Guillaume Séguin


LEV Taskforce meeting – 6th April 2018

4 representatives of the IEVOA , met with representatives of the LEV Taskforce, a joint DCCAE , DTTAS committee , charged with promoting the the changeover of car transport to sustainable vehicles . A representative of the SEAI also attended. Please find below the IEVOA report.

LEV Taskforce meeting – 6th April 2018

Please note that you can find previous reports from this taskforce on the page below:

 

LEV Taskforce Meeting Reports


Irish PHEV sales – March 2018

PHEV new sales were still extremely active in March, growing 146.5% over last year. BMW is still leading with the 530e and 330e. Including the i3 Rex and the X5 xDrive40e, BMW owns almost half of this market.

On the used import front (+600% vs 2017!), note the massive influx of Outlanders, representing over half of all imports.

See below the new sales and used import figures for the month of March and the cumulative for the year.

 

 

 


Irish EV Sales – March 2018

BEV sales are growing 53.6% last month with a total of 106 new cars registered in March, meaning a 0.60% share of all sales. Deliveries of the new Leaf have just started, Tesla sales are still impressive considering the cost of these. Finally note the good performance of the E-Golf : 18 units sold in March ie the same as during the 2015-2017 period! On the first 3 months, the total is still negative compared to 2017 but this should turn around in April with hopefully more Leaf delivered.

Used imports are also growing, 30.4% this month, 74.2% since the beginning of the year.

This makes a total of 166 EVs registered in Ireland this month, 523 during the first quarter of the year.

 

 


Irish PHEV sales – February 2018

PHEV new sales have been growing in February 61.7% over the same month last year, with is better than BEVs. BMW and Volvo are still holding the podium.

PHEV used imports are also very dynamic, growing 5 fold in February, after a similar performance last month. The Outlander PHEV is becoming very popular thanks to keen used prices in the UK (starts under £ 10,000 with a great choice around the £ 12,000 mark). Other models aren’t as strong as these have been launched more recently, ie dearer to import.

 


Smart Evs in Ireland under the EQ brand

One of the surprises of the Geneva Motor show is the presence of EQ stickers on the Smart ForTwo and ForFour Electric Drive models.

But isn’t EQ supposed to be the new brand for Mercedes EVs ? First I thought of a label like “Zero Emissions” you can find on the Nissan Leaf as well on the Renault models (“Z.E.”) but after chatting with a member of the Smart staff, I got the confirmation that the brand will stop selling petrol cars in Europe from 2019, after doing the same move in North America this year.

Now if you do 2+2, it becomes quite obvious that these 2 Smart models, soon exclusively electric, will be integrated under the EQ brand.

Smart suffers from slow sales (around 100.000 units per year in Europe, which makes it a small player) and transforming Smart into EQ (that’s pretty much what will happen) will save Mercedes the cost of establishing a 3rd brand, ie  a 3rd network that will not necessarily be profitable immediately.

If Mercedes considered Smart to have too little potential in Ireland to officially sell these small cars in our country, they will probably see more opportunities for a more complete EQ range when BMW, Porsche and Tesla aren’t holding back distributing their premium (PH)EVs here. Question is when : 2019 ? 2020 ? Later ?

If you live in Norway, you can already pre-order the first EQ model, due in 2019

 

And wouldn’t these ForFour and ForTwo be perfect here, with their 22kw AC charger due later this year ?

 


Irish EV Sales – February 2018

After a very disappointing month of January, BEV sales are this months up 18% compared to February 2017, on a stable car market. It means BEV market share went up, to 0,42%. PHEV sales on the other hand have grown 60+%!

Surprisingly, it’s not due to the deliveries of the Leaf, down 51% to just 14 units (hopefully new Leaf will start being delivered in March), but to the strength of the Ioniq (27 sales), Tesla S and X, but also E-Golf.

Who would have thought Tesla (19) could oversell Nissan (15) this month ?

On top of the 72 new BEVs sold in February, 30 more were imported as used, bringing a total of 102 extra EVs on Irish roads in February, and the total number of registered EVs to 3008 (since 2007)

 


2018 IEVOA AGM

Dear IEVOA members,

We would like to inform you that the 2018 AGM will take place on the 24th March 2018, 12:00 noon in Nissan Headquarters, ParkWest Business Park , Dublin 12 , D12 FFD0.

If you are coming, please register in the link below!

Irish EV Owners Association AGM 2018 Registration

We would like to point out that only 2018 full members (paid membership) will be able to take part to the votes, but everyone is welcome.

