Its week two with the Leaf and the range anxiety is beginning to lessen and charging the car nightly has become part of the usual routine, in fact the Leaf is proving a super family runabout.
I discovered very quickly that the key to extending the range is simply not to drive the Leaf like a conventional car and while this is easier said than done Nissan has included an ECO Indicator on the dashboard to help you get the best from the car. The system gathers information about you; they way you drive, how you accelerate, decelerate, brake; all this data is used to assess how economically you are driving and this information is displayed on the dashboard as tree-shaped icons so the more trees you have the more economically you are driving. Trees and efficiency may not matter that much to you before but after a week or two they become an integral part of your journey and completely changed the way I drove.
Regenerative braking is another key aspect to conserving range; once you lift you foot off the accelerator the electric motor acts as a generator, converting energy that would otherwise be wasted into battery energy. So even when you’re slowing down, you’re charging up. Constant acceleration will reduce the range noticeably but by deceleration the battery can be replenished. The trick is to incorporate this into your driving as much as you can.
Range anxiety is still a huge issue for me and while I still live in constant fear of leaving myself stranded this week I managed to modify my driving habits so that I could regularly increase the figure showing on the range indicator.
So far I have managed all my journeys by simply charging the car at home and haven’t had to rely on charge points along the route and nor thankfully have I had to creep home with everything switched off.
But next week involves a couple of runs to the airport, a round trip of 90 kms so I will no doubt revisit range anxiety.
Nissan Leaf SVE (30KWH)
Engine: 80kW(@3008-10000, 254@0-3008
Max speed: 145km/h
0-100 kph: 11.5 seconds
Emissions : 0g/km
Model price range: €21,490 (Test Car €26,390)
No of Doors: 5 doors
Euro NCAP : 5 stars
Fuel type: Electric
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 0 L/100km
Boot Capacity Seats up: 355 litres
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
Length: 4445 mm
Width: 1770 mm
Height: 1550 mm
Wheelbase: 2700 mm
3rd November, 2016