By Maggie Barry on 2019-09-07 - Experienced car journalist.
Nissan Leaf e+
FORGET Cool Runnings, the Nissan Leaf is all about silent running.
If you have never been in an electric car the first thing you will probably notice is the complete lack of engine noise. It merely whispers along the road.
Now the purists among us may argue that the engine soundtrack is one of the features they love about cars but there is going to be a huge number of drivers and passengers who will simply love the sound of silence.
Electric cars are hot. The take up is increasing and even if you are not considering buying one, it seems everyone is curious about them.
The Leaf makes an excellent showcase for electricity not least because it has been with us for ten years now.
During that time it has substantially evolved as Nissan has ploughed millions into research and development with excellent results - it is the best selling EV in Europe and in the UK in 2017 one in every two electric cars sold was a Nissan.
Why is it so popular? For a start the range has been extended dramatically as the years have passed and Nissan claim you can now get almost 240 miles without having to charge your Leaf although in real terms, it's probably nearer 168 miles. Even so, that's more that enough for most people's daily use.
It looks good - the design cues owe more than a little to the company's incredibly popular Juke and the model delivered to my driveway came with two-tone paintwork, 17-inch alloys and metallic blue front bumper accents to underline its environmental credentials.
Inside, it was just as smart with a D-shaped leather steering wheel, part leather/ultrasuede heated front and rear seats and piles of connectivity.
The e+ version of the Leaf also gives you is the e-pedal, an innovative feature from Nissan that ultimately allows you to drive using only the accelerator pedal.
All EVs are, of course, automatic. When you engage the e-pedal, as soon as you take your foot off the gas, the car slows down - not in a wishy-washy maybe soon way, but quite in intensely so that in a few moments you are at a stop. At the same time it is regenerating power for thecar. Clever!
It does require an adjustment to your driving but once you get used to this technology it's actually quite fun and it is very satisfying to see the blue regeneration dial on the instrument panel fill right up.
The other part of what Nissan call Intelligent Mobility is that the Leaf e+ is designed to acts as a mobile energy unit, storing and returning energy to your home or the grid in a future where the car is part of the cycle of power.
The Leaf e+ is a very impressive piece of technology and just shows what a future with electric cars could be like.
The drawback at the moment is the charging system. I charged mine on a domestic socket which was fine but not really practical for city dwellers who live in flats.
More workplace and destination (places like hotels) chargers are needed and it would be good to see a one-size-fits-all fast and rapid chargers. At the moment, like VHS and Betamax before there are at least four different types.
The domestic charge is slow all right if you can do it overnight. The fast chargers and rapid chargers are thin on the ground should we reach a time where EVs are filling our roads.
Nissan Leaf e+ 3.Zero e-TEKNA
Mechanical: 214bhp and 62kWh electric motor driving front wheels via automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 98mph
0-62mph: 6.9 seconds
Combined MPG: 239 miiles
Insurance Group: 20
C02 emissions: 0g/km
Bik rating: 2%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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