EV Nicolas Raimo – Renault Zoe Driver

EV20Q Talking to Nicolas Raimo – EV Nick the Renault Zoe Driver

Buying a Renault Zoe secondhand

In this interview with EV Nick we have a chat about all things electric vehicle. Nick is a happy Renault Zoe driver. He bought the car second hand and got a good deal helped by the fact he works in the motor industry. This also gives him the chance to drive a variety of vehicles and he tells me recently took home the BMW I8 for the evening. With his Italian roots it’s obvious he’s going to be anti Brexit like myself. But this podcast is all about electric vehicles and not about politics.

Losing his Car

It’s good to get talking to a Renault Zoe driver because I usually get talking more with Nissan Leaf owners. Nick’s car is a 22 kWh model which he bought to satisfy this urge to drive an electric car. He was even prepared to move house to get a place where he could easily charge electric vehicle. Why not! Electric vehicles are the future after all. It seems that the car has been swiped from him by his girlfriend who initially was against the idea of driving electric. Now she has it she wouldn’t swap it for all of the tea in China. Driving an electric vehicle kind of does that to you. Another Renault Zoe driver…

Fully Charged Live

During our chat we talked about his visit to the Fully Charged Live event which recently took place in Silverstone in the UK. He donated some of his time there to ferrying people from the car park to the event which was a short distance away. It seems the Renault Zoe owners club and a whole bunch of Tesla drivers were happy to do this. It wasn’t just enthusiastic electric vehicle owners at the event there were also a lot of people interested and still driving cars with internal combustion engines. It would have been a good introduction to electric vehicles with getting a lift in a Tesla.

No Apple CarPlay in the Zoe

Good talking to such an enthusiastic EV driver / Renault Zoe driver who advocates driving electric on his YouTube channel. I wouldn’t have a Zoe myself because it doesn’t to Apple Carplay. I have to have the car suit the phone I use because I can’t stand Android.

Best Electric Car – Driving the Nissan Leaf 2018

I can easily say the best car I’ve ever driven is the Nissan Leaf 2018. I’ve driven lots of mostly average cars and a few good ones. The Nissan Leaf 2018 is leaps and bounds better than the Mercedes 320e I owned a few years back. That was a top of the range car and over 15 years ago so it’s not surprising that I even preferred my Renault Clio over the Mercedes. The motor manufacturers keep adding more and much improved technology to all of the cars. It is a trickle-down thing where tech only found in the hugely expensive cars previously is finding itself in more affordable cars. In my search for the best electric car to buy right now, the Nissan Leaf 2018 is at the top of my list.

Best Electric Car

Adapting to electric vehicle technology

Obviously the thing that makes it the best electric car is the fact that it is fully electric. I didn’t want a hybrid car as that’s just a halfway stage. Cars of the future will be all electric. There’ll be no need for petrol/gas powered cars. We’ll have the combination of sufficient range and more than adequate infrastructure for the transport of the future. Some people I talk to who don’t own electric cars believe the infrastructure is not quite there yet. On account of them not having proper experience of driving and owning an electric car they are only partly right. For most people a fully electric car is all you’ll need. There are some edge cases where an electric car would be a bad choice. For the majority an electric car is a perfect choice for 99% of the time. There are maybe two journeys per year when a gasoline powered car might be better. I know that I’m prepared to change my driving style and habits for the rare occasions when I need to stretch the capabilities of my electric car. I’d rather drive my Leaf than swap to an ICE car. Mostly this involves being prepared to allow extra time for charging during a long distance drive. It also might mean more planning and possibly changing the preferred route. It’s not really a problem, whenever you go on a long drive you have to do some route planning anyway. It’s just a case that with an electric car it will be a slightly different plan. It’s only because the chargers tend to be not at petrol stations. As an electric car driver you’re going to be more interested in efficient use of energy. It’s highly likely you’ll be prepared to drive at a slower speed to get better fuel economy. I used to do that with my Suzuki motorbike as I found by keeping the speed below 70 miles an hour there was a huge difference with the amount of petrol it consumed. Driving economically is not really a new concept.

What’s so good about the 2018 Nissan Leaf?

  • You don’t have to visit smelly petrol stations.
  • Running costs of the Nissan Leaf are extremely low. Very little maintenance required.
  • E pedal, one pedal driving is fantastic. Hardly any need to touch the brakes.
  • Pro Pilot Assist gives drivers a relaxing drive.
  • Loads of safety features such as front crash collision warning and blindspot warnings in the mirrors.
  • Cross traffic alert at the rear. Really good for when pulling out of parking spaces and you can’t see what’s coming.
  • Pedestrian alerts just in case someone is walking in front of the car and you don’t see them quickly enough.
  • Apple Carplay or Android Auto.
  • Good visibility all round due to a high seating position.
  • Front and rear cameras with proximity sensors and alerts.
  • Plenty of leg room for rear passengers even behind a driver with long legs.
  • For me it is the best electric car for the money. Good Value.

What it feels like being an EV driver

With it being so silent when driving the Nissan Leaf it seems awful and quite strange putting up with the noise from other vehicles. I work at a campsite and I really notice now the loud diesels in the campervans are. As they drive past, apart from the noise I also notice the smell. It really isn’t very nice getting a whiff of the noxious fumes coming from the internal combustion engine vehicles.

The last time I went to fill up my Renault Clio I also found the smell of the petrol to be quite offensive. I’m delighted I won’t have to be doing that hardly ever again. The only time I may have to do that is if I have to drive my wife’s car for some odd reason. Or maybe if I am given a courtesy car by the dealership if my car is in for a service. It’s also pretty cool to know my car won’t need much in the way of servicing. I do have to take the car in for one day in the workshop later this month to have a radar sensor replaced. This is a known problem with the new Nissan Leaf. A number of new owners have seen messages coming up saying the Pro Pilot Assist is not working due to a blocked sensor. When you’ve got used to using Pro Pilot Assist, when you don’t have it you really miss it. Mine is working intermittently and starts playing up after I have driven about 50 km.

Nissan Leaf

There’s lots to love with the safety features in the Nissan Leaf

The sensors at the front and the rear of the car are not just for when parking. They also tell you if you are on a collision course with a vehicle in front. A big warning triangle comes up in the screen in the dash behind the steering wheel. The system will also apply the brakes if it believes it’s necessary. With both the visual and audible warning you’ll also be reaching for the brake pedal with your right foot. I suspect the safety system in the car will probably react faster than you do. Something you expect in the best electric car.

