2011 Nissan LEAF
The Japanese automaker’s electric compact charges into driveways
By: Travis Persaud / 04.10.2011
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Nissan's new electric compact charges into
This isn't the first electric vehicle (EV) ever made, but it
will probably be the first one you see driving around your
There's so much that can be said about the all-new Nissan LEAF, but perhaps
the most intriguing thing is its price. Instead of producing an EV
that only few can afford, à la Tesla Motors, Nissan has built a
zero-emission vehicle that fits the size of most car buyers'
Nissan's new electric compact is complete with
heated seating and steering wheel
The base SV model starts at $38,395 and comes well equipped with
a host of amenities that even many premium cars don't include, such
as LED headlights, front and rear heated seats and a heated
steering wheel. The SL model starts at $39,995 and adds a rear-view
monitor, fog lights and a rear spoiler with solar panel
Thankfully, Nissan opted not to give the LEAF a futuristic look.
The five-seat hatchback is quite distinctive and aggressive, but
far from unsightly and otherworldly. The front end is streamlined
for optimal aerodynamics; high sweeping headlights and a cute
rounded nose help it stand out from the crowd, as do the long
flowing lights down the back of the curvy hatch.
The LEAF's 24 kWh battery is creatively placed underneath the
floorboard, ensuring there's actually cargo space in the trunk. On
full power it has a range of about 160 km-however, depending on
your driving habits it can be as low as 120 km or as high as 220
km. The 110-volt charging system (Level 1) will take 16 to 18
hours, the 240-volt charging system (Level 2) will fully charge it
in seven hours and the Level 3 charger can have the battery to 80%
in 26 minutes.
The real question that most have, though, is how does it drive?
Well, it's not appreciably different from any other car. It
produces a pedestrian 107 HP, but has 207 lb-ft of torque
(available from zero) meaning it really shoots out of the gate in a
hurry. Once it's up to speed its impressive driving qualities take
over: steering is well weighted, with the LEAF sticking to the
ground around turns with very little body roll. And, it's so silent
that sound had to be added for safety reasons.
Nissan is quick to admit that the LEAF isn't for everyone, but
it's definitely for more people than might be apparent at first
glance. Need a new car for your daily commute or a second set of
wheels for the family? Then this is a must-drive vehicle. You'll be
pleasantly surprised with the results, especially knowing you'll
never have to go to a gas station again.