As Tesla started out and was getting a lot of press, Nissan quickly became the competition with the introduction of the Leaf. Although there had been plenty of electric vehicles on the market previously, none had any lasting power.
All that changed with the Tesla and Nissan Leaf. They both introduced technology that made an electric car an actual viable alternative to using a polluting combustion engine vehicle. If you have been following Nissan news, then you no doubt know that they’ve introduced other electric vehicles to the market.
How does the original Leaf measure up? How can you make sure you are getting the most out of it if you do buy one? In this article, we will go over some of the aspects about the Leaf and how to enjoy it fully.
Second Generation Leaf
In 2018 Nissan rolled out the second generation Leaf that gave it some major upgrades and made it a great choice for families without the huge price tag of a Tesla. These upgrades are still in effect today with the latest version on the dealer lots. While there are plenty of rivals that do a bit better than the Leaf in many categories, the fact that the Leaf is within reach of many budgets makes it a great choice.
The mileage is much greater on a full charge than the original version so it is much more usable in many situations. In most normal driving situations you can expect between 160 to 170 miles on a full charge. If you have greater mileage needs then there is another version of the Leaf called the Leaf e+ that provides a whopping 239 miles per full charge.
Charging takes only 7.5 hours to get the standard Leaf fully charged. For greater mileage, the Leaf e+ takes a lot longer at 11.5 hours.
Something somewhat unique to the Leaf is the epedal system in which you only need to use the accelerator. Taking your foot off of it decelerates the car so you don’t have to use the brake to slow down. In theory you only need to use the brake to stop the car or in an emergency. The reality is that it takes getting used to since it goes against people’s ingrained driving habits.
How to get the most out of your Leaf
The UK government is offering a lot of incentives for people to go out and buy cleaner electric vehicles. One of which is a grant of £350 to install the latest generation home charger. Taking advantage of that grant gives you an affordable way to quickly charge your car.
As you go about your day, you can also take advantage of the many public charging ports around. Download an app and you will be able to find the nearest ones so you can charge during your daily activities. If you need to do some shopping then the hour or so that it charges while you do that will keep you on the road longer when you have a lot of driving to do.
Let go of range anxiety
Whether you go for the standard Leaf or the e+ version, you are getting quite a few miles from a charge. Most people do not travel more than 160 miles in a given day anyway so there is no reason to assume your batteries will run out of juice midway through the day.
However that doesn’t stop people from experiencing range anxiety which means that they are afraid of exactly that scenario.
There are things that you can do to extend your range so taking charge of the situation may alleviate the sensation that you could end up stranded.
For instance, drive smoothly and at a consistent speed. When you stop hard and start quickly, it takes up a lot of the battery power. When you stay at a consistent speed throughout the trip then you will have less reason to be driving in a rough way. The fact that the brakes are rarely needed because of the epedal function of the Leaf means that this is much easier to accomplish.
You should also use the heater and air conditioning sparingly. These functions are what drain a battery very quickly no matter what make and model electric vehicle you are driving. Use the heat just to take the chill out of the air and just comfortable enough to drive. The same goes for the air conditioner. Try to drive with the windows open more often rather than automatically turning on the climate control.
Have a plan
Planning ahead is very important when you have a vehicle that takes time to charge. When you leave your house it should always be fully charged. It’s at home that you have the luxury of leaving the car to charge for hours at a time. Unless your workplace has plenty of charging stations, then this may be your only opportunity to charge it.
You should also plan out your trip to make sure that you are taking the most efficient route possible. The route should give you the chance to drive without too many stops and starts and allow for a consistent speed. Also, if you can avoid left turns then this is even better.
It’s a well known fact now that UPS doesn’t allow its drivers to take left turns not only for the safety issue but also for fuel economy. The same holds true for electric vehicles as having to speed up from a stop drains the batteries. There’s even some movement towards banning left hand turns altogether.
Planning out your route also allows you to charge up at some point in your travels. For instance, if you know you will be shopping at some point, then you can plan your trip to make sure that your trip to the mall coincides with the need to charge. Many shopping centers these days have charging ports for EVs.