On my way home there is an on-ramp to the main road which is quite short and has a blind spot as you want to pull into the traffic coming through. The blindspot warning is incredibly useful to save you pulling out into another vehicle. Another super feature of the car is the incredible acceleration. This comes into play when pulling into this traffic and getting up to the same speed as the cars in the flow. I love it when I get that burst of acceleration and my eyeballs want to migrate to the back of my head.

Driving position and comfort 2018 Nissan Leaf

One of the first things I noticed when taking my first test drive was the high up seating position. It’s almost as if you are driving a van or an SUV. There’s excellent views all around to the front and to the rear from the drivers seat. I have the Tekna version of the 2018 Nissan Leaf. The seats are firmer and more solid than cloth seats. They are still quite comfortable, although I suspect they will get more comfortable as they wear in over the years.

Nissan Leaf driving comfort

I’m not a tall person about 1.8m, but I do like to stretch my legs out when I’m driving. In my previous car this left no room for a passenger behind me. I would have to move the seat a notch or two forward and change the incline of the seatback to leave space behind. This was only good for short journeys as it would make me feel a little bit cramped. At least the passenger behind didn’t have to cut their legs off. In the new Nissan Leaf there is plenty of room behind me for passengers. When I first looked at the best electric car in the showroom, it seemed there wasn’t much room to put your feet underneath the seat in front. In my car this doesn’t seem to be the case. I’ve sat in the rear passenger seat and I found it to be quite comfortable. I had room to put my toes underneath the driver’s seat. The person sitting in the middle of the Nissan Leaf will feel a little bit cramped though.

One of my favourite things – Apple Carplay

I was disappointed not to have Apple Carplay in my Renault Clio. I see in the Renault Zoe, even in later versions they still don’t have Apple Carplay. There’s no way I would go back to using Android again, so not having Carplay is a deal breaker for me. I didn’t even bother looking at the Zoe. Another reason for choosing the Nissan Leaf as my best electric car.

Apple Car Play

With Apple Carplay I get immediate access to my music. If I’m listening to a podcast using my preferred pod catcher, when I plug in to the car it will start playing what I was listening to before. Apple Carplay is really good for sending messages either using WhatsApp or with the Apple messaging application. The system will allow me to do this without having to press buttons or spend time looking at the screen. I do need to press the home button to bring up Siri and I can do that without taking my eyes off the road. Siri will read back the dictated message and I give the go-ahead to send if it’s correct. With the drive in the electric Nissan Leaf being so silent I don’t have to worry about engine noise affecting the ability of Siri to hear what I’m saying. If a new message comes in I can get Siri to read the message to me. I’m happy with the way it all works in the best electric car, in my opinion.

Waze is much better than using Apple Maps

When iOS 12 becomes available later in the year I’ll also be able to use Waze as my mapping application. I like using Waze because it is more of a drivers application rather than simply being a maps application. It’s much better than using Apple Maps. In my previous car I occasionally used Google maps when I needed to go somewhere and get instructions along the way. Waze is good for seeing real-time traffic information such as accidents up ahead. When using it recently I noticed it has given instructions to change the route due to traffic jams on my chosen route. That’s kind of cool!

Driving using just one pedal – Using E–pedal in the Nissan Leaf

With the electric car not having any gears it’s already easier driving than using a car with a manual gear change. I always liked having an automatic car and the electric car goes one stage further. The 2018 Nissan Leaf is further improved with the addition of the E Pedal which truly gives you one pedal driving. You don’t have to touch the brakes at all, It’s easy to gauge how much you need to lift your foot off the accelerator pedal in order to stop or slow down as required. It does perhaps seem a little strange at first, but once you get used to it, you love it.

E-Pedal in the Best Electric Car

E-Pedal works just the same when you are driving on an incline either going up or going down. Taking your foot off the accelerator will bring you to a halt and you still don’t need to touch the brake pedal to hold still. There’s no need to put on the handbrake. The car will hold its position until you start moving again using the accelerator pedal. In some ways it’s a little bit like driving a dodgem car as you might find in a fairground. The 2018 Nissan Leaf, my best electric car, is just a little bit more sophisticated! Some drivers of the new Nissan Leaf have noted that when driving roads with bends and curves you can have plenty of fun as you drive. You can concentrate on the steering and getting the power back on after using the regenerative breaking going into the curve.

Taking longer trips with the 2018 Nissan Leaf



It’s often fun to go on a road trip and part of it is the planning. With an electric car you need to charge from time to time so you do have to make a plan. The range of the 40 kWh Nissan Leaf is between 240 and 270 km. You will want to arrive at your destination with about 10% to 20% left in your battery. This means the first leg of your journey after you start with 100% in the battery when leaving home you’ll drive about 200 km. For many people this is further than their bladder range. It’s not a big deal to stop and take a break after a couple of hours of driving. The amount of time you need to recharge the battery of the vehicle will depend upon the charging point. If you use a fast charger you can expect to spend 40 minutes or so charging from your 20% you have left back up to about 80 or 90%. This will then give you another driving range for your vehicle of about 160 km. At this stage I’m starting to think I’ve driven enough for the day. If I needed to keep on driving though it would be good to take a longer break while putting in another batch of electrons. With another charge you have another 160km to play with, so we are up to about 500km for the day. That is definitely time for an overnight break. Driving the 2018 Nissan Leaf with the 40 kWh battery is a good solution to electric transport. You could spend more for a car with a bigger battery but do you really need to? Not everyone needs or can afford a Tesla or a Jaguar IPace.

Pro Pilot Assist problems – Faulty Radar Sensor

On my day off I decided the first thing to do was to wash Red Rosie the 2018 Nissan Leaf. I’ll talk about the Pro Pilot Assist problems shortly. A bird had used Rosie for target practice and had scored a bull’s-eye. There were also loads of marks on it from the rain from the day before. I have one of those small pressure washers just right for washing cars. I start with an extra adapter to spray soap all over the car first of all. It’s easy to go around then with some special washing mitts to spread the soap around and to move the dirt. The third stage is to spray with just the water and remove the soap and the dirt. I live in a warm climate which is sunny so it’s a good idea to do this in the shade so the water doesn’t dry to quickly. If it does, it just leaves streaky marks all over the car. And we don’t want that, do we? So I have microfibre small towels I use to dry off the car. These do a fantastic job and at the end of it you have a great looking car. So now the car was ready for a trip out.