Also if you want to contribute to the association with your skills, should it be by lobbying, be an IT/webmaster, if you are passionate organising events, etc. please send us an email at admin@irishevowners.ie and let us know how you can make the IEVOA a better organisation.

If you haven’t renewed your 2017 full membership just yet, or if you wish to upgrade your (free) associate membership to a 2018 full membership, feel free to fill out the form below:

http://www.irishevowners.ie/membership/

Do not hesitate to contact Guillaume (membership@irishevowners.ie) if you have any question.

 

Regardless of your membership status, do not forget to RSVP on the following page, should you wish to join us that day !

http://www.irishevowners.ie/agm2018/

 

Thanks you for your support and we hopefully will see you on the 24th March!

 


New Nissan Leaf : Range, prices and equipments for the Irish market

 

A few months after the Launch Edition, priced €29.590, Nissan Ireland reveals the 2018 range, with the traditional XE to SVE trim levels. Novelty for this year, a new version “SV Premium”, goes between the the mid-range SV and posh SVE.

 

The Leaf XE starts at €26,290 . It has the e-pedal, the 6.6kw onboard charger, climate control, lane departure warning. Optional is Nissan Connect EV (Satellite navigation, with Android Auto, Apple Carplay, rear view monitor)

 

Leaf XE

 

The Leaf SV is available at € 28,690. Like the outgoing model, it is available in grey or black interior colours. Over the XE it gains the heat pump, Nissan Connect EV with Android Auto and Apple Carplay, rear view monitor. The much loved Cold pack (4 heated seats and heated steering wheel), front and rear parking sensors are all available as options.

 

The new SV Premium trim comes at € 29,940. It has the same interior as the SV, but can have the optional part leather upholstery (in beige or black). It has 17” alloys, all around view monitor with moving object detection, intelligent driver alertness and parking sensors (front and rear).  Options include Full LED headlights, Cold Pack, proPILOT and Bose Premium sound system.

Leaf SV Premium/SVE, with 17” alloy wheels.

 

Finally the range topping SVE is available from €32,600. It still has a full leather upholstery and  you now have the choice of a black or beige interior. Like the outgoing version it adds LED headlights (now with high beams), Bose Premium sound system, heated seats but also ProPILOT and electronic parking brake. The only option (besides metallic paint) is the ProPILOT Park (available from May 2018).

The prices above includes the €5,000 Government Grant and excludes dealer delivery charges and metallic paint.

Colour range : Note that the 2-tone option is only available from the SV premium trim.

You can have a choice of 7 different interiors: Thank you Nissan Ireland, as Nissan UK offers the 4 black ones only!

 

 

 


Five BMW i3 for UNICEF Ireland

A piece of news you might have missed a few months ago : BMW Frank Keane has been partnering with UNICEF for the supply of 5 BMW i3.

BMW Frank Keane have also committed to supporting UNICEF Ireland by donating €15 to UNICEF for every new car purchased and up to €5 for every service.

This allows UNICEF to enjoy a modern fleet with lower running costs, while showing their interest in the environment.

It’s always pleasant to see charity work meeting environmental concerns, hopefully this show the way to other NGOs.

 


New on the market : Renault Kangoo Z.E. 33

The Kangoo Z.E. has been on the market since 2011, and has been discreetly lead the market of electric vans in Europe since.

 

What is it ?

It’s your typical panel van, also available as “maxi” (stretched wheelbase) and “crew van” (same lenght as maxi, but with 5 seats)

The Kangoo Z.E. has similar capacities as the diesel version. Payload ranges from 605 to 640kg depending on the version, Load volume varies from 1.3m3 (Crew Van) to 4 m3 (Maxi Van). It can tow too, which is rare for an EV, but no more than 374kg.

What’s new ?

As you might have guessed with its name, the Kangoo Z.E. now has a 33kwh battery, in replacement of the 22kwh pack it had since its launch. The other change is that the price now includes the battery, just like with the Zoé Z.E.40.

How is the range ?

It is rated 270km NEDC, a massive improvement from the 170km NEDC of the previous version. This is more than a 30kwh Leaf (250km) and almost as good as the super efficient Ioniq (280km). Expect a real range between 120km and 200km, depending on the weather, road type and your driving style.

How does it charge ?

There is some improvement over the previous version, it charges at 32amp instead of 16amp, still with a single type 2 connector … It’s twice as fast as before but still no fast charge available like on its cousin the Nissan ENV-200.

