Life with Nissan LEAF

 

When asked about the new Nissan LEAF, which he had just spent the week test-driving, Paul Neville admits, “I was a tad sceptical about swapping my regular estate car for something electric-powered.”

As the MD of a company that coaches executives, Paul often works at different locations each day, so he has to have a car he can rely on.

“Once I got behind the wheel I was really surprised,” says Paul. “One of the first things I noticed, actually, was how quiet it was. When I pushed the start button there was none of the typical engine noise that I’m used to with my ‘normal’ car, no vibrations and of none of the usual petrol smell wafting through the vents while the engine warms up.”

It may be quieter and cleaner than your usual petrol or diesel motor, but the Nissan LEAF’s lightweight lithium ion battery’s performance is equivalent to a “regular” 2.5-litre V6 petrol engine with a top speed around 90mph.

“It felt great out on the open road,” says Paul. “One particular work meeting I had involved a 40-mile round trip from my home in Reigate to Walton-on-Thames. I had no problem keeping up with the flow of traffic on the motorway and I loved the fact it was so effortless and quiet.

“This journey had a bit of everything, including back-roads, which were fun. I could sample the handling. The cornering felt a lot lighter than my usual car and there was none of the bumpiness I’m used to.”

Aside from the daily commute, Paul used the Nissan LEAF for shopping runs into town, allowing him to check out its performance in traffic.

“When it comes to acceleration, the power comes in almost immediately,” he says, “which is ideal when you’re darting in and out of gaps. The power delivery is very smooth and there’s none of the clunkiness you get from having to change gear.”

Another thing that impressed Paul was the Nissan LEAF’s onboard technology. “I really appreciate innovation in cars, and the Nissan LEAF was everything I expected in that department.

The touch-screen sat nav is beautifully laid out, one of the best I’ve seen, and very accurate. It tells you exactly where the nearest charging points are, which is very reassuring.”

Paul had reservations about how far he could go between battery topups.

“I was initially anxious about getting stuck somewhere and not being near a charging point,” he says. “But the on-board display tells you exactly how many miles you’ve got left.

“Once I got used to the car, I wasn’t afraid to let the battery run down properly before I recharged it, rather than topping it up constantly. When I got home each evening, I plugged it into our house’s outside socket and it was ready to go next morning.”

The crucial question, though, is whether he could see the Nissan LEAF fitting into his life on a permanent basis. “It very much fitted around my lifestyle and needs – driving to work, dropping my son at school, popping into town to see friends, and I quickly got used to having it,” he says. “ For what I need from a car, it’s ideal. It shows you how electric power can definitely be a viable alternative.”

‘I was surprised by how stylish and nippy the Nissan LEAF is’

Will the battery run out really quickly?

No. The LEAF has a range of up to 109 miles of normal driving – way more than most people do on the average daily commute – and the dashboard display tells you exactly how much range you have left. And if you switch to ‘Eco’ mode, you can increase your range.

How easy is it to ‘re-juice’ the batteries?

Very. The Nissan LEAF comes with a six-metre cable that you can plug in at home – or one of the hundreds of charging points located around the UK.

How long does it take to recharge?

Around eight hours from empty to full charge using the home charging point. To install this a British or Scottish Gas engineer will come to your home and do a quick suitability assessment, then fit the charging point in the most convenient location. This is around a third quicker than charging your Nissan LEAF through a conventional socket.

What are the running costs like?

A lot less than the average petrol-powered family car. A full recharge using a British Gas home-charging point costs less than £1.91 on an Economy 7 overnight tariff*. Not only that, but road tax and London congestion charge are free.

How spacious is it?

There’s enough room in the boot for a weekly shop and the seats fold down conveniently for bulkier loads.

Essential Information

The LEAF generates an impressive 110bhp.

Acceleration: 0-60mph takes less than 12 seconds.

Onboard technology: A touch-screen sat nav comes as standard – along with Bluetooth connectivity for your mp3 player and phone.

Innovative touches: Download the clever CARWINGS app and you can use your smartphone or computer to remotely switch on the heating or air conditioning. It will even set the timer for charging.

Price: From £25,990.

*Using 7 hours at British Gas’ Economy 7 rate and 1 hour at their Standard Rate

For further information and to book a test drive, visit nissan.co.uk/leaf

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

    £16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

    KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

    £100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

    IT Systems Manager

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

    IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

    £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

    Day In a Page

    Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

    Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

    ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
    Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

    Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

    Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
    'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
    BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

    BBC Television Centre

    A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
    Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

    My George!

    Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
    10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world