NISSAN TURNS OVER A NEW LEAF
Charging up with co.’s green go-to
Fall foliage frolickers are forewarned: The Nissan Leaf seems like an obvious choice for a weekend of sightseeing, but only if you intend to keep your leaf-peeping limited.
The 2018 Leaf SL is Nissan’s green go-to in the class of all-electric vehicles (EVs). Unlike hybrids, which have the option to alternate between electric and gas, as exclusively an EV, the Leaf does not emit any tailpipe pollution or greenhouse gas emissions while in operation. As one of the bestselling, highway-capable electric cars, the Leaf has a 151-mile range with its 40KWh Lithium-ion battery. A full battery charge takes 35 hours with a normal household outlet, but would only take 7.5 hours with the faster CHAdeMO connection, similar to an electric dryer connection.
As a news photographer working on assignment in my Leaf, blowing around the city and state, I found that charging the car added new meaning to the term “deadline.” I was constantly online attempting to locate parking garages, which were dotted around the city, but difficult to locate. Many charging stations were hidden in the larger, more
expensive parking garages. At home, I opted to run an extension cord out of my garage and plug the car in overnight, but since I didn’t have the 240-volt connection, charging slowed down to a trickle with the standard 120volt household outlet.
The redesigned 2018 Leaf boasts some bold, new looks for a hatchback, unlike last year’s model, which made it stand out as dorky and awkward. Most Leaf owners purchase the EV for function and its environmentally friendly, expensive Lithium-ion battery, not necessarily for luxury and swanky cabin features. I found the interior functional and comfortable, except that the lack of a telescoping steering wheel forced me to drive with the seat way back and my knees rested against the console. The test vehicle featured white leather seats with suede details and the doors and dash were adorned with the same.
The compact electric hatchback was fun to drive and sported more power than I had expected. The cabin was unexpectedly quiet and only faint road noise was heard after I floored the 147-hp electric motor from 0-60 mph in just under 10 seconds.
The suspension seemed a bit soft as I felt the car bottom out on some of the pothole-pitted streets of the Bay State, but the steering was stiff and responsive. My test car had the optional ProPilot Assist, which combined adaptive cruise control with lane centering. Although it was not autopilot, this feature was convenient in stop-and-go traffic.
Automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warning are standard on the Leaf, and it also featured an e-Pedal toggle switch which allowed the driver to brake without using the pedal. This feature came in handy, slowing the car down using the enginebraking effect of the electric motor, and served a dual purpose, saving your brake pads and charging the battery simultaneously.
We can all commit to do something more to help protect the environment, and investing the approximate $37,000 on the Nissan Leaf is definitely driving in the right direction.
BEST-SELLER: The 2018 Nissan Leaf SL is one of the best-selling highway-capable electric cars, with a 151-mile range per charge.
FORM, FUNCTION: The Leaf’s cabin, right, was quiet and comfortable, while the electric engine, top, got from 0-60 mph in just under 10 seconds.