EV Insights from inside Smartrak

As EVs become an increasingly common feature in fleets we thought it would be helpful to get some insights from people within Smartrak who have already made the decision to go electric.

In talking to them we found that in most instances, EVs are pretty much just another way to get from A to B, that the challenges in swapping from petrol are generally imagined, and any changes to routine become just that – routine.

Today, we’re talking to Jacqueline La Grand, Smartrak's Customer Services Team Lead at our Hamilton office who has been a Nissan leaf driver for nearly five years.

Why electric and why a Nissan Leaf?

My husband already had an Outlander, so I couldn’t see any point in having a second vehicle that was thirsty on petrol. My requirements for a car were limited to getting to and from work and dropping my son off at school. For longer trips out of town there was always the SUV. I looked at a Jazz, but if I was going to step into a smaller car, I wanted more benefits than simply size and fuel savings.

At the time, the Leaf was practically the only EV available, so I bought a second-hand import from Japan.

Did it take much adjustment?

Not really, my workday routine is pretty much set, so putting the Leaf on charge at home every three days covered off any charging requirements. The biggest adjustment was due to the whole information system inside the car being Japanese. That stopped me accessing many of the features and even the dash swap-out I paid for did little to sort out those problems.

Any other unforeseen costs?

A new auxiliary 12-volt battery – which wasn’t really unforeseen, because they are only supposed to last around three years. Other than that, a regular service and a WoF costs just $50. That’s a sum that wouldn’t even cover a filter change in the Ute my husband drives now.

Tyres were another standard cost that probably got a little higher than it should in the early days. The Leaf has two driving settings: Eco and Sport. Driving around in Sport definitely increases the acceleration and leaving a ‘patch’ when pulling away was all too easy. I tend to keep it in Eco now.

Did you invest in a special charger setup at home?

A three-pin plug through the lounge window has worked for me for nearly five years! Because my routine is so set, I really don’t have any super-fast charger requirements. If I’m running low because I haven’t charged up at home, a half-hour on a charger at work gets me back up to 50% battery.

What’s your dream EV?

It used to be a Tesla, but a few weeks ago I parked up in the supermarket carpark to charge and alongside me was a BYD. No idea what the name means but apparently it won car of the year last year; it looks really nice and quite techy inside.

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