Nissan Leaf -4 Day Test Report

Before we ordered our TESLA we wanted to know:How is life with a pure electric car that has got a limited range in miles.?

Well before I actually got the car handed to me by the salesman from Bristol Street Motors I got a surprise.Each model does not only vary in price according to its specification-each Trim Level also varies in Battery Capacity and therefore ultimately in the amount of miles it can do. Only the top of the range model can do 124 Miles.The one I received for my 4 day Test Drive can only go 84 miles.Oh- a bit of a surprise if you think that the Tesla can do 250 Miles.

So first disappointment over what surprises do I have to look out for next ?Well there was no cable in the car for a public charger. So I asked the salesman what do I do if I want to do charge the car from a public outlet?Oh-you want to do that-ok I’ll get a cable for you.(he also forgot to give a Smartcard to access public charge points and so I had to fetch it from him in the afternoon-hey it was a free car for 4 days-how could I complain?)

Anyway I got the car home and got a shock.It takes ages to charge a car from your little 3pin plug home socket.In fact it takes all night from almost nil.So you need a more powerful charger at home-but more on that later.

I used the car for several errands and found that our local public charge point has been vandalised, so I set off to one further afield in a nearby Sainsbury.Oh dear-this one does not work at all and the staff in Sainsbury are totally baffled.It always worked they exclaim.But even after two different smartcards the little hatch on the door of the charge point does not open.Not a good sign.

So to test the car properly we set off on a little tour to a town 40 miles away which would give us (with regenerative braking and economy mode )a way back home without charging.Well it did not work.We did not have enough electric charge left and so had to look in a quite rural area for a charge point.Well I can tell you that we were in Northumberland and had serious “range anxiety “.

A quick look on the “in car Navigation” screen revealed that there were charging points 10 miles away in Hexham and if things would go worse there was also a Nissan Garage! So off we went to go 10 miles to Hexham. Oh dear -we were guided by Nissan Satnav system to the Best Western Hotel Charge point in the Town Centre and … it was not there! In fact the hotel is in the town centre and no charge points on the main road,but on the back in the private car park.I quickly dispatched my wife to reception of the hotel and the answer was that the charge point is only for resident guests! So if we would have a meal could we be a “guest”.Sorry but no meals are served because the chef is on  fortnights holiday!!!! This is August for crying out loud! And it is Northumberland -a tourist destination.So off we went to “find” the other chargers on the map.

This was now with 20 miles left and SERIOUS “range anxiety kicked in! Anyway we went to the main town centre car park in Hexham and we found 5 chargers.Ah-there is one by the tourist information-AND it was occupied by two identical Nissan Leaf cars.Oh dear what to do? Well there was supposed to be one by the Leisure Centre-it looked like behind the Leisure centre on the Map.So out of car park and round the one way system in Hexham again.Nowhere is there access to the Leisure Centre.Back into car park again (10 miles left!!!). Ah Here it is.Hidden in a little corner just by the front entrance in a recessed little alley.No sign no pointer to it.Anyway it was a mahoosive charger! 50Kw.Wow -this will do nicely.Have I got the right cable or connector.Well the Nissan leave comes with two charging sockets and the Big one fitted this charger.But have I got the right smart card.Yes the card from Ecotricity supplied by the sales man was accepted and I plugged the cable/charger into the car”s socket.The LCD screen on the public charger said:Your car will be charged in 47 minutes to full.

So off we went for some well deserved lunch and came back after 60 minutes and found the car to be 85% charged AND all the electricity was for free!Thanks Hexham.

By the way-The waitress in the café told us that you can rent Electric cars in Hexham for free and drive through the country side and not damaging the environment!Well done Hexham again!

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