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Promoted | Is an electric car right for me?

With the UK government mandating that all new cars must be electrified from 2030, many drivers are wondering if going electric will fit their lifestyle. But switching is easier than you think...

Nissan LEAF

Following the UK government’s confirmation of the 2030 deadline for electrified and hybrid car sales – with all new car sales from 2035 being 100% electric – the pathway to a future of all-electric driving is clear.

But, for many drivers, electric cars are still something of an unknown, and there are still a lot of questions from electric novices about whether an electric car will fit their lifestyle.

One of the best ways to see if driving an electric car is right for you is to try it out, and – depending on local Covid-19 lockdown restrictions – selected Nissan LEAF dealers can loan you a Nissan LEAF for a 24-hour test drive, giving you the chance to try every element of the car for yourself. But if you’ve still got big questions, here are the simple answers…

To find out if your local dealer can offer you a 24-hour Nissan LEAF test drive experience, head to nissan.co.uk/dealer-locator

Nissan LEAF

Does an electric car fit the type of journeys I do?

The two big questions for anyone who hasn’t tried an electric car are: what’s the range, and how do I recharge it? Well, electric cars have much more range than many people may think, while most drivers also do less miles on most journeys than they might initially imagine. Equally, the options and opportunities for charging are for more frequent, adaptable and faster than most people are aware.

Let’s take the Nissan LEAF. With 168 miles (WLTP) of all-electric range on 40kWh LEAF models, you could drive from Birmingham to Exeter in one go, while the 239 miles (WLTP) of range on 62kWh LEAF e+ models could get you from Birmingham to Dumfries[1].

Those sorts of journeys are rare, though. The average distance that most people travel every day is around 20 miles[2]. That means you could do up to 11 days of commuting, school runs and shopping on one charge of a Nissan LEAF e+[1][3].

For many people, the best option for electric car charging is at home. You can plug your vehicle in overnight – when it’s not being used anyway – and make the most of a long and slow recharge using cheaper rates of electricity. A typical 7kWh home charger can recharge 40kWh LEAF models in around 7hr30m, or a Nissan LEAF e+ in around 11hr30m, giving you plenty of range for the following day[4].

Out on the road, there are now over 34,000 charging points at around 12,300 locations, with around 8445 rapid charging points in 2363 locations[5]. Around 97% of UK motorway service stations have some form of rapid charging facility[6]. So, there are plenty of ways to charge an electric car, even if you don’t have the ability to fit a charger at home.

Using a 50kW CHAdeMO rapid charger connection, you can recharge the Nissan LEAF from 20%-80% in as little as 60 minutes for a 40kWh LEAF or as little as 90 minutes for a 62kWh LEAF e+ model[4]. And you don’t always have to do a full recharge. So, rapid chargers are perfect for giving yourself a quick range boost while you grab a cup of coffee or sit down for lunch.

There are also plenty of options available for urban charging when parking on city streets and in supermarkets, shopping and leisure centres. When you think that most people spend an average of 47 minutes doing the weekly food shop, around 1 hour and 38 minutes shopping in town centres, or over two hours seeing a film, you can give your car a big boost of charge while doing a range of activities

Nissan LEAF

Is an electric car fun to drive?

In short, yes. Next-generation electric motors are powerful and responsive, which means that – with 217PS and 340Nm of instantly available electric torque – the 62kWh Nissan LEAF e+ boasts a hot hatch-like 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds.

Equally, the latest generation of lithium-ion batteries are more compact. Mounted low in the chassis, they give the LEAF a hunkered down, road-hugging centre of gravity that makes it as engaging to drive as it is powerful.

The sublime driving experience of the all-electric Nissan LEAF isn’t solely defined by its performance. The LEAF is crammed with in-car technology and driver assistance features that make a daily commute, a trip to the shops, the school run, or a long motorway trip just as comforting as a winding country road is enjoyable.

Nissan’s suite of ProPILOT Intelligent Mobility tech includes Intelligent Cruise Control with Traffic Jam Pilot, Intelligent Emergency Braking and Intelligent Lane Intervention – all of which work with the one-pedal e-Pedal system to help make motorway driving easier and less stressful, whether at 70mph or in stop-start traffic. Equally, Intelligent Around View Monitor with parking sensors, a rear-view camera and Rear Cross Traffic Alert – allied to optional ProPILOT Park that offers automated hands-free manoeuvring – helps take the hassle out of car parks[7][8].

Nissan LEAF

Will an electric car save me money?
Because of the advanced technology that underpins an electric car, many of them do have a slightly higher initial purchase price than comparative petrol or diesel models. But, that gap is narrowing quickly, with family-friendly long-range electric models such as the Nissan LEAF comparing favourably to equivalent hatchbacks. It’s over the whole life of the car where the benefits of going electric really show, though.

It all starts with the UK government’s ultra-low-emissions vehicle grant, which cuts up to £3000 off the on-the-road price of all-electric models such as the Nissan LEAF[9]. That means you can purchase a Nissan LEAF for as little as £26,845 for an entry-level 40kWh Acenta model.

