“Can it really be seven years?”, I said to Dean as he got out of my 2nd Generation Nissan Leaf he was delivering. Now Director of Fleet for Glyn Hopkin, Dean was the salesman who originally handed over my first Leaf in 2011. I was glad to see he still has that amazing customer service I experienced when I was lucky enough to receive the first production Nissan Leaf to hit the roads in the UK.
My passion for electric vehicles hasn’t diminished in the intervening period, quite the opposite. So much has happened in their production and development as a viable alternative to ICE cars that I’m pleased to say several good friends, a few of whom are lifelong petrol-heads, have made the switch.
It makes every sense to look for cleaner transport. Cleaner = cheaper and, I think, will for a very long time if not forever. Team it up with clean energy like Solar, as we did, and you can run most if not all of your motoring powered by the sun. Once you’ve invested in your solar panels, from then on the energy they generate is free. There’s no other power source you can say that about.
They call this the ‘Leaf 2’ but there have been several minor upgrades along the way: 2011, 2013 and then the 30kW battery version. The thing I like about it, and what all long-term Leaf drivers will like, is that as well as the bigger 40kW battery (and 60kW variant to come) and the new shape, there are nice refinements that don’t get in the way of how good the Leaf felt to drive in the first place.
They include the improved infotainment system with very slick Bluetooth phone pairing and the E Pedal for one-foot driving (which is great, but does take a little getting used to). In practice most of us who use EV’s every day rarely use the brake anyway, so I think this is the way it’s going to go as we get closer to automated driving. And it may sound small, but I think Nissan’s move from Type 1 charging to Type 2 is a great idea. In our case, because both of our EV’s are now type 2, we can move back to a tethered charger which will be far more sensible than dragging cables out of the boot each time.
The new Leaf continues a great modern motoring tradition for Nissan and will continue to guarantee its place in the hearts of EV converts and those who are about the break from fossil fuel motoring.
I leased mine from DriveElectric for a number of reasons. Firstly, given where we are on the EV development timeline, leasing for two or three years makes more sense than owning. It offers the chance to upgrade at the time when more become available. Secondly, leasing makes sense to me because it brings a vehicle on predictable costs you can budget for, and you don’t tie up all your cash in an asset that sits by the road many hours a day. Finally, I like DriveElectric. They really take care and look after me as a customer and that counts for a lot!
Written by Mark Goodier, BBC Broadcaster and EV Enthusiast
Nissan Leaf N-Connecta – with FREE home charger
The new 2018 40kWh battery version has a range of up to 235 miles NEDC (our real-life estimate is around 160 miles) on a single charge. The N-Connecta is the next model up from the Acenta (and one below the Tekna), and comes ready equipped with heated seats, heated steering wheel, 17″ alloy wheels, privacy glass and electric folding door mirrors.