The secondgeneration Nissan Leaf
It’s seven years since Nissan launched the all-electric Leaf and also introduced me to range anxiety when its 90-mile range on a full charge nearly left me stranded after 60.
Now the world’s best-selling pure electric car, with more than 350,000 sales, Nissan has launched the second generation, pushing performance, power and range boundaries. The original model’s dumpy, jelly-mould styling makes way for a bolder, eye-catching design more in keeping with driving the future.
UNDER THE BONNET
An electric motor, mated to an automatic gearbox, now has a 40kwh battery and, with 320Nm of torque all the way to 3,283rpm, then the maximum 150PS of power to 9,795rpm – this is a mean machine in every sense. New real-world MPG testing gives a range of 168 miles in normal driving – 242 miles in urban driving with eco mode.
A flap in front of the bonnet reveals charging points – one for a domestic threepin plug, taking up to 21 hours, and a 7kw home wall charger which takes 7.5 hours, and the other for 50kw public fast chargers taking 40 to 60 minutes for an 80pc top-up.
HOW IT DRIVES
The Leaf corners flatly, with good grip and steering feel, to carry momentum through corners and avoid wasting battery power getting up to speed again, but the ride is on
the firm side on rough surfaces.
The unique e-pedal, which can be switched on and off, makes driving easy and relaxing – press the throttle to go, lift off to slow to a complete stop, rather than use the brake pedal.
Three-quarters of owners opt for Propilot semi-autonomous driving system, standard on range-topping Tekna, which maintains speed, distance from the vehicle in front and within the lane markings. There’s also Propilot Park for hands-off, feet-off forwards or backwards parallel and bay parking.
SPACE AND COMFORT
It will seat five adults, but the back seat cushions are high to accommodate the big battery, legroom is at a premium and there’s little footroom under the front seats.
The 385-litre boot is useful, but rangetopping Tekna has an extra speaker for the Bose sound system on the floor. Rear seat backs fold down 60/40, but there’s a big step up from the boot floor.
AT THE WHEEL
A conventional speedo, eco-power gauge instead of a rev counter and battery life and range readouts are easy to read. Connectivity is a strong point and the infotainment screen includes selectable data displays about energy use – techie owners will love them.
This award-winning new Leaf is so good, when it comes to electric motoring, it can win hearts and minds. And no worries about range with a bit of planning ahead.