When you think of the idea of electrified vehicles, performance, style and accessibility may deter you from investigating further. But with technology rapidly advancing (autonomous driving is almost here, folks) electrified vehicles are the way of the future, and leading the pack is the all-new Nissan Leaf – a vehicle to change perceptions.
One of the world’s first 100% electric vehicles – meaning, zero petrol – the first generation of Nissan’s electric fleet launched in 2010, going on to win a new breed of customer; the everyday person. Having sold more than 400,000 vehicles since its inception and going on to become the world’s most popular EV, the second-generation Nissan Leaf has now arrived and is taking things a step further thanks to its all-new design and groundbreaking capabilities.
We recently took the new Nissan Leaf for a spin around Melbourne, learning, in the process, what it means to be 100% electric.
Nissan’s electric history
Unbeknown to many but Nissan, in fact, has been an electric vehicle pioneer for over 70-years.
In short, after the turmoil of the Second World War, oil was scarce in Japan but electricity was plentiful, so the Japanese government promoted the manufacturing of electric vehicles.
From this, Nissan welcomed its first EV in 1950 – the Tama – marking its foray into the electric world, as well as setting on a path as a true visionary of this automotive sector.
Nissan Leaf 2.0
After the great success of the first-generation Nissan Leaf which was recognised with numerous accolades over the years (winner of the 2010 Green Car Vision award, the 2011 European Car of the Year and the 2011 World Car of the Year), it would seem that the second-generation Leaf has a lot to live up to.
The development and innovation of the Leaf has continued to develop since 2010, which puts its bigger (and better) brother at the forefront of electric vehicle design and performance in 2019.
Debuting in July 2019 in Australia, the Nissan Leaf exceeds all expectations for how an electric vehicle should perform.
At first glance, the Nissan Leaf is a relatively modest yet attractive hatchback. Its aerodynamic design lends itself to a true automotive performance, which can only be experienced behind the wheel.
Powered by Nissan’s e-Powertrain – a lightweight, compact and high-efficiency powertrain used in all of Nissan’s EV fleet – with a 40kWh battery that generates 110kW of power, its torque is also instant (320Nm of torque to be precise), which can be felt with the smallest touch to the accelerator.
The e-Powertrain uses a range of elements combined to deliver a high quality, smooth and responsive drive – and it was evident within minutes of driving the Nissan Leaf.
“The torque in the Leaf gives the responsiveness that drivers are truly looking for in their day-to-day,” says Ben Warren, Electrification & Mobility at Nissan.
“Coupled with intuitive technology and active safety control, the Leaf makes for a safe drive.”
Small features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make connectivity seamless, while its intelligent key with push-button start is a technological blessing – going from key to wireless is life-changing!
But, one of the best features is the inclusion of its e-pedal, which is a part of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility. For a city like Melbourne that is dominated by traffic no matter the time of the day, the e-pedal makes life that little bit easier as it allows you to accelerate and brake using the one pedal. By simply releasing the accelerator, the Leaf will come to a complete stop… genius!
The integration of intelligent features such as lane-keep is a blessing, which keeps your car in line should you start to stray from your lane on highways. The Leaf can also come to a complete halt in emergencies or should a dangerous situation arise.
Ride control eliminates the bumps of the everyday commute by automatically applying and adjusting brakes and engine torque to better balance your ride. And it’s the little things such as a heated leather steering wheel and front AND rear seats; 7-speaker Bose premium audio sound and rain-sensing wipers, that make a world of difference when commuting.
How charging works
One of the biggest considerations when purchasing an EV – or lack thereof – is where and how you charge your vehicle. With the expansion of the EV sector, we are seeing greater infrastructure built to facilitate EV charging.
According to PlugShare and the Australian Bureau of Statistics in their June 2018 research on EV vehicles, there are 783 public chargers in Australia of which 69 are quick chargers – an impressive improvement since the inception of the Leaf in 2010.
Helping Nissan with its EV charging infrastructure is JET Charge, experts in EV charging supply and installation.
The charging of the Nissan Leaf battery has significantly improved since 2010, with powering up now quicker and easier. Plug your LEAF into a CHAdeMO (vehicle-to-grid charging) rapid charger and get from 20% to 80% charge in around 60 minutes.
“The Nissan Leaf is more a battery than a vehicle, and we’re trying to showcase that through our initiatives,” says Tim Washington, Founder at JET Charge.
“10% of new vehicles will be electrified by 2025 so EV charging is posing some big questions like, do outlets, like JET Charge, become one of the biggest electricity outlets by giving people free charging [at supermarkets] which, in turn, you can use to power your home?”
JET Charge has also been tasked with the fit-out and installation of EV hardware and software in over 89 Nissan Dealerships that will sell the Leaf across the country.
Nick Thomas, global director of EV at Nissan, goes on to say the endless possibilities that are presented with the all-new Nissan Leaf and its EV capabilities.
“EV’s are the solution to energy problems we are currently facing, it’s as simple as that,” says Thomas.
“We, as Nissan, want to create a virtual battery pack that will help change the world; to help create a connected world. We’re not an energy provider but a flexibility provider.”
For more information on the Nissan Leaf, head to the website here