When Dublin taxi driver Paul Clooney told his work colleagues that he was going to ditch the Skoda Octavia brand after twenty years and make the switch to a Nissan LEAF EV he was greeted with the same
response - ‘you’ll never make it work’.
As a taxi driver working 12 hour days, driving
up to 2,000 kilometres during working weeks and an average of 70,000 kilometres a year, Paul was not surprised when his fellow drivers at Gala Cabs in Lucan challenged him on the wisdom of buying a 100% electric vehicle for use as a taxi.
“A lot of taxi drivers said to me that I’d never make it work, but I’d done my homework. It’s been a superb investment for me. Over the year the car will save me around €13,000 between fuel and service costs,” said Paul, who is now one of the world’s most influential Nissan LEAF drivers.
“I check the stats and world ranking on the Nissan LEAF app which is connected to the car and how you drive. I’m regularly ranked in the top 10 or top three. I’m in the top 0.1% in the world ECO rankings for distance travelled, regenerative braking and energy consumption which is calculated daily, weekly monthly and yearly.”
“Last month I generated 413 kWh through regenerative braking. The car battery is 40kWh so that’s over ten batteries that I’m fully charging each month just by using the brake in the car. I’m getting 250 kilometres average and close to 300 kilometres on one charge, depending on how I drive.”
Paul was first attracted to the LEAF by the
€10,800 in Government grants that are currently
available to SPSV drivers who make the switch to a new EV and by the potential to wipe out both the €8,000 to €10,000 he was spending on diesel and
€4,000 he was spending on car servicing each year.
“Anyone who buys a new EV as a taxi gets €10,800
in grants, including the €3,800 SEAI grant and an additional €7,000 through the eSPSV Grant Scheme once it passes as a taxi. You also get €600 towards the cost of installing a home-charger and the added bonus is that all public charging is free.”
Paul likes to work twelve hour days for ten
months of the year so that he can enjoy two months off with his wife and three kids each summer when the family fly out to their apartment in Fuerteventura, Spain.
“My average fuel bill when I was driving diesel
was €200 per week. If you charge on the street that bill disappears. I serviced my old car seven times last year which cost me €4,000, that’s gone too. This is
how I’m getting to my figure of €13,000 savings a year - and that includes the two months of the year that I’m not on the road.”
“ePedal is one of the best things about the
car. Being able to accelerate, brake and stop with one pedal makes driving around the city easier, but it also saves on servicing. You’re not on the brakes as much and the battery is your motor, so servicing is really only about changing the brake fluid and pollen filters.”
“Driving with ePedal is a more relaxed way of
driving, especially in Dublin where the pace or speed at which you move is dictated by traffic congestion. It’s very intuitive and once you start using it you start to wonder why every car is not like that.”
Paul is based on the taxi rank at Liffey Valley
Shopping Centre and starts his 12 hour shift at 3.30 a.m. each working day.
“I set out each day from home with the car fully charged and stick to the ‘ABC’ rule during the day – “Always Be Connected’. I top up regularly throughout the day and have a few regular spots where I can fast-charge, so I’ve no issues with range and I’ve never had a problem finding a charger.”
“I top up for the first time around 8.30 a.m. or 9 a.m. and if I get a job to the airport I’ll use the charger there. There are a few other places I use regularly in Lucan, Park West and Stillorgan, so the car never drops below 20% or 30% charge and I can add as much if I charge during the time it takes me to grab a coffee or sandwich.”
“I usually get home with between 40% and 70%
charge, depending on jobs, so it’s just a matter of plugging it into the home charger. It takes four hours to fully charge at home and 30 to 40 minutes to charge to 80% with the fast-chargers on the ESB network.”
“I’ve driven 25,808 kilometres in four months,
almost 7,000 kilometres a month. My stats tell me that I’ve saved or reduced carbon emissions by 3,742kgs for that distance. That’s nearly four tonnes. I’ll never buy another petrol or diesel car. EVs are the future and in five to ten years we’ll all be driving them.”