What an electric year and I saved over €2,000 on fuel costs in the process!

Trialling the Nissan LEAF for a year as part of ESB’s Great Electric Drive, I saved over €2000 by driving the ecar as compared to my old petrol car. It cost me just €323.98 to refill the ecar for the year compared to €2524.8 which i would have spent on petrol.

It’s hard to believe that my 12 month electric vehicle trial is over. I was lucky enough to be chosen from over 12,000 entries to take part in the Great Electric Drive and to trial the Nissan LEAF for one whole year! For those of you who don’t know, the Nissan LEAF is 100% electric, capable of 160 km on a single charge. It has a top speed of 140Km/h and includes all the latest gadgets like a built in touch screen and sat nav, which can tell you where the nearest ESB ecar public charge points are located. The car can be heated remotely using a special app and it reads RSS feeds out to you. So for someone as interested in technology as me (I’m a social media and content specialist with Sage) it was a dream car to trial.

I used the ecar for my daily commute, which is approximately 100km round trip to work in Citywest from Monasterevin, via the M7 motorway, so I was very interested in seeing how the electric car faired doing high mileage and even more interested in how much money it could save me! ESB ecars quickly installed a charge point in my house and I was ready to go.

I’ve done my best to set out the average fuel savings I have made over the 12 months driving the Nissan Leaf, as compared to driving my old Toyota Corolla.
I average about 500km a week, 48 weeks a year and my old car was a 1.4l petrol Toyota Corolla which according to the UK car fuel data website (http://carfueldata.direct.gov.uk/) has a combined fuel consumption of 6.7 litres per 100km. This means that:

500km per week x 48 weeks = 24,000km of driving each year. In my old car
1 litre of petrol costs approx. €1.57 ( http://www.theaa.ie/AA/Motoring-advice/Petrol-Prices.aspx ) Fuel cost for driving the Corolla 100km is 6.7 litres (the fuel consumption of the car) x €1.57 = €10.52
24000km/100km = 240 x €10.52 = €2524 in petrol costs each year

The electric Nissan LEAF is powered by a 24Kw battery and depending on your driving style and speed, it can travel for a distance of up to 160 Kilometres on a full charge. The newer version can travel up to 200 KM on a single charge.
If I charged solely using night time electricity my fuel costs would be:

24 kw/h battery = 160km
160/24 = 6.6667 (km I get per kW)
Approx. cost of a KW of night time electricity = .09 cent
.09c to travel 6.6667km
24,000KM/6.6667km = 3599.98
.09c x 3599.98 = €323.99 (Cost of electricity to travel 24,000KM)

Electricity to run the Nissan LEAF over 12 months is: €323.98

I made very real savings of €2,200 over the course of the year by driving electric.
2524.8 – 323.99 = €2200.8

Comments: 9

  1. Ralph December 5, 2013 at 5:08 am Reply

    Unhappily this does not match my personal experience at all. To get the home charging unit installed took months, and II have the new 2013 model, and it barely gets 130 km range if no AC, heating nor any other option is used. Dealer now states that they never said in real life the car battery could offer 200 km range, then I find myself having trusted Nissan, all information posted by Nissan and provided by dealer, and now instead of having n electric car that I was told and is posted to get 200 km in optimal conditions, not getting near 130 km in optima conditions.

    I have requested support, then complained, the car has been checked for hour and I was told they were going to fix it and they did not. They took the car for 3 days, and I hope they fix it, but again, it is very frustrating since now dealer is openly telling me they never said the car will get a range of 200 or 199 km in real life. Thus you can see than from 199 km range used to sell this car, to around no more than 130 km without any heating, AC, literally nothing, there is a huge gap. Obviously I cannot do most thing requiring a simple commute between two neighbor counties with this total range available at all.

    Also I must share that my experience with charging point has been very frustrating. The first time I tried to charge my car -I still did not have the home charging unit installed at home- I tried three of the official charging point in the town centre, which appear as in working condition through the ESB map, and none were working. I spent hours trying and waiting. Then ESB directed me to the fourth option which fortunately worded. It had two chargers and one of them was working.