Nissan Leaf 2018

Trip to Barcelona in the 2018 Nissan Leaf

The distance from my house to the dealership where I bought the car is about 107 km. It is motorway all of the way. Using Pro Pilot makes driving much more relaxing and easy-going. You get assistance with keeping the car in the lane. Even though you have to keep your hands on the steering wheel is still useful. You can let go of the steering wheel but the maximum time is about seven seconds before you get warning messages. This works in conjunction with the intelligent cruise control. You set the maximum speed you want to travel and let the car do the rest. If a car or other vehicle in front is going slower the Nissan Leaf 2018 will slow to that speed. Put on the indicators and change lane to overtake and the car will automatically resume to the preset required top speed. It’s a useful level of automation for driving. The trouble is, I’ve been having Pro Pilot Assist problems.

What happens during these Pro Pilot Assist problems

The radar sensor at the front of the car wrongly detects vehicles in front of the car. It seems to think there are cars in front when there aren’t. This applies the brakes so you end up lurching forward in your seat. It is only momentarily happening so it quickly turns off again. This in turn accelerates the car and throws you back again into your seat. This is not a pleasant way to drive the car. There have been a couple of occasions when it has been more extreme. The car has shown the frontal crash collision warning symbol in the dash. The only way around this problem is to hold the foot on the accelerator. If you are doing this then there is not much point in having Pro Pilot Assist. On this latest journey it got so bad the radar sensor was reported as being blocked. There wasn’t anything blocking the centre at the front of the car, I checked when I stopped. These Pro Pilot Assist problems seem to occur after driving a few kilometres. The first 50 km was okay and only after that did the difficulties begin.

2018 Nissan Leaf in the workshop for the Pro Pilot assist problems

As I was in the dealership for the Nissan Leaf I asked them to take a look at the problem. They connected it to the computer and found more or less nothing. The mechanic did say there was some sort of problem, but would have to talk to Nissan about it. He wasn’t any more specific than that. So I spent some time in the waiting room while they hooked the car up to the computer. With an intermittent fault it is hard to pin point the cause with certainty.

UPDATE

I have since had a call from the dealer to give me a date to take the car in to get it fixed. They will fit a new radar sensor and spend a day to calibrate it. I will have a courtesy car to ride for a day while mine is being looked at.

Next part of the story – Finding an electric car charger in Barcelona

I was unable to put the car on charge at the dealers. The ChadeMo charging point they claimed was broken. Due to this I needed to go to Plan B to get Red Rosie enough electron juice to drive home. Instead of taking the scenic route back to Girona I’d have to go into Barcelona to find a charger.

Pro Pilot Assist problems

The paperwork I was looking for today from the dealers is what was needed to apply for the RFID pass to use the public charges in Barcelona. I don’t know if it’s possible to use them without so I looked for other charging alternatives. I had recently seen there were public charges in a shopping centre called La Maquinista. So off I went.


The chargers at La Maquinista had no signs with instructions. There was a Tesla parked up and charging. I tried but gave up. On to plan C. I went to the Nissan garage outside the shopping centre. I expected to have to wait until 3pm when it opened again. Was surprised to find it open and the mechanic was able to get a car moved so I could plug in. 22 minutes later I had enough charge for the journey home.

2018 Nissan Leaf

Terrible drive home with Pro Pilot Assist problems

The Pro Pilot Assist problems came back even worse on the drive back home. I shot video to show the workshop how bad it was. The car would bleep and throw on the anchors and then immediately accelerate to get back to the set speed lost by the braking. I was getting thrown forward and backwards in the seat. It eventually gave up all together and reported the front Radar Sensor blocked again. The Pro Pilot assist would not work at all then.

Next Day

I drove the car to work put on Pro Pilot Assist and it worked flawlessly. Same coming home too. I expect the problem will resurface next time I do a longer trip. I have a few weeks to wait before the car can be fixed. other 2018 Nissan Leaf owners have reported the same Pro Pilot Assist problems. They have had the sensor replaced and everything is OK again.

EV20Q Nissan Leaf Update

 We are on the racetrack coming round the final bend and I can see the winning line ahead of me. I was hoping to collect my Nissan Leaf from the dealers today and it doesn’t seem to be happening. The salesman rang me this morning looking for more paperwork. I was able to send him what was required within 30 minutes. Then there was nothing from him from lunchtime until about 5 o’clock. It was obvious at this stage I wasn’t going to get my car today. The redtape in Spain is a complete disaster. They always seem to want everything in triplicate and signed a half a dozen times. The salesman was giving me information about something needing to be done with the local council. This is where the tax for the car is paid. Except there is no tax to be paid on a fully electric Nissan Leaf. It still has to be registered with the council though. I find out later the car has been registered. Iv’e no idea what the problem was that he needed to tell me about that.

A Fat Lady Singing

A little bit later I got my wife to ring and speak to the salesman Catalan to Catalan. She rang me back later to tell me the car hasn’t been registered for the road and the hold-up is with the traffic department. I can only assume this will be sorted out tomorrow. I’ll be able to go and collect my car in the afternoon when I’ve finished work. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed because it isn’t over until the fat lady sings – In triplicate!

I had been hoping I could go and collect the car today. It just seemed like a good thing to do on my day off. I was going to get the train to the dealership and enjoy the drive back home. If it got too late for getting the train I even toyed with the idea of driving my present car to the garage. I would leave it there overnight and go back to collect it tomorrow. That would give me a 200 km drive in my Nissan Leaf tomorrow. That would have been okay as it would give me more experience and fun learning all the ins and outs of my new car. Most of it would have been motorway so not that interesting apart from getting the best out of Pro Pilot Assist. Perhaps I would have improved the journey home by taking a few detours. I’d be able to enjoy the scenic route in the Nissan Leaf. Get the feel of the car.

