Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf


What is it?

Most carmakers are still up to two years from launching their first proper standalone mainstream electric cars. Yet here’s Nissan launching a full second generation of the Leaf. Even in its final months of production, the outgoing Leaf was outselling in Britain all other pure-EVs put together.

That original Leaf has amazingly loyal and satisfied customers. They loved the tiny running costs, convenience of home charging, silence, and simple practicality. And they liked that at the top and bottom it was just a car - five seats, good boot, easy to drive, affordable to buy. People who have owned electric cars almost never return to combustion.

But that first Leaf had weaknesses. In a world where Tesla got the headlines if not the sales leadership, it was slow and lacking in range (though it got better with the 30kWh battery upgrade). It looked odd. And as all cars got better connectivity and driver assist, the Leaf needed upgrades there too.

So those are the new Leaf’s promises. Quicker, further-reaching between charges, better-looking, more assistance. And prices are lower, model for model.

The motor is the same as before. But a new inverter – the heavy-duty electronic device that supplies and controls the electricity going around the car – is more powerful. So the motor can now develop much more power, 150bhp, and the 0-62 time falls to 7.9sec.

The battery is the same physical size as it always was, but new chemistry and management means it has a capacity of 40kWh. Nissan has tested it in the new more realistic global test protocol, WLTP, and got 168 miles’ range. On the existing if discredited EU cycle it gets 235 miles.

Nissan is also busily installing more high-power DC chargers – it already has twice as many across Europe as Tesla has Superchargers. But then with shorter range than a Tesla you need visit them more often in a journey


What is it like on the road?

It’s all very simple and relaxing if you fall into its way of doing things - smooth and silent and serene. Try and drive it like a GTI and of course it’ll push back at you.

It’s not slow though. Up to about 50mph it has a definite spring in its step, and even at motorway speed there’s enough acceleration. And it’s practically silent as well as bewitchingly quick-witted. It gives the impression it was always impatient to accelerate and was just waiting for you, by pressing the pedal, to allow it to do so.

Don’t get carried away on the motorway though. Doing outside-lane speeds drives a coach and horses through your range.

Uphills do the same, but of course what goes up must come down. On our test route we drove up a 2,400m mountain. The battery charge fell scarily on the way up. Then on the way down to sea level we clawed back 11 percentage points by careful use of regeneration.

But that’s an odd style of driving. You try to avoid sudden acceleration and braking. But in bends you’re frantically conserving your speed. So there’s an unnatural combination of low longitudinal g but high lateral.

Still, hooning up and down mountain passes isn’t what this car is for. In normal driving, the silent exactness of its power is what enchants you.

A new ‘e-Pedal’ system means you can get strong regenerative braking, and also some blended friction braking, just by lifting off the accelerator. It means you can avoid the brake pedal most of the time. It’s a surprisingly relaxing and simple way to drive. You sharpen up your anticipation skills, and that’s quite fun in itself.

The e-Pedal’s electronics take care of deciding when to bring in the friction brakes and, by separate calculation, when to illuminate the brake lights. It generally (unless the battery is full so can’t take regen energy) will favour electric retardation over the brakes until very low speed. You need only use the actual brake pedal for events over 0.2g.

Flat and predictable cornering is a natural result of a low centre of gravity. Swinging through open bends is surprising fun, partly because you can meter the power with such precision and the responses to the steering wheel are nicely progressive. The Leaf sits stable on a motorway too. But the steering is depressingly remote of feel and the low-resistance tyres don’t cling very gamely, and the damping can get flustered.

The top-rung Tekna version comes with radar cruise control including lane following and traffic jam assist. Nissan calls the bundle ProPilot and makes rather a fuss of it. It’s unusual in the hatch segment, but not unique, and bigger cars frequently have it. Like every other such system, the steering assist is easily caught out by things like repair lines in the road, or glare.

All except base trim get radar cruise, but without the steering function. All Leafs also get radar sensors feeding cross-traffic assist for reversing, and blind-spot warning. Much more useful.

The ride isn’t too hard, but it can get a bit bobbly if the road excites that frequency. The absence of engine noise means you notice the sound of tyres and wind, but actually those things are decently subdued and you don’t have to turn up the stereo.



640px Nissan Leaf 001

Nissan Motors has developed several concept cars and limited production electric cars, and launched the series production Nissan Leaf all-electric car in December 2010.[1] As of December 2015, the Leaf is the world's all-time best selling highway-capable plug-in electric car with over 200,000 units sold since its introduction.[2][3]

The Renault-Nissan Alliance committed €4 billion (around US$5.2 billion) into its electric vehicle (EV) and battery development programs with the aim to become the leader in zero-emission transportation. By mid 2015, the Alliance ranked as the world's leading electric vehicle manufacturer with global sales of over 250,000 units delivered since December 2010.[4]

In August 2013, Nissan confirmed the company has plans for 5 plug-in vehicles in the future. These 5 include the Nissan LEAF, the Infiniti LE, the Nissan e-NV200, and 2 not yet announced models.


