What to expect on an adventure in the Yorkshire Dales in an electric car...

Haven’t we been lucky with the weather this summer? We are absolutely loving these long, sunny days. But it’s just sods law that when we set off on our family road trip last weekend to test the new Nissan Leaf in conjunction with Lookers Group, typical order was restored and we experienced four seasons in two days! That’s the British summertime we know and love.
Not ones to let it dampen our spirits we packed a multitude of clothing and saw it as a positive that at least we would get to put the car through its paces.
We bundled the Little Inspiration into her car seat first thing in the morning hoping that she would take a morning nap en route to pick up the car, but, that’s where we were wrong. We heard cute giggles and chattering from the back seat letting us know that nap time was off the agenda today.

We let her off as a road trip is quite an exciting thing and we were also in good spirits looking forward to heading up into the Yorkshire Dales, the most picturesque countryside anyone could wish for.

It wasn’t just excitement we were feeling though, we were nervous, as the car we were road testing was an all electric vehicle. I have never even driven an automatic before, being firmly of the opinion that without a clutch and a gear stick, it is just a bit, well, weird.

We had no concept how far we would get on one charge or if it might conk out on us in the middle of nowhere, which, as new parents, absolutely peaked the anxiety levels. We didn’t know where we would charge it, or how to even do it. There were so many questions to ask.

Fortunately Lookers were brilliant and put our minds at ease instantly. You could tell they were used to dealing with slightly worn around the edges, ragged parents and made an effort to engage with the Little Inspiration, which she absolutely loved.

As we walked into the large and bright dealership to sort out the paperwork, we were offered a drink and somewhere to sit. We blurted out our questions and were immediately reassured that we would get 154 miles out of each charge. We knew that we would easily make our trip there and back with that, so we instantly relaxed.
They also explained that at most motorway service stations you can have it charged and ready to go in 30 minutes, so in the time it would take us to have a coffee, we would be up and away again. Far from our expectation of sitting around for hours on end whilst it slowly recharged!

We looked for our closest charging point near to our accommodation and was surprised to see so many of them. I guess you don’t tend to look for them until you need them but they really are everywhere, including many car parks.
It was time to get our stuff loaded from our car over to the Nissan Leaf and as we approached this sporty looking hatchback, our other concern flooded back that we wouldn’t be able to fit all of our stuff in it. Gone are the days when we could travel with a rucksack and a prayer. We now come laden with baby paraphernalia that would rival Mothercare.
As we unpacked our car and loaded the new one with travel cots, mattresses, prams, high chairs and luggage, it soon became apparent that there was ample room for all of it. Unlike in our Audi A3 which was packed to the rafters and had stuff on the backseat, the Nissan Leaf wasn’t even completely full. 
The car was a glossy black, sporty looking thing from the outside, which appealed to both of us, but was all family sensibility on the inside. The back seats felt spacious and we attached our Isofix base for the baby car seat in minutes. It had all the mod cons including sat nav and 360 cameras for parking.
We did feel the interior could have been a bit higher spec, as it did have quite a lot of plastic but perhaps you can go higher spec if you pay a little more and actually, with young children around, practical and easy to clean is all that matters.

Once we’d been shown around the car by Leanne, we pressed the start button and nothing! I looked at her waiting for her to say I’d forgotten to do something but she assured me it was on, it was just THAT quiet compared to my diesel chugger. 

As we said our goodbyes to Lookers and hit the road, the Carnivore and I talked about how on earth pedestrians would even hear the car coming as you can’t hear a thing and I guess this is one of the potential issues with electric cars. We are so used to hearing as well as seeing cars when we cross a road.

We slipped it into eco mode whilst we drove the busy streets of Leeds, still cautious to conserve the battery life. Soon the city gave way to the countryside, as buildings became quaint stone cottages and roads became nothing more than single lane tracks with rolling fields and sheep either side of us.
We often venture over to the North Yorkshire Moors from where we live but the Yorkshire Dales is an area we often have to go when we have a weekend to spare. We decided we would go over towards Skipton and the beautiful Bolton Abbey and explore a bit.
Once we left the city we imagined it would struggle for power and other cars would leave us for dust but we held our own and could get our foot down when needed. In fact it gave a nice constant burst of energy rather than the juddery chug you sometimes get from diesels.

