Pictured: The post-2017 second-generation Nissan Leaf has a 40kWh battery pack, giving the car a 150-170 mile range - a big improvement on the earlier 24kWh/30kWh Leaf which can travel 80-100 miles on a single charge.
NFU Vice President Stuart Roberts has recommended electric vehicles to NFU members and staff after seven months and more than 10,000 miles travelled on official business in his Nissan Leaf.
Furthermore, Mr Roberts has recommended NFU members and staff take advantage of the electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities installed last year at NFU headquarters - see more in the video below.
Mr Roberts said: “It’s a nice-looking car, better than the first-generation Leaf. When I do a branch meeting, this is what members want to ask me about. NFU members, staff and visitors are now able to charge their electric vehicles while at Stoneleigh, and I encourage everyone to drive electric if they can."
The car’s range of over 150 miles still requires some adjustments to long-distance journey planning, he says, but he appreciates the need to stop for an leisurely coffee break every couple of hours. He doesn't hesitate to recommend electric transport to farmers and growers who want to reduce their fuel costs as well as their personal carbon footprint, although he admits the charging infrastructure is still catching up with the demands of the technology.
After a recent NFU branch meeting in Scarborough, and 58 miles from the nearest fast charging station (as identified by his mobile phone app) Mr Roberts had only 50 miles of average range showing on the car and had to drive carefully and economically to eke out the electric power. A lesson in good driver behaviour, he reflects, rather than a terrible inconvenience. “I still have a pick-up for general farm work," he adds, “but won’t it be great when we have an electric choice for farm utility vehicles?”
Electric vehicle charging at NFU HQ has been planned since 2016, culminating in the installation in mid-2018 of two dual chargepoints serving four parking bays. Each charger is rated at 22 kilowatts (kW), tapping into the three-phase power supply of the main building and allowing for possible upgrading in the future. 22 kW is commonly called ‘fast’ charging, as opposed to 50 kW or more, termed ‘rapid’ or ‘ultrafast’ charging. The NFU EV bays are not for all-day parking – they are for NFU pool cars, visitors and staff to get a one to four hour charge, depending upon the vehicle.
WATCH: Mr Roberts arriving at NFU HQ and plugging in his electric car
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