You’ve determined you wish to purchase an electrical vehicle, and the 2019 Nissan Leaf has positioned itself as the smartest, most affordable option in your shopping list. Tesla product is just too costly – or, ahem, unavailable – and the BMW i3 is just that little bit too far beyond what you can justify.
This initial, temporary local drive isn’t about assessing the Nissan Leaf against its non-electrical competitors. Think Hyundai i30, Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3 or Volkswagen Golf. You’ve already determined you need to purchase and drive an electric vehicle, so comparing it to standard hatches just isn’t relevant.
Slightly, this test will give attention to – if the pricing lands where we think it should – whether the Nissan Leaf remains to be probably the most compelling option in a segment that will get slightly crowded pretty quickly. The Leaf was at all times the frontrunner; it’s easy to forget that. Can it retain its place on the head of the real-world queue?
While the common punter can’t hope to easily afford Tesla’s current offering, the BMW i3 is, nonetheless, closer to the value more individuals can justify forking out for a daily driver. The entry-stage i3 electric-only mannequin starts from $68,seven hundred and steps up to $69,900 for the i3s. Subsequently, if the Leaf can sit around that crucial $50K barrier, it’s a compelling worth point for the typical buyer.
There’s a whole different argument to be had about how we generate our power, and whether or not it is truly green to personal an electric vehicle in Australia in 2018. You’ll be able to, nonetheless, go for solar power, build enough storage into your home system and handle your electrical energy use carefully to minimise the impact on the grid. And if you’ve determined you undoubtedly want an electric automotive, the perceived reliability and high quality that come with the Nissan badge are price something before you even start.
First up for me, there’s the Leaf’s styling. Or lack of the same old quirkiness, more to the point. Electric automobiles have generally had a bent to look a little bizarre, edgy or sharp for no reason apart from they are electric. The Leaf, not so much. It appears just about precisely the way you’d anticipate a small Nissan hatch to look.
It’s a transparent profit to my approach of thinking that the Leaf doesn’t appear to be some strange stick insect with wheels. You might argue that the Leaf might look more futuristic in the event you needed to take the opposite view, but I like the comparatively regular styling and I think it’s going to broaden the appeal. Just because you’re an early adopter doesn’t necessarily imply you want to seem like one.
Nissan also claims a huge 400km battery range for the new Leaf. We’ll test the accuracy of that assertion when we get a Leaf within the AutomobileAdvice garage for a full week of testing, however on face worth, with the typical commute being less than 50km return, most Aussies will have more than sufficient range within the Leaf.
(NOTE: The above determine of 400km was based on initial particulars drawn from the Japanese unveiling of the new Leaf. Nissan has now confirmed the native range, based mostly on the new WLTP testing system, shall be 270 kilometres. In our view, this range will get most urban households through a couple of days of unplugged motoring
The Leaf will recharge overnight at dwelling from just about zero too, with the included pack. Use a quick charger like we did on the NRMA head office in Homebush, roughly 20km outside the Sydney CBD, and you’ll get to eighty per cent capability in forty minutes – just sufficient time to have a coffee and check some emails.
Weighing in at 1500kg, the Leaf is someplace within the range of 200–300kg heavier than a petrol-powered hatch of the identical segment dimension, but with 320Nm available from zero, it’s spritely enough. There’s 110kW on provide as well, and 0–100km/h comes up in eight seconds so it’s not lightning fast, however it’s more than snappy enough to fulfill city dwellers. There’s little doubt the immediacy that we’ve come to expect from electrical vehicles is there.
The Leaf does begin to plateau out someplace between 60 and 80km/h, however I ran it as much as 100km/h on the motorway and it sat there effortlessly. Up to 60km/h, acceleration is really effortless and linear. And silent, after all, which brings its own new tech-targeted sensation. Single-velocity gearing is something you’ll must get used to. It’s a strange sensation initially, however like the texture of the brake pedal, it’s going to quickly grow to be second nature.
With regards to the brake pedal and the feel of identical, Nissan Leaf 2016 is eager to promote the clever ‘e-Pedal’ system. It’s activated by way of a switch on the console, so you should utilize the brakes as normal when you desire, however I shortly became consolationable with e-Pedal activated. It delivers energy recuperation and deceleration as soon as you lift off the throttle too, bringing the automotive to a cease without utilizing the brake. It only took two corners for me to work the system out and never want the brake at city speeds.