If you think electric cars are a new invention, then prepare yourself for a surprise: they actually date back to Victorian times. Yep, there were battery-powered horseless carriages whining around the streets of London and Paris well before the turn of the last century and electric cars even dominated land speed records until 1902.
But there’s a good chance that the first electric car you’ll have actually heard of is the Nissan Leaf. Launched in 2011, it made other battery-powered options of the time seem like golf buggies because it looked, well, like a proper car. And it drove like one, too, with nippy acceleration and a top speed that meant you could actually get where you were going faster than on a push bike.
The Leaf is now in its second generation and is a much better all-rounder than the original model. It’s faster, more sophisticated to drive, bigger inside and, perhaps most importantly of all, capable of much longer distances between charges.
But how does the Leaf compare with its modern electric car rivals, such as the Renault Zoe and Volkswagen e-Golf? And will it really fit into your lifestyle if you’re coming from a petrol or diesel car? We’ll tell you all you need to know over the next few pages, along with which trims and options make the most sense.