An electric partner in the City of Light

My life with a Nissan LEAF: The French Uber driver who found the perfect partner for the streets of Paris

Apr 20, 2021
  • People

Paris is full of surprises. But thanks to his Nissan LEAF, Uber Green driver, Fabien Verbrugghe is ready for them. Whether it's a trip along the Seine or a drop-off at the Louvre, to maneuver the streets in one of Europe's most dreamy cities, Fabien needs to be super alert. Motorbikes, electric scooters and bicycles whizz through busy intersections. Tourists flock to the elegant Eiffel Tower and the Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral. Buses carve their way along well-worn routes. Traffic lights flash, hooters honk and Fabien's phone buzzes with each new trip.

"You need to act quickly," he explains, peering from under a bright yellow beret. "So the driving support and responsive acceleration are great and are very important. The Nissan LEAF is the ideal partner for my job."

Traffic on the Champs-Élysées, Paris, France

Zero emissions, zero guilt

Fabien bought his first LEAF three years ago to criss-cross the City of Lights. He had a deep interest in Japan, its culture and technology. So the decision to buy a Nissan came easily. At the time, he was a little worried about the space his passengers would have and whether suitcases would fit in the trunk for those airport journeys.

His worries faded quickly. "I've realized people feel better in electric vehicles and with eco-friendly travel," says Fabien. "Zero emissions and no guilt driving around the streets of Paris. It's the car everyone loves."

A new study commissioned by Nissan recently found that seven out of 10 European internal combustion-engine drivers are considering a switch to electric vehicles (EVs). It also found that 89% of those who'd taken the leap were happy with their decision and the role they're playing in reducing carbon emissions.

Fabien Verbrugghe, Uber Green driver, driving his Nissan LEAF

Perfect partner for an Uber driver

Fabien discovered not only that there was plenty of space in his hatchback but also how quiet its electric motor was. He loved the power and the smooth drive. But with the LEAF, he could also keep out the noise of the bustling city. This meant he could easily strike up conversations with his passengers and even play tour guide. "It's quieter inside, so I can talk with my clients."

Better service meant five-star reviews and more business. For an Uber driver, more business means more time behind the wheel. Paris is a network of over 6,000 streets, from iconic avenues like Champs-Élysées to narrow cobblestone roads. Navigating this spider’s web of routes for hours each day is tiring work. But the technology built into Fabien’s LEAF – which just celebrated its 10th anniversary - has taken some of the pressure off. For those who drive on both narrow streets and highways, features like the e-Pedal, for one-pedal driving, and ProPILOT advanced driver assistance have made life on the road easier. “The Nissan LEAF enables me to work more safely,” Fabien explains. “I can work longer hours and feel less tired. And that’s good for my profits.”

Towards a carbon-free future

Some say Paris is the "whole world in a city." Fabien has loved exploring it in an EV and has now upgraded to his second LEAF (a second-generation 62 kWh battery model). He's convinced some of his colleagues to join him and become Uber Green drivers, to offer sustainable rides in electrified vehicles. Once again, the world's first mass-market EV is helping to reduce pollution and lower emissions in cities, as the world moves towards a zero-emissions future.

Fabien says: "The LEAF has had a big positive impact in my daily life, especially as a driver. Once you've changed to electric, there's no going back."

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