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Discussion Starter #1
I'm considering buying a used 30kWh Leaf as my first EV. Would appreciate feedback from people using it for long-ish daily commutes.

My wife and I have both been commuting by train to London, but the prices for both of us are too high and we'd like to switch to driving in. It is a 45-mile commute -- 65% on A-roads 50 - 70mph and 35% in traffic (A12-M25-M11-A12). On bad traffic days there's a much slower but more direct "backup route" (A12 all the way, stop-start traffic) of about 35 miles.

So 90 mile round trip, 4 to 5 days a week. An EV would save us *a lot* every year.

I would be charging at home, and It looks like there are legacy source london chargers where I plan to park, so I should be able to charge during the day if the bays are not occupied. However I'd like to have enough range in hand in case I'm not able to charge. I think the 30kWh Leaf has that, subject to battery health and the weather.

We currently drive an MX-5 and a ford Focus, both around 35mpg. So the Nissan would save us a huge amount in petrol. However, (while it may not be very cool to say so), I *love* my MX-5, especially in the warm weather we've been having. It will be quite a change from speeding down the fast lane with the roof open, to mixing it with the trucks with range anxiety. I would trade in the Ford Focus, but I need something to tow with (neither the EV or the MX-5 can tow).

So a few questions:
- Am I mad to prioritise savings over enjoyment? For people doing a dreary commute every day, do you enjoy driving?
- I think the range will be marginal in the winter, but should be OK if I can charge near work on the really low-range days. But should I expect the arrangement to still work out after 3 years and 60k miles? I don't want to have to replace the car for at least 2-3 years.
 

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With a few years of battery degredation, a 30 will be marginal on worst case days. It will be fine only if you are able to plug-in in London.

I am a former MX-5 owner and recently rented a Focus in Los Angeles.

I'd keep the MX-5 and trade the Focus for a LEAF. Use the LEAF as much as possible to maximise savings. Use the MX-5 or take the train for times when the LEAF is not practial or marginal.

How often do you need to tow and what are you towing? Maybe you can rent something and still be well ahead.
 

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So a few questions:
- Am I mad to prioritise savings over enjoyment? For people doing a dreary commute every day, do you enjoy driving?
- I think the range will be marginal in the winter, but should be OK if I can charge near work on the really low-range days. But should I expect the arrangement to still work out after 3 years and 60k miles? I don't want to have to replace the car for at least 2-3 years.
I used to enjoy driving, until having to do 45min 30miles commute out of London. For my commute, the worst part is the congestion in Greater London. I used to drive a Mercedes coupe up the M1 at *cough*mph (because I'm travelling on the other side of road to congestion). Now, I drive ~60mph, arrive a few minutes later. But inside London, the EV is so much better to drive, there's so much less stress due to the quietness and smoothness.

So yes, since getting EV, I started to enjoy driving again, no longer stressed driving around my home. It also helps I listen to audiobooks and there's not too much congestion on my route. On the motorway I could set cruise and sit in the inside lane, zero stress; whereas with ICE car, there's an urge to keep accelerating and feel stressed when having to brake.


The range will be marginal. During coldest, wettest days, you may have to quickly stop at a rapid charger on your way home. This can get tedious after 2 weeks. Best to find somewhere to plug-in near your work.
Search for Type 1 near your work or Chademo on your way home: Map of charging points for electric car drivers in UK: Zap-Map

My view is that if you can make the return trip without charging this winter, you should be fine next winter (you can always slow down or turn off heating). By 3rd year, charging infrastructure hopefully means you'll be able to charge near work or on your way home if needed.

Or take the train on days temperature drops below freezing.
 

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The new Leaf 40 can barely manage 100 miles in winter. I'd think you'd be doing the A12 route all winter in a 30 and it could be squeaky bum time occasionally unless you have guaranteed charging at work. Leafs do not like speed, cold, wind or the rain. All of those eat away range. All 4 happen during the winter, a lot.

The Zoe 40 would do either route all year round and probably cost less money and produce very little squeaky bum.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the replies.

I'd keep the MX-5 and trade the Focus for a LEAF. Use the LEAF as much as possible to maximise savings. Use the MX-5 or take the train for times when the LEAF is not practial or marginal.

How often do you need to tow and what are you towing? Maybe you can rent something and still be well ahead.
I think that's what I'd rather do. I do need a towbar occasionally for my glider (sailplane). It's not heavy but the trailer is a good 10m long. I could rent for the rare occasions I take it around the country... the main problem is that we expect people to collect us from afar if we land out in a field somewhere.... it's rare but does happen each year, and although others can use their cars, I'd feel awkward not having a towcar as a backup.

