Could I manage full-time ownership of a Leaf without charging facilities at home?
Doug Revolta Autocar
31 January 2017

I live in London. My commute is 12 miles each way. I like green tea. I tick many of the boxes that mean the electric Nissan Leaf should suit me down to the ground.

It does. Over the past month I’ve used our electric vehicle a lot and it has fitted comfortably into my routine without a hitch, despite not being able to charge it up at home.

Having charging points at the office means I can plug the Leaf in when I arrive in the morning and by the end of the day, its full charge of a claimed 120 miles is enough to last me a weekend’s worth of local trips.

It has made me think that I could probably manage full-time ownership of a Leaf without charging facilities at home, but maybe that’s a crazy idea. I’m interested to hear if any electric vehicle owners do this, so get in touch if you do and tell me how you manage.

I’d wager that the Leaf is one of the most relaxing cars to drive in London. You can’t do anything about the horrendous traffic, but you care a lot less about that when you’re cocooned in a bubble of serenity.

Read our previous reports below

Why do electric cars need to be serviced?

Servicing has always bothered me when it comes to electric cars. I mean, what actually needs servicing?

Glance at the Nissan website and, amid the inevitable oil change and fluid checks, the only relevant work for a Leaf in the first service – due after 12 months or 18,000 miles – seems to be for screenwash. At £99, that’s an expensive way to get your screenwash topped up. Still, I called up Ancaster Shepperton Nissan, who were very helpful and explained that they also do a check on the battery condition and tyres, so there’s that.

Despite all this, our Leaf isn’t due a service for another few months. It has not yet hit 5000 miles and feels as tight to drive now as it did brand new. It was actually a reader who got me thinking about it. Simon Williams got in touch to tell us about his 90,000-mile Mk1 Leaf. I imagine the Nissan felt somewhat frumpy to drive, following on from his BMW 335d, but he’s happy anyway, having saved around £7000 per year on fuel and running costs. He also gets his car serviced at an independent garage and it “costs barely anything”.

The range on his car has now dropped to around 50 miles from the as-new real-world 70-mile range, so he’ll be rethinking quite soon, given his daily commute of 45 miles. Still, that’s double the average daily commute, and it goes to show that it can be done with electric power – even without the added range (about 90-100 miles, realistically) of our facelifted 30kWh model. And done happily, at that. 

Annoying cables

I’m continuing to enjoy the Leaf’s stream of power and distant, eerie whirring noise. What annoys me are the cables. They’re hard to squeeze into the cases provided, so I often give up and chuck them loose into the boot, where they look a mess and get tangled up with the buggy. I’ve resorted to a plastic bag — not as neat, but quicker and easier. 

NISSAN LEAF 30KWH TEKNA

Price £27,380 (after £4500 gov’t grant) Price as tested £28,380 Economy 3.7 miles/kWh Faults None Expenses None Last seen 19.10.16

Read our previous reports:

110-mile range isn't such a set-back 

Bigger battery, better car?

Meeting fellow EV owners

Our Verdict

Nissan Leaf

The electric Nissan Leaf has its work cut out competing with cheaper mainstream cars - but it does make a case for itself

Join the debate

Comments
25

31 January 2017
Always bugged me that one. Even if you look after your levels, you still get charged. A Nissan dealer once charged me for it but didn't top it up at all on my 350Z back in 2006. Incredible.

31 January 2017
Vicky's getting around 166mpg but if she switched to economy 7 or 12 like a lot of Zoe users that would be approaching 250mpg.
As a footnote the 24Kwh Mk1 seems obsolete after just a few years as newer Leafs and Zoe's have added 30% to the range. Just think was possible in another 4 years, futures bright for EV's.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

10 July 2017
It's simply not right for electric cars. What's relevant is how far they will go on a kWh of energy - and the answer for most is around 3 miles (or 2 km) per kWh.
Compare this with around 1 mile per kWh for a typical small petrol car and you'll get some idea of just how efficient an electric car is.
For all practical purposes, you can ignore the electricity costs associated with electric cars. This cost will be small compared with the depreciation (or lease cost) of the battery. So if you're comparing the running costs with a conventional car, it's the lease cost + electricity cost per mile travelled that's important.

31 January 2017
I would hope on a dealer service you get full check list and that the key grease spots like hinges are done, the wheel bearings checked, brake wear checked and expected life reported, visual underside inspection including suspension and bushes, check over all gaiters for damage, auxiliary battery checked, the bay inspected everything is secure, many of the usual things a normal car inspection should cover.

31 January 2017
The Apprentice wrote:

I would hope on a dealer service you get full check list and that the key grease spots like hinges are done, the wheel bearings checked, brake wear checked and expected life reported, visual underside inspection including suspension and bushes, check over all gaiters for damage, auxiliary battery checked, the bay inspected everything is secure, many of the usual things a normal car inspection should cover.

Thing is cars only need the above done every 2 years (Audi do but charge £330 for a 2 year 24,000 mile on an A3) so you should be able to safely get away with a £90 service every 2 years.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

31 January 2017
With a 30% reduction in battery capacity would it not be worth thinking about a £4500(don't know if the newer 30Kwh would fit) new battery at say 100,000.
Only take a couple of years to pay for itself and you'd have a have a car capable of going onto 200,000, afteral most ICE's wouldn't go that far without a big bill.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

31 January 2017
For some reason these electric vehicles lose a vast amount of money What car recently had the Leaf as nearly the worst offender worth about 25% three years old even the I3 is wortrh only about 30% of original cost in their forecasts.certainly a mechanic I know purchase da leaf for about £3k.I wouldin Simon Willieams position sellthe 90k miles one and get another second hand with low mileage which would cost less than the batteery pack which is dead money.ut have any of you guya any idea why they all seem to depreciate so badly,I would only dare buy second hand .is it the fact that the technology is moving on at a predicted faster rate?

31 January 2017
Ski Kid wrote:

.....certainly a mechanic I know purchase da leaf for about £3k.....?

Emmm never seen one that cheap before.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

31 January 2017
Admitted the guy is in the trade £3600 he paid looks cheap on ebay cheapest is£6750 with a battery lease the What Car figure in February 2017 is even worse than I thought quoting the Leaf Visia £21680 cost after £4500 grant only forecast to be worth £3469 after three years .thereby resulting in a mamath £18211 loss only worth 16% of cost.Does not look correct on that basis but still likely to be a 70% loss after three years.

31 January 2017
Ski Kid wrote:

Admitted the guy is in the trade £3600 he paid looks cheap on ebay cheapest is£6750 with a battery lease the What Car figure in February 2017 is even worse than I thought quoting the Leaf Visia £21680 cost after £4500 grant only forecast to be worth £3469 after three years .thereby resulting in a mamath £18211 loss only worth 16% of cost.Does not look correct on that basis but still likely to be a 70% loss after three years.

Based on you paying full price, accepting Less than £3500 cash for a 3 year old Leaf with 30,000 miles. Emmm might not be the best but talk about milking it

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

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