Nissan Leaf - the best-selling electric car in the world

Nissan Leaf is the first electric vehicle that can compete with non-electric vehicles on price

5/9/14 7:57 am chumakdenis 2

Nissan is one of the best electic vehicle company.They have a bright vision for the future and it has been already proved.But was Nissan a real pioneer ? Well,let's figure it out more.

Everything new is well forgotten old

Long before the Nissan Leaf, electric cars were significant players until the 1920s, and again in Japan in the late 1940s.

But it was with the invention of the lithium ion battery that Nissan’s modern involvement began. In 1995 it launched the Prairie EV (and made 30), then the Altra EV (and made 200). It followed that with the compact Hypermini in 1999. The 2005 Pivo and Pivo2 concepts heralded the start of a development process that resulted in the Leaf.

The electric car has long been at the heart of the motoring industry’s future-proof plans, but its evolution has not been an easy one so far. Held back by battery technology, electric cars have failed to be a viable proposition for the masses due to a high price and a severe compromise in usability. Nissan hoped to change that with the Leaf, a five-door hatchback that runs on a 107bhp electric motor.

Claiming a range of up to 124 miles per charge (dependent on model, on individual use and the ambient temperature), Nissan is realistic about the target market. But that low-mileage market is still a broad one, and if the Leaf can prove that it offers the same ease of use as its conventional rivals, excepting the range, this could be the start of the electric car revolution that has been on the brink of happening for years.

The Leaf was originally introduced with retail prices starting from $29,830, though a government discount helped, but that left a lot for Nissan’s electric family car to prove. Shifting production from Japan to the UK in early 2013 reduced retail prices, as did the new pricing scheme, which allows buyers to lease the car’s battery, with the pricing based on three different annual mileages.

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Nissan Leaf review

The Nissan Leaf – the best-selling electric vehicle in the world – has great pickup and is super quiet and smooth, like every EV. The Leaf has an “Eco” driving option that can make the car drive much more efficiently, saving you some money and extending the range of your vehicle in between charges. The button for this is quite large, green, and prominently located on your steering wheel. This, of course, makes it easier to switch in or out of this greener driving mode, but it also calls out to you and reminds you to be intelligent and drive greener. I’m not sure if that was intended, but if it was, I think it was a clever idea.

However, that’s not the only thing the prominently placed and designed button does. Driving in Eco, the car makes you step on the pedal harder in order to go faster — it puts more resistance on the pedal — and what that results in is that, when you press the button to move out of Eco mode while you are already driving, you get a big burst of speed. You come to notice this very quickly while driving the car. I loved it, and it was hard not to just play with that power booster. The practical point, though, is that when you need a quick burst of speed, you know that you can very easily slide your right thumb over to the Eco button and release it for that tremendous burst (assuming you’re driving in Eco mode by default). It reminded me of hitting the turbo button in racing or sports video games.

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The Leaf also has a couple of braking modes. In B-mode, there is more regenerative braking than in the default or even the Eco mode, so the car starts to brake on its own faster when you release the electricity pedal (what we’d call the gas pedal in a gasmobile). I think having a couple options here is a very nice thing.

The Leaf has a pretty sweet visualization program to help you back into the location you are aiming for when going in reverse. It’s quite intuitive and lets you get into your spot without having to do any in-seat gymnastics/yoga or having to ask someone how much space you have. It seems quite convenient and I imagine it is appreciated by many a Leaf owner.

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There are also dashboard visualizations for remaining charge, projected range (in the current driving mode), and more. It’s all attractive and very clear.

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There’s plenty of space in the car, and the general look of the inside of the car is fairly similar to that of a normal car, which I guess some people may like and some people may want to get away from — I’m not sure where I personally stand on that one. The front interior of the car reminded me of a Toyota Camry.

With quite a low center of gravity (due the the batteries), the Leaf feels good and very stable on turns. This is another one of those benefits that exists in most EVs.

 

Nissan Leaf performance and engineering

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As a result of its ranks of lithium ion batteries, the Nissan Leaf is heavier than its combustion-engined equivalents by some 200kg.

But in reality this doesn’t hamper the Leaf’s ability to work as comfortable and pleasant transport. Having the batteries mounted under the boot floor hasn’t eradicated the sense of weight, but in general use the soft suspension isolates occupants well. There is more body roll than you get in most conventional hatches, but that roll is quite progressive.

The immediate torque and predictable power delivery makes the Leaf one of the best urban commuters around

Handling is similarly decent, but the defining characteristic is the steering. Very light and linear, it suits urban use perfectly, but it is devoid of feel and, with 3.3 turns lock to lock, a touch more steering input is needed at higher speeds than most would want.

