New Nissan Leaf shows why more people are opting for electric vehicles

The new Nissan Leaf.
The new Nissan Leaf.

More often than not when I get phone calls from someone asking for advice, they are normally just looking for confirmation that the car they have chosen is the right one for them. Some have a number of cars on their shortlist and want to figure out which one is better. Generally, the advice matches what they already have decided in the first place. Only a few need total convincing.

When I received a call from a well-known Galwegian who had decided on retirement to treat himself to an electric car, there were only a few in the mix. After our conversation, he opted for the Nissan Leaf. The advice then, back in December, was to hold on for the new model which was due this month.

Last week, the new Leaf was presented to us with a host of changes and a lot of optimism for the future from Nissan Ireland chiefs. Crucially, the new car has a vastly improved range on a full charge.

Higher capacity batteries mean there’s a 50% increase in range to 378 kilometres (NEDC) and a 38% increase in power to 150PS compared to the outgoing model and while those figures may not yet be at the optimum, they go a long way to lessening range anxiety for those taking longer journeys and add quite a kick when taking off.

I took a first drive in the car from Nissan headquarters in Dublin to Brooklodge near Arklow in Wicklow, over the Sally Gap, and back via the M11 motorway. That’s a round trip of approximately 170km, and proved how capable the car is and how, with clever driving techniques, we could save the battery and do the journey with plenty to spare, whereas the old car would have you pretty jittery over such a test.

With first deliveries of the New LEAF already in the showrooms, prices start at €26,290 for the XE entry model (including €5,000 Government Grant), rising to €32,600 for range-topping fully equipped SVE grade versions.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.