This means a full charge will take no less than 6 hours (on a 7kw charger).

How much does it cost ?

€ 28.190 for the Kangoo Van

€ 29,990 for the Kangoo Maxi

€ 30,990 for the Kangoo Maxi Crew van

€ 32,090 for the Kangoo Maxi Crew van Cab

Price are inclusive of VAT, VRT, VRT relief and € 3,800 SEAI grant.


New on the market : Hyundai Ioniq PHEV

After the plug-less hybrid and the more popular pure electric model launched a year ago, Hyundai is now putting on the Irish market the Plug-in Hybrid variant of its Ioniq.

What is it ?

A family car, with 5 seats, a decent boot and a good interior quality.

Just like the Niro PHEV, it has a 105hp petrol engine, a 68hp electric motor, giving a total output of 141hp.

How does it charge ?

Again it has the same setup as the Niro : 7kw charge speed (220v AC 32amp), with a type 2 socket.

It can therefore do a full charge in 2 hours and 15 minutes on a 7kw+ charger, or around 6 hours with the granny cable.

 

How much does it cost ?

€ 31,995, which is  € 3,000 more than the full electric Ioniq and thanks to a higher VRT rebate and the SEAI incentive €500 cheaper than the plug-less Ioniq (which obviously becomes a non-sense to buy!). It is also the same price as its cousin the Niro PHEV, and € 5-8.000 cheaper than a Prius PHEV. If Hyundai can supply these cars, it should be a success!

 


Irish PHEV sales – January 2018

Plug-in Hybrid sales have grown by 131% in January, compared to January last year. 109 PHEV cars were sold, accounting for 0.29% of the new car market. It is now above the short-supplied BEVs  that represent a low 0.27% of total sales. As you can see from the chart below most models are expensive premiums, nothing is available below € 30,000 ! Let’s not forget that the BMW 530e, leading the segment, is slightly cheaper than 530d or a 530i (with similar performance) making it a no brainer purchase for many interested in the 5-series.

Used imports are relatively rare but still on the rise with 68 units sold in January. For reference, 224 PHEVs were imported during the whole year 2017. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, that got quite popular in the UK during the past few years is leading the pack.

 


New on the market : Kia Niro PHEV

The Kia Niro (launched last year as a non-rechargeable hybrid) is now available with a socket, and this is the first PHEV from Kia you can get in Ireland.

What is this car ?

It’s a small family crossover, sharing its powertrain with the Hyundai Ioniq. A modern design and a unique trim, very well equipped (leather seats, navigation, 7” touch screen, smart cruise control, lane keep assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking, etc.)

It has a 105hp engine and 43.5hp electric motor, means a 141hp (combined) powertrain, mated to a 6-speed dual clutch transmission.

8.9kwh battery, giving 50km of EV range (says Kia, I wouldn’t expect that much)

How does it charge ?

7kw : 220v AC 32amp with a type 2 socket

It can therefore do a full charge in 2 hours and 15 minutes on a 7kw+ charger, around 6 hours with the granny cable.

 

How much does it cost ?

€ 36,995, excluding the € 5,000 SEAI grant, witch seems quite a sum, but don’t forget that the car comes fully loaded.

 


Irish EV sales – January 2018

Ev sales are down a harsh 38% in January 2018 compared to January 2017, with only 104 sales of new cars, just 0.28% of the total market.

The best seller is still the Nissan Leaf with 54 sales. We are still talking about the previous model, probably the last stock. The Renault Zoé comes second with 15 registrations, which is low but quite good compared to its previous years performance. More disappointing are the 12 Ioniq sold, big drop after the 69 units sold in January last year. Is this a supply issue ?

If we have a look at the Irish market and other energies, total sales are down 4.8%. Importantly diesel market share collapses from 65% down to 57%, petrol goes from 30% to 36% and hybrids (without a plug) are going from 3.4% to an impressive 6.3% market share, showing the push from Toyota towards this powertrain.

Find in the chart below January EV sales

On the other hand, the imports of used EV is still on the rise, with 51 cars registered in January 2018 versus 21 only a year ago. Note the growing interest in the Tesla Model S, becoming relatively affordable in the UK.

See below used EV imports detail


Best selling Irish PHEVs in 2017

After the best selling BEVs, this is the list of the 10 best selling new PHEVs in Ireland, for 2017. A total of 319 PHEVs were sold, with no less than 24 different models available (only 15 in 2016).

