Two years in…. Where are we now?


So it’s been two years since I bought the Nissan Leaf, and disappointingly from the perspective of writing an interesting blog, nothing dramatic has happened. Which is good as I hate false drama put there just to make something informative and inherently undramatic more exciting.

I’ve 11000 more miles on the clock since I bought it, my battery health has gone from 86% to 83% which is a reassuring reduction in the rate of battery degradation over time, and its running the same as the day I took possession. There are quite a few more dents and scratches than there were two years ago. Whilst the former keeper was extremely careful, sadly I cannot categorise myself in the same way. I’ve bumped it into my garage door, I’ve had the spoiler ripped off by a car wash (replaced), I’ve been reversed into by someone (repaired) and I’ve had my old cast iron fireplace which was leaning against the wall in the garage fall onto the car (t-cut and touch up paint). But repairs can be made and it’s still looking nice (I’m really not doing myself a favour if I want to sell it).

The remote proximity-entry key has been a bit iffy so I brought the spare into commission. Each MOT test I’ve had has not been the day of worry followed by the days of repairs to get a pass that I’m accustomed to with the old bangers I used to (and still do) drive. Even the servicing is reasonable.

So where are EV’s now in the big picture? Well they are certainly not quite so avant-garde as they were two years ago. Most people now know someone who has one, or if they drive have thought about buying one themselves, and we’ve all seen them about. Tesla has become a well-known and longed for brand, their high profile does everything to help EV’s in general.

The issue about batteries ageing prematurely seems to be gradually dying away. Tesla claim 16 years is expected from theirs and I’m quite sure Nissan’s estimate of 10 years for the leaf will be proven to be pessimistic.

The issue of range anxiety as I have written about before has moved on two fronts. People who thought 90 miles was nowhere near enough have either experience that proves this is plenty, or have heard this from EV drivers. Other manufacturers are gradually moving towards the Tesla position that you need to provide customers with what they think they need, not what they need – as such battery capacity is increasing and so is range. The latest Nissan’s, Kia’s and Renault’s have upped their ranges into the 130-180 miles bracket. This is partly to do with battery cost per kW reducing also.

Public chargers are now a common sight, but as is the way with these things they are not generally free anymore. EV drivers who’ve been in it since day-one might moan, but no one gets a free lunch, at least not indefinitely, but the cost to run an EV remains very low. I estimate having saved around £2000 in fuel in the last 11000 miles. It’s still the case that they suit those who have a modest daily commute and can charge at home, but this covers a lot of drivers, and it is changing the prospective market gets bigger every day.

The cost of batteries per unit of energy and their density continues to improve which means the forecourts will soon be full of EV’s which are the same price as petrol/diesel cars. Okay they will probably go perhaps half the distance before needing to be charged but they will cost around 80% less to run, be more reliable and produce around 40% of the CO2 that petrol and diesel vehicles produce. My son is two and half years old, and loves cars, he is very unlikely to be driving a fossil fuel car when he turns 17. Given their reliability he might be driving my current Nissan Leaf.