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Old 04-30-2010, 02:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
AJI
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I've driven the Nissan Leaf

Nissan UK have taken the prototype and a test car around the UK for the last couple of weeks and now it's off on it's way through Europe.

One of the drivetrain prototypes was available to test drive around a small course that Nissan had laid out, so I had a go. Probably drove it for less than a kilometer in total but it was nice to a) finally drive an EV and b) drive one of the most important EVs coming to market.

Photos first, then impressions:

The concept car:






The test car:


The test car you'll recognise as a Nissan Tiida. We don't get them in the UK but they're on sale in most LHD markets I think. This one has had the floorpan extended and Leaf EV running gear installed. As you can see, the transmission tunnel is quite high too, presumably for electronic gubbins.

What did I think? I enjoyed it a lot. Response is fantastic and incredibly smooth - exactly as you'd expect with 200lb ft of torque from zero revs. It's quiet, smooth and nippy. Other than that, there's not a lot to say - it's just like driving a normal car, only with a completely different powertrain. Which is really exactly how it should be. People will never buy EVs if they feel weird to drive, so essentially the Leaf drives like any other car, just much, much smoother and quieter.

Further impressions can be found in my blog, here: http://tarmac-automotive.blogspot.com/

I'll put a video up later as soon as I've uploaded it. Nissan record every drive and then give you it straight away on a cool little USB stick:


Thoughts? Questions?

EDIT:

Vid of me driving the car:


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Old 04-30-2010, 10:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 05-02-2010, 03:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the review.

FYI, the Tiida is known as the "Versa" in the USA.
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Old 05-02-2010, 09:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Here's where I am at

I have a 1985 300TD Mercedes in good condition, that is reasonably simple to work on and should last me the rest of my life if I keep it maintained. My plan is to drive it until a mass market 5 passenger EV is available.

I am having second thoughts about giving up a vehicle that cost me very little to run verses having to make car payments. I know the Leaf will be very cheap to run but will it last 20 years? Maybe my wife will total the Benz and end the dilema.
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Old 05-02-2010, 09:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It's always cheaper to keep an old car running than buy a new car.
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Old 05-02-2010, 11:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I wonder how the electric Tiida/Versa's range would compare to the Leaf's. I prefer the styling of the Tiida/Versa, especially with that paint job. The front of the Leaf is fairly attractive, but the rear is horrible in my opinion.
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Old 05-03-2010, 10:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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There's something odd about a $33k car riding on a platform originally developed for a $10k car.
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Old 05-03-2010, 02:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertSmalls View Post
There's something odd about a $33k car riding on a platform originally developed for a $10k car.
...possibly some "...inflated profit..."?
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Old 05-04-2010, 12:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tele man View Post
...possibly some "...inflated profit..."?
and a $15,000 battery?
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Old 05-04-2010, 08:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
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and a $15,000 battery?
More likely this.

Even at that price, I wonder if they'll make any money on each unit sold?

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