We met Heather at Fully Charged Live this year, she’s not a DriveElectric customer (yet!) but she has been a happy Nissan Leaf driver for just over a year. She’s delighted with her electric car despite having no off-street parking or home charging ability. We usually don’t recommend having an electric vehicle if you can’t charge at home but we were delighted to hear it can work! Heather has kindly allowed us to share her story:
On becoming a Leaf Driver:
“I’ve had a Nissan Leaf for exactly one year today! We first test drove in a Leaf in 2014, but knew that it was not a viable option for us back then. In 2014 the only rapid charger for miles around was at a nearby motorway service station. A home charger was not possible either as we live in an upstairs flat on a main road with no parking nearby.
However, we LOVED driving the Leaf, so we took photos of ourselves in the test Leaf and set it as a goal for the future.
In 2017, after the 30kWh battery version became available, we did some research and saw the Leaf had become an option for us. My job had changed and I could manage with 2-3 fillups per week; we now had a choice of 3 rapids within 10 miles of home and a further 3 just a few more miles on. (At that point I did not appreciate that there are so many different companies managing the networks, and just went for it because we really wanted the car.)
Electric driving and charging:
Our reasons for switching one of our vehicles to electric were mainly because of wanting to reduce our emissions, but we also loved driving the car – it is just so much fun, with a lovely quiet and smooth ride.
Since getting the Leaf our expenses have changed massively. I used to spend around £100 a month on petrol, and now spend about £30 a month, so we make savings even using the rapids. I make use of Nissan to top up for free once or twice a fortnight, and there are then occasional free vends from Ecotricity. We were already customers of Ecotricity for our home energy, so benefit from their half price offer. There is no vehicle licence fee to pay, and servicing is cheaper than with an ICE car. We have been pleasantly surprised by how much cheaper it is to run, and had not expected that when we got it.
One of the benefits of having to get used to using rapid chargers all the time is that I am quite confident going distances in the car. We have had two holidays, one to York and one to Norfolk in the car, and really felt much more relaxed on a long journey. On our last trip, we did 1,025 miles and spent just £11.95!
I always get excited to spot another EV, and have begun to really enjoy driving again, after it had become a bit of a chore. We get lots of funny moments, such as one few months ago, when we spotted another Leaf in our rear mirror and got quite excited. We then realised that it was planning to come off at the same services and that we might end up competing for the charge pump, and sped up a bit. Luckily there were two free pumps, so we both got charged and ended up having one of those friendly conversations that only seem to happen at chargers.
I often use charging time to phone family, it’s just long enough to get a call in to my mum! Or I’ll have a coffee and read the paper which is good downtime. One charger is at one of my workplaces, so I can also charge while I’m working too.
I can’t say that owning an EV has changed my life, but it has made certain aspects of it more fun, and I feel better about doing a job that involves a lot of driving, now I’m not polluting so much. The lack of a home charger has not bothered me, maybe because I’ve never had one, so just get on with it. I’ve learned to plan for charging, and take the chance to top up when I can. I do think that however things change in the future, it can only get easier for me, so that is a positive.
In our first year of electric motoring we have covered 12,000 miles and spent just over £220 plus £149 for the service, with my lease costing then same as my previous ICE. Next year will cost a bit more, as we had 52 free fills from Ecotricity too. I have yet to run out of electricity so still have that to experience!”