Reader Clinic

Would you buy an electric car? - Reader test team

Our readers have had the chance to live with an electric car for one week, and this is how they got on

Words ByWhat Car? team

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David Lloyd - David is our latest reader to spend a week living with an electric car - here's what he thought of the Nissan Leaf:

β€œI really rate the car. It’s responsive, spacious, comfortable and very nice to drive.

β€œI spent some time driving it on Eco setting when I didn’t want to use too much battery, but it felt rather sluggish and not very powerful.

β€œWhen 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.

β€œAlthough the Leaf is a great car, I did have some issues with charging it.

β€œI didn’t have anywhere to charge it at home, so I was reliant on public charging points. 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.

β€œAt some charging points, I found the actual charging process quite confusing, as well as the payment methods. However, the fast chargers at motorway service stations are great. 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.”

Would you buy one?

β€œNot in my current circumstances. 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.

β€œAt 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 also spent a week with a Nissan Leaf - here's what he thought:

"It’s been a big surprise to me how good the Nissan Leaf is. 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.

"I was driving less than 50 miles a day, and only needed to charge it up twice in the week through a three-point plug in my garage. It was perfect for local journeys.

"The Leaf is pretty quick; the acceleration is great around town and on country lanes. It’s very unfussy, so 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.

"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.

"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.

"My main concern, still, is 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 you buy one?

"I liked it and 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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