nissan leaf road trip
One year ago I moved into a gated community brimming with electric car charging points.

Beforehand, I hadn’t given much thought to the EV explosion. As one in the majority of carless Londoners, I could offer you names of a handful of brands with electric cars to speak of and little more.

The points piqued my interest. Day in and day out, I would see normal-looking (hell, even nice-looking) cars plug in for a charge before silently slipping away.

As an eco-conscious woman with a penchant for the open road, I had to get involved.

In the end, I did so with the Nissan LEAF – Europe’s best-selling electric vehicle of 2018.

The decision was easy. I was taking a road trip from London to South Wales’ Brecon Beacons and the LEAF seemed to be the the most efficient choice to travel the 220+ miles electrically.

Before setting off, we plotted a route out on Zap Map (Nissan’s own website uses the app as a travel guide) to ensure the journey’s two hour-long breaks were at spots we could find electric charging points.

Though its impressive 200-some mile range may have got us there on a single charge we were faced with freezing temperatures, traffic and a need for bass-heavy road trip playlists – all of which drains the range.

(Planned pit stops are key to avoid range anxiety.)

Beyond that, we were as good as gone!

With bags loaded and push-button ‘engine’ revved, I began to notice the LEAF’s little luxuries. Everything in the car was smarter and slicker than expected; keyless entry, digital screens, parking cameras, bluetooth Bose audio, hands-free calling, et al. All working to make every second spent on the road enjoyable.

The LEAF is also, bizarrely, a lot of fun to drive. Silent, but deadly (if you will):

Its e-Pedal lets you accelerate, brake and come to a complete stop with a single pedal. Its Propilot (and Propilot Park) helps keep you centred, covers blind spots and even parks for you with the press of a button.

A heated steering wheel and seats don’t hurt, either.

By the time we reached Long Hare Barn we were looking up parking permit prices to support a longer-term investment.

The two-cottage site, Little Hare Barns, is part of Premier Cottages’ new collection of properties with EV Chargers which made it the perfect destination for our EV-centric trip.

The weekend was spent walking around the Beacons, cooking up a storm in the super-stocked kitchen, playing board games next to a roaring fire, making friends with locals in nearby pubs, and nursing our New Year’s hangovers in the cottage’s beautiful expanse.

We simply popped the LEAF on charge the night before we were due to drive back and motored home to the Big Smoke with ease.

I would do it all again in a heartbeat and couldn’t recommend this exact trip enough.

A week’s stay in Long Hare Barn for five starts from £592.50 and a three-night weekend from £474 (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 01873 811200)

nissan leaf road trip

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fiat 500
Welcome to Chapter 837 of ‘How is this my life?’. Today, I am going to bring you along on my recent adventure to Turin to test drive the brand new Fiat 500.

After hopping a private Fiat-branded flight to Northern Italy (natch), we leapt into a whirlwind 24 hours of cars, cuisine and countryside capers.

Once we were introduced to the new 500s, fellow journo types and I emerged from HQ into a small sea of them (you will have seen this hysteria on my Snapchat story – lelalondob) and sped up the spiral roadway to have dinner on the iconic Italian Job test track.

Naturally, dinner turned into a very long night of shenanigans around Piazza Vittoria. After fueling up on espresso, we faked bright eyes and bushy tails and climbed into a gorgeous new peppermint 500c to explore the city for a few hours.

Since the 500’s revival in 2007 I have considered myself a modern fangirl but the new models blew me away. They have had a few nips and tucks (LED running lights, tilted lights, a new front grille) while keeping hold of all the technical pros that members of the so-called 500 Club have grown to love (for me, the low emissions and supercharged but superlight 900cc engine).

We wound around the city and countryside with the very necessary aid of the new five-inch display/TomTom sat nav. We learned not only that the rumours about Italian drivers are true but that being in a slick retro vehicle with the top down and a polite invisible woman guiding your way makes the aforementioned less of an issue.

For once, it’s okay to judge the book by it’s cover. In fact, Fiat are releasing a ton of ‘Second Skins’/wraps, thirteen body colours, eight alloy rims, and ten different interior configurations with the new 500, to boot.

Needless to say, I think I’ve found my soulmate.

fiat 500 12
fiat 500
fiat 500
fiat 500 11
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