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Spring is clearly happening early this year.

I have seen flowering Daffodils, nesting doves, trees full of blossom and even a new Leaf.

But it is only February.

While all the other things on the list might be wiped out by a sharp frost, this new Leaf looks likely to go on to a good summer. The 20% upgraded battery weighs the same and takes up the same space as the old one but brings the range up to just over 150 miles, and a rapid charge to (usually a little over) 80% in 30 min gives you an easy 100+ miles to the next charge if you are on a long run.l2

While this update is all about the battery, Nissan have also improved the HMI or infotainment system. It has better facilities for fleet management including pretty comprehensive telematics and Nissan Connect which gives you access to live information on traffic, charging points and detailing how you are making a difference to the environment. It also has DAB as standard – at last – and a very capable sound system even in the base model I tested.

Drive-ability has not changed, but then it never needed to. The Leaf remains a very good car in this respect – smooth, comfortable, spritely and there is not a better car for town and city driving.

The Leaf however is not just a good comfortable car; there is enough tech in there to keep any gadget-head entertained. Coupled with a decent smart phone you have a well connected mobile-office, using Nissan Connect you can compare your driving efficiency to every other Leaf, you can remotely check charging status and warm the car up or program the sat-nav for your next trip.

And if that does not persuade you that the Leaf really can be your only car, Nissan still have more to offer-

  • Buyers have access to free petrol / diesel car rental for the first three years of ownership
  • They offer free roadside assistance for as long as you have them service the car
  • The battery has an 8 year warranty
  • They have a charging network at most Nissan dealers.
  • They even give you a full 24 hour road test if you are still on the fence.
  • Charging port installed at your home.l3

All this and change from £25k? Pretty sure you don’t get any of that with a Mondeo.

Our route of 65 miles was a mix of A and B roads with a bit of the M40. Given that we had just a couple of hours we didn’t spare the horses, or the kilowatts, yet efficiency remained high.

Starting with a full charge we still had 56 miles range at the end of the test having made judicious use of the aircon and heaters.

This means we could happily do the London to Birmingham run on one charge – a near-impossible non-stop trip in previous generations of the Leaf or most other EV’s.

Is this enough to make this incarnation a mainstream proposition? Probably not. Despite the almost overwhelming advantages of EV driving both in efficiency and in financial terms, people who stop for an hour at the motorway services on a 150 mile drive in their petrol car still feel that an EV will force them to stop for half an hour at the motorway services on a 150 mile drive… but I’m not one to rant about it –

If I were I would probably say “So forget the discounts, forget the £0 road tax, forget the free fuel network and no congestion charge, lets ignore the five star safety and proven reliability of the system too. Ignore the proven stress-reduction and environmental advantages on offer and the 0-60 time of seven seconds, forking out £70 every time you fill up and spending all day stinking of diesel is clearly the future.”l1

Tech Spec

LEAF 30 kWh – Available grades – Tekna, Acenta

Seating capacity – 5

Gross vehicle weight – 1,970 Kg

Maximum payload – 395 kg

Turning radius – 5.4 m

Luggage capacity – 370 L

Luggage capacity Max with folded seats – 720 L (to top of seats)

ENGINE – Electric Motor Type AC synchronous

Max. engine power – 80 kW (109 PS)

Max. torque – 254 Nm

CHARGER – On-board charger 3.6 kW. Quick charger capacity 50 kW

BATTERY Type – Laminated lithium ion

Nominal voltage – 360 V

CO2 mass emission (Combined) – 0.0 g/km

Max. speed – 144 km/h

Steering – Electric power assisted

Braking System – Electrically Driven Intelligent Brake

Driven wheels – Front

words Mark Wolens. pics Nissan