 

1. BMW 330e (111 units sold). Great success for this electrified variant of the 3-series that is getting over a third of the Irish PHEV market.

 

2. Volvo XC90 T8 (44)

 

3. BMW 530e (31)

 

 

4. Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid (30). After so many hybrids over the years, thi is the first time we get a Toyota with a socket !

 

 

5. Mitsubishi Outlander (21) which however remains by far the most popular PHEV with 117 used imports in 2017 and a total of 250 cumulated registrations.

 

6. Porsche Cayenne (14)

 

7. Volkswagen Golf GTE (11)

 

8. Mini Countryman (10)

9. BMW i3 Rex (9), this year not as popular as her engine-less sister.

 

10. Volkswagen Passat GTE (7), that exists in saloon and estate variants.

 

Find the 10 best selling EVs below:

Best selling Irish EVs in 2017

 


Best selling Irish EVs in 2017

Here is the list of the best selling EVs in Ireland, in 2017 (doesn’t include used imports nor PHEVs : for the latter, click here). A total of 622 new EVs have been sold during 2017, which makes this a record year. For total sales including imports and PHEVs, have a look here.

1. Nissan Leaf (257 units sold). Even if it is its last year of production, the favourite Irish EV kept its crown for another year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Hyundai Ioniq Electric (231). It has proven to become quite popular, immediately.

 

3. Renault Zoé (57). Still relatively slow sales, but more than during the 3 previous years together ! The 40kwh battery and the demise of battery lease made a difference.

 

4. Tesla Model S (36). With the first (and only) Irish dealer, the luxury EV finally sells in double-digit numbers.

 

5. Tesla Model X (14). It’s the best selling Electric SUV in Ireland (it’s also the worse selling one)

 

6. BMW i3 (12). Awaiting for the facelift and the upcoming i3s version

 

7. Volkswagen E-Golf (10). It’s a Golf (so a good car) but an expensive one, and it struggles to compete with Leaf and Ioniq, whilst you can get a Premium i3 for barely more.

 

8. Nissan ENV-200 (3). The Leaf for the families, 24kwh battery pack. For 2018, the 40kwh battery pack will make this 5 to 7-seater much more attractive.

 

9. Renault Twizy (1). Unique, literally.

 

Looking into buying a new EV? Check out our buying guide:

http://www.irishevowners.ie/ordering-a-new-e…your-181-options/

And here is the list of current EVs available on the Irish market:

List of Electric Vehicles (BEVs) (updated 2018 / 181)

 

 

 


GoCar purchases 5 Renault Zoé

GoCar Ireland is bringing up 5 Renault Zoé to their fleet, after the 10 BMW i3 purchased in October 2016. It seems that this first experience was a success for GoCar which is great news, and probably means that even more EVs are to come into their fleet.

The BMW i3 were assigned to Dublin, and we’re not sure yet if these 5 Zoé will be as well reserved for the capital and/or if there are plans to bring these to other locations.

 

Two of the five Renault Zoé delivered today to GoCar


An Garda Síochána is going Electric with BMW

It is important that institutions show us the way to consume in a better way. An Garda Síochána’s order of Audi Q7s was not really impressive (do they really need expensive oversized SUVs for high-speed chases?). After An Post testing (unsuccessfully?) a few Kangoo ZE a few years ago, An Garda Síochána is now testing the BMW i3 in an EV pilot.

With a fleet of 2800 vehicles, An Garda Síochána has the ability to set an example and we hope that they will realize how beneficial EVs are for their fleet as, let’s not forget, Public Sector has to reduce by a third its emissions, by 2020.

The BMW i3 costs half of what a Q7 Diesel does (and barely more than a Ford Mondeo or Hyundai i40), with obviously much lower running costs and similar performance, with 0-100 kph in just over 7 seconds. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Hopefully An Garda Síochána will realize this quickly and renew their fleet with a significant share of EVs.

 

Photo credit : BMW

 


2017 Irish EV sales : Better than you might think!

It’s now time to see if 2017 was a good year for EV sales in Ireland,

New EV sales (excluding PHEVs) went from 392 units in 2016 to 622 units in 2017. That’s a very good increase of 58% year on year (considering the overall market dipped 10% during the same period) but the overall market share is still low, 0.47%, which means that less than one car in 200 sold is an EV 🙁

2018 Tesla Model S

But there is a way to see it more positively.

It is indeed the best year ever for new EV sales but most of all used imports have increased even more. 486 used EV were imported in 2017, which is almost 3 times as much as last year (143)!

