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Top electric tips for urban driving

Looking to buy an electric car, and want to know more about driving around town? Here’s the best advice from our What Car? panel of Nissan LEAF owners...

Nissan LEAF

Ever since the UK government announced the 2030 cut-off date for sales of petrol and diesel cars, it has become apparent that all drivers will eventually have to make the switch to electric motoring. And while this may seem daunting, there are already thousands of drivers across the UK making the most of electric power.

That means they’re accumulating lots of knowledge that they’re ready to share with you – the next generation of EV owners. And it’s why we’ve handpicked a group of Nissan LEAF owners from our What Car? audience and asked them to share their top tips and advice.

One of the locations in which electric cars really excel is in the heart of towns and cities. So, here are the top tips for urban driving from our Nissan LEAF-owning EV experts. And, if you’re interested in finding out more about going electric, they’ve got plenty of tips on home charging, motorway driving, and on-the-go charging, too.

To find out more about the Nissan LEAF, head to

Nissan LEAF

Meet our panel of Nissan LEAF owners

Gareth from Staffordshire has owned three electric cars. His favourite aspect of the Nissan LEAF is its “stupidly-cheap running costs”.

Christine from Fife has owned her Nissan LEAF for three years and loves the punchy performance and everyday usability.

Tony from Yorkshire has just bought a new Nissan LEAF, having owned a first-gen LEAF for three years. Equipment and comfort are his stand-out features.

Andy and his wife have owned their Nissan LEAF for a few months. Andy says the electric torque is “addictive” while the running costs are a huge positive.

Nissan LEAF

What are EVs like to drive around town?

One of the biggest changes that petrol and diesel drivers experience when doing their first miles in an electric car is just how quiet, refined and calming they can be.

“The Nissan LEAF is so comfortable,” says Tony. “It’s extremely quiet and a breeze to drive around town. The controls are light, and the electric motor is beautifully smooth.” Andy agrees: “Around town the Nissan LEAF is unbelievably quiet. The lack of tailpipe emissions also means it’s better for our towns and cities, compared to petrol or diesel cars.”

But, with an impressive 217PS and 340Nm of instant electric torque on the Nissan LEAF e+ – delivering 0-62mph in just 6.9sec (around 3sec faster than most family hatchbacks) – the LEAF can also be impressively punchy and fun to drive, even on twisty city streets.

“The serenity of the driving experience around town is what stands out most for me, but the torque from the electric motor is really quite surprising,” says Gareth, who does a mix of local and motorway driving. “It’s very potent.”

Nissan LEAF interior

In-car tech makes in-town driving a doddle

The Nissan LEAF comes with a wealth of driving technology that makes urban driving easier and more energy efficient. The most prominent is the e-Pedal. This lets you control acceleration and braking with the throttle, using regenerative braking from the motor to slow the car, while also pumping energy back into the battery for later use.

It requires a subtle change in mindset for drivers of petrol and diesel cars, but the benefits are clear. “I use the e-Pedal a lot,” says Tony. “Around town it gives you great control, all the while regenerating energy.”

As Andy adds: “It took a bit of time to get used to, but now I drive the car everywhere on the e-Pedal – especially around town.”  The final word goes to Gareth: “The e-Pedal is fantastic. Every car should be fitted with one! It makes town driving so effortless. It took about 10 miles to get used to, but after that I’ve never gone back.”

The Nissan LEAF also has driving modes that help make urban journeys more efficient. B Mode increases the effect of regenerative braking to pump more energy back into the battery under deceleration, while the ECO Mode subtly reduces power delivery for more efficient journeys – perfect when you’re negotiating the urban jungle at 20mph or 30mph.

Looking out for other road users

The Nissan LEAF also comes with a wealth of in-car technology designed to help keep you, your passengers and pedestrians and other road users safer in urban areas. These Nissan Intelligent Mobility features constantly monitor the road around – ready to support you in troublesome situations.[1]

Traffic Sign Recognition can spot and read traffic signs in town and display them on the digital display, while Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection is an extra pair of eyes helping you in busy town centres – with the ability to stop the car quickly should a pedestrian step into the road, or if the car in front brakes heavily.[1]

Equally, Intelligent Around View Monitor with parking sensors, a rear-view camera and Rear Cross Traffic Alert that warns you of oncoming traffic when you’re reversing out of a bay – allied to optional ProPILOT Park that offers automated hands-free manoeuvring – all help take the hassle out of car parks.[1]

Nissan LEAF charging

Finally, what if I need to top up my charge in the city?

As most journeys are done from home and typically cover less than 20 miles, you’ll almost certainly be within driving distance of your home charger[2]. Equally, with 168 miles of range in the 40kWh Nissan LEAF models and 239 miles of range in LEAF e+ models, a full overnight home charge lets you do lots of short journeys.[3]

But, there are times when urban charging makes sense. If you want to use an electric car but don’t have a home charger, or if you need a top-up away from home, then Britain’s towns and cities have a wealth of charging locations with many more being added every month.

If you need to know what the right option is for you, our What Car? panel of Nissan LEAF owners have got some great advice for on-the-go charging. Plus, they’ve got plenty of tips for home charging and long-distance and motorway driving, too.

To find out more about the Nissan LEAF, head to

[1] Nissan Intelligent Mobility and ProPILOT features are standard or optional on selected Nissan LEAF models and grades. Please visit for more information. 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

[2] Based on average annual mileage of petrol and diesel drivers of 7400 miles per year ( Equates to 142 miles per week/ 20 miles per day.

[3] Laminated lithium-ion 40kWh battery with 168 miles range and e+ 62kWh battery with 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.

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