New Nissan Leaf continues to drive the popularity of electric vehicles

The new Nissan Leaf.
The new Nissan Leaf.

Debates about the demise of diesel, the rising popularity of small petrol engines, the benefits of hybrids, and the obvious savings you get from driving an all-electric car continues unabated.

I for one have yet to subscribe to the ‘death of diesel’ argument, and while electric (EV) cars are improving, there’s not enough evidence just yet that alternative power sources are close to satisfying Irish motorists completely.

In terms of electrification, Nissan are the company that seems to be going in the right direction with the latest version of the Leaf. It now has a bigger 40kw battery with a better driving range on a full charge than the first one, and visually more mainstream.

It has been enticing more buyers to try electric and the figures sold so far suggest that there is a growing market for the world’s best selling EV.

Up to now, bringing any EV on a long journey has been a tortuous experience. In real life, if you are driving even one of the new Nissans, you will have to stop at least once along the way to recharge, especially if you are on the motorway. When I picked my test car last week in Dublin, I then drove to the airport, and I only managed to get as far as Kilbeggan on the way home before it needed charging.

At the Topaz filling station just off the motorway, a 25 minute charge brought me to 181 km range. By the time I got to Tuam – officially 134km from Kilbeggan – I needed to charge it again. Plugging it in at the only charging point in the town at the Shambles, two hours of on-street charging brought the battery back up to 50%.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.