Nissan Leaf Review By Owner
I took delivery of this 2017 model Nissan Leaf Accenta 6.6 Kva in May 2017 and I have just completed 1000 miles so I thought I would do a realistic owners review of my experience to date here in the UK.
From my experience I guess most people new to Zero Emission Electric Vehicles will have some key basic questions before they want to go on and read about the experience of living with a Nissan Leaf.
How much does it cost to charge a Leaf?
This will vary depending on who supplies your electric and at what tariff as well as whether you have to charge at home or from one of the rapidly expanding network of public chargers.
I my case I only have ever needed to charge at home.
I have used the standard trickle charger supplied with the car and I have also had installed a 7KW rapid charger from Pod Point.
Here is an Important Point To note
The Leaf comes with a standard 3.3 Kva charging port. An optional extra is a 6.6 Kva charging port.
If you want to use a faster home charger you must have the 6.6 Kva Leaf or else it will not charge at the faster rate.
I suffered as a result of being Mis Sold a Nissan leaf as a 6.6 Kva version when it turned out to be only a 3.3 Kva and I had to return it to the Nissan dealer Vospers of Plymouth (click the link to read the full story to avoid having the same happening to you).
Below is the standard UK 13 amp plug trickle charger supplied with the car.
It plugs into your mains socket, shown here in my garage and then the other end plugs into the charging port on the Nissan Leaf
This simple basic cable which comes with the car will charge the car from empty in about 10 to 12 hours.
Ideal if you want to charge overnight ready for the next days use(especially if you are on Economy 7 tariff).
If you require the car to charge faster you will need to have installed by a professional electrician a faster charger.
At the moment both the Government and Nissan give you an allowance to offset the cost and encourage the purchase of faster chargers.
In my case there was the standard Government OLEV grant of £500 plus over £200 from Nissan leaving me with just a £95 bill to Pod Point to install their 7 KW faster charger which you can see in the image below.
I have found this incredibly useful as it reduces the charging time from 10-12 hours back to 4 – 5 hours.
This is from empty, if you car has only used 50% of the battery from your last journey the times become proportionally a lot less.
For example I often pop it on the faster charger for a couple of hours in the afternoon which keeps it topped up for me.
So back to the question of costs to run.
Below is an image from the Nissan App you will download when you buy a Leaf.
- Here you can see that I have travelled 1001.3 miles according to the App.
- My average Energy Economy is 0.23 KWh/mile
- Electric Consumption 234.1 KWh
- Co2 Saving 277 kg
This leaf replaced my old Jaguar XF Turbo Diesel.
I could get a remarkable 35 miles to the gallon from this 2.7 turbo diesel engine. So by comparison 1001 miles in the jaguar would have cost me £149.90 as the average diesel price today is £1.157 (28.5 gallons)
In the middle of this period of ownership my electric company has put up the price of a unit of electricity but I shall calculate the whole mileage at the new higher rate.
1001 x 19.67p = £46.04 ( I have not included the 18.90p standing charge as I would be paying this for the household electric anyway).
This gives a saving for me over 1000 miles of £103.86 in fuel costs.
The additional saving for me not included here is the fact it is zero road tax against £280 for the Jag, reduced car insurance £180 for the Leaf against over £300 for the Jag as well as just £99 a year service charge (included free with the PCP plan) against £1000 plus for the last Jag service I had!
Now I did not buy the leaf solely for saving money.
I wanted to reduce air pollution by selling one of two diesel Jaguars I owned. The second will be going and replaced by another electric vehicle shortly. You can read more about Diesel Pollution on my blog here
How far can you drive a Nissan Leaf?
Another question often raised is how far can you drive a Nissan Leaf.
The answer is not straight forward. The Leaf has two battery sizes at this time (a new model is expected in September with a bigger battery), a 24 KW battery and mine has the 30 KW battery.
For me range varies depending on how fast you drive the car and the road type you drive on.
In simple terms my 30KW Leaf will give me a safe range of around 110 miles. If you drive fast on motorways the range decreases, if you drive more slowly on A or B class roads the range increases.
If like my wife Karen you drive it fast with the air con and radio going full blast the battery will be used faster and range decreases.