We scaled the rolling hills and windy roads on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, using brake mode to help us on the downhills which made light work of driving.
Soon enough we arrived at Bolton Abbey and was immediately impressed with its beauty. It could have rivaled a watercolour painting with it’s scenic river running through it, every shade of green in the nature surrounding it and the majestic ruins peeping out between the tree canopy.
We unpacked our picnic and found a shady spot under a tree to roll out the blanket and tuck in. The ducks had similar ideas and tried to take the Little Inspiration's sandwiches but she found it hilarious.
After we had eaten, we bought an ice cream and took a lovely walk by the river all the way to the Abbey before the rain & wind came. 

On the way back the Carnivore crossed the famous stepping stones and we climbed up into the tree canopy. It was quite a feat pushing a buggy all that way.
Soon we were back at the car ready to take shelter from the rain and wind. It continued to be a smooth and even drive and didn’t wheel spin even in the very wet conditions. It glided effortlessly up some pretty mighty hills and hill starts were a dream as it didn’t roll back.

There were a couple of moments when we forgot there was no clutch and ended up with a double stomp on the brake which brought us to an emergency stop. Luckily there were only sheep to witness it. I suppose with a lifetime of driving a manual it would take some getting used to.
After we drove through some more breathtaking countryside we reached our digs for the night, which was a working farm and equestrian centre. It was at the bottom of a very rough dirt road, not that we were bounced about by the Leaf.
In front of us was the most astounding view out over the moor and dale beneath. We tootled along avoiding geese and hens idling around the farm.
They even had a free range pig called Daphne who was just adorable. All grey and spotty, she was supposed to be a micro pig but ended up quite ginormous.
In many ways it was the country dream, we could even see horses peeping over their stable doors from our bedroom. We loved showing the Little Inspiration around the farm and she showed her appreciation by demonstrating her farm animal noises.  
The accommodation was bijou but lovely, with a barn door looking out over the farm and moor beyond. After we unpacked the car and set up the cot our bellies rumbled, the picnic having worn off some time earlier.
Close by was the Old Glen Pub, a rustic and family friendly eatery with real, hearty pub food. It was perfect for us and the Little Inspiration.
The Carnivore had a tasty steak and blue cheese sauce, which put a big smile on his face, and I went for the Herbivore halloumi burger and chips. The Little Inspiration had a baby-sized bowl of tomato pasta and garlic bread.
Satisfied and exhausted from our busy day, we headed back in the Leaf in a huge downpour before driving underneath a huge rainbow. I don’t know if we have ever been that close to one before and it was so beautiful.

We headed back to the farm and parked up the car for the night, overlooking the purple and orange glowing sunset over the dale.
After we eventually got the Little Inspiration to sleep, we collapsed into the big, farmhouse bed ourselves and drifted off to the sound of horses whinnying quietly.

The next morning was a hive of activity on the farm but luckily anything post 7am is now a lie in to us and we were up with the lark. The hens had already laid and we were given some warm, fresh eggs to take on our travels.
We packed up the car ready to go in search of a hearty breakfast and some more adventuring but the weather had other ideas.
It was cold, rainy and howling a gale so we headed for Saltaire Village to take in the historic UNESCO world heritage site. We enjoyed eggs all ways at Don’t Tell Titus before abandoning the very soggy weather and heading back to reality.

The Nissan Leaf took care of lights, wipers and blasted some much needed warm air into the car, so that all we had to do was drive. As we arrived back at the dealership we saw that there was still plenty of battery life to spare and were impressed with the range we had achieved. It might not be quite right for the Carnivore’s long work journeys, yet, but it would suit my driving needs perfectly.
We like to do our bit for the environment and an eco car would be of interest when I come to upgrade next. Although zero emissions are offset by the need to power it using fossil fuels but if they can find affordable renewable energy sources, we can see that these cars are the future.
As well as the government incentives to buy one, they are just nice cars to drive, which completely surprised us. We are both quite into cars but would have no qualms in owning one in the future.

We transferred all of our paraphernalia back into our own car and bade the Nissan Leaf and Lookers farewell. 

We had such fun showing our baby girl the beauty and scenery of the Yorkshire Dales and can see it being a family favourite for our adventures for many years to come.
Where are your favourite scenic drives? Would you consider owning an electric car? I'd love to hear your thoughts....

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