Electric cars: for or against?

Electric cars: for or against?
Electric cars: for or against?

We ask regular car drivers if they would put their money down for an EV

David Lloyd

62-year old retiree and Suzuki Splash driver David Lloyd is the latest of our readers to try out an electric car, in this case the Nissan Leaf. After a week behind the wheel, what did he think of the EV experience?

“I really rate the Leaf,” he said, praising its responsiveness, comfort and spaciousness. But although he described the Leaf as “a great car”, he did experience some problems with charging it.

“I didn’t have anywhere to charge it at home, so I was reliant on public charging points,” he said. “I regularly travel from London down to Kent, which is about a 60-mile run each way, so I had to think about getting charged up down there in order to get back, and it did make me feel slightly anxious about the range.

David Lloyd

“When you aren’t in Eco mode, it’s much better to drive. It’s much more powerful, but you do notice the range dropping quicker”

David Lloyd

“At some charging points, I found the actual charging process quite confusing, as well as the payment methods.”

David did like the fast chargers at motorway service stations though. “It took me a few attempts to work out how to use them, but I sorted it out, went in for a coffee and it was done in about 35 minutes.”

He tried the Eco setting for a while in order to save battery charge, but thought that made the Leaf “rather sluggish and not very powerful… when you aren’t in Eco mode, it’s much better to drive. It’s much more powerful, but you do notice the range dropping quicker.”

In answer to the million-dollar question “would he buy one?” David felt that his present circumstances mitigated against the idea. “If I had a garage or if I could charge it at home, that would be great. If you haven’t got that facility where you live then it does present you with some challenges.

“At the moment, if I wanted something eco-friendly, I would prefer to buy a hybrid to get the best of both worlds.

“Fully electric will become easier, but at the moment it isn’t.”

Alan Pritchard

63-year old TV technical director Alan Pritchard also tried the Nissan Leaf out for a week too. The quality of the drive came as “a big surprise… it’s not just really nice to drive, but it’s exciting technology that I haven’t seen in a car before, and it’s suited my lifestyle very well.”

With a daily drive of under 50 miles, Alan found he only needed two charge-ups during the week using a three-point plug in his garage. “It was perfect for local journeys,” he said. “It was pretty quick too. The acceleration is great around town and on country lanes.

“When you put your foot down it just goes. In terms of acceleration from 0-30mph, it feels faster than most other cars on the road.

“In normal mode the car is great, but if you switch it into Eco it becomes a bit numb to drive and feels slower. The remaining mileage doesn’t change that much in Eco mode, either.

Alan Pritchard

“It’s exciting technology that I haven’t seen in a car before, and it’s suited my lifestyle very well”

Alan Pritchard

“Overall I really liked it, especially for its smoothness and quietness. Everyone who got in it was very surprised because it was so silent on start-up. The keyless system is very handy – it means you never have to take the key out of your pocket.

His main concern was the range. “It’s 110 miles, and if you want to occasionally do a 200-mile journey you have to be sure that you can find a charging station halfway and be happy to spend 20 minutes waiting while it charges up.”

Would he buy one?

“I thought it would do a good day-to-day job, which we currently have a Mazda 2 hatchback for. In comparison, the Leaf is pretty expensive, and we would still need to have a vehicle for longer journeys.

“I’m not entirely convinced, but close to it, and I can see electric car technology is well on its way.”

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