Monday, August 10, 2015

Nissan Leaf - Conclusions

Well, this has been an interesting weekend. We tried to do all our normal stuff, except using an electric car.

The Leaf is a lovely car, and our time with it has transformed both our views. Susan has become more accepting and less sceptical, and the opposite is true for me. My initial range anxiety in getting the car home gave me a bit of a scare.

The car is lovely to drive, and well equipped. The single gear automatic make acceleration very smooth; the ride is lovely, and the car feels spacious inside. Driving the automatic is very appealing to me; it is so simple to drive, and makes exits from junctions very simple and safe. The cruise control is not as sophisticated as I had expected and often overshoots the required speed (by a few mph). As for space - the rear seat has tons, however the boot narrows towards the back, making it quite tricky to get the parcel shelf out and in, if required.

The in car entertainment is super, and easy to use. Another quibble I would have about this demonstrator is that it wasn't fully linked up to the list of charging stations, often telling me we were 40-50 miles from the nearest, when there were many within 10 miles.

The quietness of the car is nice too. However on one occasion I found this to be a problem, as I approached a family who were cycling, they clearly had no idea there was a car approaching from behind. I had to wait behind until one noticed me and alerted the rest. Even with the artificial noise, I suspect this would be a relatively frequent occurrence.

For me the biggest issue with the car would be the requirement to plug it in and out at the house all the time. In the rain and wind, when all you want to do is run from the house to the car, another stop would be required at the front of the car to unplug.

However, none of these niggles would stop me from buying the car, it looks like a great choice. The reason we decided against it in the end was purely financial. It had to work out cheaper than the existing car over the two years, and while it was close, it wasn't cheaper. When I worked out the exact TCO for both cars, the Leaf's price per month went up, and the C4 came down. I'd need to count the cost of the charger installation at the house for the leaf. I had made some mistakes in mixing up the 12 month and 24 month costs too, which artificially skewed the figures. There was also the risk of selling the C4 and getting the value we needed privately from it.

In the end it was disappointing not to be driving a new car with cutting edge technology. It would have been great to be an early adopter, and do our bit for the planet. But the original goal was to save money overall, and this goal slowly slipped from sight. We considered paying the little extra for all we were getting, however with everything else that's going on at home financially and otherwise we thought it just was not wise right now.

It's been a great experiment, and I commend Donnelly and Taggart Nissan, Eglinton for their help in the process.

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