After having got over the initial shock resulting from a spur of the moment decision I made in March this year, I now have less of a heart stopping shock every time I walk past my Tesla Model S.
The screengrab on below is the phone app that informs you of the cars location, state of charge, etc, etc. (I named the car Gavin, the hero of the News from Trilogy, if that makes no sense don't worry. It doesn't make sense when you do know)
I’ve already driven 800 miles in it, I’ve used Tesla’s supercharger network up and down the country and I’ve even been the recipient of some low level Range Rover Road Rage.
I kid you not but this is worth mentioning because of what happened.
I was driving down the M5, cruise control set to 72 mph. I was overtaking a van that was overtaking a truck when suddenly some very bright headlights flashed at me from the rear. The lights were very close, the huge hulk of Range Rover bonnet seemed alarmingly close.
I pulled over to the middle lane when I’d passed the van and the Rangey roared past me giving just enough time to see a beautifully quaffed woman at the wheel as the 2.5 ton monster disappeared down the fast lane with a small cloud of diesel smoke wafting behind it.
Now, here’s the lesson I want you to learn if you are ever in a car that can leave many others in the dust.
I could have floored it, I could have become annoyed and ‘shown them’ that my car can go faster than theirs. The Model S acceleration from 70mph to 100 and beyond is very impressive.
(check out this video I did on a runway with Tom Scott)
But no, don’t succumb to those emotions; don’t go over to the dark side. Allow the tragic soul whose inner well-being relies upon their need to get other ‘annoying’ road users who won’t break the speed limit out of their way.
And here’s a very good example of why I say this. Moments later an event occurred that is, in my long driver experience, very rare.
The next thing I saw in my wing mirror was blue flashing lights as a BMW police car zipped past me, caught up with the speeding Range Rover and pulled it over.
I passed by the two stationary vehicles at a leisurely 56mph, I didn’t flick the V’s or wave triumphantly, I merely cruised past in the slow lane.
Smugmode was fully engaged and turned to 11.
Since I acquired this spectacular vehicle many people on the Twitters have asked me if I am getting rid of my Nissan Leaf. The answer is a very emphatic no.
Only this morning I popped down to the post office and bank in it.
Going from a £65,000 super new and very clean luxury sedan to a £20,000 familiar and embarrassingly dirty 4-year-old hatchback was an interesting experience.
It made me remember how much I love the Leaf, it’s a brilliant car and has proven to be incredibly reliable. I’ve clocked up over 50,000 miles in it. It’s had 1 puncture, it’s run out of screen washer fluid many times and run out of electricity once. I did it on purpose to find out what happened when you run out. It’s fairly obvious, you stop. You can see the experiment here.
But that 50,000 miles has been incredibly cheap, and this is the point I really want to make.
The Tesla is an amazing, high performance, high spec luxury sedan that can only realistically be compared to high end BMWs, Audis, Jaguars and Mercedes. It’s much cheaper to fuel than any of those listed, but in the world of electric cars it’s an electron guzzler.
300 miles would use 84 kilowatt hours minimum, of you drove carefully.
300 miles in a Leaf would use around 55 kilowatt hours. It’s a fair claim that the Leaf costs just over 1p per mile to drive if you charge overnight on off-peak or night tariff electricity at 5.1p per kWh.
This would mean that 50,000 miles in a Nissan Leaf would cost somewhere around £600.
50,000 miles in a Model S would cost around £1,500
50,000 miles in a hyper efficient 65mpg diesel would cost £4,300 in fuel.
50,000 miles in an Audio A8, Mercedes S class, BMW 7 series (same purchase price as Tesla) would cost over £15,500. That’s funny that is.
However, I would not claim £600 spent on electricity to power the Leaf, I have charged the car during the day on quite a few occasions. In the summer that costs me nothing because I take the power from solar panels, but in the winter I’m paying 20p per kWh.
I use public chargers that are currently free so I’ve saved there, but I would say a realistic total fuel cost for 50,000 Leaf miles is close to £900.
That is still £3,200 cheaper than the most efficient, super lightweight fossil burner, so for me, the Leaf is made of pure win.
But here’s a bit of madness, you could, and there are people in the USA who’ve done this, you could exclusively use Tesla’s free Superchargers for every mile, you could drive 50,000 for nothing. Nada. Not a penny.
That is an insane and highly disruptive technological and economic spanner in the works, which is kind of why I rather like electric cars.