The major barrier to new electric car sales still remains range. Unless you can afford a Tesla, you’re stuck with a range of 124 miles at most (Kia Soul EV and Nissan Leaf). In reality, certainly from my own experience, 80 miles is the most you can expect in a hilly, rural area in the depths of winter.
Despite this, I have decided to attempt a 410-mile roadtrip to Devon in an electric vehicle. This time, I’ll be using a Nissan e-NV200. Unlike the Leaf, which was electric from the very start, the e-NV200 is effectively a conversion. Nissan has placed Leaf running gear in its Spanish-built NV200 van. I’ll be testing the Combi version, which has rear seats and windows. It’ll be the most thorough road test of this vehicle conducted so far.
Nissan claims a range of 100 miles for the NV200. This is less than the Leaf for several reasons. First, it isn’t anywhere near as sleek, being a van. Secondly, it lacks the Leaf’s clever heatpump, so to keep warm, I’ll have to use more battery power. Or wear more jumpers. Thirdly, it weighs a good 100kg more than a Leaf, and that’s before you make use of the greater load space or 648-678kg payload (depending on model).
I’ll be conducting some tests on local roads for a day or two before we set off, to try and establish a likely benchmark mileage per charge. The charging infrastructure itself is already better than it was when I tested a Leaf last year, so I have high hopes that we’ll make it with no problems. It’s going to take a lot more planning, but I’m really looking forward to it. Stay tuned!