Still no WallBox Installed

There was a problem I could possibly anticipate. I’d have expected to use half the battery approximately driving back home from the dealership today. I don’t really know how long it would take to charge back to 100% using the ‘granny cable’. This is where you charge your car using a normal household plug socket. It puts the electrons into the battery about half as fast as you do with the 6.6 kW Type II charging. Would I have enough in the battery to get me back to Barcelona again? I think the answer would be probably, even though I wouldn’t be able to charge the car many hours overnight. I leave the house at five thirty in the morning hence there not being many hours during the night time to charge up. There is of course the possibility I could charge at work, although I don’t know how the boss is going to react to that. I will ask when I have the car. I have been told by someone who knows a company is legally required to provide a charging point at a place of work. It wouldn’t just be there for me to use as the only worker with an electric vehicle. It would also be there available for customers of the campsite. I think this would be a good thing for the business. It would be something we could advertise. A destination charger which could be used by people with electric vehicles to come camping at the campsite by the beach in Platja d’Aro.

Time to Chill

On account of the fact I’m not doing anything now or later on this evening I will just relax, sit back and put my feet up. I’ll take a chill pill and hope things go better with getting my car tomorrow. It would be just nice and lovely if I could have a string of lucky happenings take place. I could have been lucky and have Nissan give me my car based upon the date of my first order. One month less waiting for delivery. The salesman could have told me the truth that I would be starting again and waiting longer for the car. Nissan could have been getting cars into Spain just as quick as they were sending them off to Norway and the UK. The car did arrive in the dealer showroom about a week before it was due to, so I suppose that was fairly lucky. That luck could have continued by the salesman pulling his finger out and getting all the paperwork and car registration sorted out sooner rather than later. At least three or four days have been lost to incompetent inactivity. Like I said that’s been mixed in with a bit of desperately slow paperwork shuffling you always seem to find here in Spain.

There will be more organising to do once I’ve got the car. I’ll need to register the car with the company that charges for the use of the motorway. The Peajes with the barriers.  I’ll get an electronic tag in the car which will allow me to pass through without paying. That’s lucky I suppose. Then I will need to register with the office that deals with electric car chargers in Barcelona and Girona. I can’t remember what it’s called but it will give me free charging in a lot of places nearby. It will be useful for when I make a trip down to Barcelona airport to collect friends and family. I’ll give myself an extra 20 minutes or so to throw in a few electrons. This will make sure I have plenty of range for getting back home again and it also give me some electric for free. Handy for keeping the overall running costs of the car down.

Making Up Rude Words on the Reg Plate

I’m looking forward to finding out what the registration of the car will be. Wondering if it will be something which could be construed as rude as is the registration plate on my current car. The letters on my Renault were able to be read as “go screw yourself” or something similar and ruder. There were two or three people who brought that to my attention within days of me having the Clio. Quite amusing really!

Looking ahead to driving electric

I’m looking forward to getting out and about in the local area. I want to make trips to find places where I can charge the car in the locality. It will be in the spirit of exploration and discovery. I don’t get much time off during the week. So it’ll be quite nice to take off on a Sunday evening and perhaps do some camping overnight and come back later in the day on Monday. Or I could just do a day trip on the Monday if I think the roads are going to be too busy with people heading back home after the weekend. I will start with some local trips and work my way up to going further away. I would like to head up into the mountains in July and August. The evenings will be cooler there and for one night of the week sleeping will be easier because of the lower temperatures. It will probably be quite good to take trips up towards Perpignan and Carcassonne. I’m sure there are some pleasant places to visit in that region. I already have the RFID card for Chargemap and that will allow me to charge easily and at a reasonable price while in France. The charging points for Chargemap in Spain are not compatible with the Chargemap card. I’m not sure how that works. Maybe just gives me details of where the chargers are and then I have to work out other methods of paying to use the charger.

Driving around the Peninsula

This is something I plan to do when I’ve got a bit more experience of being an EV driver. My loose and basic plan is to drive south from Catalonia along the Mediterranean coast. Pop into Valencia and Tarragona and other interesting places along the route. I plan to hit quite a few towns along the way to see a few things I haven’t experienced yet in Spain. I’ll probably go to Gibraltar just to say I’ve been there. I’m more interested in seeing cities such as Granada, Sevilla and any other fantastic places along the south coast of Spain. Of course the journey after that will bring me up the Atlantic coast going through Portugal. It would be cool if I could meet up with some of the Portuguese members of the 2018 Nissan Leaf Facebook group while travelling through. Continuing around the coast it’s going to be great to visit Pais Vasco, I want to go to Bilbao and Santander. From there it will be a hop skip and jump across the north part of Spain taking in Pamplona and Zaragoza. A journey such as this could easily take me a couple of weeks. I’ll be doing it on my own or maybe with my dog. Unfortunately my wife will be back at work. It’s a shame our working patterns don’t fit together at all.

Nissan Leaf Tekna – Rosie Red True Love

This morning I took a trip to Barcelona to the dealership where my car is waiting for me. The red Nissan Leaf Tekna named Rosie. When I woke up this morning I didn’t know if I was going to be able to call in and see my new car. There is a public holiday in Barcelona, but fortunately it didn’t extend out as far as the Nissan dealership in Terrassa. It was an uneventful drive along the motorway and I got there in one piece. I walked into the showroom and the salesman Dani spotted me and took me over to my Nissan Leaf.

Love at First Sight

The combination of a rich red paintwork on the body with the black highlights around the car was stunning. The tinted rear windows and the black C pillar look fantastic and on the rear of the car there is a blue highlight giving it that little bit extra oomph. This matches the blue highlights you see on the vee shape of the front grille. I had a good look all around the car from all angles and I was delighted to get the key and have a sit inside. The car screams quality and style with the blue stitching in the seats and in parts of the dash. You also see the blue stitching around the steering wheel. It was a real pleasure to sit inside Rosie the Nissan Leaf Tekna.

Nissan Leaf

Time to play with the car electronics

The size of the centre screen in the console seems a little bit small. It is a reasonably good resolution screen and responsive to my touch. Using the on-screen buttons I was able to make my way around the controls and also the views with the cameras. There’s plenty of things to be set up and adjusted to my liking. I can see I’ll be spending an hour or two fiddling with all the settings. I’m particularly looking forward to connecting up my Apple iPhone and sorting out Apple Carplay. I’ll get the connection going with Bluetooth as well, but the Carplay requires the lightning cable. I don’t think it’s possible to use Waze with Apple Carplay which is a bit of a shame. I’ve got quite used to using Waze as my driving application in the Renault Clio.

Inside the Nissan Leaf

There is another screen in front of the driver behind the steering wheel. There are buttons on the steering wheel to access the different levels of view and settings. Again there are plenty of settings requiring personalisation within these menus. I expect I’ll refine my needs on this screen in time after driving and seeing which settings I like. It’s possible to define a default screen and which is best depends upon the type of driving I’ll be doing most often. A couple of times while playing with these menus I found it difficult to back out to the main screen. At one point I switched the car off and booted it back up again to get back to the start. There’s a nice animation you see when starting the car up, but this can also be switched off if you want.

Nissan Leaf Tekna Comfort

The driving seat is incredibly comfortable and of course this is important if you’re going to be sitting in it for a long trip. Today I didn’t spend any time sitting in the passenger seat. There doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of legroom for the passenger, but there’s probably enough. I did jump into the back seat and I was pleased to see it was possible to get my feet slightly underneath the driver seat in front. When I was trying the car previously there didn’t seem to be any room to tuck away the toes. Maybe the seat height has been changed or adjusted. There was plenty of room for the passenger in the back seat behind my driving seat which was set for my usual legroom. That’s not the case when anyone wants to sit behind me in the Renault Clio. In that car I have to move my car seat one notch forward which is not quite so comfortable for me. Big plus point for the Red Nissan Tekna, Rosie.

Inside the Nissan Leaf Tekna

The Waiting Will Soon Be Over

I was surprised when the salesman suggested he’ll be able to get the government incentive money sorted out. I was expecting that if it was possible he would delay me getting the car for another month or two. I wasn’t having any of that and I’m prepared to just pay for the car without the incentive if necessary. He’s going to tell me tomorrow if it’s possible. I am wondering if he will remember to send me the email he promised me today. He’s not been very good so far with his communication skills. This is one of the main reasons I’ve been so unhappy with the service from this Nissan dealership. I’d like to be to go and collect my car on my next day off and that is one week from today. I’ll have to get the train because my wife is going to be away. By using public transport I should arrive there little fresher than how I was today after driving down the motorway. I’ll be in tiptop condition for driving my car back home next week.

Fully Charged and Ready to Drive

When the car leaves the dealer showroom it’ll be fully charged. Today it was showing a charge level of 21% and it also has 64 km on the odometer. I only have just over 100 km to drive home, so when I get back I’ll still have plenty of juice left in the battery. Mind you, there is a huge possibility I might make a few detours along the way just to enjoy the driving experience. I’ll have the whole day to myself although I will have to get back to look after the dog.

Boomerang shape rear lights

Live video from inside Rosie the Tekna

For all the members of the group on Facebook for 2018 Nissan Leaf owners I recorded a live video. A little bit of chat about the car and a tour of Rosie inside and out. Thanks for all the well wishes from the members of the group. Many of them have been feeling my pain with all of the bad luck I seem to have had with my long wait and poor service from Nissan. It was good to have a few people watching the live view and sending me questions in, as I was recording. There were messages from people who are still waiting for their Nissan Leaf 2018. I fully understand how jealous they might be because I’ve been in that situation myself. It seems I’ve seen so many who’ve ordered their car months after my order went in, but got their car before me. Nissan have been very slow in getting the car delivered to Spanish customers. EV20Q Podcast Page.

Happy at last with Nissan Leaf Tekna

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things work out right for my Nissan Leaf Tekna from now on. I haven’t been too lucky so far with the purchase of this vehicle. Despite a very slight pessimistic feeling of impending doom today, I’m delighted and happy to be getting this close to driving off in my new Nissan Leaf Tekna called Rosie. Wish me luck for this coming week.

EV20Q 14 Duncan – Hyundai Ioniq Electric driver

When Duncan was living in London he didn’t need to have a car at all. He tells me he went for about 15 years with not having a car and using public transport. With moving to the north of England and needing to change his method of transport he got a Nissan Leaf. Duncan was happy enough with the Nissan Leaf, but when the lease finished he had to move on to something else. He had the good fortune to find a second hand Hyundai Ioniq electric and it’s working out well for him so far. He had to go back to his native South Wales to buy the car so his first journey was a longer trip. 300 mile round trip to get the car. Having been used to driving the 24 kWh Nissan Leaf and having experience of the Ecotricity charge points you find on the motorways in the UK it wasn’t any problem.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Charging the car at work

Another good reason for changing from the Nissan Leaf to the Hyundai Ioniq was due to the need to charge up at work. The way back home was nearly all uphill and requiring more electron juice than the journey to work. That combined with the fact more people at work were arriving in electric cars and jostling for position at the charge points that work helped him decide to get a longer range electric vehicle. The Ioniq with the better range meant he had more options due to being able to get back home without plugging in at work.

Fully Electric Ioniq

One of the things Duncan particularly likes about the Hyundai Ioniq Electric is its ability to roll along so freely when switched to the coasting mode. This mode is zero on the settings changed by using the paddles on the steering wheel. The settings control how much regeneration power is put back into the battery. He finds it amazing how far you can go using such a small amount of power. This is another of the tricks up the sleeve of the Hyundai Ioniq which makes it so efficient.

Tesla model three on reserve

Duncan has paid the money to reserve a Model 3 Tesla. Like the rest of us he’s no idea when the car is going to be available. It’s probably going to take longer to arrive in the countries where the steering wheel is on the wrong side of the road. There will be Tesla Model 3 cars on the roads in Europe sooner, with the left hand drive being the same as in America. It could easily be another 18 months to 2 years before the Tesla model three arrives in the UK. Buying a second-hand Ioniq is just the job while waiting for Tesla to come up with the goods. He did have an order in for a Renault Zoe but wasn’t too happy with some of the technology available in that car.

Waterstink guides to using the Hyundai Ioniq Electric

You can find Duncan on YouTube under the name of Waterstink in which he educates the world on how to get the best from a Hyundai Ioniq Electric. I found his videos to be informative and interesting and some of them would have you yearning to buy a Hyundai Ioniq. He’s gone into great detail showing how much regeneration you get from the various settings in the car. He’s producing good quality videos on YouTube well worth checking out.


Bittersweet Symphony – Nissan Leaf 2018

This morning I got a call from Nissan customer assistance and the guy was as useless as before. Basically just telling me they couldn’t do anything and suggesting I could cancel the order if I wanted to. It makes you think they don’t want to sell me the Nissan Leaf.

Later in the day I speak to the year the dealership as recommended by Alberto who works a a Nissan dealer. He tells me that the silver Tekna wasn’t available after all. Or maybe he was telling me it was available and he would get back to me with the price. I’m kind of losing track of all of this. At some point in time he told me the silver tekna would not be available but that they would have two cars of the launch model available. The price was not terribly attractive at €33,500 for a 2.Zero. I’d rather spend the extra and get the top of the range.

One more look at the Ioniq

I went into Girona to meet my wife and to go to the Hyundai dealership. Before going in the showroom made a few phone calls. After speaking with the La Maquinista dealer I thought we might as well give Dani in Terrassa one more try. Unbelievably my red car is in the dealership. It has a arrived early. What a surpise! Why didn’t he get on the phone immediately to let me know. Maybe that’s why I got a call from Nissan Customer Assistance this morning. Did they know the car was there? He never said anything. We are still trying to talk the salesman into getting the price down even just a little bit. On one hand he says he can’t help and then later when we call he tells us he’ll try and put it through on the next government incentive. Personally, I don’t think that will work. I think I saw somewhere a rule saying that the petition for the government incentive has to go in at the same time or before the car is ordered. This car has been ordered since January and so I don’t think that’s going to fly.

I should be jumping up and down with joy to finally be getting the car of my dreams. It’s bittersweet due to the messing about I have had to endure for the last few months. The endless delays and disappointments due to lies by the dealer and red tape from the government in the form of limits on the time incentives available for. The Nissan customer assistance department is woeful in its behaviour.

Here’s the money – Give me the car.

Started to discuss sending money to get the process underway. It was after that the salesman suggested we should wait until he’d figured out if it is possible to do something with the government incentive money which starts in June. He doesn’t know when in June it begins and it could delay the car by another month or more. I’ve got to the point where if the car is in the garage waiting to go out and I can get the money to pay for it I’d rather push forward and be driving the bloody thing. He was initially talking about me sending money next week and it being ready to collect the week after. I was ready to start sending money today and have them start to get the car ready for collection at soonest possible moment.

I don’t trust these people.

I may drive out there on Monday and he can show me the car. I feel like I can’t trust these people and I’d rather see for myself that the car is in the workshop being got ready. It’ll give me something to do on Monday on my day off. Used car salesmen are a shitty bunch, even when selling a new car.

I need to start getting the information I need in order to set up the insurance for the car. I wonder what is needed by the insurance company. Would I be able to set it up using the VIN number, or do I have to wait until it’s been registered in my name and I have the car registration number. Hopefully I can still get the deal offered by the insurance company for €100 for the year.

Unbelievable

Still finding it difficult to believe that my car could be with me soon. If I wasn’t working tomorrow I would go there in the morning to see it for myself.

EV20Q Euan McTurk Part Two

Euan McTurk Part Two

In the second part of this interview with Euan McTurk we talk to you on about the cars he drives more than talking about batteries. The 19 year old Peugeot 106 is in the Dundee Museum of Transport because it’s so rare. He is thinking about upgrading the battery on the car. The Honda hybrid gets taken out every now and again so that the brakes don’t seize up. Ewan prefers to drive everywhere in his Nissan leaf 24 kWh model. It does the job for everywhere he needs to go to and in any case the Honda is a good option for a longer trip. Euan is highly impressed with the Hyundai Ioniq and is tempted by such an outstanding machine. Trouble is, the Leaf is still fitting his needs and why spend the money?

Part One of the Euan McTurk Interview

Electric Peugeot 106

Dundee is the place to be for EVs

Euan tells me that Dundee is the undisputed EV capital of Scotland. It seems you can’t go around the town without tripping over electric cars and taxis. The local council is putting in electric charging hubs all around the town. I wish there were more electric vehicle infrastructure in Spain. He reckons the private companies will get in there and make money out of the opportunity. Driving Electric cars is so much cheaper than using ICE cars. Shes_Electric is in Dundee.

Photo from SRennie

Electric charging in Dundee

Why so many RFID cards?

We want to know why it is necessary to have so many RFID cards to get filled up at a public charger. It is s worry to know if you will get your car charged when you want to travel cross border. What happens when I go to France and it is all set up for the fast Type 2 chargers which only work at the fastest the port will take in the Leaf or the Ioniq which is slower. Some governments are working on sorting this problem out. It needs to be set up so there is just one card to control them all.

Electric Charging in the workplace

I mention that here in Spain there is a law saying that businesses are required to provide charging points at the workplace. In the UK you can install charge point for free. There are funds to provide charge points in the street of up to 75% of the full cost. Some councils can’t take advantage of the money if they can’t afford to pay the extra money required. Transport Scotland will top up the other money but it is not going to be the case in towns south of the border.

Other advantages of having an electric car

  • Grants to help buying the car.
  • Free parking in certain places around the town.
  • Free charging on the council provided charge points.
  • Free passage through the toll booths on the motorway.
  • Parking in car parks in Scotland are free for pure electric

Destination chargers and Petrol stations adding chargers

We reckon the petrol stations will be putting in charge points so they can have you captive to spend money in their shops. They will be selling food and drinks, as well as other bits and pieces they sell in the grocery end of things. Will it be expensive to fill up because you end up going shopping each time you stop. Destination chargers are found in restaurants, bars and shopping centres too. Good for business. Aldi and Lidl are putting chargers in their carparks. The large shopping centres put the chargers, often available for free charging. Often Type 2 or just the normal plug for slow charging. At least you get some free miles or kilometres while you are doing whatever else you are doing.

I thought the interview was finished at about 22 minutes of this part and then we continue talking for a while longer. So keep listening. I tell the story of me paying a deposit of €300 for a Leaf and 3 days later they say they don’t want to sell it yet. Unlucky or what?

I’m still undecided

Hyundai Ioniq

I still don’t know what to do about the choice between the Leaf and the Ioniq. I can save time charging the Ioniq although I won’t be able to go so far on a charge. Might not make a difference one car compared to the other. The Ioniq also has all the lane keeping like the Pro Pilot assist. It would do me well until the Tesla Model 3 is available in Spain. Or should I wait with the ICE car until the Tesla is ready? Hard to make a decision. The Ioniq is so efficient and definitely worth a serious look.

