Nissan Leaf e+ Tekna

Nissan Leaf e+, front
Nissan Leaf e+, front
Nissan Leaf e+, front
Nissan Leaf e+, front
Nissan Leaf e+, side
Nissan Leaf e+, rear
Nissan Leaf e+, rear
Nissan Leaf e+, rear
Nissan Leaf e+, interior

ELECTRIC cars are starting to feel a little less like a novelty and more like the mainstream.

Okay, so uptake is still fairly slow and they're very much in the minority but more and more people are becoming switched on to electric motoring.

One of the limitations with new technology is that it can be expensive and has shortcomings.

Electric vehicles are by their nature expensive but prices are coming down.

Like with a lot of things early adopters pay for the privilege and while prices aren't tumbling electric motoring is getting progressively cheaper.

On the technology front as far as EVs go it's all about the batteries - in terms of how powerful they are and crucially how far you can travel without plugging in.

And this is what the Nissan Leaf e+ is all about.

Nissan has been something of a pacesetter in the EV market and the evolution of the Leaf is the embodiment of that.

It has improved over time and the e+ is the very latest version - and represents quite a big step forward.

It offers extra power and range thanks to its 62kWh battery rather than the 40kWh one found in standard Leafs.

Comparing the two the standard Leaf has a range of 168 miles while to e+ boasts a potential range of 239 miles.

Interestingly this more powerful battery does not take up additional room in the car.

Of course range is a moveable feast. Make the most of the surprisingly buy-racer style character of the e+ with the eco mode off and you'll start eating through those miles at an alarming rate.

Similarly putting the fan on at full speed to clear the windscreen on a frosty morning will also take its range toll.

But there's no doubting that the extra battery power makes a big difference. I certainly seemed to suffer from a lot less range anxiety than during my previous Leaf experiences.

The ever increasing uptake of EVs has been matched by an improved infrastructure.

The e+ infotainment system has an added feature to let you find charging points when you're on the move. Or, if you prefer there are apps you can download to your smartphone which can do the same.

I did contemplate using a public charging point one day when I had an unexpected additional journey to complete on top of my daily commute but in the event it wasn't necessary.

Another clever feature on the e+ is Nissan's e-Pedal, which effectively turns the car's electric motor into a generator when you lift off the accelerator, helping slow the car and replenish the batteries.

Such ‘brake-free' driving takes a little getting used to but it's something you are able to acclimatise to and as said it brings benefits.

I never managed to fully charge the e+ overnight from a domestic socket at home - a full charge takes a whopping 32 hours - but that was really my own fault for running the battery right down - in petrol parlance what one of my old friends used to describe as ‘needle nudging'.

The e+ has much to recommend it, though it does represent a fairly hefty outlay.

While a regular Leaf in Acenta trim will set you back £27,995 after the £3,500 government electric vehicle grant is included, an e+ Tekna model costs £35,895 (including the grant).

If you do decide to take the plunge you would also be advised to go for having a 7kW wallbox installed at home, which will cut the charging time to eleven-and-a-half hours.

£35,895 (inc. £3,500 government grant)

214bhp electric motor driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

97mph

7.3 seconds

239 miles per full charge

21

0g/km

2%

3yrs/60,000 miles (battery 8yrs/100,000 miles)

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