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Posted by on Feb 25, 2016 in Articles, Case Studies, Energy, Environment, Others, Projects | 0 comments

Turning over a New Leaf (part deux)

Turning over a New Leaf (part deux)

Jaya Chakrabarti

Jaya Chakrabarti MBE

Vice President – Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative

Read part 1 of Jaya’s 6th Do15 commitment HERE

I’d made a promise and finally, with the launch of the new Business West – Chamber of Commerce & Initiative members Electric Car Scheme with Nissan, I was able to keep it. Last Tuesday I drove my soon-to-be-dearly-departed old BMW to be valued for a part exchange as part of my purchase of a lean, mean and green Nissan Acenta. I won’t lie, I’ve been feeling so guilty about our emissions for such a long time, it was a releaf (sorry) to finally be able to do something about it .

I need to declare that we’d never bought a brand new car before. My father taught me from a young (driving) age to always buy second hand due to depreciation. But in this instance where the electric car market is still in need of a critical mass so that they become more popular, and whilst local garages are still finding their way on services, I felt that this was the right thing to do (and yeah, brand new cars smell amazing and look so very shiny!).

In spite of my dad-induced-new-car phobia, I took my proof of Business West/BCCI membership with me that rainy day and entered into the shiny new showroom looking like a drowned rat. Not a good start but as soon as the cappuccino arrived I started to feel better.  Within minutes, the very knowledgeable Peter Sari at Wessex Garages started by looking at my part-exchange offering. I hate to say it but my poor old beemer wasn’t worth very much but I really wanted to make sure it was off the road due to its emissions. But the value helped to pay for one of the additional features I wanted so it worked out just right.

Peter then took me through the options and variations, and showed me their display model version, all glittering and metallic red in the back of the showroom. Whilst the car was almost too shiny, when I saw the number of buttons and the dashboard, my inner-geek emerged. My quest to find a family car that would contribute to better air quality for all whilst getting me from A to B in style seemed to be answered. Their charming MD Keith Brock, one of our newest members, also came out to say hello. You’ll be able to meet Keith in person at future BCCI meetings and I really hope that you’ll send more of your employees his way to use our joint scheme.

To top it all I took the 24KW Acenta for a test drive. It was eerily quiet. Hearing the rain on the roads on a blustery day instead of the engine was disconcerting but even more so was my ability to hear myself think. I’m going to have to learn how to have better conversations with myself…

LEAF side view driving photo


The Detail on the Deal for Business West – Chamber of Commerce & Initiative members

 Whilst the deal (the employee deal usually only available to large corporate buyers) you’ll see on the site shows figures for the 24KW Acenta, my big hang-up was range, and so I went for the extended range Acenta (130-150 miles) instead, which would get me to London at a push. I also fell for the additional solar panel to charge the separate 12V battery for the electrics in the car, which would also help towards extending the range more comfortably. Standard issue is red in colour and that’s what I went for (it used to be white but then white became popular!). My monthly payments will be just over £200 for 36 months based on a £3k deposit (my choice), or if you are happy with a 24KW Acenta with a £2915.18 deposit you can do 24 months of £149. You can increase or decrease the deposit as desired and the monthly figure will adjust accordingly, but at least you get the idea.

The discount will obviously be more if you don’t go for car finance or manage to negotiate a better deal through a third party, but takes at least another £1000 off of the price of the new car.

In terms of warranty for my new wheels I had the standard new vehicle warranty covering 60000 miles/3 years (although I’d signed up for 10000 miles a year on my deal). There’s also cover included for the battery**. I didn’t sign up for the paint warranty (most days I’ll be parked in private car parks or in our own locked up drive at home).

**The Nissan LEAF & eNV200 lithium-ion battery state of health guarantee protects against battery capacity loss (less than 9 bars out of 12) as shown on LEAF’s capacity gauge for a period of 8 years / 100,000 miles* for 30 kWh vehicles and 5 years / 60,000 miles* for 24kWh vehicles.


Claiming Business Mileage

The added bonus is that for any trips I do to get to meetings, I can still claim 45 pence per mile even though technically my “fuel” equates to how many times I need to charge the car every month.



I had no idea but with a new car you not only have to think about fully comprehensive insurance but also gap insurance to ensure that you’re able to replace the car with the money you get back from a claim. I’ve got some great quotes through links from the aggregator sites but I really hope that insurers who are members of BCCI step up and offer an even better deal (contact me, ok?)!


And if that wasn’t enough…

We’re looking into how to use our combined solar-generated electricity with the electricity storage our electric car will provide. It’s called V2G technology’3F/


…which would make us virtually off-grid for electricity in the Summer months, adding even more savings (although the lifetime of the battery would be affected). Batteries are getting cheaper every year so watch this space!



My car arrives at the beginning of March. It will be red, and you won’t hear me hurtling around the corner until it’s too late. Be VERY AFRAID.

Click HERE to read all of Jaya’s commitments to Go Green in 2015/16

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