If only there was an affordable convertible or EV that was type rated for towing!

. But inside London, the EV is so much better to drive, there's so much less stress due to the quietness and smoothness.

So yes, since getting EV, I started to enjoy driving again, no longer stressed driving around my home. It also helps I listen to audiobooks and there's not too much congestion on my route.
I think that's the reality: No driving is "fun" if you're on the same route every day (and liable to eventually get caught for speeding). And how often do we get a run of weather like this anyway?

I hadn't thought about the improvement in infrastructure over the next few years. As with most things in the UK, the current system seems a bit half-arsed... looking at zap-map, there appear to be a bunch of chargers on my route, but many reported as connector issues/out of order/behind locked gates/members only etc. I suppose the system can only improve, even without any sort of central organisation/investment.

The new Leaf 40 can barely manage 100 miles in winter.
That worries me. I'll have to check out the "at work" charging situation.

I have never got on well with the Renaults I have driven (I *hated* a rental Megane I recently drove, it almost felt like it was conspiring against me), but I haven't looked at a Zoe -- I didn't realise the range was that much better.
 

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So a few questions:
- Am I mad to prioritise savings over enjoyment? For people doing a dreary commute every day, do you enjoy driving?
If you have to spend long periods of your day sat in stop start traffic an EV will make it far more bearable. The lack of noise, vibration and clutch balancing, combined with quick, smooth acceleration when you need it just takes all the stress out of that type of journey. For commuting I would never go back to an ICE.
I only take my MX5 in to work on Fridays when the traffic is always much lighter.
 

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As with most things in the UK, the current system seems a bit half-arsed...
That is a nice way to put it.


looking at zap-map, there appear to be a bunch of chargers on my route, but many reported as connector issues/out of order/behind locked gates/members only etc.
Zap map can be wildly inaccurate about status. Red rings stick around forever, even after several reports of sucessful charges. People sometimes report an issue just because the rapid is on free vend. Other times it really is broken. Zap map is good for location, but you will need to use the provider's website or app to determine live status.






I suppose the system can only improve, even without any sort of central organisation/investment.
I hope so. Several big players are starting to move in but their early attempts are not very good. Goverment regulation is coming and that may help if parlement doesn't screw it up.


That worries me. I'll have to check out the "at work" charging situation.
100 miles in a LEAF 40 is absolutly worst case. Most of the year our 2017 LEAF 30 is good for 100 miles. There are only a few days where that will drop to just under 90. BUT that is with the speed limiter set to 62mph. If you drive at 70, the range will be much less.

Right now in the warm weather I'm getting close to 130 miles of real range.


I have never got on well with the Renaults I have driven (I *hated* a rental Megane I recently drove, it almost felt like it was conspiring against me), but I haven't looked at a Zoe -- I didn't realise the range was that much better.
Zoe has a better motorway range than LEAF. Zoe is a smaller car and has an electric machine that is better optomised for highway speeds.

I quite like the Zoe despite a terrible love-hate relationship with a Fuego Turbo many years ago. In my experience Zoe is a good car badly let down by Renauilt GB and a very uneven dealer network.
 

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Had my Leaf 30 from new, done 13k in 18 months. 2 days ago did a 99 mile round trip, mostly motorway, 23C, no wind, never exceeding 60mph actual (66 indicated). Got "very low battery" warning 2 miles from home at 6% SOC. Actually expected better given the conditions. Afraid that is the reality.

However, mostly I just drive it like an ICE'd car and enjoy the very good acceleration from lower speeds, certainly don't restrain my speed on motorways, and do shorter trips or rapid charge as required. Have had less than 60 miles in the winter! So some charge would be prudent at work, in my opinion.
 

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I don't think 30kwh would be enough.

But an ev does make sense as you'd save a fortune in fuel, the savings could effectively pay for the ev.
 

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Sounds like +5 degrees or higher fine, below that perhaps shorter route. Keep to 60mph and you should be just fine. Another vote for the MX5 from us, we parted with ours and still miss it but only maybe a dozen times a year when the weather is just so. Having said that wouldn't go back now.
 

