Nissan Leaf, motoring review: If we took a leaf from Norway's book, this would be a winner

 

PRICE £15,990 (inc £5,000 government grant)
ENGINE CAPACITY Lithium-ion battery modules with electric motor
POWER OUTPUT (BHP@RPM) 108 @ 3,900
TOP SPEED (MPH) 89
0-62 (seconds) 11.15
RANGE (miles) 124

It's still quite rare to spot an electric car in central London, or in any other British city for that matter. Though there are more models on sale than ever before, from BMW's new i3 to this, the second-generation Nissan Leaf, sightings of one outside of the gleaming dealerships alongside the A40 are rarer than sightings of gold-plated Rolls-Royces in Knightsbridge (sadly, reasonably common some days).

In central Oslo, though (where I went last week to see how Norway has embraced the electric car), it couldn't be more different. Instead of Ford Fiestas, you see Nissan Leafs, and instead of luxury Jaguars, you see the latest Tesla.

Why is this? You might think that Leaf owners in Britain get it easy with a £5,000 government grant, no road tax and no congestion charge in the capital, but compared with their Norwegian green compatriots, they are being fleeced. In Norway, there is no tax on the electric car, no tax at the dealership, no company car tax, free charging in town, free parking and use of the bus lanes. This means a Nissan Leaf costs far less to run than a VW Golf.

It is madness that we don't have the same benefits here in Britain, a country where most commutes are less than 60 miles round-trip (according to the Department for Transport) and electric cars such as the new Leaf will do 124 miles on a charge.

The electric boom in Norway began when the current crop of new models came to the market just as the government brought in real tax benefits. It doesn't take a genius to do the maths here; the British government's tax regime is keeping us from electric cars.

The new Sunderland-built Leaf is certainly up to the challenge, with 100 changes over the old model, including a new aerodynamic bumper and grille and 32kg less weight. The car's heating system – a killer of battery life – now uses less energy, while charging can now be done in just four hours at home with a 32-amp home charger costing £99. Or if you're in town, you can achieve 80 per cent capacity in just 30 minutes from a fast-charging point.

It even drives like a European city car, with heavier steering giving more feel. Now all we need is our politicians to pay attention; we'd like a tax cut, please.

News
One Direction's Zayn Malik gazes at a bouquet of flowers in the 'Night Changes' music video
people
News
people
News
'Free the Nipple' film screening after party with We Are The XX, New York, America - 04 Feb 2014
news
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
  • Get to the point
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

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
    Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

    Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

    A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn