Thursday 17 October 2019

Silent running: A music teacher discovers an unexpected benefit to his new electric car

People talk about the environmental and financial benefits of electric vehicles but Stephen and Catherine Yeo discovered an unexpected advantage to making the switch.

Stephen taught music at the College of Music in Dublin and was the headmaster at a renowned music school in England, so it’s no surprise that the acoustics of his new Nissan LEAF caught his attention.

“Our LEAF is stunningly quiet,” says Stephen. “Music has been my life and I still do music examinations. We like to have classical music on when we are driving along. It is simply amazing to listen to it with no noise. It’s the first time we have been able to hear the full range while driving.

“Classical music tends to have a wider range of what we call music dynamics, which is either very soft or very loud. When you are on the motorway, driving along, you lose the subtlety. The soft bit tends to go very quiet and then you turn it up because you can’t hear it and three minutes later you are deafened in your ear. The great thing about the LEAF is that there is no real road noise and we can hear the whole range.”

With eight grandchildren under the age of seven, the busy grandparents can enjoy the quiet time that the LEAF offers after a hectic day of family fun! The car’s silent running also helps the grandkids to nod off in the back seat.

Part of the reason for choosing a Nissan LEAF was to impress upon their grandchildren the importance of environmental responsibility. The Yeos wanted a zero emissions car and the LEAF is 100pc electric.

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“We looked at hybrid but decided to go the full monty, so to speak,” explains Stephen. “The government grants towards the cost of buying the car and installing the home charger, cheaper road tolls and the fact that you can charge the car for free outside of home made it an easy decision.”

The couple spend a lot of time on the road, visiting their kids and grandkids. They often drive from their Dundrum home to Dunshaughlin in Co Meath to see their son and his four kids and regularly make the trip to the UK to see their other three children and four grandchildren. 

“We commute between Dundrum and Dunshauglin and we also take the car to the UK, travelling to York and south-east England,” adds Stephen. “We’ve been surprised by how quick and responsive it is. We’ve put quite a few miles on the clock since we bought it in August and it has cost little or nothing to drive”.

The couple retired to Ireland earlier this year so the reduced fuel costs are also a welcome bonus. Despite doing a lot of driving, they haven’t encountered any issues with range or long journeys since they invested in the LEAF.

Longer trips simply mean a bit of forward planning.

“People talk about range but who drives 600km in a day?” Stephen points out. “The distance between chargers is no more than you will ever want to drive without stopping anyway, so as long as you work out where to stop, it is absolutely no problem on a long journey.

“I’m not one for charging along the motorway or the M50 at 120kph,” he adds. “I tend to go along at around 80kph and I’m getting 220km to 240km out of it without ever letting the battery go lower than 10pc or 15pc. If I have to make a long journey, then I would not start out with less than 30pc or 40pc,” said Stephen.

Stephen typically uses the rapid charger at home, setting the timer to charge the car when the cheap night rate tariff kicks in. Public chargers provide a useful top up on a day out and they use the three-pin “granny charger” to charge the car overnight on trips to the UK.

“You have to balance things when you’ve got kids in the car but it’s down to simple planning really. There is certainty in charging at home but we have been pleasantly surprised by how easy it has been to charge the car when we’re out and about.”

The LEAF’s innovative technology has also impressed the couple. An automated parking system means the car can park itself at the touch of a button, which comes in handy in multi-storey car parks or on city centre streets. Another feature that’s proved particularly useful is the ePedal, which lets drivers accelerate and brake with the one pedal.

“We’ve been surprised at how quick the acceleration has been,” says Stephen. “It is incredibly smooth and you do not get any surge when you change gears or brake. Anyone who has driven an automatic will not be thrown by it. It is better than the automatic car we had for the last decade.”

With so much time spent on the road, it was important to Stephen and Catherine to get a car that could handle their busy lifestyle.

“We wanted a smaller car that could do longer journeys,” explained Stephen.

“Our LEAF is a great compromise. It’s small enough to let you park easily and to nip around Dublin but big enough to take on longer journeys, including trips out with our grandkids. It’s easy to charge and costs pretty much nothing to drive. It’s absolutely brilliant.”

To find out what it’s like to drive the world’s best-selling electric car, we talked to Nissan LEAF drivers in Ireland. Discover how making the switch to electric helped one Kildare-based family make huge savings, how a businessman traded in a convertible for his Nissan LEAF, and how a taxi driver defied expectations about EVs.

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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