Nissan LEAF: First Drive
Nissan recently showcased the LEAF in India. This zero emission car is set to usher in a new era in mobility and while it has already made its global debut a few years ago; this was its first visit to our shores. Vikram Gour got to take it for a spin and discovered a whole new world of zero emission mobility
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The Nissan LEAF made its global debut in the later part of 2010. When Nissan first set out to produce such a car, they were adamant that it had to be a real world vehicle, something that was affordable and not just a corporate image booster. Set to redefine mobility, the LEAF lives up to the promise of being an affordable offering.
Every aspect of the LEAF is related to its ecofriendly abilities including how the car is designed. Aerodynamics play a big role in aiding fuel efficiency and all that logic has been applied in the designing of the LEAF. The sharply raked hood with large bubble LED headlights is an unmistakable face that this car possesses and more importantly these features help the car split and redirect airflow away from the door mirrors in order to reduce noise and drag and therefore have a direct impact on overall efficiency.
The body boasts of smooth lines and the rear has a unique bump, which again is a result of tedious testing in the wind tunnel to make this car slip through the air and in the process face the least amount of drag. Another aspect that is directly noticeable on the exterior is the lack of a tail pipe, which again hints at the fact that there isn’t a conventional engine under the hood. Overall the design is extremely new age and to be honest it’s a little too sci-fi and might take some effort for people to actually appreciate its quirky design language. Nevertheless, it will turn heads!
The interiors follow a clean and functional layout, however done up in a very stylish set up to create an environment that feels clean to an extent that the materials look sterile. The “blue earth” color theme used in the dashboard lights and instrument cluster illumination adds a level of vibrancy that again gels with the whole eco-friendly nature that the car possesses. The LEAF has been designed as a family car and space is abundant for a small family which also lends to the practical aspect that this car was designed for.
Hit the start button and you are greeted with silence. It’s eerily silent inside the LEAF and this is all thanks to the fact that the super silent electric motor on board. It’s so quiet that Nissan has actually fitted the vehicle with a ‘noise’ system that imitates the sound of an internal combustion engine in order to be heard by pedestrians especially those who might be visually impaired! That is one of the many aspects of making an electric car feasible in today’s environment and from the sound of it; Nissan has obviously not left any leaf unturned. Anyways, back to the elements that power the LEAF.
Fitted with laminated lithium-ion batteries that generate an output of over 90kW, the electric motor which runs off these batteries eventually delivers 80kW of power and 280Nm of torque to the drive wheels. Being an electric vehicle, the torque is available right from the word go and the LEAF is highly responsive in nature, which surprisingly makes it a fun to drive vehicle that actually measures up to a number of internal combustion engined powered cars.
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