So I sold my 1999 mint condition Hayabusa motorcycle and my 2004 slightly-less-than-mint-condition Nissan cube and decided to buy a Nissan Leaf 2011 in fetching fiery red/orange colour, unseen from a chap in Bodmin, Cornwall. With 20k on the clock, two years old and having basically no parts likely to wear out it seemed like less of a silly thing to do than it would be for a fossil fuel car.
Getting it delivered from Bodmin to Bristol was a little fraught. I used Shiply to find a courier. For those not familiar with it, Shiply allows you to place a job on their site and people capable of undertaking the job bid for it. You select a provider pay a deposit and then organise with them to collect the item and deliver it to you. First issue – communication – the guy who wanted the job bid fairly competitively, leading me to believe that he A) wanted the job and B) probably had a return job to do also. So I selected him and got a few words by text in response. Three days later when prompted by text he let me know he’s “collecting tomorrow”, those were his exact words. So I contacted the guy who was selling the Leaf, really nice bloke and very straightforward to tell him to expect the courier to call him to arrange collection. By midday the next day, no calls or texts had been forthcoming from the courier, my poor seller had waited in all day and we were both fairly annoyed. Eventually by 4pm I’d called and left countless messages and texts eventually threatening to cancel this courier. At this point he said “running late, you can cancel if you want”. Which I did. Only realising later that Shiply works like ebay by leaving feedback to encourage good practice by the providers. However if you cancel the feedback page just says “job cancelled by customer/provider” so is effectively a null entry. As such shoddy providers like this guy (name available on request) cannot be left negative feedback if you cancel because of tardiness or lack of communication. A problem I pointed out to Shiply and has my say on Trustpilot also. https://www.trustpilot.co.uk/review/www.shiply.com/541dd2850000640002a7069b
So another courier was employed and turned out to be excellent, they are called S Claro and were professional, punctual and reasonable.
Received the car Saturday morning, but no time to play as we had to leave for the south coast to see my nephew for his birthday. Did not get chance to try the new car out until Sunday night.
Initial impressions were that it was very well made, the 2011 Leaf was the first really mainstream electric car, but Nissan have gone to town on making it feel like a luxury car. Its solidly built, futuristic in appearance and beautifully finished inside. It is also quite a bit larger than it appears, being both quite wide and also longer than expected (certainly when compared with a small car such as a micra).
Plugged it in to a 240v wall socket in my garage via the supplied cable which has a type 1 plug at one end which plugs into the charging socket on the front of the car, and a 240v 3-pin regular plug on the other end, with a box of tricks that Leaf owners call “the brick” in between. This takes around 8 hours to charge the battery using around 10amps of 240v power. The battery is charged normally to 80% which preserves its longevity. It is 24kWh so 80% is 19.2 kWh which on economy 7 electricity works out at roughly £1.24.
I drove to work, without incident, the range meter on the dash predicts how far you can travel before and during a journey. Around 70 or so miles is predicted with 80% battery charge. As you drive though, this number fluctuates depending on how heavy-footed you are, how many electrical gadgets are turned on such as radio, heater, lights etc… and the conditions such as gradients. Also there is a D mode, which is equivalent to drive in an automatic car and ECO mode. D gives you quite sharp throttle response and full power and acceleration, whereas ECO feeds the power in more gently and regenerates power when braking or going downhill.
Around lunchtime I decided to use the carwash in the town where I work, Midsomer Norton. I was horrified to hear a crunch as the brush roller slid up the back window and upon finishing my wash found that the rear spoiler’s fixing brackets had been snapped off. The carwash said they were insured and provided details. To cut a long story short the damage is £850 if Nissan fix it for me. I am awaiting more info on this.
I also scraped it on my garage door, due to the aforementioned wideness (and it was dark, and I drive like an impatient muppet).
“Despite two incidents involving damage to the bodywork (one my fault – garage door related and one car wash related) it has been not only easy, but decidedly enjoyable. The car is easy to charge and on economy-7 very cheap. I am very lucky to be able to charge at work using a regular 240v socket but hopefully soon we will install a proper EV charger for faster charging (4 hours) and offering charging to members of the public. When I looked at the range meter on the dash and saw 40 miles remaining I was initially a bit scared as this was just a little bit more than the point at which the fuel-light comes on in a petrol car, but I quickly realised that 40 miles is 23 miles more than I needed to get home, where I could refuel the car for just £1.40. I do not need to go to a garage I just plug it into a plug! Every time I pass a petrol station it looks a little bit quaint and old fashioned. There are so many more places where I can plug in than there are places where I can fill up with petrol/diesel.”