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Yes, we all want to do our bit for the environment. But really, are electric vehicles any good?

Well, if you've had the pleasure of taking one of the new generation electric cars out for a spin, you'll know that the age old cliches of golf carts and milk floats are just that - faded memories best packed away with your first brick sized mobile phone and that 'box' which once stood in the living room corner before being usurped by slick, thin HD window now installed over the fireplace.

The point is that, today, electric vehicles are a viable, economical and efficient alternatives to traditional combustion engine automobiles. Cutting edge technology is now filtering through to the roads, and more and more drivers are joining this quiet revolution.

The key to their success is the familiarity of EVs. Other than their intrinsic quietness and uncanny responsiveness, there really is very little cosmetic difference between, say, a Citroen CZero and a standard, automatic small car. Even their tell-tale charge connectors are hidden behind what appears to be a fuel cap. Sure, there's no ignition to turn, but with more and more high end vehicles opting for the fashionable 'start' button, this is no hardship.

About town, most EVs are nimble, nippy little roadsters with great manoeuvrability. Out on the road, many will make good headway, respectfully close to the speed limit.

Of course, the big question is how far will they go? That depends on which electric car you choose, but almost all are now designed to comfortably accommodate the UK average daily mileage. Charge them at home, overnight, whilst it's sitting idle. All you need is a standard plug point - if you can plug in your Christmas lights or a lawnmower, you can plug in your car. You can also top them up when you get to work or into town (there are more and more charge points available, and many cities do not charge EVs for parking).

And what happens if I run out of electricity? Well, you'll need to get the car recovered. But unless you habitually run out of petrol or diesel, you're probably far too sensible to let this ever happen. It's not like EVs don't have a 'fuel' gauge showing how much power you've got left! In fact, you'll probably find that once you're behind an EV wheel those old habits of driving too hard without a thought for emissions or efficiency will evaporate as quickly as a £100 tank of petrol.

And speaking of petrol, one of the biggest advantages of an electric car is never, ever again being a slave to the vagaries of the forecourt pricing system and the Chancellor's whims. Never again will you endure standing in the lashing rain, hands like icicles as you pour £70, £80, £100 of your hard earned cash into the tank.

And that's where the big savings come in. There are lots of studies out there, but suffice to say the pence per mile of EVs is far superior to that of even the most efficient of diesel or petrol engines.

Admittedly, EVs are pricey to buy. That's why we almost always recommend leasing - which also means you don't have to worry about resale values or battery lifespan.

So, next time you're at the filling station, watching that counter climb higher and higher as you pump toxic hydrocarbons into your vehicle, consider what you really need your car for. If it's mostly to get to work, ferry the kids and nip into town, then it's time to get a bit more switched on and think electric.

Nissan abandons battery lease for new Leaf

Nissan has announced the 2018 Leaf price list, which marks the abandonment of battery leasing on the brand’s current electric vehicle line-up.

Previously offered on the outgoing model as the “Flex” trim grade, battery lease offered customers a cheaper initial purchase price for the Leaf with a monthly battery lease that varied in price dependent on mileage.

Battery rental was aimed at offering fleets peace of mind, as the Nissan Flex warranty covered the performance and durability of the battery in addition to roadside assistance that was provided for the duration of a battery lease contract.

Nissan says they have more or less phased out all Leafs sold with battery lease, repurposing them to have batteries included on the used market.

The new 2018 model Leaf ranges from the £21,990 Visia to the £27,940 Tekna, with Acenta (£24,290), N-Connecta (£25,990) and a special edition 2.ZERO trim (£26,490). All prices are On The Road (OTR) and include the Government’s plug-in car grant – currently £4,500 for a battery-electric vehicle.

Nissan says the new Leaf’s pricing is up to £1,500 cheaper than the outgoing model depending on grade with, for example, the Acenta model costing £24,290 compared to the outgoing model’s £25,790.

Despite the cheaper price, the new car benefits from a variety of enhancements over the outgoing model including Nissan’s ProPilot semi-autonomous technology, ePedal (adjustable regenerative braking that allows single-pedal driving), a 148bhp motor (compared to the outgoing model’s 107bhp) and a 50% increase in official NEDC range to 235 miles.

The British-built Leaf features a 40kWh battery compared to the outgoing model’s choice of either 30kWh or 24kWh – with an even larger battery slated for release later this year.
1,500 limited edition “2.ZERO” models will be available at launch, offering a specification in-between N-Connecta and the range-topping Tekna trim levels. It includes 17″ alloys, heated steering wheel, front and rear heated black suede-effect bio-fabric seats, 7″ touchscreen and a 360º Around View Monitor. The model represents a saving of £535 against the N-Connecta if options were specified separately.
First customer deliveries for the new Leaf will start in February.

Source Jonathan Musk EVFleet World 03/01/2018

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