Now if you add new sales and used imports, you get a total of 1108 extra EVs on the Irish roads compared to a year earlier, which brings the total of EV registered from 1643 a bit over 2751 cars. Not too bad.

But wait, there is more !

Following the same trend, PHEV sales have gone up as well, from 298 to 319. Not as impressive as for EVs but let’s keep in mind that these cars are generally quite expensive premium models. Again, used imports make the difference, going from 35 units in 2016 to 224 in 2017 ! During the last year the fleet of Irish PHEVs more than doubled, raising from 470 to 1013!

Total cumulative registrations of cars with a plug went from 2113 to 3764 during the past 12 months … if you are an EV driver, you have noticed the increased queues at chargers, and these numbers show why.

And 2018 ?

We can expect further growth in 2018 :

  • The new Leaf -Ireland’s favorite EV- is coming in Spring. 10000 orders have been made in Europe (without test drives), for the launch edition which shows a very strong interest so far. Late spring, it will be launched with the regular trims.
  • Government incentives could accelerate that growth. If free M50 toll is brought, it will generate an important demand (new, used and imports)
  • Cars like the Zoé and Ioniq are very popular in Europe and orders are backed up as the offer can’t meet the demand. If they production bottlenecks are addressed, sales could increase quickly.

 

2018 Nissan Leaf

 

 


Looking into buying a used EV ? Read Wayne’s experience

Wayne Gibbons has recently purchased a Nissan Leaf. What let him to buy this model instead of another one ? Read his comprehensive research below.

*** You have a purchase story to share as well, that lead you to buy an EV ? Contact us at editor@irishevowners.ie ***


 

Are you thinking about getting an electric vehicle as your next car? If so, you will probably have a lot of questions (I did!). In this post, I will share what I found out during my time researching, buying and owning a Nissan LEAF.

For about two months before I bought my LEAF, I did a lot of thinking about whether it was a good idea or not. I had lots of questions, and I found three sources of answers that were invaluable. These were the Irish EV Owners Association Facebook Page, the Electric Vehicles & Hybrids forum on Boards.ie, and the Nissan LEAF24 & LEAF30 forum on SpeakEV.com. On each forum I found knowledge and a willingness to share experiences that was second to none. I wish to thank all those EV drivers who were patient and informative in equal measure on these websites. I have compiled the questions that I asked below, with a summary of the responses. Having now bought an EV, some of the answers below are also based on my own (limited) experience with it so far. I hope the information shared here will be useful for anyone thinking about making the move to an EV.

The information provided below is an non-exhaustive list of points that you might consider. All the information is provided on the basis that as each car is unique, you should make your decision based on your own requirements and research. I am not positioning myself as an expert, and I certainly do not have “all” the answers. But, what I do have is all the answers to the questions I asked! Ultimately,  I recommend that if you decide to buy a used car, you should have it inspected by a main dealer. I did this, at a cost of €80, but it gave me good peace of mind.

An over-simplification, but why choose Nissan LEAF over Renault Zoe, or vice versa?

There are other options, but given my budget, the choice came down to these two cars. Hyundai Ioniq, BMW i3, Tesla and VW eGolf are all fine cars, but were valued way over what I had to spend. There are pros and cons to every decision, and the Zoe has better range and faster charge time, but I went with the LEAF as it’s a bigger car and it feels more solidly built. For full disclosure, I didn’t drive a Zoe, but I had a good look around one and I just felt it was a bit too small for my needs.

Which version of LEAF?

At the moment (there is new version coming in spring 2018) there are essentially just two options of LEAF available. These are a 24kWh version and a 30kWh version. Apart from the larger battery, the cars are practically the same in all other regards. The 30kWh version was only introduced in 2016, so anything registered before then will be a 24kWh version. In 2013, the 24kWh version received a better battery and heating system, so pre-2013 cars are to be avoided unless you know for sure you can manage with reduced range. The 24kWh version is still available to buy new, as it is sold alongside the 30kWh one, so you could get a 2016 or 2017 24kWh car: the 30kWh version did not replace the smaller battery version. A 30kWh version will give more range, but because it is a more recent model, it will be more expensive to purchase (either new or used). I believe the 30kWh version will charge slightly faster too, but I have not seen that in action myself. In either case, there are three levels of specification: the base model is called XE (“Visia” in UK), mid level is called SV (“Acenta” in UK), and top level is called SVE (“Tekna” in UK). The base model is very basic, so I would recommend SV at least. The top spec has some nice extras, but the difference between SV and SVE is far smaller than the difference between XE and SV.

