Goodbye 30kW Leaf, Hello 40kW Leaf
Using an electric car for driving lessons has proved very successful. Pupils have enjoyed learning in my previous 30kW Nissan Leaf. Running costs have been tiny and the on street residents charging bays installed by Portsmouth council have worked well for overnight charging. So in August I picked up a newer 40kW Leaf. Not quite new, a 10 months old ex demonstrator that had done very few miles.
It’s a new MK2 Leaf which has lost the quirky charm of the original Leaf. I was very impressed with my original Leaf and the the new model has improved on that even more. Build quality seems better and there are a few more electronic toys. It certainly looks the part in its metallic grey paint so it can be forgiven for losing the quirkiness.
The battery is larger in the 40kW Leaf. While the 30kW car would do a day of lessons with a plug in over lunch time the 40kW has made a big difference. It will do a full day of work without a lunch time top up and still arrive home with 30% to 40% battery. This has meant, I pay no attention to range or battery percentage on a daily basis knowing it will comfortably do a day’s work after an overnight charge. I used to look at the fuel gauge more in fossil cars than I ever consider the battery range now. The predicted range of around 150 to 170 miles looks like a reasonable estimate.
In the year of COVID and lockdowns there have been few road trips and I’ve only rapid charged the car once in four months of owning it. This was on a camping holiday 30 miles from home where I had to return home one day. After driving home then back to where I was camping doing 120 miles the Guessometer said there were 40 miles left. Not wanting to risk running out a few miles from home I topped up for a few minutes on the way home on a rapid charger near where I was staying. The battery didn’t need to be fully charged just 10 minutes for another 30 miles to make sure I got home.
Would a Greater Range be Better?
So why the 40kW Leaf rather than a car with much higher range?
When changing car I was considering the higher range cars like the Hyundai Kona and 62kW Leaf which will both comfortably do over 200 miles on a charge. Having owned the 30kW Leaf I knew how far I needed a car to go on a charge to do a day of work. With a significant extra cost for the higher range cars I realised the extra range wasn’t needed, except maybe for a few long trips each year. I’d managed long trips with rapid charging breaks in the 30kW Leaf. Charges usually coincided with the need for food or toilet breaks. The extra range of the new 40kW Leaf will give flexibility on longer journeys and a greater choice of rapid chargers on a route. A much greater range simply didn’t seem worth the extra money.
Coming from the perspective of owning a fossil fuelled car I can understand that as a new EV owner you might feel the need to buy the highest range car you can find. In reality most people will rarely use that high range and could save a few pounds on a smaller battery. It’s certainly worth analysing your daily use and checking out where rapid chargers are on possible long journeys before buying an EV. You might already be stopping where the rapid chargers are in your fossil car on those long journeys and not noticed they were there.
A Tesla Would Have Been Nice
A Tesla Model 3 was a consideration as a replacement car. Due to the low EV running costs it was affordable. However, there was nobody offering driving instructor insurance for a Model 3. No dual control pedal kits and the glass roof meant a magnetic box wouldn’t stay on the roof. The new Leaf has exceeded my expectations and is a fantastic car so I’ll not be disappointed about not having a Tesla. The new Leaf will help train many more drivers in the Portsmouth area and do the job very well.