Electric cars have come a very long way in a very short time. Offering comfort, refinement and practicality for five passengers, plus near-silent zero-emissions performance, Nissan’s first all-electric UK-built hatchback – the 2010 LEAF – has redefined not just clean, affordable motoring but mobility itself.
Seven years on, the LEAF has established itself as Britain’s most popular EV by a mile (or by 155 miles, if you’re talking about the single-charge range of the 30kWh LEAF).
It’s also become a very smart used buy. LEAF owners pay zero road tax and lower maintenance costs. They can drive into polluted no-go city zones and – assuming they’re on a dual domestic tariff and doing overnight charging –benefit from a driving cost of just 2p per mile1. That compares to over 13p per mile for a 40mpg diesel car.
Because the electric motor does a lot of the braking duties as well as the usual acceleration ones, consumable brake parts like discs and pads tend to last a lot longer. The ‘big’ parts in a LEAF can last for a long time too. “Electric motors and gearboxes are good for hundreds of thousands of miles,” said Autocar.
On servicing, electric cars have a greatly reduced number of moving parts and there’s no expensive engine oil to replace, so LEAF servicing is up to 75% cheaper than it is for petrol-, diesel- and hybrid-engined cars. LEAF services on Nissan’s fixed-price scheme start from £129 – and those prices include a year’s European roadside assistance.
There are great warranties on both standard and electric components, but you’re unlikely to need them. What Car? describes Nissan’s reliability record as ‘superb’, and the LEAF fully reflects that. It really is the perfect family car, not just from a practical perspective but also with safety in mind: it has a full five-star Euro NCAP crash protection rating.
Used LEAF costs
Used LEAFs are incredibly accessible. There is a great selection of secondhand LEAFs available from Nissan’s Used Car programme, with free Home Charging Units and low-rate finance deals – for example, a 3.9% PCP deal with no deposit, or a 0% Hire Purchase agreement with a 50% deposit.
On the road, you’ll benefit from driving your LEAF in Congestion Charge and T-Charge-regulated cities like London and Durham. Factor in your fuel savings and reduced maintenance costs and the wisdom of switching to electric power
1 2p per mile is based on (i) overnight electricity costs (British Gas Standard Tariff unit rates paying by Direct Debit as at 1st January 2017, assuming seven hours charging at night rate and one hour on day rate), and (ii) a range of up to 155 miles (LEAF 30kWh) per full charge (assuming 95% efficiency) based on European Driving Cycle. Actual consumption and range may vary due to driving style, road condition, air conditioning use and other factors outside our control. 2 Depending on deposit.