Plenty of water has flowed under the bridge since we took delivery of our Nissan Leaf Tekna about 15 months and 7200 miles ago.
We’ve seen the arrival of half a dozen new electric models – notably from Volkswagen, Ford and Tesla – and we’ve watched Renault extend the driving range of its Zoe supermini to a realistic 150 miles.
All the way, the Leaf has deservedly kept its position as the world’s best-known battery electric car, a practical, Golf-sized five-door with worldwide sales reaching 250,000 at the end of last year and now nearing 75,000 in Europe. That hardly makes it a mainstreamer, but the fact that most people know a Leaf when they see one shows Nissan’s success at publicising its pioneering model.
Our motivation for acquiring a latest-spec 30kWh Leaf (earlier models, going back to 2010, had 24kWh batteries) was to investigate what we saw as an emerging trend in electric cars, a tendency for them to be acquired as second family cars and soon – because of their convenience, economy and easy driving – to take the lead role. And so it proved. Our Leaf became a short-haul specialist, constantly taking people to the airport, home from work, on errands and generally proving useful. Its total mileage wasn’t impressive, but its number of journeys was dizzying.