Nissan e-NV200 

The all-electric Nissan e-NV200 utility van has a range of 73 mi (117 km), similar to Nissan Leaf.[6] Trials with Japan Post Service began in July 2011, followed by trials with FedEx in London starting in December 2011.[6][7][8] More testing with a more advanced pre-production version took place in Singapore, the UK, the U.S. and Brazil.[9][10][11] A more extensive 6-month trial with 28 units delivered to British Gas began in the UK in November 2013.[12]

The production version was unveiled at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. Nissan started production of the e-NV200 in the first week of May 2014.[13] The e-NV200 was released in Europe in June 2014, followed by Japan in October 2014.[14] Global sales totaled over 5,200 units through October 2015, with 4,752 sold in Europe and about 500 in Japan 

Nissan Esflow 

See also: Infiniti Emerg-e

On February 9, 2011, Nissan introduced the Nissan Esflow, to be unveiled at the March 2011 Geneva Motor Show. It is a sports car weighing less than 1,000 kilograms (2,000 lb), capable of going 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 60 mph) in under five seconds and having a range of 240 km (150 mi) on a single charge. The body is similar to the Nissan 370Z and the headlights and taillights are similar to the Nissan Juke's.[18] The expected price is US$34,000 to US$40,000.[citation needed]

Nissan Townpod 

Unveiled at the October 2010 Paris Motor Show, the Townpod is a two-door high-tech vehicle cable of performance as both a family car and a work car for entrepreneurs. With the capability to seat five, it has rear fold-down seats. Production dates, prices, and estimated driving range on a single charge have not yet[when?] been announced.

Nissan Leaf[edit]

Main article: Nissan Leaf

On August 2, 2009, Nissan announced the production of the Nissan Leaf, the company's first series production all-electric vehicle. Deliveries of the electric car began in Japan and the United States in December 2010,[1] followed by various European countries and Canada in 2011. The Leaf is the world's all-time best selling highway-capable all-electric car.[2][3]

Global sales reached the 50,000 units by mid February 2013,[19] and the 100,000 unit mark by mid January 2014, representing a 45% market share of worldwide pure electric vehicles sold since 2010.[20] The 200,000 unit milestone was reached in early December 2015.[2][21]

As of June 2015, the Leaf is available in 46 countries in four continents.[4] As of November 2015, the top markets for Leaf sales are the U.S. (88,244), Japan (about 57,000), Europe (about 48,000), and Canada (3,076), together representing about 99% of Leaf global sales.[22] As of September 2015, Norway ranked as the market leader in Europe with 14,736 new units sold,[23][24][25][26]

Nissan Nuvu 

Main article: Nissan Nuvu

Nissan Nuvu is a compact all-electric city car with 2+1 seating, with solar panels shaped like tree leaves on the roof that channel the sun's power through a "tree trunk" conduit in the center of the vehicle. It can reach about 121 km/h (75 mph) and travel up to about 129 km (80 mi) on an electric charge.[27][28]

Nissan Land Glider 

Nissan unveiled the narrow, weight-shifting Land Glider Concept at the October 2009 Tokyo Motor Show. The Land Glider looks and feels like a mixture between a car, a motorcycle, and an airplane. The rear-view mirrors have been replaced by cameras and monitors.[29] Inside, the traditional steering wheel is replaced with something similar in appearance to an aircraft's yoke control. Riding on a motorcycle-inspired Tandem architecture, the Land Glider and its tires can lean up to 17 degrees in turns. Power comes from two electric motors connected to lithium-ion batteries mounted underneath the floor. The Land Glider features a non-contact charging system that enables it to be recharged at any wireless charging station.[30][31]

Nissan Altra 

Main article: Nissan Altra

The Nissan Altra was an electric car produced by Nissan Motors between 1998 and 2002. The Nissan Altra was introduced at the LA Auto Show on 29 December 1997. Nissan described the Altra as a combination of a sedan, SUV, and minivan. It was mainly used as a fleet vehicle for companies such as electric utilities. Only about 200 vehicles were ever produced. It was based on the Nissan R'nessa, and was sold as an R'nessa in the Japanese domestic market.

Nissan Hypermini 

Main article: Nissan Hypermini

The Hypermini is a two-seater electric car produced by Nissan Motors. It was introduced in a limited way in Japan in 1999. It was launched for retail sale through Nissan dealers in the greater Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto metropolitan areas in February 2000, priced at ¥4,000,000 (about US$36,567) with a 200-volt mount-type battery charger and ¥4,015,000 with a 200-volt non-fixed battery charger. Sales were targeted principally at national government offices and agencies, local government bodies and corporations. Nissan claims the Hypermini consumes a quarter the energy of a typical car.

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