Whilst the Nissan LEAF is used almost exclusively by me for my 100-mile a day commute, there are certain times when I’ve got an out-of-the-ordinary journey to make, and the LEAF would need one (or two) en-route charges to complete the drive.
This week was one of those occasions, as I was to attend the Low Carbon Vehicle 2016 show at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire on Wednesday and Thursday. I had to collect my trainee Innovation Specialist, Lewis, from his home near Preston on the way (I live in Skipton, North Yorkshire), so in total it would be almost 500 miles round trip, via the M65, M6, and M1.
I have done many longer journeys in my LEAF, utilising the Electric Highway for charging along the way. However, as I was going to drive down on the morning of the show, I considered the rationale behind taking the LEAF, and stopping twice for 30 minutes on the way each way.
If this were not a business trip, and I was driving for pleasure in my spare time, I wouldn’t mind stopping a couple of times to break up the journey. But given that I wanted to get down to Bedford in time for the show opening at 10am, and then I had a full diary of seminars to sit through attentively, I thought it would possibly be quicker to take an alternative vehicle instead.
This is also an option which is available to customers who buy a new Nissan LEAF – you get the option of borrowing a petrol or diesel car for up to 14 days per year, to cover those extraordinary longer journeys which may give peace of mind to people who are unsure of charger locations in far flung places.
I swapped into a Pulsar 1.5dCi N-Connecta from one of my colleagues, and fuelled it up the night before (which cost £35 from roughly quarter of a tank to full).
The Pulsar is a diesel hatchback, fairly similar in dimensions to the LEAF. It had a manual gearbox (I’m quite used to the single speed LEAF now, so manual gears seem to be a bit of a pain), satellite navigation, bluetooth, and similar level of kit to the LEAF. My father-in-law has the petrol version, and he’s very happy with his.
We drove down to the show (set off from my house at 5.30am, arrived at Millbrook at 10.15am), and came back last night. The average fuel economy for the journey of 492 miles was 72.8mpg. That’s really impressive for a decent sized family car. It actually means that it cost me about £34 for the whole journey. If I had taken the LEAF, and charged on the Electric Highway, it would have cost me £24 for 4 charges (2 each way).
As it happens, we did of course stop once each way for a bite to eat and to stretch our legs, so the only time saving was half an hour on each journey, and it cost me £10 more than it would in a LEAF.
Perhaps next time, I’ll just stick with my LEAF…