Stress Causes British Motorist To Trade Leaf for Volt

In the United Kingdom, Dan Green (not his real name), decided, after 18 months of ownership that his Nissan Leaf was too stressful and so opted to trade it in for the British version of the Chevy Volt, a Vauxhall Ampera.

Asked why, Green cited the fact that he was tired of running out of charge, which doubled journey times and significantly increased his stress levels since he often worried if he would make it to his destination.

Part of the reason for his decision stems from the fact that in Green’s eyes, development of an EV infrastructure simply hasn’t been rapid enough to support the sales of the cars themselves, which means that the prospect of running out of range was a major concern.

“Although the tow truck drivers were friendly,” Green said, “being taken away on a flatbed truck turns a 1.5 hour journey into a 3.5 hour one. That’s okay if you’re on your own, but it doesn’t impress your passengers and doesn’t help the cause of electric cars.”

He also said that on busy motorways (freeways) or during rush hour, driving slower to maximize range endurance was also particularly stressful, not only irritating other motorists but also proving quite dangerous, especially considering that many drivers travel at speeds of 75-85 mph on motorways in the UK.

As a result, he decided enough was enough and went to a Vauxhall dealer to trade the Leaf in on a new Ampera. “They gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” he said, no doubt aided by the fact Green paid in cash, giving him extra bargaining power.

However, despite his new found motoring freedom, thanks to the Ampera’s onboard gasoline generator, Green does say there are some things he misses about the Leaf, namely its onboard CarWings telematics and satellite navigation system. “I really hate the satellite navigation in the Ampera,” he says, though “now I don’t have to worry about plugging in any more,” [getting 250 miles per gallon equivalent] is simply a much more enjoyable and relaxing experience.

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  • Van

    Another vote for the idea a pure EV needs to have at least a 150 mile real world range. 60 to 80 everyday miles just does not get it done. We really need the second generation battery, hopefully expected in the 2015 Leaf which will provide range in that ballpark.

    Think of the Leaf as a WWII P-51 Mustang with its original Alison engine. A terrific airplane but without the necessary power or range.
    But when we started putting in the Merlin engine, sporting about 400 more horses, and added another gas tank so it could go all the way to Berlin and back, we had on our hands the greatest war-bird of WWII.

    The Leaf needs a similar technology change to increase range, but when it is added, Nissan will have a winner.

  • docvb

    OR the Leaf needs to add a small emergency generator somehow to allow for slow but forward travel in extreme situations.

  • Marco

    That is where the idea of a Modular Trailer Gen Set comes into view. An ultra efficient electric generator that can be used to power a camp site or a vacation house that has wheels and has extra loading space for vacation baggage. Make it available as a for-rent-units for those who want to drive outside the normal daily travel routine.

  • dutchinchicago

    I did the same thing. After driving my Leaf for six weeks in very cold weather conditions I kept getting stressed out by very low battery warning messages in the middle of snow storms with my kids in the car. I traded in my Leaf for the Volt and now am I very happy Volt owner.

    There is a lot of things I miss from the Leaf. I even think that the Leaf is the superior car in almost every aspect (apart from range of course).

    It is amazing how bad the user interface is off the Volt compared to the Leaf. Also the backup camera of the Leaf is a thousand times better than the Volt’s.

    The navigation system of the Volt is pretty bad. You can’t even find EV charging stations on it.

    There are other stupid things on the Volt interface like you can quickly switch on the AC by hitting the auto button but you can not switch it off again by hitting the auto button for a second time. You have to press the reduce fan button until it reaches 0 for the AC to switch off.

    The Volt’s interior feels small compared to the Leaf.

    But I love not having to worry about running out of electricity.

    Recently the largest public charging provider in Chicago has started charging a lot of money for using their charging stations. It is a lot cheaper to continue driving on gas than using one of the public charging stations. This an option I would not have had with the Leaf and would have been forced to pay these ridiculousness charges if I wanted to get home.

  • Van

    Hey, DutchinChicago, what is the price $/kwh for those public charge stations. 50 cents/kwh? If gas costs $4.00 per gallon and you get 25 MPG overall, then it costs about 16 cents to go a mile. And if your plug in goes 3.6 miles per kwh, then it is cheaper to pay the high charging cost, less than 50 or so cents. At 60 cents, burn gas.

  • Party McAnimal

    Read all my previous posts on this issue…The leaf would be better with a replaceable battery. Europe already has them. Range anxiety is a real problem. Even with gas, I am shocked at how little time is in between fill-ups. It doesn’t take long to rack up the miles. i couldn’t have a Leaf with my current job. I wouldn’t, if I had still had kids to drive around.

  • Stoaty

    If it is stressful, then you chose the wrong tool for the job. The Leaf in its present form (with limited range) doesn’t match everyones needs. It is perfect for me, with a 40 mile round trip commute and 5-20 miles on days off. I never feel stressed, and hate to take my ICE vehicle (which I kept for about 5 long trips a year; the rest of the time it sits in the garage).

  • Jp white

    The article doesn’t say, so I assume the driver had only one car. The LEAF is not a good choice if you have only one vehicle. I read recently about an electric vehicle driving across Africa in some very deserted areas. They got by without a tow. Hard to believe a driver would actually run out 2 times and almost run out 10 more times. The electric odyssey Citroen c zero has made it half way round the world without a tow. The c zero has a shorter range than the LEAF.

    The driver simply didn’t think ahead in either buying a car that would meet driving patterns or on a day to day basis. It’s true the dash estimated miles is next to worthless. LEAF drivers become adept at estimating their mileage, except apparently this one.

  • Modern Marvel Fan

    @ Van,

    You have no clue on how much those Public stations charge. Apparently, you don’t own electric cars or never charge at public stations. They cost anywhere between $1/hr to $2.75 per hr at L2 charging speed. For Leaf and Volt that only has 3.3KW charging capabilities, that is 12-15 miles range per hour. That is equivalent to 40-45 mpg or less at $2.75/hr. Gas is cheaper sometimes based on the rate.

  • Al Bunzel

    It is no secret that the Nissan Leaf has a 24kWh battery pack.

    If range was an issue, then perhaps the Tesla would have been a better choice. I’ve spoken to people who drove well over 200 miles (320km) on one charge with the Tesla Roadster with the majority of the miles at 69mph (110km/h).

    With the Tesla Model S, there is a 85kWh battery pack option which has over 3 times the battery capacity of the Leaf. Maybe, the Model S is a more suitable option for people who need more range.

    It is about choosing the right tool for the job.

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