Introducing the Nissan Leaf

When people think of revolutionary electric vehicles, the name Tesla is bound to come up. There is however a silent hero that has been bringing the benefits of slient running and zero emissions to the masses; it’s the Nissan Leaf.

Since it’s launch in 2010 over 500,000 cars have been sold. The world’s first mass-market electric car is still one of the best. Our Nissan Leaf is a 1st Generation with the upgraded 30kwh battery. It’s capable of around 100-125 miles on one charge and will get you to your destination in beautiful, refined, silence!

Before your drive

Make sure you’ve booked out the car using our booking system: The booking system will have the most up to date information about the cars location. At each location you will find a key safe which will give you access to the car. Unplug the car and be sure to stow the charger lead in the boot for use later. If the lead does not easy pull out from the car, unlock the charger lead by clicking the button found to the right of the steering wheel (the button highlighted in blue on the picture diagram). Before you set off make sure you enter the start mileage on the trip sheet and check the condition of the car. 

Driving the Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf is a very pleasant place to be. The interior cocoons around you with dials and buttons that may be unfamiliar at first.  The good news is: the car is extremely easy to drive and once you get used to the nifty gear lever, you’ll find other cars almost ‘clunky’.

Holding down the brake pedal and pressing the start/stop button (to the left of the steering wheel) will bring the car to life. Once started, the car will sit there silently ready for you to put it into drive. Starting the car without pressing the brake pedal will result in the car going into an accessory mode (a little like quarter turning the key in a regular car). In accessory mode you will be able to use accessory functions but not drive the car. If you do this by mistake, turn the car off, using the start/stop button. Then restart the car, making sure the foot brake is held down before pressing start/stop.

The only part of the Nissan Leaf that isn’t intuitive is the parking brake (usually called a handbrake in this country). This is because It’s actually in the footwell, which feels odd and out of place in this modern car. The parking brake is located in the footwell, far left (if it feels like your left foot is resting on something, chances are it’s the parking brake). To release the parking brake simply press down on the pedal. Whilst keeping your foot firmly on the brake pedal, hold the gear lever right and pull back for drive (right and forward for reverse).

The lights and wipers are automatic, so it’s just a case of getting in and driving.

Tips and Tricks

Here are our tips and tricks for getting the most out of our Nissan Leaf:

Regenerative Braking

Lift off the accelerator or gently apply the brake pedal and the car will start regenerating power from the motors into the battery. The brake pedal is essentially doing two jobs: the first half of the brake travel is for regenerative braking where as the second half will apply the “traditional” brakes to bring the car to a stop. This will feel strange at first but after a few minutes it all feels fairly natural. It’s possible to regenerate a mile or 2 on a downhill, by either lifting off the accelerator or feathering the brake. Please note: electric cars do not offer regenerative braking when the battery is full.

‘B’ Mode

You can increase the level of regenerative braking that occurs when you lift off the accelerator. This can be done by holding the gear lever right and pulling back (exactly the same movement that puts the car into drive). This will give a feeling similar to engine braking when approaching a junction. To return to regular drive mode simply repeat the process again. You will see the mode change from ‘B’ to ‘D’ and visa versa on the instrument panel.

Heating/Air Conditioning

Our Leaf uses a heat pump to control the cabin temperature. The Leaf’s cabin is climate controlled. Like any climate control, we recommend setting this to a sensible temperature and then leaving it in “auto”. The car will then generate the heat/cool air and deliver it when ready. To maximise range we recommend using the windows, heated seats and heated steering wheel to keep you at a comfortable temperature whenever possible. Please note: Our Leaf comes with heated seats for the rear passengers as well!

Eco Button

If you are trying to maximise your range then we recommend using the Eco button. It will reduce the energy usage of the heating/air conditioning, it will also soften down the throttle response. The Eco button does limit the speed of the vehicle, so it is not recommended for use on faster roads.

After your drive

Please return the Nissan Leaf to the location noted on the booking system. Complete the trip sheet making sure to note any issues with the car. If you do notice an issue, please also email Put the car on charge using the instructions below and return the key to the keybox.

Charging the Nissan Leaf

The Leaf will be charged from a charging post or dedicated wall charger; depending on the location. If you are charging from a post then you will need to initialise the charge from the Vend Electric App.

Setting up VendElectric for the first time

Step 1: An email will have been sent to you when joining the car club inviting you to join a private car club network. Click on CONFIRM INVITATION and fill out your information to create an account.

