My wife used to have an electric car, she no longer has one. This is her completely honest experience of her Nissan Leaf which could share as a warning and guidance to you all of the hidden pitfalls of electric cars. 

Marie is a teacher for a large academy in the Midlands, and she’s run a Nissan leaf for a few years but recently handed it back and gone back to a diesel car. The experience has been a mixed one which won’t be a surprise for many reading this who have heard numerous reasons why electric cars aren’t practical. In a frank and surprising interview she’s shared this experience so that you can all learn from this. If you do want more information on green motoring you can find some here

It was a big step for Marie to go electric, a mother of 3 with a demanding job and located in the countryside miles from any charging infrastructure. However, a couple of years ago Marie made the decision to go electric and ordered a Nissan Leaf. Over 2 years Marie covered about 32,000 miles which she calculated as costing her just over £300.

Marie has a drive, she doesn’t have a fast charger and charges via an external socket overnight. Every morning after charging on off-peak energy Marie found her car ready and waiting with 100 miles range. Winter was a problem though, cars covered in ice and chillingly cold inside especially with concerns about electric vehicle range in the cold. Marie was sometimes delayed by 10 – 15 minutes… as the husband’s traditional car had blocked her in and he struggled to de-ice it. Marie had been clever you see, she used a simple app to pre-warm and charge her car ensuring when she left the house she had a fully charged, warm, ice-free car waiting. By doing this off mains supply she also minimised any impact on range and never had any concerns. There was no panic about fuel, her car started with 100 miles every day, while her husband was running on fumes for the 3 mile drive to the nearest petrol station, and a 10 minute stop, once a week.

Like many busy parents Marie spends a lot of time shopping and ferrying children around, just after payday Marie was delighted to find free charging in her local Waitrose, right by the store entrance too! Just before payday Marie was equally delighted to find free charging in her local Asda, also conveniently close to the front doors! She enjoyed reduced parking rates and free charging in Derby and Birmingham regularly. Marie’s husband is, I believe, still driving up to higher and higher levels in the Lichfield multi-story car park before trekking to the bottom to meet his wife…right by the entrance.

Of course family days out are a regular occurrence and trips to Chester zoo and to Bristol to see friends are fairly regular as are trips to Chill factor at the Trafford centre. As parents to 3, comfort stops every hour and a half are essential, Marie just takes the opportunity to recharge at motorway services at Ecotricity pumps, a couple of pounds and 40 minutes for 80% refill while the kids stretch their legs. In reality the 200 mile trip to Bristol and back normally just needed one stop which the kids greatly welcome.

Twice a year Marie takes the family on holiday, a few days before that she calls Fleet Evolution and requests a 7-seater diesel for the duration. She has more room, more range and the ability to put the kids in the boot seats if it all gets too much! Then can hand the car back when she returns and switch back to low cost motoring in a Leaf.

There are the undisclosed side effects of owning an electric car. Aside from that smug feeling when you charge publicly for free, electric cars can make you soft. No more de-icing cars or filling up. On the rare occasion you publicly charge, you plug it in and go inside, all for pennies.

You may miss the ‘nearest pound’ game, trying to get exactly £20 of diesel in the car (which to cover the same distance in a Leaf would cost around 60p  – £6 depending on where you charge)

You will develop a lack of patience when you go back to petrol or diesel, the most mundane task such as waiting at a petrol station will become frustrating and painful…finding your diesel car on the drive with 30 miles range compared to your 100 – 270 mile electric car range every morning can be frustrating. You also get brighter nights as you cause less pollution and smog.

You will miss out on Shell and Nectar points!

You will have to speak to people as EVERYONE stops to chat to people plugging in their EV at the services…you WILL actually start converting people

So… why has Marie gone back to a traditional car? Well, she has just ordered a Kia Niro electric, 270 mile range (so even less compromise) and she’s waiting for it. Her Leaf lease had ended and electrics are so popular we could only give her a diesel in the meantime.

The convenient truth is that you don’t need to compromise to drive an EV if you have a drive or garage, the compromise is the one everyone else makes, filling up daily, polluting, paying congestion charges and parking miles away from entrances, if they can get a space…

Time to make the switch. Waste hours of your life filling up and over £1,000 a year extra spend on fuel costs typically, or go electric and live without compromise apart from the odd time you cover more than 250 miles. Better yet cars are amazing value on our salary sacrifice car scheme with a 270 mile electric car cheaper to lease than a Golf or Focus. To see some typical pricing click here

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