But few cars need to provide a feelsome drive less than the Leaf, and it is a pleasant car in which to cover miles. Turn-in is sharp enough, there’s ample grip and the Leaf is wholly safe, predictable and not unsatisfying to drive.

The original version of the Leaf had an uncannily fluid urban ride, smoothing away even the worst of the UK’s roads. The downside to this was a lack of body control at motorway speeds, which could become slightly alarming floating at speeds above 70mph.

2013’s revamped Leaf is a much-improved motorway car, with a far more tied-down feel at higher speeds. The steering is also weighter at all speeds. The downside is that the uncanny urban progress has been sacrificed. Even though it still rides very well compared to rival, conventionally engineered cars.

Autocar’s original tests showed the Leaf can return 75 to 80 real-world miles on a single charge, with that falling to as little as 45 miles in the depths of a snow-bound winter day. However, the Acenta and Tekna versions of the 2013 Leaf use a new heat pump-based heating system which is claimed use much less battery power. (The entry-level Visia has the same system as the original Leaf).

Early tests show that the new heater does indeed allow a more impressive range, with 70 miles a likely minimum in sub-zero winter conditions and over 100 miles in warmer temperatures.

Even so, these are still comparatively small distances and it would be easy to view this as a very limiting factor, but considering that the vast majority of Leafs will be second cars, it’s also clear that this will be fairly irrelevant for many, especially if the car can be recharged when it is parked at the owner’s home.

Nissan Leaf Price

Before the $7,500 federal tax credit and any state or city tax credits available in your area, the base price for a new Nissan Leaf (the Nissan Leaf S) is $28,980. After the $7,500 federal tax credit, the price is $21,480. The lease price for that version is $199/month.

For the Nissan Leaf SV, the base price is $31,820 ($24,320) or $249/month for the lease. For the Nissan Leaf SL, the base price is $34,840 ($27,340) or $296/month for the lease.

The following can be added on for the prices shown:

Nissan Leaf S

Charge package — Nissan 6.6 kW Onboard Charger (6 kW Output), Quick Charge Port, RearView Mirror ($1,300)

Nissan Leaf SV

LED Headlights and Quick Charge Port Package — Aerodynamic LED headlights; Automatic on/off headlights, Quick Charge Port, Fog lights ($1,630) Premium Package — Around View Mirror, Boss Premium Audio System ($1,050)

Nissan Leaf SL

Premium Package — Around View Mirror, Boss Premium Audio System ($1,050)

Other accessories are of course also available.

Nissan Leaf versions

Here are some key facts on each of the Nissan Leaf versions:

Nissan Leaf S

107 Horsepower 129/102 city/hwy MPGe 5 Seats / 4 Doors High response 80 kW AC synchronous electric motor Zero emissions Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Ignition Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System Heated front and rear seats

Nissan Leaf SV

107 Horsepower 129/102 city/hwy MPGe
5 Seats / 4 Doors All Nissan Leaf S features Nissan Navigation System CARWINGS® 16″ Aluminum-alloy wheels 6.6 kW Onboard Charger

Nissan Leaf SL

107 Horsepower 129/102 city/hwy MPGe 5 Seats / 4 Doors All Nissan Leaf SV features 17″ Aluminum-alloy wheels Quick charge port Automatic on/off LED headlights Fog Lights

Buy or not to buy?Here is the question.

This is a difficult question to be answered. The Nissan Leaf is a family car, priced well ahead of its similarly sized opposition and that cannot travel much more than 100 miles before it needs to be stationary for hours. That ought to make it absurdly easy to dismiss, but it doesn’t.

Despite its limited range, the Leaf is a thoroughly excellent town car and quite able family transport, with appealing levels of refinement and comfort. There’s ample room for a family of four (five at a push), while the boot is a decent size, especially since the battery charger electronics were relocated from behind the rear seats.

Nissan has given the car a fair sense of style, too, while resisting the temptation to be too outlandish (inside and out) in the quest to boast about the car’s advanced technology.

Compared with similarly-priced rivals, it’s also exceptionally well equipped with a clever sat-nav system that will also detail how far you can go before recharging and tell you where recharging points are. That it emits absolutely nothing (either CO2 or pollutants) from the tailpipe will be of huge value to some buyers, too.

Those in the market for an electric car like the Leaf will be quite aware of its limitations. As an active family’s only car, the Leaf is a faintly ludicrous prospect. Think of it, though, as a practical, usable second car that allows a family to own just one internally combusted vehicle, rather than two, and it becomes a proposition that is absolutely viable, and unique.

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