The end of corporate employment also marks the end of over a decade of company car ownership. Of all the perks of a corporate job the car has been my favourite and so will be the hardest to say good bye to. I’ve considered whether or not we actually need two cars and can’t really get around it because Mr GreenMother often works quite far away from home and I need a way to transport all my yoga mats, towels and baby bits.
Shopping for a car feels overwhelming. There are soooo many to choose from. I no longer need something that’s good for lots of miles on the motorway. Just a little run about that can also accomodate the girls and all my business bits.
I’ve always been pretty brave with cars. Quirky sits well with me and I’m not afraid of trying out something new or different. I also of course like to choose a fairly environmentally friendly option. For example my little Mini hatch did over 70mpg.
After hours spent pouring over used car adverts I decided to go and have a look around the car show rooms to see what is out there. I found myself standing in a Nissan garage looking at a Leaf. I wouldn’t have taken myself to a Nissan garage because its really not a brand that has factored on my radar but my better half insisted I had a look. At first glance I said no. It just isn’t a very sexy looking thing and I thought electric cars were slow and excessively limited.
It turns out they’ve come a long way since I first tried out an electric Smart 4years ago. The facts and figures just can’t be ignored. The estimated fuelling cost charging only at home and doing 12000/year is less than £500. But it gets better. 96% of motorway service stations have at least one rapid charge point which can charge your vehicle to 80% in 30mins at a cost of….NOWT. Yep that’s right, free!! There are charging points all over the place nowadays. Shopping Centres, Ikea, supermarkets, hotels and they’re all free to use. If I were really organised I could plan a weekly shop to a place with a charging point and as a result almost never have to pay to charge it. In addition to all that it was also quite good fun to drive and had lots of whiz bang gadgets to play with.
Of course I then scurried off to check out other electric vehicles such as the Renault Zoe and the e-Golf which are all less frog-like in appearance but the figures just don’t stack up so well on any of those. Lured by the ninja like looks, I decided to take a Zoe out for a test drive but after good look inside and a chat about the battery hire/purchase costs I chose to walk away without taking it off the forecourt. It worked out more expensive than the top of the range leaf despite being a smaller, lower spec’d and cheaper feeling car.
The Leaf just seems too good to be true in terms of cost, performance and environmental credentials. I’m still looking for the catch so I’ve booked in to borrow one for a weekend to see what its really like to live with one.