Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Driving Electric - 2 years on.....

I've been driving my Nissan Leaf for just under two years now so I thought it would be a good time to report on the progress and what it's really like to use an electric car every day.

Luckily, Nissan are able to collect data from the Leaf and present it on-line, you can see how much energy you are using, miles driven and how many eco trees(?) you have grown.

That's all well and good but what I'm really interested in is how much money I have saved in running the thing. Lets have a look:

The above is a screenshot from the Nissan Carwings site. This particular chart shows how many miles I've driven next to how much energy I've used in all of 2014.

I drove a total of 6,983.5 miles in 2014. That's me driving to work and back.
If I still drove my previous car, being a Volvo C30 1.8TDi the cost per mile in fuel is about 10p.
6,983.5 x 0.10p = £698.35

As the Leaf doesn't run on diesel we need to work out the equivalent cost on kWh using the rate for my electricity provider, Ecotricity. (Currently 12p /kWh) Nissan report that I've used 1,572.6 kWh so:
1,572.6 x 0.12p = £188.71

Also bear in mind that not all the energy the Leaf uses is from being plugged into my house. I use Ecotricity charging stations for free and the regenerative capabilities account for about 1kWh per trip.
In 2014 I made 557 trips, therefore I generated about 557 kWh. That's another £66.84 off the bill.

A difference in running cost of £442.08! That's pretty good isn't it.

Throw in the fact it's zero car tax and really low insurance. I had to pay a service cost of £120 which is still minimal compared to any other car. However, the main thing is that I have not burnt any CO2 as a result of driving to work, cutting 4260lbs of poisonous crud.

Using the car
I've talked about the pros and cons of driving an EV before. Yes it has a limited range, but the range is 100 miles. I rarely drive over 100 miles in a single trip. My trip to work and back is 40 miles. I never have to find a charger to get home and I often use the climate control. I have never once come close to running out of power. There are now even more charging points around the place and the majority are still free, the Ecotricity chargers are at nearly every service station. They are really fast and totally free.
Plugged in at Fleet services
 I do have a second car for the longer journeys to the family but it's not uncommon for a household to operate two cars of course.

The end?
Sadly I will be giving up my Leaf very soon, I am about to change jobs and start commuting to London by train but should I return to a drivable commute or need a second car in the future then I wont hesitate in going electric again.
If you are in a position where you are regularly driving less than 100 miles and you have a driveway at home then you really should go electric. Any excuse you give me for not doing so will probably be a bit pathetic.

Unless you cycle to work, in which case, well done.