2019, Late May
So at last the EV arrived,. Well actually we had to go and get it, it's not that automatic.
It is called an e-NV200 and is essentially a 40kWh Nissan Leaf, but taller and uses the body-shell of a petrol or diesel van which can also be made as a 7 seat taxi. It is entirely electric driven and doesn't use any petrol or diesel. I know that's what I just wrote, but a surprisingly large number of people have been taken in by the auto-motive industry's use of various terms for non EVs like 'mild hybrid' and 'self charging'. These are weasel words meaning they want you to buy an internal combustion engine with a light coating of green-wash.
When I picked it up it said it had a range of 150 miles, which I took with a pinch of salt, expecting a real 120 or so. However it has actually been returning something like 135. I've been driving it quite normally and I'm not heavy footed, but I have not been holding the traffic back, and am not taking months to get anywhere. It accelerates better than the Zafira and I think it is speed limited to 90mph or so. Haven't hit that limit yet. The range it shows is calculated as how far you'd get if you carried on driving in the same way. If you turn the air conditioning on the available range immediately drops as it assumes you'll be using it for the rest of the journey.
Our nearest petrol station is about 8 miles away, so the inconvenience of overnight charging is easier as well as cheaper. Currently that's £6 for 130 miles. The eNV200 is quite large by comparison with the Zafira, but not excessively so. Most of the extra volume is in the boot area, we went for the 5 seat version although a 7 seat is available. We hardly ever used the sixth and seventh seats in the Zafira so there didn't seem much point. It sits a little higher and feels similar to the Discovery, although the centre of gravity is lower and, perhaps aided by being brand new, it goes around corners as though it was on rails. Acceleration is very good indeed, and of course decidedly silent.
Charging has as yet been entirely at home, although I can fill up for nothing if I pop into Nissan dealerships and nick a cup of coffee. There's a 7kW charger socket hidden in the top picture by the passenger wing mirror which will fully charge the battery over-night. Time calculation is a bit approximate but if you are on a 7kW socket and charge from absolute zero to 35 kWh it'll take 5 hours (35 divided by 7)
The alternative 'at home' method is referred to as a 'granny cable' and that runs off any normal 3 pin socket at about 3 kW. It takes longer but I have a battery in the house which when charged delivers 1.6kWh so if I charge while the sun is shining I can get 1.5kW from the battery and 1.5 from the sun, and I don't have to use the grid at all. However if there isn't any free electricity available then the 40kWh would cost £6 at standard rates.
A 400 mile (12.5 gallons) run to Winchester using a petrol tank is equivalent to 3½ charges or £21 which is quite a lot cheaper than the petrol equivalent. However I didn't buy it to save money, I just thought that it was better environmentally.
I know there are still a few who don't think global warming is real, don't mind the pollution and can afford the rising oil prices . I wouldn't be able to change their minds, so I won't bother. Another criticism is the cost of the vehicle itself. I needed a new car fairly soon and although it was £5k more expensive than a new petrol Zafira with similar spec it doesn't need a virtual tax disc, also I wouldn't have been able to get a 6 year free loan. I don't think it'll take long to break even.
Driving the car is very similar to driving a new automatic, though obviously quieter. I kept the old satnav as I'm not used to the built in one yet, and it seemed rather loud. The car has a low centre of gravity which makes it seem very stable and I'm sitting rather higher, about 4 inches. Similar to the Discovery I think. Fiona seems to have adapted to it without much difficulty. The acceleration is good although I usually have it on maximum Eco settings unless I'm in a hurry. It makes a little extra noise at low speeds so that pedestrians have a bit of warning and I haven't seen any looks of surprise, although I always assume pedestrians will just walk out in front anyway.