Thursday, October 24, 2013

Nissan Leaf electric car long-term review

We're testing a Nissan Leaf for a year to find out if life with an electric car is all it's cracked up to be
Lucky I’ve got the Nissan Leaf on loan for a year. It has taken me nearly a month to figure out a fraction of this electric car's complexities and capabilities
Taking advantage of the Government’s largesse with taxpayers’ money, I had a POD Point home charging unit installed at our house last summer (mine was, I think, the first to be fitted in Scotland). This tidy little number that looks like a garden hose reel attached to the wall by our front door would normally cost more than £1,000; but the Office for Low Emission Vehicles generously subsidised the whole sum for ours – as they might for yours if you look sharp and get your application in quickly
Having the means to charge an electric car without running a cable through an open window to a 13-amp socket in the living-room, I now felt the absence of just such a car. Nissan kindly went along with my idea to keep a Leaf at home for 12 months and run it normally as an adjunct to family life. My plan is to report monthly on our mileage in the Leaf; the car’s consumption of electricity; and the cost of that energy against the amount it would have cost us to power a car with conventional fuel from the pumps.
How useful in real life is a car that takes eight hours on the 32A Pod Point to charge with £3-worth of electricity and then has a theoretical range of just over 80 miles?
When the Leaf arrived, I loved its looks and was impressed with its build quality. The hitched-up streamlined headlight assembly and domed roof are reminders of the quirky Micra that, alas, has just gone out of production.