Charged up and ready to go, We-Ar clothing creative director Jyoti Morningstar takes a spin around Auckland streets in the new Nissan Leaf.
Being a fan of two wheeled travel modes – vespas, bikes and, more recently, an electric bike – I expected to appreciate the eco-awesomeness of Nissan’s new electric car but I didn’t expect to be quite so seduced by it. Completely silent and strangely intuitive, the Leaf beguiled me with it’s svelte driving experience. There were a couple of features that took half a day to get used to; such as the rounded gear shift that glided almost too easily between it’s two modes – forward and backward (just like driving a slick go-cart) and then also, the utter soundlessness of this car – a gorgeous development that I think will have such a positive impact on our urban environment as more people go electric but one that calls for extra caution for now around pedestrians who cannot hear you approaching.
Once I’d tethered my phone via bluetooth, the Leaf played whatever I was listening to once the proximity key was activated which made for a cosy cocoon in the rotten, wet weather we Aucklanders have been suffering of late.
The dash display shows how efficiently you are driving by showing the number of kilometres you can still travel according to the battery’s charge. A few tricks such as gently braking when moving downhill caused a gain in charge whilst swift acceleration made it drop quickly. Being able to see this made me more conscious of the power I was using and also curious to try and improve the efficiency with which I was driving – not something I generally think about when driving around town. I think with a bit of practice the number of kilometres eked out of a single charge could be increased significantly.
A surprisingly fun feature of being in this completely electric car was the instant access to power. It’s all right there, under your foot, with no delay. This is a great feature for city driving when your opportunity to nip across a busy road or swerve into a park needs to be seized in a moment. An ever-so-slightly ‘too-twee’ feature that gave me the cringe feel of being marketed to was the graphic ‘tree’ which grew leaves when you drove efficiently but somehow I ended up kind of liking it for the easy symbolism which may have the desired effect of connecting users with their individual resource usage.
I guess the challenge to market penetration here in NZ may be that you cannot really take it out of town because of the need to recharge every 150 km – or less if you’ve been putting your foot down or driving hilly streets. So no good for a kiwi road trip but, hey, for urban living when you just need to get around town and out to the beach at the weekend, it’s perfect.
"A surprisingly fun feature of being in this completely electric car was the instant access to power."
Jyoti Morningstar is the creative director of We-Ar clothing, the gorgeous yoga inspired fashion range. See the latest clothing and find out more about ethical production of We-Ar clothing at www.we-ar.it