So, what kind of savings does an EV offer?

Well, huge environmental savings in the sense that there are no operational emissions. But of course, it’s financial savings that most people are interested in. Based on a very quick “back of a napkin” approach, an average 1.6 petrol car consuming 6.5litres per 100km at a price per litre of €1.37 (about the cost right now in Galway), would set you back €890 per 10,000km. Conservatively, you should get 100km from a full charge on a 24kWh LEAF, costing in the region of €3 (less if you have a night time rate). So that comes to about €300 per 10,000km. That is a conservative figure in two ways: firstly, you may get more than 100km from a full charge, and secondly, the public charging network is currently free in Ireland (and so you can get at the very least some “top ups” that will reduce the amount of energy put in from your home). In fact, theoretically, you could spend zero on electricity by using just the public charging points. But for the sake of taking the worst case scenario, you will save in the region of at least €590 per 10,000km. I’m doing about 20,000km per year, so almost €1200 saving per year on fuel. Bear in mind the motor tax saving too. I am saving a further €400 per year from that. So, in total, around a €1600 saving. In reality, the saving will be higher, because not all charges will be done at home, and more runaround trips at the weekend will be done in the LEAF, thereby saving fuel costs for the other (petrol) car we have in the family. As time goes by, the savings will no doubt increase, too, as the price for petrol inevitably goes up.

What’s the difference between a 3.3kW LEAF and a 6.6kW one?

The standard rate of charging built into the LEAF is 3.3kW. To simplify this, think of it this way: if the car can take on 3.3kW and it has a battery capacity of 24kWh, it would take (24 divided by 3.3) 7.5 hours to charge from empty. In practice, it would take a bit longer, as the charging slows down as it nears capacity. This is offset somewhat by the fact that you would almost never be charging from fully empty anyway, but let’s keep the maths simple! If you get a LEAF with an upgraded 6.6kW charger, the charging time is approximately halved. A standard home charging unit would suit a 3.3kW LEAF, so if you go for the upgraded one, make sure you get a more powerful charge point installed at your home to get the benefit of it. If you charge at a public charge point using the normal cable, a 6.6kW LEAF will charge faster than a 3.3kW version. Just so you know, the “normal” cable is not used for what’s referred to as a “fast charge”. Fast charging uses a different socket built into the front of the LEAF. So, even a 3.3kW LEAF can avail of “fast” charging on the public network, but there are far fewer fast chargers out there compared to the slower ones. Bottom line: go for a 6.6kW if you can find one, it will give you a bit more flexibility and peace of mind.

How can I tell if the LEAF has the upgraded charger?

I believe there is a tag on the motor that says which charger it has, but by far the easiest way to tell is to scroll through the information screens to show the estimated time to full charge. On this screen you will see two times (one for “3kW” and one for “6kW”) if the car has the upgraded charger. You will not see any mention of “6kW” on the screen if the car has the standard charger only.

IMG_0012

Charge time information screen. Details for 6kW will only appear on a LEAF that has the upgraded charger installed.

What is a “granny cable”?

The granny cable is a portable cable that has a charger built into it. One end goes into the car, the other end goes into a normal 3-pin domestic electrical socket. This has the advantage that it can be brought anywhere (even your Granny’s house), but it charges much slower than a proper home charging point. Allow about 12 hours to charge from empty using a granny cable.

What are the options for a home charging point?

It boils down to two charging rates, essentially. There is a 16amp and a 32amp version. The 16amp version costs about €700-800 including installation, and the 32amp about €1000 including installation. If you go for a 6.6kW version of the LEAF, you really need the 32amp version, otherwise you won’t get the benefit of the upgraded charger built into the car. You may find that the charger is included in whatever deal you make with the seller, so the costs indicated above are only relevant if you have to organize a charger yourself.

Why are there two sockets under the charging lid?

The smaller socket (on the right) is used for the granny cable, home charging unit and public slow charge points. It is this socket that can be 3.3kW or 6.6kW. The larger socket, on the left, is a rapid charging socket. This is used when connecting to a fast charging unit on the public network.

Fast charging port on the left, standard charging port on the right.

How fast is “fast” charging?

It’s claimed that you could get from zero to 80% charge in 30-40 minutes. I’ve not run my car down to zero, so I can’t confirm this. The last time I topped up at a fast charger, the battery level went from 52% to 78% in 12 minutes. That 26% boost equates to almost 30km range given my driving habits. The rate goes down when the battery goes above 80%, so there are diminishing returns above that point.