EV20Q Euan McTurk Battery Engineer

battery engineer
 In this episode of EV20Questions Euan McTurk talks about electric vehicles and batteries. Electric vehicle battery engineer and Electro chemist has a home town of Dundee in Scotland. Related to @Shes_Electric who we have already heard from in EV20Q-10. His daily driver is a 24kWh Leaf and is happy with the service it gives him.

Euan has a Peugeot 106 Electric which is a rare vehicle he managed to buy from a lecturer at the university where he studied. It is a car made in small numbers and was only available for lease. One or two of these slipped through the net and Euan got his hands on one. He also has a Honda hybrid which is totally futuristic looking and incredibly efficient. Only recently has been surpassed for the best available drag co efficient of a car.

Honda Insight Hybrid

Battery Engineer

Euan McTurk is an expert on batteries (battery engineer) he has great advice on how to keep your battery in good condition. Ewan knows all about the internal workings of batteries and how to do tests on them to understand whats happening to the chemistry and heat within the battery. He did that type of work in Warwick in the midlands of England. He’s working on battery management systems with another company doing exciting development on new batteries. During the podcast we chat about the upcoming solid state batteries. Solid state will be more efficient and last longer than the current battery chemistries. In theory they will charge faster and not be killed by the dendrites. Solid state electrolytes will give better energy density which is far better for electric vehicles. Could be still five or ten years away and other battery chemistry could prove to be better and take pole position.

John Goodenough started the Lithium Ion revolution and is still working away at the at age of 94 as a battery engineer. There is a huge momentum for the development of battery technology now. Tesla working on this as is Toyota and other multi-nationals. All going toward moving away from burning fossil fuels and towards using electrons.

Euan reminds us that there were electric vehicles before the oil industry took over. It’s a huge shame that the electric cars were put to one side. If the research had gone into batteries instead of internal combustion engines where would we be now? Was it the invention of the starter motor making it easier to get the ICE car running which killed off the electric car development?

Talking about the Nissan Leaf test drive in Barcelona

Driving the Nissan Leaf Barcelona

When you get into an unfamiliar car it does take some time before you get comfortable and familiar with the vehicle. So when you go out for your first drive it’s best to go somewhere where you know the roads. This allows you to relax and take your time trying out the various tech gadget bits and pieces. Today in Barcelona I didn’t have that luxury. The roads were busy with lots of traffic and I hadn’t got a clue where I was going, relying upon directions from my co-pilot/minder. There were strange markings on the roads where it looks like they change the width of the road to adapt to which way the most traffic is going in rush hours times. Nissan Leaf Barcelona was a good day.

It’s true to say the Nissan Leaf is stuffed to the gills with new technology and it’s hard to know which to try first. I was keen as mustard to try out the Pro Pilot Assist and to have a bit more time with the E–Pedal. I had previously driven the Nissan Leaf for about 10 or 15 minutes. That last time I went out for a test drive I was being distracted by the salesman taking a call as I was driving. It was kind of unsatisfactory. I think the salesman might have called me sometime or other to say they had a car in to give me more of a test drive. That’s another story with regard to the ineptitude of the dealership and their relationship with Nissan. Nissan should be cranking these cars out faster. Only 4500 per month compared to the car maker newcomer Tesla with their 2000 cars per week.

I went to the wrong place and so I was late

Nissan Leaf Barcelona – I didn’t know there were two shopping centres with the word Diagonal in the title. I thought the Nissan Leaf test drives were at Diagonal Mar. The street called Diagonal is a long street and the place I needed to be was at the other end. I’d never been there before and I was completely unfamiliar with that end of Barcelona. I was rushing and decided the best thing to do was to leave the car at Diagonal Mar and take the Metro. That was a good plan although I was unable to find where the nearest metro station was to Lilla Diagonal shopping centre. I took a guess and got out at Diagonal and then I had 20 minutes of walking to do. None of this really mattered too much because I didn’t lose the chance to drive the Nissan Leaf. That was the most important thing. It would have been better to arrive in good time as I did to the wrong place, but in the right place relaxed and in the right frame of mind. No worries, I only had to wait a couple of minutes before being escorted to the parking spots under the shopping centre where there was a Nissan Leaf waiting. It was a black Tekna which was great because it was full of all of the good tech and is similar to the car I’m buying. So we jumped straight into the car and I was guided out onto the streets of Barcelona. No wasting time showing me where everything was. Pressed Start and put it into Drive. Off we go Nissan Leaf Barcelona test.

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Wide roads and a little bit of motorway

The man working for Nissan Leaf Barcelona changed the route so I could try out the Pro Pilot Assist. I was grateful to him for that. This is how we ended up on a stretch of motorway style road. Now I’m thinking about it again the route was simple – Getting on to one road driving into a roundabout and turning around to come back again. Not the sort of route you could use to test what the car was like driving round bends. Not going to get anything different with a test drive in a city anyway. Some lucky people had had a car for a few hours or even days to really get under the skin of the car with a test drive. At the time it didn’t seem too bad, but now I’m wishing it could have been longer. Due to the amount of traffic I was having to spend more of my mental processes keeping myself and the car safe on the road, rather than properly testing the car.

What did I love about my drive today in the Nissan Leaf?

The smoothness and the silence of driving a top quality car was marvellous. Obviously the quietness due to no internal combustion engine making annoying noises was noticeable during the test drive at Nissan Leaf Barcelona. In the cockpit of the car there is a definite feel of luxury in well-padded comfortable seats. The dashboard of the car is fairly understated if you don’t take into account the number of buttons all over the place. Doesn’t look cheap and plasticky like some cars do.

Nissan Leaf Barcelona

The first time I sat in the Nissan Leaf in the dealership showroom it felt a little cramped. In the drivers seat this time I felt I had plenty of room. The centre console seemed to impinge upon my leg when in the car previously, this time I didn’t even notice it. Once again I enjoyed the high up sitting position in the car. You get a great view through the windscreen, across the bonnet towards the road ahead.

