When the Nissan LEAF arrived a decade ago, it was a pioneering revelation that ignited the world’s interest in electric vehicles. First-generation LEAFs made emission-free driving available to all, and today, and the LEAF remains one of the most popular EVs on the market.
Nissan is expanding its portfolio with the all-electric SUV ARIYA set to hit Aussie shores later in 2023. In the meantime, let’s explore how Nissan were at the vanguard of EV development and why the Nissan LEAF is an excellent entry-level choice for an electric car.
In the EV universe, Nissan is a trailblazer. Long before other manufacturers even considered electric vehicles, Nissan released the Altra way back in 1998. This ultra-early EV was the first production vehicle with a lithium-ion battery. It had a range of 190km, which – by today’s standards – is not very far. After the Nissan Altra came the tiny Hypermini in 1999. The small run of this model barely made it outside Japan, with only a few reaching the USA.
A decade later, the famed Nissan LEAF finally launched in 2010. The world’s first mass-production electric vehicle, the LEAF, went worldwide with a range of around 120km and a modest 24kWh lithium-ion battery. Just under 100 first-generation LEAFs ended up in Australia.
The Nissan LEAF is currently the only Nissan EV on the Australian market, with the larger ARIYA SUV set to arrive in 2023. With an 100% electric motor, the LEAF is fully emission-free. A standard LEAF hatchback boasts a 270km indicative driving range and a 39 kWh battery capacity. The next model up, the LEAF e+, is more powerful, with faster acceleration, a 385km indicative driving range and 59 kWh battery capacity.
Both LEAF models come with e-Pedal one-pedal driving, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto™ and Intelligent Around View® Monitor with Moving Object Detection.
If you’re shopping for an electric car on a budget, the Nissan LEAF is one of the most reasonably priced EVs on the market. Aiming for the price conscious consumer, the LEAF is much cheaper than many of its EV contemporaries. Its affordability, smart looks and excellent drivetrain have made it a hit with Aussie EV owners.
Whether buying for family use or a nippy city run-around, the Nissan LEAF is one of the best entry-level electric vehicles.
With a five-star ANCAP rating, the Nissan LEAF is a remarkably safe car, making it a perfect EV choice for families. Front, front-side and side curtain airbags come standard, and ISOFIX anchor points are fitted for baby and child seats. Intelligent Emergency Braking automatically applies the brakes if it senses a possible impact. In addition, Lane Departure Warning and Intelligent Lane Intervention guide the driver back into their lane should they start to drift out of it.
Blind Spot Warning, Intelligent Driver Alert and front and rear parking sensors make parking the LEAF a breeze. In addition, its Intelligent Ride Control prevents the LEAF from pitching up and down while driving along uneven roads, ensuring a smooth journey for all passengers.
The Nissan LEAF has revolutionised driving with its unique e-Pedal system. The e-Pedal enables drivers to accelerate, decelerate or stop the car using just one pedal. In addition, the e-Pedal helps the car’s efficiency by reducing reliance on the traditional braking system.
To accelerate, the driver presses down on the e-Pedal. Then, lifting the foot off the e-Pedal mimics pressing on the brake pedal, allowing the vehicle to slow down and even come to a complete stop. In busy stop-start city traffic, the e-Pedal reduces the need to shift from one pedal to the other, making driving simpler and more engaging. It even allows sporty driving on winding roads, making driving a more enjoyable experience.
Despite being a hatchback, Nissan LEAFs are incredibly spacious. Elevated seating positions lend an SUV-like feel, while door bins and a capacious centre console have cup holders and cut-outs to stow water bottles.
The boot has a generous 435 litres of space, up to 1,176 litres, with the rear seats folded down. This volume is more significant than most EV alternatives, adding to the LEAF’s appeal if you like those long weekend getaways. In addition, tether points are fitted to safely secure loose luggage you’re transporting.
A Nissan LEAF has a 270km range. The LEAF e+ has a range of 385km.
110 kW @ rpm and 160 kW @ rpm for the LEAF e+.
Both the Nissan LEAF and e+ come with charge ports (AC Type-2 & DC CHAdeMO) and a 6-meter 32A MODE-3 charging cable (Type 2).
Apple CarPlay®, Android Autoᵀᴹ, Voice recognition, iPod® compatible USB port, 12V power outlet, 8.0″ touchscreen display, Satellite navigation, DAB+ digital radio, Bluetooth audio streaming & hands-free phone system, Bose® 7-speaker energy efficient premium audio system.
LED signature daytime running lights, automatic LED headlights with an auto levelling system, friendly lighting function, High Beam Assist LED signature rear lights, privacy glass (second row & rear windows), power adjustable, power folding, heated door mirrors with integrated LED turn indicators, front and rear fog lights, rear spoiler, gloss black floating roof, chrome door handles.
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