Living with Leaf - What's the Real Deal

Day One - Monday 2nd February

Westover Group customer and supplier, Sue Wharmby, is borrowing a 100% electric Nissan Leaf for a week. She's never driven one before. Find out how her week's progressing and whether the experience is turning out to be a boomer or a breaker ...

Morning

There's been so much in the press about the pros and cons of electric cars. Working part-time in the motoring world, I hear about the likes of the Nissan Leaf and the Renault Zoe all the time. There's some scepticism out there but there's a growing army of converts too, so I thought it was time to dip my toe in the water and find out for myself what living with an electric car - albeit for just one week - is really like.

I'm a working mother with two children, a husband and two dogs. I don't have a big daily commute but I do plenty of local taxiing (after school pick ups, lifts into town). Our two family cars (one diesel, the other petrol) were chosen for their (relative) fuel efficiency and their practicality - I definitely resent spending money at the petrol pump. We've talked about buying an electric car but haven't made the leap although it seems to stack up financially for a family like us. We can't quite get our heads around how it would work on a day to day basis.

I'm collecting the Leaf this afternoon and I'm part excited, part anxious about the week that lies ahead. I worry about running out of power on one of Wiltshire's deepest, darkest back roads (but then I've been in that situation in a conventionally fuelled car more than once). I'm looking forward to not visiting the petrol station, to hearing my family's views and - perhaps - to debunking a few myths. I'm open minded but I love my own car and I'm slightly loath to part with it. I wonder how I'll feel by the end of the week?

4pm

The journey has begun! Leaf safely collected from Westover Nissan in Salisbury this afternoon. Paul Mannell (sales manager) and Sallyann Tanner (electric car guru) sent me on my way with a thorough briefing and a very handy information pack, plus a hotline in case of queries! My journey home is little more than 10 miles, but I was surprised at quite how quickly I forgot I was in an electric car. I've heard it said a hundred times, but it genuinely is like driving a 'normal' car!

Initial impressions are good: the interior seems well laid out and straightforward, it's comfortable and it's easy to drive. It heated up quickly too and with temperatures teetering just above freezing, that's a big bonus in my book. Tomorrow's a normal working day for me, so a good one to put the Leaf through its paces.

7pm

Just plugged the Leaf in and it's very easy to do – no less complicated than charging up your mobile phone. Let's hope she's fully charged by the morning as we've got a 32 mile journey each way. It's going to be cold so the heater will be on full blast! Might need a boost during the day?