Buy an electric car



  • Smooth
  • Quiet
  • Zippy
  • Effortless
  • Convenient
  • Incredibly cheap to run
  • Almost maintenance free

Jumping back in a petrol car – or even worse, a diesel – feels like driving a tractor. In the 1940's. Across a farm.

Which one?

If you’re on a budget, an imported Nissan Leaf. They’re a regular size hatchback, and the most popular electric car. Hundreds of thousands are zipping all over the world.

Which year Leaf?

Depends how far you need to go. Which probably isn’t far – for example, Mt Eden to Albany is about 22km.

2011–2012: Generation 1
Expect up to 100km (mix of city and highway)

2013–now: Generation 2
Expect up to 140km (mix of city and highway)

2015–now: Generation 2 with optional big battery (30kwh)
Maybe like 180km? But probably not worth the jump in cost for an about-town car

Will I get nervous about the range?

You’ll keenly watch the fuel gauge the first few times, then forget all about it and just drive normally.

What’s driving it like?

Like a normal car, only way better. Get in (keyless entry), press the start button (keyless start), pop it into Drive and press the accelerator – you’ll silently drift away. Quite quickly too, if you want – there’s no gears, just a constant push of power and a quiet spaceship-like woosh as you speed away.

Which model Leaf?

From base to fancy: S, X, G.

Generation 1:
X and G are much the same, there is no S

Generation 2:
X and G have slightly better range and better interiors than the S; anything with the big battery has way more range

How long does it take to charge?

Treat it like your phone – plug it in overnight to a regular socket, it’ll be charged by morning.

What if I want to go further?

Fast charging!

How do I know the battery is good?

There’s a graph on the dashboard with 12 bars – a brand new car has all 12, and one several years old might have one or two removed. This indicates the total capacity of the battery, and is affected by the total distance travelled, the ways the previous owner charged it, and probably some other magic. Each bar removed impacts how far you can go.

Buy one with at least 11 bars.

What else?

I’ll add things as I think of them.

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