Can Nissan’s electric car work as a family car in Australia?
When we talk about cars the question arises that Can an electric car be used as a family car in Australia?
More and more electric cars are arriving in Australia, the real issue is will they be able to handle the daily chores and punishment of an Aussie family?
Nissan’s Leaf arrived in australia in 2012 and the second generation came here in July with better battery technology. more power and increased range, it claims an extra 100km in addition to the 270km.
A public fast charger will fill the battery from 80 per cent to its full capacity in an hour — but will the Leaf be suitable for Australian life with Australia’s relative lack of infrastructure? Our family testers find out.
It is observed that Fast chargers can add up to 200km of range in 45 minutes.
First impressions Two of the expert’s have done a conversation on it.
Iain said that he often get asked about electric cars (EVs) more than anything else these days.
Jules replied that Understandably People want to know if they’re a suitable alternative to diesel,petrol or hybrids. And worth the money.
Iain: they’re suitable for some but not all Short answer. it Cost’s a major roadblock to drive away our Nissan Leaf it’s around $54,500; a small hatchback for a big coin.
Jules:We’re increasingly conscious of reducing emissions, What price the environment?. Many of my friends say they’d consider an Electric Vehicle.
Iain: The arguments against and for EVs are many, not least in Australia where the majority of our electricity isn’t from renewables and is from other sources. We’ll just report and keep it simple on what it’s actually like to live with an EV.
Jules: Well, It’s a good size, the Leaf looks and drives much like a conventional car, not offensive to look at and you just need to get your head around keeping it charged.
Iain: The challenge was if we could recharge it using only renewables and use it for a week.
The Leaf’s price will scare off many of the prospective buyers.
Jules: As we don’t have solar panels so no charging at home.
Iain: Exactly. if you charge it using coal-fired electricity, I don’t see the point of an EV .
Jules: It’s stylish with no front grille, 17-inch alloys and chrome door handles and with LED daytime running lights,. Looks good in red too.
Iain: It’s a mixed Leather seats,bag inside. decent screen running Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and part-digital dashboard,flat-bottom steering wheel they’re all wins. Scratchy plastic for the centre console and no “wow” factor let it down.
Jules: At least heated seats front and rear and heated steering wheel, Satnav and Bose audio are goodies for your $50K.
Iain: Perversely, they’re easy ways to limit driving range and drain battery life.
Jules: A girl’s gotta stay warm having spoil the kids by heating their bums too.
Iain: An EV trapped in the 1970s? with no electric seats comically, a foot-operated park brake rather than electric handbrake.
Jules: Means it has a good storage in the centre console. But the rotating ball seems unnecessarily weird to shift into gear .
If you can charge them from renewable sources Electric cars make more sense.
Iain: The Leaf doesn’t rival Tesla for mad acceleration but rest to 100km/h in 7.9 seconds is actually quiet quick I could slip easily into EV life.. The torque pull is near-silent and instant..
Jules: It drives and behaves just like a normal hatchback and radar cruise control’s great for the highway commute. Leave it in drive and you forget it’s electric.
Iain: For better range you need B Mode, that gives maximum regenerative braking. It’s ideal for the city with the e-Pedal also engaged you lift off the accelerator and gradually come to a complete stop.
Jules: Regenerative braking? is that where energy is harvested back to the battery?
Iain: Yep. it buys you another few dozen kilometres between charges so Stick it in these modes.
The e-Pedal is ideal for city driving and the Leaf drives just like a normal hatchback.
Jules: OK, let’s talk range anxiety. with aircon on it only said we could go 250km at maximum charge,.
Iain: How often can you travel that far with it?
Jules: you constantly think about needing to charge it so Not often you can travel that far.
Iain: It takes some getting used to if using solar. Plugging it in at home or work — gives the top-ups needed.
Jules: It’s a surprisingly roomy boot. Thought the batteries would be in there.
Iain: They’re under the floor.
Jules: I love the 360-degree camera for parking but the turning circle is terrible.
Iain: You need to turn the e-Pedal off for parking. Otherwise it’s forever bringing you to a halt as you try to manoeuvre.
Jules: Shall we drive to the vegan cafe to show off how virtuous we are?
Iain: As long as there’s a fast charging station attached.