Driving an Electric Car – the Verdict, Updated March 2017

Nissan Leaf

Okay it’s a been a month since we got our electric car. So what’s the verdict? …….. (drumroll please) ….. we absolutely adore it. Maybe we love it just because we feel more virtuous driving it but I’m not sure it, just feels ‘cleaner’ to drive. I accept that the production of electricity in Ireland is not as sustainable as it should be, but i think it has the capacity to improve and that’s what we’re betting on.

I really love how quiet the care is. It’s completely silent when stationary and there is only slight noise as it moves off.

I also love the display that shows you if you’re driving efficiently and I feel like it’s a challenge to drive as economically as possible. I now know that having a fan on in the car uses up a huge amount of energy so we only have it on when we can’t open a window. It’d be great to see these energy metres in all cars. I think it’d really help us all use less fuel when we can.

I love that I don’t have to visit petrol stations anymore, even though I catch myself checking the price of fuel every once in a while without realising.

Based on night rate electricity, an overnight full charge will cost approx €2, while average daytime charging is likely to be €4 for a full charge, but we’ve gotten very good at charging our car at the charge points around the city when we’re out and about so we rarely have to do a full charge now. There are also a few fast charge points that allow you to charge the car up to 80% in about 30 minutes.

I’ll be honest, having an electric car won’t suit everyone and given the number of charge points in the city you do have to plan your car use a bit more than you do with a petrol / diesel / hybrid car.

Our car is a 2012 and has a projected range of 150km on it. Given it’s 4 years old the battery life isn’t quite 100% so the projected range is more like 140km and in reality we find it’s more like 120km, which with our driving patterns would require a full charge every 3 days if we didn’t keep topping it up regularly. This suits our driving needs and if we want to make a long journey we do need to plan around charge points, but we make long journey’s so rarely we figured it was worth going for an electric car.

Our plan is to set aside the savings we make from having an electric car – car tax is only €120- to get a newer model with a longer driving range in the future.

If you want to hear more about electric cars check out the Irish Electric Vehicle Owners Association

Update March 2017: So I’ve been driving the electric car for 8 months now and i still love it, although it’s over the winter it’s become more challenging. Here are the pros and the cons that I’ve discovered since July 2016

Cons

  • I refuse to freeze in the car so have the heater on practically every day, even though it eats up power. With the school runs and errands during the day this means that we have to charge our 2012 Nissan Leaf every evening, which is fine as long as you don’t forget and have to spend 20mins of your morning charging your car at a fast-charge point! But trust me, you don’t do that twice
  • Travelling long distances where you’ll need to charge your electric car more than once just isn’t worth it in my opinion. Although the ESB map is great at showing you which charge points are out of action, it’s of little comfort if it happens when you’re on route and there isn’t another charge point in range! As this car is our only care we hire fossil fuel cars for long journeys.
  • As electric cars become more and more popular the wait at charge points on popular routes becomes longer and longer.
  • I don’t tend to need to recharge away from home now but once I was once locked to a charge point that crashed and the ESB couldn’t reset the machine because someone else was charging at the same charge point. They said they’d send out an engineer who’d be there in under an hour! Thankfully the other driver came back so they could reset the charger and release me. That said this has only happened once and I’ve been told that they’re replacing first generation chargers with more reliable ones.

 

Pros

  • I can set the heater to come on in my car at a predetermined time so the car is warm when i get into it.
  • I still adore how quite it is. I’m like a silent ninja.
  • Charging the car every night during winter does put up the cost of the car but overall our ‘fuel’ costs are still much lower than fossil fuel cars.
  • You get free parking in the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council area when you’re charging.
  • You can still get free ‘fuel’ when you park at charge points. No other car owner can say that!

 

E

 

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