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I bought my 30kWh in October 16 and have never got less than 90 miles out of a charge even in the depths of winter, but I have modified my driving to accommodate and make full use of the heated seats and steering wheel. You’ll gain some range in the congestion, but in winter you’d be wanting to top up at your destination if possible to be sure. In summer it’s 120+ so no worries for you there. An EV makes driving in traffic so much more bearable and despite some of the limitations I’d never go back.
 

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Have you driven the route? How much of it is 60+ mph free flowing?

As mentioned, driving in 50 or lower traffic actually increases range, if much of the 45miles route is not free flowing motorway, it is possible you can make the journey in winter.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Sounds doable. I'm fairly confident I can sort charging at my destination. The charge points are in a shopping centre that suffers from ICE taking up the spaces, and they seem to be temperamental. But I checked and at 9am they are all free, and there are backup options nearby.

Have you driven the route? How much of it is 60+ mph free flowing?

As mentioned, driving in 50 or lower traffic actually increases range, if much of the 45miles route is not free flowing motorway, it is possible you can make the journey in winter.
We have started driving in. Just a couple of days so far. On the way in, it is around 60%+ free flowing at over 70mph, and 40% stop-start. I expect jams are more common outside of the summer holidays months. The 35-mile backup is definitely not free flowing, so I can use that as the route home if I have charging problems.
 

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for the last two years I've been commuting from Bedford to Watford, a 72 mile round trip in a 30kwh leaf, I'm now on 43k miles, I've had no issues, even in winter and even when needing to divert off of a blocked motorway, however I think 90 miles will be a test in winter and or when needing to divert.

However it's not all bad news, in the summer and driving at sensible speeds, there should be no issues, if during your journey you pass a high speed charger, then you'll only need 5 miles of stop time to put in 10-15% which would be enough to make each journey safe and you would only need to do this in the winter.

The saving in travel costs are quite amazing, if I did the same journey by train, then adding in parking and season ticket, the saving is over £5k a year.

One other benefit, the Leaf is a very relaxing car to drive, you don't get as tired when doing a rush hour commute, the slower you go the better the range, so your mind set to heavy traffic changes, you see it as a positive not a negative. I've also got a fancy car in the garage and enjoy running both.
 

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If only there was an affordable convertible or EV that was type rated for towing!
If towing is only a very occasional need, you could consider a Triumph Vitesse convertible from approx. 1970.

I used to have one (rather nearer 1970 !) and did occasionally tow with it. Nowadays of course it would be old enough to be road tax exempt and with a low annual mileage you could insure it as a 'historic vehicle' for a very low premium. They occasionally show up on eBay though none available at moment (unless you'd settle for a Herald version which would probably be a bit underpowered for towing).
 

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I travel up the A12 North Essex to London quite often. I'm doing west London so it's around 100 miles one way depending on route. I could do it in one go but choose to charge up at Nissan Maple Cross or South Mimms. Winter is tight but driving a little more carefully it is generally doable. Only when there are cross winds, below 5 degrees and rain all together does it get too tight to call, I do however tailor my driving to eke out more mileage. It's just become a habit. I bring up the miles per kWh on the central screen and it's a bit of sport to keep that figure fairly high whilst still keeping up with traffic flow. The A12 is fairly bad for efficiency, it's a fast road, not one for dragging along slowly (unless it's rush hour) you will be tailgated if you aren't in the general 60-70 range. Once I hit the M25 things are a lot easier and along the roads cutting into London I easily get over 5 miles per kWH. A slow top up at destination should get you back in all weathers.
 

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Mitubishi outlander PHEV is approved for towing. You can get them with sunroofs as well.

The rust repair and fettling required for a classic car would outweigh any cost saving from having one. Most of the decent vitesses are £5k+ anyway.

A bmw Z3 that was early enough not to need EU type approval to tow would be better than the vitesse to tow with. Much more power and you can at least have air conditioning and heated seats. The vitesse has nothing and is very cramped inside ( I had a 1968 2 litre one)
 

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I have never had any problem with our 30kWh leaf (nearly 3 years old) doing over 90 miles regardless of weather. Like other's say, as long as you aren't going much more than 60 on the faster stretches, you can count on something like 100 miles range mot of the year.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The saving in travel costs are quite amazing, if I did the same journey by train, then adding in parking and season ticket, the saving is over £5k a year.
No kidding. I do prefer the train, but with two of us both travelling in and parking at the station, it works out around £10k per year. More than our mortgage for 40 year-old trains. And no end to the annual price increases in sight. It's a mad system with seemingly very little foresight.
 
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