Survey of UK Nissan LEAF owners finds more than 50% swear off gasoline forever
One man sold his Aston Martin to buy 2 LEAFs!Electric cars, like hybrids before them, tend to get very high scores in owner satisfaction surveys. The latest example shows the Tesla Model S getting a 98% "would buy again" score in a Consumer Reports survey.
Nissan UK has just done a survey of LEAF electric car owners there, asking them a variety of questions, and the answers are quite interesting, showing that it's electric cars in general that generate loyalty and satisfaction from owners, not just the more fancy and expensive Teslas (one participant in the survey had even sold his Aston Martin to buy 2 LEAFs!).
Nissan UK/Promo image
I think the highlight of the survey - which, to be fair, was taken from a relatively small sample, though it might still be representative if the methodology was good - is the finding that more than half of LEAF owners said that they would not go back to a "conventionally-powered car" (gasoline or diesel). This is the kind of traction that EVs need to, over time, replace fossil-fuel powered vehicles. If every time someone buys an electric car, that person is forever lost to the oil industry, we'll get somewhere. It's a bit like how people who install solar systems on their houses aren't just reducing their electricity demand from the grid temporarily, but rather are probably gone in the clean power camp forever.
Other findings of the survey are that 93% of LEAF owners use the EV as their main family car, which dispels the myth that these shorter-ranged EVs are only good as second vehicles. This is probably because most people tend to greatly overestimate how much range they need in the typical day (causing range anxiety), kind of like how people overestimate their need for a big SUV and get tons of feature they never use (how often do you go off road?). More than a third said that they do not have to plan journeys in advance any more than they did before owning an electric car, especially as 89% of them charge up their LEAF overnight at home.
41% said the car has positively changed the way they drive, and an impressive 95% said they would recommend the LEAF (or electric cars in general, one can assume) to friends.
64% of LEAF owners say it's better to drive than a gasoline or diesel vehicle. That's impressive since the LEAF isn't known for its killer handling and sporty acceleration (unlike, say, the Tesla Model S). This is likely because people don't know how fun it can be to have gobs of electric motor torque available from zero RPM, and this drive silently while never having to stop at a smelly gas station...
The survey also found that with a cost per mile of just two pence or less, the majority (89%) of EV owners reported significant savings compared to more traditionally-fuelled cars. One driver calculated that he had spent just £400 ($625) travelling more than 22,000 miles in his Nissan LEAF, with many reporting savings of £200-250 ($312-390) per month.
Nissan UK/Promo image
Nissan Motor GB Limited Managing Director, James Wright, said: "Electric car ownership was a big step for motorists to take when we launched the LEAF in 2011 but we are now seeing that owners who were bold enough to take that step are reaping the benefits.
"The issues that the naysayers said would hinder ownership have not materialised and, in fact, the feeling from LEAF owners is that they would never go back to a traditional combustion engine. We were the first to bring a mass-produced electric car to market, so it stands to reason that we are also the first to prove the genuine viability of electric motoring."
Since launch in early 2011, Nissan has sold 147,000 LEAF electric cars worldwide.