All-electric road cars are also currently road tax exempt, saving you one of the big annual bills that comes with car ownership, while annual servicing costs are up to 40% cheaper as well – with a typical fixed price minor service for the Nissan LEAF costing £159 (compared with £229 for a Nissan petrol model and £269 for a Nissan diesel car) at participating dealers[10].

The UK government’s Electric Vehicle Home Charging Scheme also covers up to 75% of the cost (up to £350) of installing a 7kWh home charger[11].Using this, you can recharge overnight for around 3.7p per mile or £8.93 for a full charge of a LEAF e+ model – around 60% cheaper than the petrol cost for the same mileage, all adding up to a fuel cost saving of around £530 over the course of a year[12].

Although public rapid chargers are more expensive to use than home charging, they’re still significantly cheaper than petrol. A 20-80% rapid top-up only costs £7.20 (or 7.2p per mile)[13] for around 100 miles of range for 40kWh Nissan LEAF models, compared to 10.9p per mile for petrol[12].

For city drivers, all-electric cars such as the Nissan LEAF are also exempt from London congestion and ultra-low-emissions zone (ULEZ) charges, which could save a London-based driver up to £27.50 a day, compared to older petrol or diesel cars.

Equally, if you’re a company car driver, you can save on benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax. Determined by a car’s purchase price and CO2 emissions, BIK is one of the big company car expenses. The typical petrol hatchback (emitting around 133g/km of CO2) attracts a 29%-31% BIK rate per year from April 2020 to March 2023. This would cost from £3200 to £3400 per year in BIK over the first three years for a company car driver in the 40% tax bracket[14].

So as you can see, while there may be a few new things to get used to, there are plenty of reasons why it makes sense to make the switch to an electric car today.

To find out if your local dealer can offer you a 24-hour Nissan LEAF test drive experience, head to nissan.co.uk/dealer-locator

[1] Laminated lithium-ion 40kWh battery with up to 168 miles range and e+ 62kWh battery with up to 239 miles range. WLTP figures shown are for comparability purposes. Actual real-world driving results may vary depending on factors such as the starting charge of the battery, accessories fitted after registration, weather conditions, driving styles and vehicle load.

[2] Based on average annual mileage of petrol/diesel drivers of 7,400 miles per year (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/nts09-vehicle-mileage-and- MPG occupancy#car-mileage). Equates to 142 miles per week/20 miles per day.

[3] Based on a driver doing 7,400 miles per year (142 miles per week) in a Nissan LEAF e+ model with 239-miles of range.

[4] Indicated rapid charging time may vary depending on factors including charging conditions, battery and ambient temperature at point of use.

[5] For more information, visit: https://www.zap-map.com/statistics/

[6] For more information, visit: https://www.goultralow.com/faqs/

[7] Intelligent Cruise Control, Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Recognition, Blind Spot Warning, Intelligent Lane Intervention and Rear Cross Traffic Alert standard on LEAF Acenta grade and above. Intelligent Around View Monitor standard on LEAF N-Connecta grade and above. It is your responsibility to stay alert, drive safely and be in control of the vehicle at all times. Driver assist features have speed and other limitations and should not be relied on. For more information, visit www.nissan.co.uk

[8] ProPILOT is standard on LEAF Tekna models. ProPILOT Park is optional on Tekna & e+ Tekna grades. ProPILOT is an Advanced Driver Assist technology but cannot prevent collisions. ProPILOT is intended for “Eyes on/Hands On” for highways only (road separated by barriers). It is the driver’s responsibility to stay alert, drive safely and be able to take control of the vehicle at any time.

[9] Eligibility criteria applies. For more info, visit: https://www.gov.uk/plug-in-car-van-grants.

[10] For more information visit: https://www.nissan.co.uk/ownership/nissan-services.html

[11] Based on Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, for more information visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/customer-guidance-electric-vehicle-homecharge-scheme

[12] Cost for petrol for 239-mile distance, based on average petrol price of £1.15 per litre (AA, December 2020) and a car delivering a fuel economy of 48.2mpg (combined) 48.2mpg = 4.96 gallons = 22.5 litres @ £1.15 = £25.93 (10.9p per mile) or £807 per year for 7,400 miles. Cost to charge Nissan LEAF e+ to up to 239-mile range based on average daytime electric rates of 14.4p per kWh (UK Power, December 2020). For 62kWh at 14.4p/kWh, charge cost = £8.93 (3.7p per mile) or £274 per year for 7,400 miles.

[13] Based on Nissan LEAF 40kWH model with rapid charging cost of 30p per kWh (ecotricity.co.uk). 20-80% charge of 100.8 miles (60% of 40kWh) = 24kWh x £0.30 = £7.20.

[14] Comparison calculations based on Nissan LEAF 40 kWh N-Connecta model and typical UK best-selling hatchback with 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine (automatic transmission, delivering fuel economy of 48.2mpg (combined) and CO2 emissions as low as 133g/km, owned by a company car driver in the 40% tax bracket.

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