Tim Rose’s ‘winter test’ review from last month whispers in my ears as I scrabble in the gravel drive or muddy car park verge in early morning and evening darkness for the recharging cables that lead into my house through a partially open window.
Then there is the range anxiety. ‘Will I be able to plug in when I get to work?’; ‘If I go out again in the evening will I have enough charge to get me to work when using my domestic 3kW socket (a full charge takes 21 hours)?’. It eats at my confidence in the car, while other factors weigh on my conscience. Commuting (I do 66 miles a day – Nissan says the average driver does 50), is the single largest generator of greenhouse transport emissions. Just more than half of all transport emissions come from cars – and the level is going up.
There are signs that consumers are beginning to react positively. In 2014, there were about 1,208 new alternative fuel vehicles (including hybrids and pure EVs) being registered a month in the UK, according to SMMT figures. In 2018, it was 11,773, an increase of more than 870%. The Leaf had a 7.7% share of the AFV market last year, down from 8.6% in 2017. However, we are still a long way from mass adoption.
The announcement of the Leaf 3.Zero e+, with a 40% range increase (62 miles, according to Nissan) is welcome news. But it’s a special edition, limited to 5,000 units in Europe. The tech is there to calm fears, so why not put it into full production?