, because it would make financial sense and because as a motoring enthusiast it is a completely new experience.
Thanks for sharing Simon. Where do you stand in the electric arguement? It’s starting to become convincing.
Read more on the leaf at nissan.co.uk.