The Nissan Leaf carts Steve Cropley and his collection of climbers around the country while they take on the Three Peaks Challenge.
It wasn’t even our idea. There we were, chipping away at the familiar walls of the Autocar salt mines, when a bloke called Dominic Vizor, one of Nissan’s 8000-odd employees in the UK, came up with the idea of a Nissan-Autocar team doing the celebrated Three Peaks Challenge and using a Nissan Leaf for the 470-mile journey it entailed.
Vizor’s plan fell on unexpectedly fertile ground. Hacks are known for sedentary pursuits such as typing and sitting in cars but, as luck would have it, editor Matt Burt is oddly partial to running up hills for sport. So he needed minimal encouragement to start hand-picking a team to ascend the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales – Ben Nevis in the Grampian Mountains, Scafell Pike in the Lake District and Snowdon in north-western Wales. Our team would be driven between them as quickly as possible in our Leaf long-term test car.
The hill-walking hard nuts who invented the Three Peaks Challenge tend to stipulate that entrants must complete the task in either 24 or 36 hours but, at the outset, we reckoned a time in between the two was most likely, given the lingering scarcity of fast chargers for battery cars north of Edinburgh and Glasgow and the consequent need to drive our Leaf with restraint to extend its range.