    This past weekend I went from Ennis to Liscannor, trusting I’d have enough energy to go and come back. According to the Leaf I has around 110 km under eco mode, and I knew I needed around 42 km to go and another 42 to come back, a total of 84 km. Reality was that when this car tells you you have 100 km available under eco mode without using heating nor AC, in reality, it means around 80 km or less. Thus I got out of energy! But you know what, II am a very cautious person and preventing something like this from happening, since knowing how the Leaf works, I set a time to charge it before coming back to Ennis. Unhappily the charging point that according to the map was available in that area, did not even exist! There is a Garda station right there and they told me that they have no idea who told me there is such a unit there. Long story short, I spent several hours trying to figure out where to charge the Leaf without success. EBS told me to check the map and look for other points. reality was that EBS map does not even work in many countryside areas, so it was very frustrating to get that response from EBS when under such circumstances. Then after several calls, I was told to try to get as close as possible to Ennis and then get service to have my car towed to Ennis! After more frustration and hours with my wife and little daughter in the car late that afternoon. I was told to try the other points hoping any of those would work, to call them and find out, what I did and nobody answering those phone call. Again , it very frustrating and upsetting. Thanks God this person chose to call and told me that one of those point existed at a hotel and that they could help me allowing me to charge the car. I went there, felt relieved that we could charge the Leaf and get back home safe. I was wrong, it was not going to be that easy. It took me around an hour for the hotel staff to find the public charging unit key. (The lady that supported me, was wonderfully nice, she did a great job being patient, accountable, proactive, I really loved this person’s professionalism, but the frustration was obvious). Yes, the unit was locked and the key was missing. Happily they found it after around an hour and I was able to got just enough energy to get back home with the Leaf alerting me that I got no energy left to keep going. It took me like 2 hours just to get around 25 km range I needed to complete energy and get back to Ennis.

    Please, be very careful and cautious about electric cars, the Leaf, the way Nissan sand dealers sell this car, and the reliability of the existence and actual functioning of many of this public points, or you could literally experience nightmares while awake.

    • ESBecars
      ESBecars December 6, 2013 at 4:29 pm Reply

      Dear Ralph,

      We are disappointed to hear that you are unhappy with your first experiences of driving an electric car. There is some issues with two of the charge points in Ennis at the moment and the manufacturers of these units are due to visit the sites in the coming weeks to rectify the problems. The charge point at Irish rail in Ennis is fully operational. Regarding a charge point at the Garda station in Liscannor there has never been one there nor is there one on our map. For the most up to date availability of charge points please see our charge point map: http://www.esb.ie/chargepointmap

      There are plans for a number of new charge points to be installed in county Clare in the coming months including sites at Newmarket on Fergus, Shannon, Lahinch Lisdoonvarna and Miltownmallbay, There will also be a fast charge point at Topaz Ennis in the coming weeks which will charge your car up to 80% in as little as 25mins. This is in addition to the recently installed fast charge points at Shannon and Thomand Gate, Limerick.

      Regarding the hotel, each one is responsible for looking after the charge point installed at that location.

      Again we’re disappointed that you have been unhappy with your experiences but we hope that you will find future electric driving much better.

    • John December 10, 2013 at 12:33 pm Reply

      Undoubtedly, there are a number of teething problems with the charging infrastructure. I have noticed on a number of occasions that faults I’ve reported are not reflected on the charge point map and repair of faults can take considerable time. Ecars say that they are soon going to have the capacity to link into the charge point, know when they are faulty and will be able to reset remotely which might fix the fault at times. I have suggested that users should be able to update the map through some kind of app on the phone. All very obvious but slow in coming. However, it is at the infancy stage and a work in progress.
      Regarding the car, I agree that the car doesn’t have the claimed range or at least not at any kind of a reasonable speed. I have the previous version of LEAF and feel that after 100km, I’m on borrowed time. My range has increased over time (32,000km) however as I must be driving more smoothly. One tip is when driving to ensure that no more than 3 dots are lit on the power input curve when accelerating. i.e. just because the car is in ECO mode doesn’t mean that any kind of driving will yield better mileage. Also, it is important to use the ventilation system sparingly – turn on and off as required. I also have the 10A plug in charger and with that you could conceivably knock on any door and borrow a cup of kilometers! It is a pity that your early experiences have been poor because I believe given a bit of time you will turn a corner. Don’t forget that you have the roadside assistance (or at least I did) Use it (as I was encouraged to by the dealer) I hope you can still acknowledge that it’s a lovely car to drive.
      Finally I will have to commend the dealer in pointing out that the car is not for everyone and was certainly not trying to force the car on me when I bought. Considerable discussion on the suitability for the journeys I traveled etc. They don’t want bad press either.

  2. Ralph December 11, 2013 at 10:41 pm Reply

    Good to hear from you, John

    Thank you for the feedback. Dealer has kept my car for 4 extra days to fix the issue. Unhappily yesterday I got another call for a new attempt to fix it, but this time -the fifth one I think- they told me they do not know when they will give me back the Leaf. Obviously this is very concerning to me.

    First I was told if I was satisfied with getting the car back if I wanted it or if they could keep it for longer, that they are “slowly improving the rage”. I have no idea how they could do that keeping the car for so many days. Obviously my answer was that it is not acceptable to tell me that if I wanted I could have the Leaf back the way it is, that I consented to allow them to take the car trusting they were going to fix the problem, what has not happened yet.

