Living with an Electric Car in Cumbria

Paul & Debbie Johnston Case Study

In August last year fed up with spending £180 – £200 on petrol a month Paul & Debbie Johnston popped into J Edgar & son of Rowrah to see what they could do to cut their fuel costs.

10 months later we asked them some key questions about their final decision to buy a Nissan Leaf.


What Made You Choose an Electric Vehicle

We were looking for a replacement car for a very thirsty 2.0L petrol. We wanted something practical for a family, decent sized boot, economical, 5 door, and yet something that stood out from the ordinary family hatchback. We considered diesel options and economical petrol vehicles but couldn’t really find anything that stood out. It was while we were at our J Edgar & Son our local Nissan dealer that I spotted the Nissan Leaf.

When we got home I went online and spent about three hours looking at all the facts and figures, I really liked the option of leasing the batteries which made the car more affordable and the government grant towards the purchase of the car was enough to tip the balance in favour of the Nissan Leaf. The following day we took a test drive, loved the car, found out we could get a free home charging point from Solway Renewables and from then on we were sold.

What was the most surprising thing about the Nissan Leaf.

How much fun it is to drive! It’s quick, surprisingly quick, and once you get used to the fact there is no engine noise it is no different from driving any automatic vehicle.


Does it live up to the hype about how much cheaper it is to run?

Forgetting the road tax which is now nil, on petrol alone we are saving a huge amount. Petrol costs for our old car were between £40 – £50 each week. Since buying the Nissan Leaf from Edgars our electricity bill has risen by only £25 – £30 a month!   What’s really surprising is that all of these savings are in spite of the fact that we are now doing more mileage in the Nissan Leaf than we were in our previous vehicle. It has become the car of choice for ‘nipping out’ to the shops, to the bank, for a take away. Our second car spends a lot of its time sitting idle on the driveway.

What Is the Drive Like?

The drive is good. It is a very nippy car which surprises almost everyone who experiences it. If you can drive an automatic you can drive an electric. We are getting a range of approximately 80miles per charge which is more than enough for daily use.

What Is The Biggest Misconception?

The biggest misconception we had before buying the Leaf was that the range of the vehicle would be inadequate for our needs. The range is more than enough for everyday use. We have never needed a public charging point. After the school run, commute to work and Mums evening taxi runs we still seem to have plenty of miles left in the ‘tank’!

2 responses to “Living with an Electric Car in Cumbria

  1. How interesting, and this after nearly a year of having the car as part of the family. It is quite eye-opening to see that all the things you would expect to worry about, didn’t actually turn out to be concerns.
    It would be really nice to hear from someone who did run out of battery away from a charging point – did the AA bring them a fully charged replacement battery or perhaps send the transporter to tow the car home/to the nearest public charging point?
    I think it would be a great confidence booster to know that the infrastructure was in place should the worst come to the worst.

  2. Dianne Richardson

    Hi David as another Nissan Leaf owner a major reassurance for me was that up to 3 times a year you can get picked up for free, all arranged by Nissan, if your battery runs out. Thankfully we’ve not even needed it once in the year we’ve had the car so I was worrying about nothing!