Motoring writer Sam takes his LEAF on the 2011 Future Car Challenge

Posted on February 3, 2012 by in Blog, News

Sam Hardy's piece in Auto Express

NISSAN’S all-electric LEAF was well-represented at last year’s Future Car Challenge, with around half a dozen of the emissions-free hatchbacks successfully completing the journey from Brighton to London.

Regular visitors to pure-driving.co.uk will be familiar with the event which attracted a wide variety of environmentally-friendly vehicles and a generous smattering of celebrities too, including TV’s Kevin McCloud, radio DJ Mark Goodier and Red Dwarf star Robert Llewellyn.

One of the LEAFs that took part in the event was piloted by motoring journalist Sam Hardy of Auto Express.

He had already written a piece for his magazine about taking delivery of the car… and now he was joining dozens of other EV-evangelists for the Brighton-to-London run, held the day before the vintage vehicles made the trip in the other direction.

So what was Hardy’s verdict?

He begins by describing his journey to Brighton from London the night before the event, so he would be on the spot for the early start planned by the organisers of the challenge.

He arrived in Brighton with 33 miles to spare… and had a trouble-free run back to London the following day having learnt a bit about hypermiling on his way to the South Coast.

‘The LEAF and I had done the hard work the night before – and we’d become even more accomplished at driving efficiently,’ he writes.

LEAFs lined up at the start of last year's Future Car Challenge

‘While some competitors caused big tailbacks by driving well below the limit, I refused to hold up traffic and drove in a pretty normal fashion, crossing the finish line in Pall Mall with 44 miles of range left.

‘That gives a total range of just over 100 miles, which is about what Nissan claims.’

Nissan recently announced it had sold in excess of 22,000 all-electric LEAFs since the first one was delivered to its owner in California in December 2010. UK production of the car begins in 2013 at the company’s highly successful plant at Sunderland in the north-east of England.

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