The 2015 Nissan Leaf All-Electric car continues to get better and better. On sale since 2011, the Leaf is not a hybrid electric car with a gas engine. It runs only on pure electric power via a battery…NO GAS REQUIRED! In the Leafs case power is via a 107 horsepower 207 lb.-ft. of torque, 80-kW electric motor, powered by a 192-cell lithium-ion battery that is recharged by plugging into a normal wall socket. The 2015 Leaf features as standard features Bluetooth, heated front and rear seats, rear-view monitor, smart key with push-button start, heated and power side mirrors, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted controls, heated leather steering wheel, AM/FM/CD audio system with iPod compatibility and USB input, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, portable trickle charger, 16-inch steel wheels, power locks and windows, six airbags, and moreOptions include Navigation, fog lights, 16-inch aluminum wheels or 17-inch aluminum wheels, around-view monitor, quick-charge port, leather seats, Homelink, premium audio, and more
An intuitive touch-screen includes energy information, charging and climate control timers and the nearest public charging station. The seats are very comfortable and are heated, as is the steering wheel. Everything is power operated and with four full doors and rear seats that fold down in a 60/40 split it is a true practical family hatchback. Speaking of the rear cabin, the back seats are also heated and they also have their own heating and cooling ducts.
And now the big question is the range. Just how far will the Nissan Leaf travel on a single electric charge?
Nissan says the Leaf will go up to 135 kilometres on a single charge The “Carwings” telematics service includes a map that can allow you to monitor driving habits, economy parameters and other metrics and can be accessed or downloaded via a smart phone.
If you fear you could stranded somewhere when the battery runs out- not to worry, a screen on the car’s computer estimates how many kilometres can be added to the total remaining if electrical draws such as the climate system are turned off. However it is only common sense to be constantly aware of the range left in the battery all the times.
A Leaf can also be recharged in three different ways – via a portable charging cable stored in its trunk that you can plug into any standard electricity outlet. This so-called trickle charger is the slowest way to charge the car. From empty it takes about 20 hours to get a full charge.
Nissan also sells a home/public charging unit that is faster and more powerful: From empty, it takes about four hours to get a full charge.
Nissan is also introducing its quick charger unit which can charge 80% of the battery in just under half an hour. This is the fastest way to get a charge. A smartphone app also enables lets owners manage charging times, pre-heat and pre-cool the cabin while the car is plugged in, and control the vehicle in other ways. The car will alert them when charging is done, or if it stops before it’s complete. The same functions can also be accessed from the car’s display screen. A small solar panel on the rear roof provided a trickle charge to the 12-volt battery that runs the peripherals such as air conditioning radio and electrics.
Driving the Leaf is easy with a pushbutton start and small flicks of the small gearshift “knob” which also has an eco-mode for more efficient use of the power.
Electric cars provide instant torque unlike gasoline cars and the acceleration is smooth and silent. The steering is light and the Leaf feels solid and substantial. A special noisemaker that alerts pedestrians to your presence via an alert chime is much needed as the Leaf is eerily quiet when in slow traffic The Leaf is at it element in the city where the Leafs regenerative braking system continuously recharges the battery and extend the cars range.
You might not have to pay for gas anymore, but the Leaf is actually expensive with a base Leaf ringing in at $31,798. Options can jack the price up to – $38,548. Still Natural Resources Canada estimates a comparative fuel economy at (L/100 km) 1.9 city, 2.3 highway which no gas powered car achieves. So you do save money in the long run.
Government rebates may still be available to make the Leaf more affordable, and in many cities, you get dedicated parking spots and access to HOV lanes. What more could you ask for?