What do I need to charge on the public network?

You need to get an RFID card from ESB. This is a contactless card which you use to initiate and end charges on the public network. It is free to get the card, and the charges themselves are also free for now. You need to register your car with the ESB in order to get the card. This is done by emailing them with a scan of a utility bill and the Vehicle Registration Certificate. Once you supply that information (the best way seems to be via email to ecars@esb.ie), you get a welcome pack and the card in the post within a few days. While you’re waiting for your card, you can still use the public chargers by phoning 01 258 3799 and letting them know which charger you’re at (they each have an ID number on them), and the charger can be turned on for you remotely.

What is the range like?

There is no “one size fits all” answer to this, and although you might get consensus from a number of people that will give you a good guideline, it comes down to how you use the car. Weather conditions (particularly low temperatures and head winds) will decrease range. Rain will also reduce range, as the wipers draw power. But in my experience, the biggest factor is your driving style. It’s the same as in any car: push it hard and your consumption goes up, take it easy and it goes down. I have found that if I drive carefully I could get about 120-130km from a full charge. However, in reality, driving carefully means driving well below the speed limit and that can pose a road danger in itself. Driving it more like a normal car, and being able to enjoy the power of it (while still driving safely of course), I’d be confident of getting 100-110km per full charge. Where you will really get good economy, though, is in heavy and slow moving traffic. You’ll be moving so slowly that you’ll hardly use much energy at all. Having the air conditioning on will reduce range too, but to nowhere near the same extent as driving too fast.

Cold pack or no cold pack?

The “cold pack” is an optional extra on the mid-spec LEAF and standard on the top-spec LEAF. It has three components: heated seats (front and rear), heated steering wheel and heated mirrors. I would categorise these as “nice but not necessary”. With the top spec model, the seats are leather, and in winter time I can appreciate that pre-heating those might be valuable. However, with cloth seats that is less of an issue in winter. People that have cars with the cold pack seem to like it, though. They say that using the cold pack to pre-heat the parts of your body that are in contact with the car (i.e. bum, back and hands) can reduce the need for heating the cabin. The benefit of this is that the when the space-heating is not in use, you get slightly better range. In practice, I use the heating and air conditioning like I would in any car, putting my own comfort ahead of range. From what I’ve seen on the displays in the car, heating and air conditioning only reduce the range by 5-6km from a full charge. Negligible amounts when balanced against comfort, but they could be essential kilometers if you’re badly stuck for a charge.

How does the pre-heat work?

Mid and top-spec LEAFs have a facility to pre-heat (or pre-cool in Summer) the cabin before you get into the car. There are two ways to do this. Firstly, you can set up a schedule using the computer in the car by inputting your expected departure time. The car will then start heating the cabin about 15 minutes before that time. This only works if the car is plugged in, and in doing so it takes its energy from the charging point rather than from the car battery. You can have two different schedules set for the various days of the week, so for example you could set it to heat before you leave home in the morning, and again before you leave work in the evening. The second method uses an app on your phone (it also works from a website accessible on a computer). This method turns the heating on even if the car is not plugged in. The heating stays on for about 15 minutes. This method does use the car battery to heat the cabin, and so will have a small impact on range.

What is Carwings?

Carwings is the system that Nissan uses in LEAFs up to 2015 to control and monitor the energy aspects of the car. In its simplest form, Carwings collects data from the car and makes it available for you to view later on (either on a computer or on your smartphone). The app (for iOS in any case) is free and is called “NissanConnect EV”. This data includes information about how energy efficient your driving style is compared to other users. For this to work, the LEAF has a SIM card built into it which communicates with Nissan servers. The connection speed is relatively slow (think 2G), but the service is free. In newer LEAFs (2016 onwards), the system got a name change and a 3G SIM, but it essentially does the same thing. If you buy a used LEAF, the system may still be registered to the previous owner. To get it switched over to your name you can either get the previous owner to de-register (if you can contact them), or get it done by Nissan. I had to get it done by Nissan, and the process is very simple. When you have the Vehicle Registration Certificate in your own name, you send a scan of that and proof of address via email to gb@nissan-services.eu and it can be set up with your details then. Part of setting it up involves you creating an account and entering details into the computer on the car, but the instructions provided by Nissan for all that are very clear and simple. One big advantage of doing this is that you can then use your smartphone to remotely turn on the preheating in your car.

What are the different driving modes?