Step 2: Once your account is created your will need to accept the invite. To do this return to the same email and click CONFIRM INVITATION again. This will then add you onto the HNLC charge network.

Finally install the VendElectric app: which is available for Apple and Android phones. Login using the information provided above. Please note: The VendElectric app has a habit of logging you out if you haven’t used it for a while. If this happens click on the menu (top right) and choose Log in.

Charging using VendElectric

Ensure you have followed the setup instructions above. You will find the charging cable in the boot of the car. Open the charging flap by clicking the button to the right of the steering wheel (the button highlighted in green on the picture diagram). Plug the cable into the Leaf and then into the charging dock, making sure it is firmly pushed into the charging dock. Make a note of the socket number (UKEV2077 for example).

Step 1: Open the VendElectric app and find the charging location either by searching for “Hook Norton” or by scrolling on the map.

Step 2: Select the charging socket you wish to use. Type in the vehicle registration and “Free Charge” should appear at the bottom of the screen*. Select Confirm Charge.

*If “Free Charge” does not appear on the screen, click on the menu (top right) and double check you are logged into the application. If you’re not shown as logged in (your name should appear). choose Log in.

Step 3: If the application gets stuck on this screen, please leave the car plugged in and let the car club team know:

Step 4: Once the charge session is active you are free to close the app on your phone. Last remaining step is to check the car is charging.

Charging using the myenergi Zappi charging post

If you are charging the car from the myenergi Zappi charging post (like one to the right of the Tractor Shed ). You will find the charging cable in the boot of the car. Open the charging flap by clicking the button to the right of the steering wheel (the button highlighted in green on the picture diagram). Plug the cable into the Leaf and then into the charging dock, making sure it is firmly pushed into the charging dock.

Zappi Pin

Once plugged in you will need to enter the pin code for the charger, this is shown on the car booking system. The car should then start charging.

If you need to stop the charge please unplug the vehicle first, the zappi charger will then ask you to press + to unlock the cable.

Charging using a dedicated wall charger

If you are charging the car from a dedicated wall charger (like the one at the school), then the cable is tethered to the charge itself. Open the charging flap by clicking the button to the right of the steering wheel (the button highlighted in green on the picture diagram). Plug the car into the tethered cable, the last remaining step is to check the car is charging.

Check the car is charging

You may hear an audible click from the charging dock and a high pitched charging sound. The car itself will probably beep. The best way to check the leaf is charging is to look at the three blue charging indicator LEDs on the top of the dashboard.

Nissan label the LEDs, “1,2,3” where 1 is on the “left” side when facing the car from the front.

If LED 1 is blinking all by itself, you are charging but the state of charge is in the lower 1/3 of the range.

If LED 1 is solid and LED2 is blinking, you are charging and the SOC is in the middle 1/3 of the range.

If LED 1 and LED2 are solid and LED3 is blinking, you are charging and the SOC is in the upper 1/3 of the range.

All three lit up steady is full charged.

If you are unsure the car is charging please unplug everything and try again. If after a second attempt you are still unsure, please leave the car plugged in and let the car club team know: The team are able to initialise a charge remotely in this situation.

Charging outside of Hook Norton

If you are planning a longer journey then you will need to use the electric charging network, this should be fairly painless and shouldn’t cause concern. We recommend you try the following steps.

  • Go to or download the app.
  • Take notice of the guessometer on the car when you pick it up. The white Leaf will range anywhere between 100-150 miles
  • Pick a charging point and plan your route. You should pick a charging point that you guess you will arrive at with around 15-20 miles range. You should also make sure the charging point has the correct charging outlets (plugs). The Leaf uses either: Type 2 or Chademo charging leads.
  • You will notice that there are lots of chargers. There are also a lot of different charging companies and lots of different charging outlets. Choosing one may seem daunting at first. We recommend the following:
    • If you are travelling on motorways then Ecotricity run all the chargers at the major motorway services. You will need to sign up, download an app and give credit card details. Each transaction is logged on your app and a screenshot can be sent to HNLC for reimbursement
    • BP chargemaster run as an app called polar instant. This allows pay as you go access to their charging network which are usually away from the motorways. Try to screenshot or document any transactions you make on the app so that HNLC can reimburse you
  • If you follow the steps above then your “range anxiety” should be kept in check. In the unlikely event that you run out of range: all of our cars are covered by recovery.