    Every day I just have more questions about this whole process, how the Nissan Dealer in Limerick is handling this and Nissan as a company. Again this is a brand new car, dealer has acknowledged that the car is not working as it should, but has kept the car multiple times promising this issue will be fixed, but never complied with it, and now has requested to keep the car for an undefined period of time!

    I do not know how other people could feel about it, but for me it’s been very frustrating, first time in my life I buy a new car and get these serious issues. I love the car but right now it seems more like a luxury to have a very nice car that I cannot afford because of the time and work it’s been taking.

  3. John December 20, 2013 at 5:18 pm Reply

    I think the costings above are misleading.
    As I understand the Nissan leaf battery needs replacing after 5 years at a cost of €7,000. This needs to be factored into the total cost of motoring.

    thanks,
    John

    • ESBecars
      ESBecars February 21, 2014 at 1:57 pm Reply

      Hi John, there is no reason why you would have to replace the battery after 5 years. Nissan expect that it will be closer to 10 years before you would have to change the battery and even then there will be a value for the battery as it will have many other uses.

  4. Paddy Carroll January 2, 2014 at 11:26 pm Reply

    I have had a Nissan Leaf for a year now – 24,800km on the clock. Have saved a huge amount on the costs of running it in relation to petrol. Find it an excellent car to drive. The network is getting better as time goes on. My driving experience has been great. Have travelled one day from Spanish Point to Limerick with plenty of KM left. Have done Nenagh to Dublin, Nenagh to Tramore, Nenagh to Cork – all with just a 25 min stop to fast charge. Never saw a charger in Liscannor neither was there ever one on the map.

  5. Ralph January 12, 2014 at 6:03 am Reply

    In Ennis there are 3-4 charging points, and only the one at Irish rail works, all of the others are always presenting problems or just never work. My most recent incident of the several ones I am used to have was with the one at Ennis town centre. The charging unit did not allow me to unplug my cable from the unit for about 90 minutes. It was one of those days with heavy rain. I did contact ESB and got to call them a total of 5 times since they asked me to wait for 10 minutes to get a call back, but it never happened.

    Then I was told that the system was down , then the engineer complained about the call center, stating they do not know anything about this process and failed to call them, but only sent email message that got there late. Then the engineer asked me to try to unplug my cable and after several attempts he told me I had to wait for about two hours for them to send somebody there to look at it. It was very frustrating having been there already that long and then being told that. I asked him what would happen if I leave the cable there and somebody steal it, and he said that while he was not expecting me to wait there for two extra hours, that they do not take any responsibility for what could happen to my cable!

    Happily after several extra attempts for him trying to unblock-release the cable remotely, it worked and I was able to get back home with some energy in my battery but tired, frustrated and totally wet because of the rain.

    I want to warm people about the car. Once I got home, I decided to read the whole manual,and find out that I was in fact exposed to serious risk not only to get hurt but to die because of everything I was asked to do under heavy rain. According to the manual this car charging should never be done when there is any water around, wet plugs, etc, and I was literally doing everything you could imagine with that machine, and my car charger socket under tough rain, and did repeatedly told the engineer and ESB agent that such was my situation, literally that I was very concerned and frustrated because of the heavy rain being totally wet and doing that, but I did never got even one alert suggestion about it, but continue to be asked to try one extra time to try to plug-unplug the cable from car and charging station. I got shocked when at home I read the car manual telling me that I could have easily killed myself because of doing what I did with that charging station under the ESB agent an engineer “guidance”. Does it make sense too have these stations exposed to the rain like they are and for the ESB engineer to totally disregard the danger and make you do all this under such conditions?

    Sadly what the engineer did insist on was for me to call one more time to the support phone line to complain about the station for them to do something about it, otherwise he said, nothing would be done about it! I obviously said that that was very frustrating for me, and that I did not feel like calling one more time knowing things work that way.

    I bought the Nissan Leaf because of everything I read and was told about it, but I never thought that I was going to experience these chronic issues charging it at public chargers, nor that the 199 km range is for advertisement- sales purposes only, and that the car in real life conditions would not go further than around 120 km when ECO mode, no heating, no AC, closed windows, going very slowly and without making several stops like in town. So for people planning to by this car be aware that if you expect to use any heating or AC at all because of the weather, your real range would easily go under 90 km after the battery has been fully charged. Do not expect more, and be aware that Nissan Ireland would tell you that this is the way the car is supposed to work , that such is the Leaf real range under real ideal conditions in Ireland.

    I hope you would not have to learn about these issues through painful experiences like I have. Good luck!

  6. Dolores Duffy April 6, 2014 at 12:52 pm Reply

    I seriously doubt the authenticity of this blog. I have a brand new Leaf, the max I get out of its range is 80km!. The claim that the newer Leaf goes for 200km on a charge is totally incorrect. I bought this car with a much higher expectation of its range, based on the advertising of Nissan. I now regret buying it as I have spent a lot of money on a car that won’t get me through my days driving.

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