A pioneer of wide-scale EV adoption, the Nissan Leaf is now in its second generation. Although the first generation was lauded for its ability to convert a large number of ICEV users to BEVs, the initial salvo was not without its complaints.
One such criticism was the design. Nissan has addressed this by employing a far more conventional approach with the second-generation Leaf. While it retains a similar large-hatchback shape, the new Leaf has been given a face more in-line with the Nissan family grill, while the interior design too has been toned down from before.
The new Leaf also addresses another earlier concern: limited range. Now with a larger 40kWh battery, the second-gen Leaf gives a claimed range of 270km, although real-world usage has shown expected range to be closer to 220km.
The Nissan Leaf offers very little in terms of revolution but instead displays incremental advances in technology. For instance, the new “e-Pedal” provides drivers with the ability to start and stop with a single pedal, while maximising regenerative energy. It does so by using increased energy recovery when the throttle pedal is released, combining it with the application of the brakes.
The Nissan Leaf has a charge time of 11 hours and 45 minutes from a wall-box and can be fast-charged at 50kW in under 40 minutes. The car itself can accelerate from rest to 100km/h in 7.9 seconds — nothing to write home about normally, but a time that is four seconds faster than the previous generation is noteworthy.
Although the Leaf is billed as a family five-seater, cabin and boot space is eaten into by the battery placement. In this respect, the Nissan Leaf faces competition from the almost-identically-priced Hyundai Ioniq Electric, which offers maximum cargo space of 1,417 litres vs the Leaf’s 1,176.
At $53,190 drive away, the Nissan Leaf is backed by a fairly attractive warranty: Five years/Unlimited kilometre, with eight years/160,000km for the battery. Now with a loyal following and steadily growing user base across Australia, the Nissan Leaf could well be described as the sensible choice for a BEV.