The phrase range anxiety I have explained in another post here Nissan Leaf To Tackle 10000 mile Mongol Rally . At the time of writing they are in Turkey having covered several thousand miles already and are in remote locations with no public charging – please do take a look it is incredible what they are doing in a Leaf –
Plug In Adventures
With careful planning so called range anxiety can be eliminated.
However it is fair to say that if you have a journey to make that is over the range of your battery you do have to plan a route to make use of the public charging structure.
To do this it is wise to download a number of free apps such as Zap Map or Plug Share where you can find details of all the new and existing public charging points and their recent usage and availability.
These are essential tools for planning a longer trip.
One of the negatives of using the charging infrastructure is the many varied and complex systems of accessing and paying for vehicle charging. This will be soon addressed if the new legislation proposed in this years Queens Speech comes to pass.
Whats the car Like to Own And drive.
I really love it, yes after several Jaguars and BMW’s I can honestly say I do really love it.
Its not the same build quality I admit, but for a volume car it is amazingly good. Its a good sized family hatch back with plenty of room in the boot.
It is amazingly quiet – everybody who rides in in remarks just how different a ride it is.
If you take the “eco” button off its performance is instant, being electric there is no delay in acceleration and no slow automatic gear changes. It is instant and smooth.
I love regenerative breaking…..
(In a battery-powered electric vehicle, regenerative braking (also called regen) is the conversion of the vehicle’s kinetic energy into chemical energy stored in the battery, where it can be used later to drive the vehicle. It is braking because it also serves to slow the vehicle)
In simple terms as you go down hill or brake the car charges the battery a small amount giving you back more miles of range. It is really great fun to see the percentage of charge meter going up as you cruise down a hill plus it reduces wear and tear on your brakes as you use them considerably less.
It is great fun to drive and I even find myself making up reasons to take it out for a drive!
It looks unusual – I call this one Kermit The Second as it looks like a frog and its environmentally green and the only green frog I know is called Kermit (I had to send the first one back hence its the second).
Have there been problems
Yes, but these have been dealership issues and not the cars fault.
The first Leaf I was mis sold as the dealership wrongly identified the car as a 6.6Kva model.
This was the start of an education for me confirming 99% of dealership staff have no idea or comprehension of electric vehicles.
This car when I picked it up new would not connect to Nissan+ and the App. This was because whoever had done the PDI at the dealership had failed to set up the TCU properly (Telematics Control Unit – ie magic black box thingy).
I had to take it back to the dealer for a TCU reset which is a common problem reported by many new Leaf owners.
That said Nissan HQ at Nissan UK were extremely good once I had contacted them to complain. They frequently phoned me and the dealership to ensure the matter was resolved.
Would I recommend a Nissan Leaf – yes absolutely but ONLY if you do the research properly of your own driving needs.
Please do take time to join The Nissan Leaf UK Owners Group before you buy. Just apply to join and then soak up all the knowledge and experience of real Leaf owners. Ask as many questions as you like and get sensible answers from people who are passionate about the Nissan leaf.
I did a huge amount of research before I took the plunge but this Facebook Group was really useful.
Would I change anything on the Leaf?
It took me ages to wrestle the rear parcel shelf out of the Leaf. It was really awkward. Then one day I noticed a set of instructions on the underside of the shelf showing the easy steps to stress free removal – Doh!!
Another small niggle is the drivers floor mat. It is secured by two plastic rotating clips. These are super fiddly to remove or replace the mat with. A really stupid design feature.
Yes, really that is all I can find to complain about at the moment.
For me this was bought as a second car, however it is turning out to be our primary vehicle as it makes much more sense to leave the diesel polluting jaguar X type estate we own on the drive as much as possible.
And so committed am I to Zero Emission I am about to embark on a large solar panel installation to reduce the 19.67p per unit to zero when the sun shines!! Free electricity – yippeee!
Are You Considering Buying A Nissan Leaf? – If so read this blog post – Nissan Leaf Acenta 30Kwh Zero Emission Vehicle where I set out all the factors I considered before buying the Leaf
If you have been, thanks for reading this far and do leave me a comment below
Did You Know
Things are moving fast in the world of Electric vehicles.
Jaguar will follow shortly with its new IPace.
BMW have announced the new electric Mini will be made in the UK from 2019
And now all the other manufacturers will be playing catch up!!!