It’s now been a little over two months driving the all-electric Nissan Leaf and it continues to be an eye-opening experience, particularly in terms of the need to charge, and the driving experience.
When it comes to charging, this time with the Nissan Leaf has just re-inforced to me that the hysteria around electric cars, and range is inflated far beyond reasonable.
With a 270km range, I’ve been able to go many many days without considering a charge. I’ve not been using any fast-charging stations in the last month – just the single-phase ABB charger at the EFTM office and a standard power-point at home.
You see, as we’ve explained regularly, if you top up the car regularly, you get the charge you need each day.
Going four days without charge over the past long-weekend I got down to just 100km range. That’s fine right? Then it was decided we’d take a trip to the Northern Beaches which wasn’t planned. Now that trip would easily have fit within that range, but it would have also created a level of range anxiety.
The solution, plug-in at home for a little over three hours – adding 70km range.
Today, while I work, the car sits idle – charging. And it will be full by the end of day.
Those moments when your car sits idle – those are it’s best times to recharge.
The Driving Experience
However, the big revelation for me this month was the e-Pedal.
A small switch in front of the gear selector is all you need to squeeze to initiate a whole new style of driving.
In a traditional car, you have an accelerator and a brake, one to go, one to stop.
The Nissan Leaf e-Pedal gives you a scalextric like slot-car style experience. It all uses the single accelerator pedal – push to go, but as you release the pedal the car slows up.
Brake lights come on as you remove your foot from the pedal, the car begins to regeneratively brake – and the key is the car will come to a complete stop.
You do not need to touch the brake pedal. On a hill, the car sits still because the physical hydraulic brakes are applied as part of the e-Pedal.
Critically the e-Pedal is not the default setting. You can choose to use it or not. But the car does remember it’s last use – so you don’t have to turn it on every single time you drive.
It takes some serious getting used to – your first times in the car with the e-Pedal will have you and your passengers feeling like you’re slamming on the brakes just to approach the traffic lights.
Leaf owners are probably first time EV owners, so I’d say embrace the car, get used to the other new stuff, then give the e-Pedal a go. It’s a simpler way to drive, and will aid you in your quest to get the best range possible each day from your battery.
Personally, I’m at the point where it feels strange to drive without it.