Nissan Leaf is a full electric, five-door hatchback electric car manufactured by Nissan, a Japanese car manufacturer. The official driving range of Nissan is 117 km according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, which also estimated its energy consumption to be 765 kJ/km. The Leaf does not produce greenhouse gas emissions or tailpipe pollution during operation.
Sale of the Nissan Leaf started in late 2010 in Japan and the US and in early 2011 in the UK and Ireland. Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium, and Australia are some of the countries to which the Leaf was delivered as of August 2012 reports. The production was set to being in the US by late 2012 and in the UK by 2013. Globally, Nissan has delivered around 42,700 units of the Leaf as of October 2012, which makes it the top-selling electric car in the global market. As of October 2012, Japan was the leading selling market of the Nissan Leaf with around 19,000 units sold followed by the US with 16,484 units and Europe with over 6,500 deliveries.
Like any other premium car, Nissan Leaf has sleek and stylish exteriors. The frontal part of the car is featured with LED headlamps that comprise wing mirrors for dividing the airflow and redirecting the air to reduce wind noise. The Leaf has an aerodynamic paneling which enables the car to cut the wind and reduce drag. The front bumpers are raised to regulate the aerodynamics in the frontal region. The Leaf consists of two charging ports, a regular port that takes around 7 to 8 hours to get fully charged and a quick charge port, taking half-an-hour to get charged.
The Nissan Leaf features the EM61 electric motor, which provides a remarkable mileage of 80 kmpl. The Leaf employs an 80 kW front-mounted synchronous electric motor that is powered by lithium-ion battery pack having a capacity of 24 kWh. The battery pack consists of air-cooled and stacked laminated battery cells containing lithium manganate cathodes. The maximum speed the car can acquire is 144 km/h. The Leaf can be accelerated up to 100 km/hr within 12 s. The Leaf ensures a non-bumpy and smooth ride with the help of 16-inch Bridgestone Ecopia tires.
The Leaf makes use of an advanced telematics technology called Carwings for monitoring charging status, battery state, and remaining charge. It employs an electronic brake distribution system, an anti-lock braking system, brake assist, and an electro-mechanical hand brake. The Leaf offers a safe drive with the help of a traction control system along with vehicle dynamic control. It also employs a powerful air-conditioning system.
Besides being the top-selling electric car and 2011’s World Car of the Year, the Nissan Leaf seemingly has its own pros and cons. The car road test team which tested the performance of the Nissan Leaf reports that the car is free from vibrations, which enable the user to enjoy the drive smoothly and comfortably. However, the Leaf is reported to have poor battery life as well as restarting issues. Nissan engineers identified the problem as resulting from a programming error in a sensor in the air conditioning system. Safety issues with the anti-lock braking system were also reported by several customers complaining that the brakes still remain in full force for a certain time period after releasing the brake pedals. As a result, there exists a risk of rear collision occurrence.
With the rising fuel prices, the need for electric vehicles is increasing persistently. In order to meet these needs, Nissan offers an electric car that does not compromise with the safety and driving range. Upon rectifying the minor issues discussed above, the Nissan Leaf can emerge as the best substitute for gasoline vehicles.
Sources and Further Reading