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The Nissan LEAF, at home in North Yorkshire

Added: 04 September 2020

By 2035 the only new cars on sale will be electric. Now 15 years might seem far ahead, but the original Nissan LEAF came out in 2011. That means Nissan has had an all-electric production car for nearly ten years. The first LEAF came with a fairly modest 109 miles of range with a 24kwh battery pack. Compare that to the latest LEAF E+ with a 62 kWh battery and 239 miles of range and it’s tripled its range.

When a new car comes out, especially a car with new technology there are always issues. It takes time for manufacturers to iron out the bumps and transform a great car into a superb one. This is exactly what Nissan has attempted to do in the past 9 years.

I’ve been lucky enough to have a Nissan LEAF to use as an everyday car. Mine, was a Nissan LEAF Tekna 40 kWh. Which is the highest trim level you can get. The N-Connecta (Sat-nav, smartphone mirroring and a digital driver’s display all come as standard.) which is as a model down has pretty much everything you need. Although the Tekna does add on LED headlights, full leather seats and a very good BOSE sound system.

Despite being the top-spec, it does not feature the 60 kWh battery. To get that you need to upgrade to the Nissan LEAF E+. With this in mind, I was looking at a possible 168 miles of range on a full charge rather than the 239 miles with the LEAF E+.

Now I live in Northallerton and I split my time between working in York and working in Teesside. It’s roughly a 70 mile round trip to York and a 40 mile round trip to Teesside. With the LEAF I could easily drive to either place of work, park up without having to charge and drive home with plenty on miles to spare. I chose to charge the car on my driveway overnight using a standard three-pin plug. This was the easiest thing for me to do, it just meant every morning the car was fully charged and ready to go.

I managed to get the car out on the weekend for various trips, including one across to Whitby. For me, this is a 90-mile round trip and the car did it with ease, leaving plenty of miles of charge left. Not only this but it was really enjoyable to drive electric cars have a power delivery that makes even this family hatchback a brisk and sporty feeling drive. The addition of the LEAF e-pedal helps to make the drive even more effortless. The general idea of the e-pedal is that you can virtually control all speed using just one pedal, this means you could accelerate and decelerate using just your right foot. It might take a little bit of getting used to, but it’s very intuitive and it won’t be long before you won’t think twice before turning it on (you can turn it off if you don’t like it).

The electric motor is nearly silent while you’re driving along. This helps the Nissan LEAF to cope well with motorway journeys for what is a relatively small car. The car is also quiet in terms of wind and tyre noise.  

Charging

If you want to charge from empty to full at home using a 7kWh charger, this will take about 6.5 hours. However, if you plug into a 50kW rapid charger while out and about then you’ll get from 20% to 80% charge in 60min on the standard model and 90 minutes on the e+ version.

The above picture shows one of the many charging points in York, including this one at the York Designer outlet

However, there are plenty of great tools out there to help you find charging points including https://www.zap-map.com/live/ to name one of many. The car itself also helps you find charging points which makes it easy to plan longer journeys.

The above map shows you just how many charging points there are throughout York and North Yorkshire.

Practicality

The simple answer is yes, the LEAF is a practical family hatchback. It certainly isn’t the most practical car ever made but as far as a family hatchbacks go it’s got everything you need. Overall the seats are very comfortable and the rear includes decent knee and headroom.

The car is also packed with a range of safety equipment which is designed to prevent avoidable crashes and there’s an optional Pro Pilot feature that’ll accelerate, brake and steer for you on motorways to make those long journeys just a bit easier.

Affordability

The LEAF starts from £26,845 for the entry-level Acenta but you can get a £3000 government electric car grant towards this cost.

Here at Alexanders Nissan, we offer a New Nissan LEAF N-Connecta on personal contract hire from £325 Per Month and £1,950 Initial Rental.

Find out more https://bit.ly/3iHxvUk

Summary

The LEAF is a practical and well-made family hatchback that is both comfortable but also enjoyable to drive. The real magic, however, sits out of sight. The electric motor is simply excellent and the range has already reached a point where many people would be very happy. If you regularly drive 200+ miles a day maybe this car isn’t ready for you yet, but for everyone else it could be your perfect introduction to electric motoring.

So why don’t you join the all-electric club and buy one of the bestselling vehicles in the world.

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