Think Electric: The New Nissan Leaf

Every once in a while you’re faced with something big, but you may not initially realize it.

Until earlier this morning, I had a very defined space in my mind where I categorize electric cars. As you may recall with my drive of the Tesla Model S P90D last year, I’m in no way against EVs. In fact, it was hard not to fall for the performance and the futuristic aspects of that particular car. But up until now, production electric cars have either been too compromised when it comes to the more affordable models, or far too expensive when you think of the performance ones. Today, Nissan has changed that with the international launch of its new Leaf.

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Or at least, the Japanese automaker is well on its way to doing so. It’s also the reason why we decided to give space to a middle-of-the-road EV here on Speedhunters, as you will see in a moment.

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Design aside, which when it comes to this model could have only been improved, it’s the new Leaf’s numbers that speak volumes. With a price range between ¥3.1 and ¥3.9 million ($29,000 US and $36,800 US)  in Japan, the car brings a 40kWh battery to the table, a more powerful 110kW (150PS) motor, and a range of 400km (248mi). That last number is very important, because it takes care of the biggest compromise that affordable EVs – the first-gen Leaf included – have always had: Range. But like all estimated range numbers, this has to be taken with a pinch of salt; only a hands-on test drive would be able to give a real-world result. A US environmental regulator estimates the figure to be closer to 241km (a nice even 150mi) though.

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That would make it fall short of the Tesla Model 3’s range estimate, and it creates a bit of confusion as to why the numbers would be so drastically different. Further confusion comes by Nissan’s announcement that a more powerful Leaf with increased range is coming next year. One can only sarcastically wonder if it will be the Nismo version…

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Since 2010, Nissan has sold 300,000 Leafs globally, which is quite the achievement. And that number can only rise with this new car and the other EVs destined for Nissan’s model line-up.

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Which brings me to the final and main point. The new Leaf, along with future Nissan EV models, could potentially have the Porsche Cayenne effect. That is, initially be a questionable model, but in the long term bring in large profits for the company. If this money will help fund interesting cars like the GT-R, the Fairlady Z, other performance models, not to mention Nismo’s operations, then I’m all for it.

In Japan, where there are now 28,000 charging locations nationwide, 7,200 of which are quick chargers, EVs have become a totally viable option to an ICE car. The new Leaf has definitely come at the right time.

Let me know what you make of it all in the comments section below.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino
dino@speedhunters.com

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44 comments

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1

Nice post Dino, but still, I'm sorry, it's rubbish. Dunno how it works in Japan, but in europe it won't ever work properly. Almost every charging station is from a different company and you need their own card to use tge charge, that means you'll need at least 50 cards and you must have money on each of them, for you never know which one is the next when you need it. It's been proven by a german documentary experiment. And the kilometers it can pass is also rubbish, someone testes one Tesla model which supposedly had a charge for 600km, battery was depleted after 200km. The lenght is calculated in ideal conditions, without need of accelerating and braking. They might have really good specifications, but it's still a NO.

Author2
Dino Dalle Carbonare

As you can imagine the Japanese have it very well planned out. You need one card and that's it. That's for 400v fast chargers of which you can usually find 1 or more at most big highway parking area. 200V chargers are free, you can find them anywhere from department/supermarket parkings to convenience store car parts. It will no doubt take extra planning if you need to go on a long trip but the navigation system helps you out and gives you advice on where to stop and charge. Or you could buy a 320d and drive 1200 km on one fill up hahaha

3

P.S. My interest is a bit more aligned towards V8. Hehe, and that's a blasphemy for EU. :-D

4

As usually, when japanese do something they do it properly, for a difference from europe. Now I know where to go in case if they forbid ICE. :-D
But my guess is they won't.

Author5
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Hopefully not! Come to Japan, they love V8s over here, especially the german variety haha

6

Nah, they won't be even able to. Hmmm... Sounds tempting, except, the one I like most is US, New Edge Mustang, but, once I put my hands on one, there is going a lot of japanese stuff into that car, I can promise you that. :-D

7

Spent a month in Europe. (Italy, Germany, Holland) 1:5 cars was a plug in hybrid. In Holland I literally saw a tesla on every street. I do not know if they have it sorted out, but they seem to.

8

Well, yes, because there is way too much talk about polution and stuff that it really made alot of people believe that they are saving the planet. As I mentioned, there are many charging stations but there are many companies upholding them, and there is no one mutual way of paying for all of them.
Holland supposedly has the whoke thing sorted out. Whike EU plans to get rid of ICE until 2040., Holland set the same goal for 2025. And that's rubbish, too close future to myself.

9

Leaf it out...

10

Is the plural of this car "Leafs" or "Leaves?" It does my head in.

Author11
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Trees

12

No, it's actually Gooses.

13

The not so distant future is here..

14

Annnnd... it's still ugly.

How hard is it to make a cool looking EV?!

15

BMW i series (even the 3, i like it), Tesla s/3.
I will agree though. Styling is definitely on their 'compromises' list still.

