After a week of testing the Nissan Leaf 2 (2018 edition) it was time to hand back the keys, and return to driving my fossil fuel-powered old school machine.
So what have I learned from a week of driving an electric vehicle for the first time.
These are my top five tips for anyone considering an EV:
One. Driving an EV requires planning if your journey is more than 100 miles
My usual method of driving is to rack up the miles until the dashboard lights up with a low-fuel warning. And even then I know there’s another 40 miles or so before I run the risk of coming to a halt with an empty tank. The same approach was okay for the Leaf in my day-to-day but for longer journeys planning is a must. There are lots of apps and websites which will help. Oh, and it pays not to be in a hurry, too.
Two. Driving an EV makes you think about driving
You can see a lot of data about your driving when you’re inside an EV. It seems that every acceleration or braking can affect its range. When every mile is (potentially) precious, it focuses the mind on your speed and general driving style. More than that, it helps you to make decisions on whether to switch on air conditioning, and even whether to charge up your phone.
Three. EVs can look like ‘normal’ cars
When I mentioned to friends hosting a meal at the weekend that I’d be turning up at their home in an EV, they expected me to arrive in some kind of bubble-shaped dodgem. That or a futuristic conceptual car which looked more like a sports shoe. While the first version of the Leaf looked a little ‘pokey’ for my tastes, the 2018 looks like a proper car.
Four. There’s quite a lot to learn about driving and charging an EV
Apart from being an automatic, the e-Pedal takes some getting used to. But the real head-scratcher is the charging. There are many different types depending on the model of EV you get. And each model also has several different charging variations, all of which will determine how long charing will take. The different networks which run different charging public charging points adds to the confusion. Do your homework.
Five. If you own an EV, you’d better be using renewable energy
When we went along to Fully Charged Live in June, we were inundated with EV drivers looking for a renewable energy home supplier. It makes complete sense that anyone who chooses not to pollute through their wheels would feel the same about powering their home.
So, will I get one? Yes, without question.
Going back to my dirty old petrol car was like spending a week in a health spa and then having breakfast in a greasy cafe.
While it’s true that the convenience of a petrol station everywhere is more practical, having tried and tested the clean EV, it just feels like a step backwards and basically wrong to be burning fossil fuels in my car.
But does it make sense from a financial point of view?
We’ve done some calculations to compare the cost of running an EV to a petrol car.
Driving about 12,000 miles a year, it would cost me about about £468 to charge the Leaf at home for a year, with clean electricity from Pure Planet.
How does Pure Planet stack up against energy suppliers with specific EV tariffs? Read our blog post here.
Finally, is it a comfortable drive? This is something
Better, I think, because it’s quieter and also because the extra attention on mileage and usage, made me a more careful driver, which in turn is better for passengers.
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