Monday 21 October 2019

How an electric vehicle became the perfect company car for this Irish businessman

“I’ve done 5,000km in the LEAF so far and I didn’t pay more than €30 for that, which is phenomenal.”

Google co-founder Larry Page famously said that you should “Always deliver more than expected” and the Nissan LEAF certainly lives up to that motto. There’s still a perception that electric vehicles lack the range of their petrol counterparts. Yet one new Nissan LEAF owner has been more than impressed with its performance.

Brendan O’Sullivan runs a thriving software development company in Bray and it’s common for him to clock up at least 100km a day with work. With so much time on the road, he was eager to reduce his carbon footprint.

“Myself and [my wife] Mairín are very environmentally-conscious and the VW emissions scandal really ticked me off so I began to look at what we could do to help protect our environment,” Brendan explains.

“We live in Bray and the business is based here too. The majority of my driving is M50-based from Bray to client sites via the M50 and I would go down the country once a month on average.”

The self-proclaimed “evangelist for EV driving” saw his travelling expenses plummet after he traded in his compact convertible for a company car with a difference. Business is all about the bottom line and it’s hard to dispute the business case for a company car that delivers 5,000km for just €30.

“I was paying between €160 and €200 a month to fill up the Audi,” he recalls. “That’s €2,400 over the year, so the savings are too big to ignore. It is one reason why I bought the car.

“The thing about the LEAF is that you are being environmentally-friendly to a much larger degree, but at the end of the day you cannot argue against the money it saves. You might as well say ‘Here, take this car, it’s going to put €2,500 into your pocket a year.’”

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Of course, any savings would be immaterial if he couldn’t rely on the EV to get him where he needed to be for work. Luckily, any doubts about its potential range were quickly dismissed.

“The maximum range I got on a full charge was 260km driving pretty hard. If was driving about town, stopping and starting, I would be confident of getting 330km but I’m driving at 120kph on the M50 or the motorway. I drive as I normally drive and I don’t hold back.

“I would say that 100km is the most I do in any one day, driving to meetings via the M50. I go down the county once a month on average and I go to Waterford and Tipperary quite a bit. I usually go down the whole way, charge overnight and get another 260km driving pretty hard.”

Charging the car has proved to be a smooth process, with fast chargers available where the couple live in Bray.

“We’re set up to charge at home but only use the home charger 10pc of the time. The rest of the time we charge around town as it’s so convenient.”

With free public charging points located near his workplace, he can even top up his car as he works. You don’t need to own your own business to see the obvious benefits of slashing your operational costs.

“I am all for evangelising as much as I can,” admits Brendan. “The best way to convince people to switch to driving a LEAF is to show them the savings. The way I’d put it to people is simple – why do you want to spend that money on petrol and diesel when you can drive electric for almost nothing. It’s a no-brainer.”

Comfort is also a major factor when you’re constantly on the road with business. The Nissan LEAF’s intelligent technology helps to make longer drives as effortless as possible. As someone who works in software development, Brendan was suitably impressed with the car’s tech innovations.

“I’m a technologist by nature - that is my job. What’s in the car is fantastic for what you’re paying. When I got the demo, I thought that ePedal and ProPILOT were gimmicks but once you start using them you realise how handy it is and it is very, very handy.

“I use ePedal and ProPILOT the whole time. The car’s intelligent behaviour, how it monitors traffic, by constantly adjusting speed and braking with one pedal is fabulous. The tech is way ahead of what I’ve experienced before.”

The car’s technology, low running costs and green credentials have certainly won him over, even if he does have one niggling complaint.

“The biggest gripe I had – and it was probably the great summer that brought it home – was that it’s not a convertible. I’ll never go back to petrol or diesel, but I’m certainly open to buying the first convertible LEAF!”

To find out what it’s like to drive the world’s best-selling electric car, we talked to Nissan LEAF drivers in Ireland. You can also find out how making the switch to electric helped one Kildare-based family make huge savings and see more of their extended family network.

To experience electric driving and learn more about how much you could save by switching to driving a 100pc electric Nissan LEAF, book your test-drive today.

Sponsored by: Nissan LEAF

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