Welcome to LEAF Street - we explore the village where the LEAFs keep growing!

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22 Nov 2023

Making the switch to an electric car is pretty big news. And no matter how much journalists like us tell you what a car is like, most buyers have some doubts. You’ll want to know if it will work for your lifestyle, how you’ll charge, can you fit the kids in, will it be reliable? These are all sensible questions which hold many drivers back. 

But if one of your friends or neighbours takes the plunge first, the great thing is that you can learn from their experience. If it works for them, it could work for you too.

You might notice that certain streets and villages will - over time - fill with electric cars as word spreads. And that’s exactly what’s happened in a Hertfordshire village called Whitwell. 

Back in 2011, Electrifying.com’s Tom Barnard bought a Nissan LEAF. And whilst he was the first electric car driver on his street back then, he certainly wasn’t going to be the last.

After Tom bought his LEAF, he started to get questions from neighbours in his village - who were curious about going electric themselves - and before too long Tom’s wasn’t the only LEAF on his street. In fact, so many people were persuaded to go electric, Tom’s road became known as LEAF Street.

The first to make the switch were Jacqui and Andy. They got their 2015 Acenta when it was 18 months old, and they’ve covered more than 80,000 miles in it. Jacqui uses it to go to work as a paramedic and on school run for the couple’s now teenage children. They charge overnight using an off-peak tariff and it costs them less than £2 to do 80 miles.

A few weeks later, Alex and Pee bought their almost identical LEAF. Alex says: “We got ours at about the same time as Andy. I think we were all talking about it in the pub! We’ve done 60,000 miles in the past eight years and love it. The best bit is the convenience of charging up at night as you do with your phone and waking up to a full battery.”

Alex and Pee’s kids share a lift to school with the Barnards too, so in the morning they’d go in one Leaf and come back in another in the afternoon. There’s plenty of space, even as they grew into lanky teenagers. 

The next family to be converted we the Mel and Martin, who live opposite Andy and Jacqui.

It’s their second LEAF, with the family upgrading from an Acenta to the range-topping Tekna 

when the original finance agreement came to an end. Theirs is newer model with a bigger 30kWh battery and more range, which leads to some gentle teasing with the neighbours. 

“Space is very important for us,” says Martin. Mel is a netball coach and we need a decent size boot and plenty of legroom, as the players can be taller than usual!

“We also love being able to precondition the car so it is warm when we get in on cold mornings.”

Ivor is also on his second LEAF. This local legend has lived in the village for all of his 95 years and became interested in the power of solar while watching a novelty model sunflower on his window sill. “I was watching this plastic toy moving around frantically in the sunshine and thought it was incredible. If it could do that for a little flower, then it might be possible to run a car just using the power of the sun.”


​He invested in solar panels and then bought a LEAF to soak up the energy. “I bought the LEAF because I knew Nissan were the leaders in electric cars,” he says. After originally having an Acenta, he too upgraded to a Tekna three years ago. “We do pretty much all of our miles these days just using the solar power.”

The next recruits to the LEAF club were Charlotte and Shareef, neighbours to Mel and Martin. They have had their white Acenta for three years, and bought it on the recommendation of their neighbours. It’s mainly used for commuting to Shareef’s school where he teaches but it’s also been used for other lessons – the couple’s son learned to drive in it. 

Finally, there’s chef Steve and his wife Suzie. They have three kids and their LEAF is the perfect all-rounder, used for school runs and for commuting. Steve drives it into London as its congestion charge free and cheap to park in Westminster near his office. Suzie also takes it to work sometimes as she can charge for free without it being taxed as a benefit.

There are rumours of another recruit soon too. Charlotte and Shareef’s neighbour has been asking questions and looks set to make it three houses in a row all with LEAFs! 

There are other EVs in the village too, but Tom and his neighbours think the LEAF owners were the pioneers and proved that electric cars just work. There are at least 20 electric cars, and that’s a lot in a small village. Good news spreads.

Have you helped neighbours make the switch to electric? As always, we love to hear your comments.

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