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Nissan Leaf

September 17, 2020
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Bowen

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Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf is the number one selling EV car in the world. More than 450,000 have been sold, but that’s still just a pimple on the face of the automotive industry. I drove the new Leaf back in January 2018, in Las Vegas, out to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The new Leaf arrived in Australia in July last year, we’ve got our hands on one for the next six-months, which is great because I’ve got plenty to say.

Performance

The drivetrain produces 110kW and 320Nm of torque. But of course, when it comes to EV cars everyone wants to know the range figure. In my previous role, we drove a Hyundai Ioniq EV until it was completely flat. This wasn’t intentional, but I’m surprised how many people ask, “so what happens”? Well here’s what happens, you stop.

The Nissan Leaf can run for up to 270-kilometres. This is judged by the gold standard Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). That range is on the lower scale of EVs, the Hyundai Kona electric that we just had for 6-months travels up to 450km.

I let my wife use the car sometimes for weeks on end. She has a 120km roundtrip each day, a tough gig for a working mum. But I can assure you of this, not once has range been an issue. That’s because like your smartphone it becomes a habit to plug in each night, even my three-year-old knows this.

Living with the Leaf

One of the first things my wife noted was the “e-pedal.” This is Nissan’s marketing term for increasing regenerative braking. When activated it really does feel strange and abrupt. But once you come to terms with it, you literally can drive just with a foot on or off the accelerator. Hyundai’s Kona electric adds paddle shifters that allows you to dial up or down the braking sensation, all EV cars have similar systems.

By the way it’s not an actual pedal.

The Leaf has charge ports that can accommodate AC Type-2 & DC CHAdeMO plugs. A MODE-3 Type-2 EVSE cable is  supplied. The Leaf can be charged in three differed ways. The Mode 2 cable is for standard 15A 240V wall socket home charging.

Or you can use a mode 3 cable with a dedicated EVSE plug that enables connection to an AC charger. Then there’s a Mode 4 tethered to a CHAdeMO DC charger option for fast DC charging.

The 40kWh battery can take up to  24 hours to charge via the at-home socket option, the 2nd option will do it in 7.5 hours while via a 50kWh CHAdeMO fast charging point, it will take 60 minutes, from 0 – 80 per cent.

If all that sounds complicated, well you’re right.

Nissan is also promoting the fact the Leaf is capable of Bi-directional charging. Now this may sound a tad strange but hear me out. The Leaf basically can be used as a portable battery.

An example of this is say you charge the car overnight during an off-peak period. You can then use that cheaper power in the morning by feeding it back into your home. The average Aussie household obviously varies dramatically and can range on average from 7kWh to 41kWh a day. So, kicking off your day using that stored power won’t mean the car will be flat after breaky.

However, none of the above is possible just yet. Nissan Australia is currently working with charging partners such as Chargefox. For this to be possible you will need another wall style box installed. Basically, this creates a similar situation that the Tesla Powerwall created, but the major difference is that you can actually drive this one.

Price

The new Nissan Leaf is priced at $49,990 before on-roads. Premium paint costs an additional $565, two-tone paint requires another $990 of your hard earned. Nissan’s five year/unlimited kilometre warranty covers the Leaf. While the battery is covered for eight-years.

The EV journeys

Expect plenty of updates as we go EV into next year!