NISSAN LEAF: end of the road for electric pioneer

HOW quickly things change in the electric car world. This is the second generation LEAF which hit the roads in 2018 and offered owners the ability to travel a fair bit further on a charge of its battery pack than some of its opposition could do at the time.

But the hard fact is 168 miles just doesn’t pass muster six years on, and Nissan have decided to stop production to concentrate on new BEVs (battery electric vehicles) it has up its sleeve, like the new Ariya sampled a couple of weeks ago.

That said, if your need is only for an around town car that is practical, user friendly and can easily swallow up the family, get in quick as the last ones off the line probably won’t be around for long.
LEAF was an electric car pioneer (if you disregard the ones from the early days of the 20th century) and to prove its point Nissan chose to launch it from the covered main hall of Milton Keynes shopping centre 12 years ago, where we drove the car silently down the adjacent walkways and out onto the open road. On that day the first six electric charging points came into use in the city.

Nissan quotes a range of 168 miles for the standard LEAF (the original model was just 110 miles), and you can reasonably expect to get around 160 miles in everyday use, in decent weather anyway: cold weather seriously limits EV range, and you might be lucky to get around 100 miles from a full charge when it’s really chilly.It’s quiet, refined and comfortable around town – although the suspension is a little on the firm side to help it cope with the weight of the batteries – while the assorted driving aids are very useful particularly the e-pedal once you get used to it. This boosts the resistance from the electric motor and allows you to drive just using the accelerator, without the need to press the brake unless in an emergency.

Most drivers will take a couple of hours to learn where to lift off to come to a halt at traffic lights and junctions – the braking is so strong that, to start with, you’ll stop short of where you’re meant to.

Out of town, you’ll really appreciate how quiet the Leaf is. You’ll notice a bit of tyre noise, but that’s only the case because the car is otherwise so quiet.

There’s a lack of noise from under the bonnet, save for the barely audible whine from the electric motor, followed by the instantaneous delivery of power. The 236lb/ft of torque (equivalent to a decent sized petrol engine) is there pretty well from the word go, so there’s never a problem keeping up with traffic.With the average UK journey being a mere 8.5 miles, and a large proportion of all journeys less than 25 miles, the LEAF makes perfect sense as a clean town car.

If you keep the battery topped up every time you park (much like you
would with your smartphone) then range anxiety shouldn’t really be an


Nissan LEAF Shiro

Price: £28,495
Engine: electric motor with 39kWh battery
Power: 148bhp
Torque: 236lb/ft
Transmission: automatic
Top speed: 90mph
0-62mph: 7.9 seconds
Range: 168 miles (city 242)
CO2 emissions: 0 g/km

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