During using Pro Pilot Assist it seemed a little weird with the steering wheel moving by itself on my Nissan Leaf Barcelona test. To be honest though it seemed more weird with the intelligent cruise control and letting the car come to a halt behind vehicle stopped in front. That’s going to take some getting used to! My co-pilot didn’t seem to know about the three second rule. When the cars been stopped for more than three seconds it’s necessary to press the reset button to get it moving again, or give a quick tap on the accelerator pedal. Getting that to work was kind of nice considering the amount of traffic on this road in Barcelona. You’d want to make sure you are aware the driving assistance was turned on or you could forget to use the brake. That might be taken care of by the collision control feature, but it’s better to be properly in charge of the vehicle and use the brakes yourself when you need to. I suppose after owning the car for some time you have more awareness of what’s going on because of familiarity.

Various beeps and warning noises

One of the things I noticed first was the centre console screen changing from the navigation to showing what the cameras could see around the car. It may also have beeped during the Nissan Leaf Barcelona drive. I didn’t know why this was happening at first but it was because a motorcycle pulled up alongside and went past the car sensors. It’s possible to turn that off and that could be a good thing with the way motorcyclists drive in Barcelona. They are always making their way to the front of the queue when you’re pulled up at traffic lights.

The car made other noises to tell us when the Pro Pilot Assist had turned itself off due to not being able to see the lines on the road. To be honest, I didn’t always notice due to having to concentrate on driving in an unfamiliar environment. Not really a problem because I was not taking my hands off the wheel to let the car drive by itself. You can only take your hands off the wheel for between five and seven seconds before it tells you to put hands back where they should be. That’s a safety feature and nothing to complain about. That short amount of time is useful anyway if you needed to reach for something and you want to know the car can keep you safe during that period. It’s quite clear that the Pro Pilot Assist is best used for dual carriageway and motorway style driving.

I would have liked to tried out more of the intelligent cruise control without the Pro Pilot Assist lane keeping being active. In the car I have now I particularly like using cruise control whenever possible. Having the added benefits of the car controlling its speed dependent upon the vehicle in front is going to be very useful. With a longer test and more time to get used to the technology I’d experiment more with the adjustable gap between the leaf and the car in front.

Other things I like to try with the Nissan Leaf

I’d love to be able to give a try of the reversing camera to see how useful that is pulling out of a parking spot. I’d like to see how that works in combination with the 360° Birdseye view you can have in the screen in the centre console.

Needs a Longer Test than Nissan Leaf Barcelona test drive


Really need to try the car out over a period of days and on a longer trip. On such a short test drive there’s no chance to try out the fast charging. It would be really good to see how the batteries affected by temperatures on a long motorway trip. I’d really like to know how the car would do in a trip from home to Barcelona on the Autopista. I tend to drive fairly slowly at about 104 km/h and it would be marvellous to see how much the battery gets used at these speeds. It will also be interesting to find out how this sort of driving affects the temperature of the battery in a warm climate.

Space inside the Leaf

On another occasion when I’m a passenger I like to be able to stretch out my legs. When I sat in the passenger seat in the display car in the shopping centre at first it seemed there wasn’t much legroom. So I made some adjustments to the seat. It wouldn’t slide back any further, but I was able to move the upright part of the seat back a notch or two. It was then it seemed like it would be okay in terms of passenger legroom.

Even with my adjustments to the driving seat to seat myself and my long legs there is still plenty of room for passengers in the back of the car. That’s going to be a nice improvement upon the situation in the car I drive now. Anyone sitting behind me in the Renault Clio is going to feel a bit cramped.

Testing the Safety Features

I didn’t have any pedestrians walking in front of the car or behind so I didn’t get to experience the sensors telling me to beware. On account of it being daytime I couldn’t experience how well the automatic headlights behaved. They are supposed to dip automatically when there’s a car coming from the opposite direction. The lights will also turn themselves on when it becomes dark enough to need them. When driving through Barcelona there are quite a few tunnels and you are expected to turn on your lights as you drive through. I’m wondering if the automatic headlights on the Nissan Leaf takes care of that situation.

Apple CarPlay

One of the things particularly interesting to me for the purchase of this car is the ability of it to run Apple Carplay. This is something else I wasn’t able to try out. Perhaps I should have just put in my phone when I got into the car anyway. My co-pilot/minder seemed to be making use of the centre screen for keeping an eye on the navigation.

Levels of Leaf Automation

As part of the testing of Pro Pilot Assist I’d like to have tested out the button which turns off the lane keeping part of the system. This takes it back to just having intelligent cruise control. I wonder if it’s possible to just turn on the adaptive cruise control without having to go to full Pro Pilot Assist.

The joys of having a minder

As I already mentioned the guy at Nissan Leaf Barcelona didn’t know about the three second rule. At least he was able to learn something along the way. It was slightly annoying having someone reaching across and pressing buttons for you. It would have been better if he had just said to me “See that blue button there, give it a press to turn on Pro Pilot Assist”. That would have been less intrusive and allowed me to feel more in control of what was going on in the car. In any case, the guy was very friendly and helpful and was able to chat to me despite my questionable Spanish language skills.

The Nissan Leaf purchasing experience

My experience so far of being a Nissan Leaf has not been perfect. I knew there was going to be wait of a few months after putting the ordering in December. They started making the vehicles in Sunderland during the month of December. So I believed the dealership when they told me I could expect a car around about the end of March. We are now three weeks into April and it was only two weeks ago when I was finally given a date for delivery of the car. I’ll be waiting until the end of May. I’d love to know why it is some people go to other dealers and are given an approximate delivery date as soon they make their order.

I’m expected now to pay more for the car because the dealer didn’t say anything about there being a time limit on the government incentive money. This makes the car much more expensive to buy. This is why had to put an official complaint into the customer service department of Nissan. I got a phone call before the weekend from a nice man who said he would try and do something to help me out. He said he would contact the dealership and talk to them and then get back to me. Now it is Tuesday and I’m still waiting.

No Other Buying Options

I did hear there was a Nissan Leaf available for sale in another dealership. I rang them up but the model is the cheaper version with less of the good technology. I might try ringing other Nissan dealers to see if they have any cars available. I’ve got the money burning a hole in my pocket and am still deadly keen to purchase such a gorgeous, well-equipped electric car. I’ve just rang the main dealer in Madrid and he told me there are no cars available for sale in Spain. There’s just a long waiting list and if you made a new order now you wouldn’t get the car before the end of the summer.