As the LEAF is an automatic, essential the “gear shifter” has only got settings for forward, back, neutral and parking. There are two forward “modes”, though. The first is designated as “D” mode. This is a normal driving mode, and the car behaves pretty much exactly like any other automatic car. The second is “B” mode. In this mode, the car is set-up to give far more aggressive “engine” braking when slowing down. This has a number of effects. Firstly, as soon as you lift your right foot off the accelerator, you can really feel the car slowing down, much more so than in a regular car. That is the motor doing the braking, rather than the actual brake discs and pads. You would really only need to apply the mechanical brakes towards the end of the slowing down period, to bring the car to a stop. During this slowing down, the motor is regenerating energy (think dynamo), which goes back into the battery. This has the additional effect of reducing the demand on the mechanical braking systems, and so discs and pads should last much longer than on a regular car. All good, you might say. Well, another effect is that if you are slowing down under “engine” braking, the brakelights will not come on until you press the brake near the end of the maneuver. In traffic, this could potentially cause a problem for any cars driving behind you not realising that you are slowing down. You can easily switch between the modes as you drive along.

Switching between D and B is done by pulling the selector to the right and backwards. When you let the selector go, it will return to its resting location automatically.

What about “ECO” mode then?

Regardless of whether you are driving in D or B mode, you can put the car in ECO mode by pressing a button on the steering wheel. This has the effect of dampening the accelerator response and lowering the power consumption of the heating and air conditioning systems. Driving the car in ECO mode makes the car feel sluggish, but it definitely does improve range. In my experience the improvement is the order of about 5-10%. Just be careful around town: I usually leave ECO mode off when driving out of junctions, as having it off just gives you that little bit more power to get in and out of junctions at an appropriate speed. Also, if you are merging with fast flowing traffic, having ECO turned off will allow you to get up to an appropriate speed to safely join the traffic flow. If you are in a position where it is safe to overtake, turning ECO mode off will give you plenty of power to safely make the move. Turning it on and off can easily be done while driving, as it’s just a button on the steering wheel. On earlier models of LEAF, the ECO mode was engaged by pulling the selector to the right and backwards, in the same way that B mode is engaged on newer models.

ECO mode can be toggled on/off by pressing the ECO button on the steering wheel.

What about warranty?

The LEAF comes with a European-wide 3 year “bumper to bumper” warranty and a 5 year motor and battery warranty. I won’t go into specifics here, as things can change over time, so you should contact a Nissan dealer to get clarification on what is and isn’t covered. With the newer 30kWh version of the LEAF, the motor and battery warranty runs to 8 years. There are also mileage limitations, not just a time-based warranty, so double check with a dealer for up to date information on this. I was concerned about battery degradation when buying used, but the level of degradation can be easily checked. In my case, the battery had 94% of its original health. For a 3 year old car, this means it is losing about 2% per year. That’s hardly noticeable. If the battery degrades below a certain amount (Nissan don’t advertise this, but it’s thought to be 70%) while still under warranty, Nissan will replace the battery, according to anecdotal stories I’ve read online. To keep the warranty in place, you have to get the service booked stamped by completing regular services according to the schedule in the owner’s manual. The service itself ranges about €120-150 in cost, and is essentially a check-up for the car, as no oil/filter change is required.

What else can go wrong that the warranty might cover?

I have read about uneven tire wear on the rear passenger side. This can be caused by a tracking misalignment. It seems very random which LEAFs experience this and which don’t, but it appears to be a rare enough problem. A quick check by your local Nissan dealer will identify uneven wear if your car is affected. To remedy this, it seems that a replacement rear axle is required, which seems extreme. Apparently Nissan are aware of this occurring in some LEAFs, but have not yet publicly acknowledged it as a recall issue. There is no safety or driving issues with a LEAF that is affected, by all accounts, and it will still pass an NCT as long as the tire tread meets the required depth. The only downside is that the tire itself may wear down a bit quicker than you might like.

Do you still have more questions? If you do, feel free to get in touch and I’ll get back to you. Or, if you prefer, why not use the same resources I did when deciding on whether an EV was right for me? You can find lots of information at the following links:

Irish EV Owners Association: http://www.irishevowners.ie/

Boards.ie forum: https://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=1634

LEAF section of SpeakEV site: https://speakev.com/forums/nissan-leaf24-leaf30.130/

 


Thanks to Wayne for sharing this with the EV community.

See below Wayne’s blog where this text was originally published.

Electric Vehicle Q&A