Nissan’s battery-electric Leaf is an costly amulet to push back local weather change. You’re primarily paying $15,000 over the percentages for a mid-size hatch to salve your enviro-conscience. Even then, for those who plug in to recharge at house at 7pm when everybody else does, a good chunk of the electrical energy the Leaf is absorbing will likely be coal or gas-generated.
Nissan is to not blame for our baseload energy points however this quandary highlights the necessity for a coherent nationwide vitality coverage so individuals could make correct long-term assessments of their alternative of energy and transport.
Probably lending a hand there, the Leaf may even assist energy the home (or will likely be when the wallbox is licensed to be used in Australia) and lower the peaks and troughs of demand on the grid.
There are two methods to take a look at the Leaf: an excessively costly, limited-range hatch or a standard-bearer for the most recent era of electrical automobiles with cheap vary and the promise of cheaper operating prices.
The Leaf, at $49,990 plus on-roads, is $13,000 greater than a top-spec Mazda3, although that comparability is like apples to oranges.
Nissan EV infrastructure accomplice ChargeFox says common annual operating prices will likely be about $800, or $1000 cheaper than a comparable automotive with inside combustion engine. Toss in dearer servicing for the common rival and also you’re nonetheless taking a look at eight to 10 years to get better the additional value.
Of extra relevance, Nissan’s EV prices $5000 greater than the Hyundai Ioniq Electrical Elite however claims about 40km extra vary. Additionally it is $2000 dearer than the Renault Zoe Life however has more room and a extra highly effective motor.
Customary gear within the Leaf — there’s just one spec — contains an eight-inch infotainment show with satnav and smartphone mirroring, heated steering wheel and entrance seats and adaptive cruise management.
Service intervals are 12 months or 20,000km and the primary 5 journeys value $1388. That’s not low cost, particularly when the Ioniq might be serviced (through a pay as you go plan) for $800 for the primary 5 years/75,000km.
The Leaf has some legacy points — nobody expects a foot-operated park brake in a brand new automotive, particularly one that’s in any other case so superior.
Ditto the shortage of attain adjustment for the steering column and plastics notable for the absence of soft-touch surfaces, the kind of tactile high quality that may be had in $25,000 hatches. It suggests Nissan lower corners on the inside design to attempt to comprise prices.
Pluses embody well-cushioned seats, easy-to-read driver’s show and loads of cupboard space within the entrance of the cabin. Two adults will match comfortably within the second row of the Leaf and can have cheap outward imaginative and prescient.
ANCAP gave the Leaf 5 security stars final 12 months. Grownup occupant safety was rated at 93 per cent, although the driving force’s pelvis space had poor safety within the full width frontal crash check.
Within the crash check, it was famous “the driving force’s pelvis slipped beneath the lap part of the seat belt and the dummy was not correctly restrained throughout the crash”.
Youngster occupant safety was 85 per cent, weak street person safety was assessed at 71 per cent, largely because of the autonomous emergency braking incomes marginal and weak scores for pedestrian detection at evening.
The security help software program was rated at 70 per cent with the most important criticism directed on the truth the lane-keep help doesn’t embody an emergency lane preserve function. The AEB was rated at good and operates from 5km/h to effectively past the authorized restrict.
Beneath-floor batteries endow the Leaf with a low centre of gravity to assist it nook but additionally bump up the mass to 1594kg. That’s hefty by mid-size hatch requirements and means the Leaf can thump into larger lumps and bumps.
It’s typically fairly composed over the smaller undulations on most of our roads and there’s not a lot roll across the corners. No shock, the tyres are low-rolling resistance jobs to enhance effectivity — on condition that inherent compromise, they’ve a good quantity of lateral grip within the moist or dry.
The Nissan is in its aspect amid the lower and thrust of metropolis motoring. The electrical motor packs 320Nm and might spin the entrance wheels when launching from the lights.
That preliminary accelerative burst then extends right into a predictable energy supply that implies the claimed 7.9-second run from relaxation to 100km/h isn’t past attain.
Additionally it is able to attaining its claimed 270km vary on this atmosphere.
With the “e-pedal” engaged to maximise regenerative braking however no different concession to effectivity, the Leaf indicated 12.7kWh of cost to cowl 100km. The battery stack is nice for 40kWh, so that you’re in enterprise.
It’s a unique story on a two-degree Melbourne morning with the heating on excessive and the seats toasting my posterior.
The fixed 100km/h tempo provides no scope to get better vitality. The consumption meter confirmed 17.8kWh/100km, which means I’d be getting nervous across the 180km mark, given you don’t need to utterly drain the battery.
The Leaf is just too pricey and too restricted in utility to be thought of by anybody exterior a serious metropolis.
Coronary heart says
The infrastructure rollout is accelerating and the Leaf will assist shift the notion of EVs from peculiar to sensible.
Hyundai Ioniq Electri c
From $44,990 plus on-roads
The cheaper worth is mirrored within the restricted 230km vary, courtesy of a 28kWh battery and 88kW/295Nm motor.
From $47,490 plus on-roads
The Zoe doesn’t match the Leaf for measurement however has marginally higher vary due to comparable battery capability and smaller 68kW/220Nm motor.
The Leaf is well-priced by EV requirements however I’m not satisfied the benefits will induce consumers to pay a premium for a non-premium mid-size hatch.
Nissan Leaf vitals
Value: $49,990 plus on-roads
Guarantee/servicing: 5 years/u’ltd km, $1388 for five years
Motor: 110kW/320Nm, 40kWh battery
Security: 5 stars, 6 airbags, AEB, blind spot and lane departure alerts