Me & My Car: cutting costs and emissions with his Nissan Leaf
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When did you buy your 2015 Nissan Leaf G?
I bought it second-hand about a year ago from GVI Electric.
What do you like about it?
The Nissan Leaf is the best drive I’ve had. Because there are no gear changes, it’s a smooth experience and it’s quiet.
Is it your first EV?
Yes, and I made the purchase for a couple of reasons. I live in the Waitākere Regional Park so I travel one hour each way to get to work and back. Having an EV has meant I’ve made huge savings on petrol costs, but I am also helping the environment at the same time by reducing my emissions.
How do you think this car fits your personality?
I’m a scientist, and I work for a company that is big on continuing to reduce its carbon emissions. It’s clear the world is in serious trouble with the threat of climate change — so, owning an EV I am doing my bit to reduce my personal footprint. I know more and more people are purchasing EVs, but ownership rates are still fairly low as a per capita figure. So, perhaps that makes me an early adopter. I would certainly class myself as environmentally conscious.
How long had you been thinking about getting an EV?
For a few years before I bought.
Any surprises once you started driving it?
There’s a common misconception that EVs have no grunt so I was surprised by how powerful my Leaf is. It’s really zippy.
You say your Leaf is paying for itself?
When I ran the figures, the rough cost of driving my Toyota Estima of 11L/100km for 66km/day at $2.27/L added up to about $4000 a year in petrol. Based on the rates at the time of purchase I calculated the electricity is about $9/week to charge my Leaf, so $432 a year. This is a saving of $3560 a year. I paid $24,000, so it’s paid off in 6.8 years.
In a typical week, where would you drive?
I drive from Titirangi to work in Otahuhu and back. In the weekends I drive around West Auckland and other parts of the city, including out past Kumeu for mountain biking. My wife has a Holden Trax so we still have a petrol car for longer family trips.
Where do you charge it?
At home in my garage. It takes about six hours as I use only half the battery charge each day. It does it overnight while I sleep. I can also use the EV charger DB installed in the carpark at work in May this year. I can use that if I need a top-up to get to meetings. There’s a big focus on sustainability at work and this installation was one of many things we have done to encourage sustainable practice with our people. Two of us have EVs, and I expect this number will grow. We use it when we need it and some visitors take the opportunity to charge while they are in meetings on site. Under most circumstances the home charging is enough.
What do you always keep in your Leaf?
The charging cable, so that it’s always on hand when I need to plug in. I’d be stuck if I left the house without it.
Who else drives it?
My wife drives it during the weekend if I’m not. This is so that we can save on petrol costs and pollution wherever possible.
How much can you fit in it?
It fits five people comfortably, and I even get my bike on the back of it.
What about range anxiety?
I head out to Woodhill for mountain biking and wanted to test whether I had enough range to get there from home. I managed to drive out, have lunch with the group, and get home with 10 per cent charge to spare. Now I know it’s a trip that I can make regularly. Donna McIntyre