Our 100% Electric Car - the Nissan Leaf.
Well, after many months of talking about it, thinking about it and reading about it... we've taken the plunge. Today we picked up our Nissan Leaf Tekna 24KWH 100% electric car.
We test drove it last week and fell in love immediately. Honestly, you cannot believe how quiet an electric vehicle is until you've driven one. It's surreal, like driving around in a beautiful, peaceful bubble. Within 5 minutes of being in the car Andy said "I have to tell you, I completely love this car and want it" at which point our negotiating position with the salesman was somewhat compromised ! But honestly, it was love at first drive. We were never fooling anyone.
Why an Electric Car now?
The reason it took us so long to test drive one is because we had a feeling this would happen. I test drove a Tesla a couple of years ago on a training course. Whilst a Tesla is a very different animal to a Leaf, one of the main reasons I liked it was peaceful driving experience. That isn't unique to a Tesla. So we wanted to understand as much as possible before really considering buying one.
We're in an ideal position for an electric car really. We run our own business from home, so no commute. Because of the business, we don't go away for more than 1 or 2 nights. And rarely very far. We have solar panels on the house, so we'll be charging for free on sunny days. But the range could still be an issue if we don't plan properly, and we wanted to be sure we're prepared for that. We think we are.
What we hadn't appreciated was the amazing deal you can get currently on a second hand Nissan Leaf. Free servicing for a couple of years, free this, that and the other, and a free charger outside the house. Podpoint will come to fit that in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime it will be an extension cord through a window - great sports :)
We took the boys back to see it the evening after we test drove it. Their reaction was similar, they simply can't believe how quiet it is. They love all the gadgets inside too - whoever owned it before us opted for EVERY bell and whistle imaginable.
The dealership kept the car for a few days to clean it up and what have you, and we picked it up today.
UK Nissan Leaf Owners Facebook Group
There is a fantastic Facebook group of Nissan Leaf owners who generously share their experiences, which means that the learning curve for us will be shorter than it might otherwise have been. If you're considering buying one, it is well worth your while joining that group. They are a lovely bunch and, fortunately, there seems to be no such thing as a daft question!
What have we learned so far?
The most helpful thing we learned, even before we went for the test drive, was that you need to be prepared to plan your journeys more than in a petrol car. Unless it's a short trip and you have plenty of charge, you always need a Plan B as the infrastructure for chargers isn't perfect. There are quite a few chargers in our area, but we can see they're not always working. We'll have to work out all the different charging networks and how we use them.
One thing we've already worked out: if all else fails, you can always charge for free at a Nissan dealership provided you let them know you're coming to check it's available and working. We will keep our petrol car for a while, 6 months maybe, and see how we get on with the Leaf. Based on how we feel already, I can't see us regretting our decision.
It already feels like a love thing.