16

Tesla? Panamera ev?

17

*for the average motorist

18

Panamera ev doesn't exist

19

put that word on the prius instead pal -_-

20

It's nice if there were infrastructures for electric cars, and that's way way way way tooooo far away, they keep selling you the idea that electric it's the future but they don't even bother thinking about how are gonna charge it if you are poor and don't own a garage where to do it.

Author21
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Japan has thought about it. I think European countries like Norway have as well.

22

Definetly agree on that.

23

Pure electrics will never work simply because they do not solve the problem the propose to, namely environmental pollution. Considering manufacture of all components, lifespan, and waste, electric cars cause MORE pollution than a typical fossil fuel vehicle. In addition, if everybody were to adopt electric cars, the power generation needs would need to increase by a factor of 4...that means you need 4x the electric power lines, 4x the transformers, 4x the substations, and 4x the entire power grid, and 4x the power generation capacity. NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN...electric cars are a dream.

Hybrid electric with range-extending combustion engines, probably WILL be the future, as they combine the efficiency of an electric with the freedom and flexibility of an ICE. The ICE with linear generators look to be the most promising technology, not yet available on the market.

24

Electric cars are perfect for cities and surrounding suburbs.

25

A nissan leaf will provide all the driving range needed by 90% of the us population day to day. While recycling lithium ion batteries is still small business the cobalt, nickel, and lithium to a smaller degree make the batteries too valuable to scrap completely. The rest of the car is a shell of steel and plastic and is just as recycleable as any other car. While the power grid will have to expand to meet the demand of electric vehicles none of this is going to happen overnight. batteries will improve, charging times will drop, parts will be shared across lines of vehicles and scales of economy will bring electric cars prices down. The other driving factor is China. more cars will be sold in China and the rest of Asia over the next twenty years than anywhere else. right now in China registering a gas powered vehicle is more expensive than and electric buy a factor of ten. the global nature of auto manufacturing will see all the major manufacturers building a vehicle architecture based around electric power trains. Electric cars are what we will be driving and it really isn't going to suck.

26

I'm sure all these type of discussions were happening in the late 1800's when the car was created, and as it evolved... "where do I get petrol?", it will be expensive to run... etc etc... the future is electric, the more models that are achievable for the common consumer the better, competition = reduced price = more cars = need for more infrastructure etc etc...

27

In countries like the USA these things will not make sense to buy for a while. Hybrids are actually they way to go for us until they can make the full transition. The key factor to these working in the USA is range. We have a LOT of land to cover in North America. When the range gets longer then the electric car will make more sense for a US-based customer. Not saying there aren't sales here already.

28

Or, to cover that land, perhaps mass transit in the states will be a reality again. Trains anyone? Hyperloop lol?

29

Actually, that would be pretty cool. Get some of those badass bullet trains like they have in Japan.

Author30
Dino Dalle Carbonare

They had electric cars not too far after the turn of the century too. Problem were batteries. 100 years on, the limiting factor is still batteries. We need Mr. Fusion!

decom_c02992c6ffa7caa4edb1b9008ba220b1_59b000f4bfaa1.jpgdecom_c02992c6ffa7caa4edb1b9008ba220b1_59b000f4bfaa1.jpg
31

Hahaha, is that the fusion from Back to the future?

32

Still looks like a foot.

33

this made me laugh out loud!

34

I'd be that one person to shove in a turbo FWD SR20 in the front of that thing. That electric motor and the body are god damn HIDEOUS.

35

as long as they don't kill manual mechanical cars its not that bad. the blog is right what if this funds for the all new silvia or another gtr

36

It's still ugly. It's still expensive. It's still slow. It still has got horrible range. They're still a long way off making these things viable to me.

37

The range still puts me off EVs. It can definitely restrict your freedom somewhat.

38

Am I the only one that noticed they used the doors of the old one. ;-)

39

This for through the week, a R32 for the weekend. :-D

40

Remember when V8s struggled to make 200 HP? The electric range will increase, look at the Bolt and Tesla. The Leaf and similar are city commuter cars, not "canyon carvers" as some like to compare to. For it's target market and intended use, it's excellent and I hope it does well. I was considering the older Leaf as a commuter but needed a wagon for dog.
Imagine how far electric cars would have been if GM didn't kill the EV1 and kept developing it, causing other manufacturers to jump on the bandwagon. But, gotta keep those oil company profits up aye.

41

Totally agree with some of your points. In fact, for the average consumer who isn't really interested in cars I believe electric cars are perfect. That is a lot of people.

Even for us petrol lovers it doesn't have to mean the end of petrol cars. Like one person said already, get an E-car for daily boring stuff and then use your throaty V8 on the weekends. But, I will say this also. Sometimes full electric may not be the way to go for everybody. In that case Hybrids are a great option.

42

Should have a bit more oompf! Like 200 PS.

43

IDX concept or bust. Throw an electric motor in it, who cares? But this is just silly with shit range. Range is still a compromise lol.

44

Better if they cancelled this and brought back the IDx.

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