First thousand miles

Userlevel 4

I picked my Renault Zoe up towards the end of February and have just clocked up the first thousand miles. So far so good, I've stopped driving it like it's made of glass and am now just treating it like any other car.

The weather has been pretty cold for the last month but the battery has settled at around 150 miles range. I've just received my OVO electric bill but haven't looked at it yet. I haven't bought any diesel for the other car this month so I'm not expecting any great shocks.

I had expected to use the EV as a daily runabout and to use my other car for longer journeys. Now that I've gone beyond the round trip range a couple of times, I've changed my mind as it's nowhere near as difficult as I'd imagined to recharge on the go. There's a bit of work to do to sign up to the various different charging systems but I can see myself using the Zoe for most journeys.

I know there are others on this forum who have had EVs for years and they're probably laughing at the new boy, but if you're thinking of getting one then all I can say is do it.

The downside? The Zoe is automatic so I've forgotten how to drive my other car! I stall it at junctions because I forget to use the clutch and I'm constantly in the wrong gear at roundabouts.

2 replies

Userlevel 1
Why we love our Nissan Leaf EV -

• Even now, after 20 months of driving, it is such a pleasure. We can talk to each other without shouting !

• It accelerates like a powerful GT roadster, and with its low centre of gravity, corners like a sports car

• We plug in at home and add 50% to the battery overnight. So it’s rarely below 30%, and usually fully charged next morning

• With one exception, our long drives are around 90 miles. On longer journeys we stop and it take 25 minutes to top up - time for a coffee

• Our longest journey is 150 miles, perhaps twice a year. On those occasions we top up in both directions and at our destination

• There are smartphone apps for almost everything, such as locating charge points, and keeping track of charging while enjoying coffee

• The Leaf satnav is the best ever. She tells you if there isn’t enough charge to reach your destination. Then she guides you to your chosen charge point

• One night, my wife was driving alone with the battery getting low. Using our phones, I tracked her location and reassured her about reaching the charge point

• It requires very little servicing. No diesel, petrol, or oil, so it’s super-clean. Just fill the washer and check tyres. No road tax or congestion charge!

• It is much cheaper to run, 2p-3p per mile

When it comes to carbon savings, critics say, “Yes, but electricity comes from fossil-fueled power stations”. True, but remember, last year 30% of Britain’s electricity came from renewable sources (nuclear added another 20%). The total lifetime “carbon cost” of an electric car is less than half of an equivalent petrol or diesel car.

In the not-very-distant future, our solar panels will charge the car battery in daytime, and give back a small amount for the fridge overnight.

What's not to like?
Userlevel 1
25,000 miles up on my BMW i3. Like others I thought it would be hard to run an EV but it's a lot easier than I imagined. That said, the charging infrastructure is still far from perfect. If you are using rapid chargers on the trunk road network then you'll probably be okay. If you are relying on lower power chargers at destinations or on route then be prepared with a Plan B. Often they are either out of commission or more frequently blocked by non EV drivers and particularly blue badge holders who seem to think they can park anywhere regardless of the impact on others.

Here in Wales, the charging infrastructure is particularly thin on the ground but this is less so in Scotland and the more urban parts of the UK which are getting much better coverage.

I drive a 45 mile round trip commute to work without any problem. The car goes on charge overnight on E7 tariff so is full to go next morning. By far the best feature of most EVs is the ability to use the household electricity to precondition the car for departure. Depending on model, it can maximise range by warming the cabin and / or the drive battery so no more scraping windscreens, it's a barmy 22c inside when you set off. It'll use a/c to cool it too on a hot day.

It's saved me £2,200 pa on fuel and cost me about £400 pa on electricity but financial savings are only a side issue. The real point is carbon and local emissions reductions. And to those who bang on about coal fired power stations, you'll notice those same people won't ever mention the costs of drilling, refining and transporting oil before it gets to the fuel forecourt! I pay for a 100% renewable tariff anyway to incentivise the move away from fossil fuels.

As mentioned above, the other big bonus is the relaxing drive you get from an EV. It just seems to encourage you to take life at a more sedate pace. If you look on it in the right way, charging becomes and opportunity to stretch your legs and have a slow beverage while watching the world rush by.

I thought it was just me being an "early adopter" but after 18 months ownership, my son has just bought a second hand Nissan Leaf after seeing the benefits it brings.

Just do it!


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