Nissan LEAF II: One More Step

Posted on Dec 2 2013 - 10:00am by Admin

After the troublemaker in the pond that was the launch of the first generation, Nissan reinforces its commitment to the 100% electric vehicle with the presentation of the second generation of LEAF, now updated, more functional and practical, but also keeping some of the known limitations of predecessor. It is, at bottom, is another step in the journey towards a car cleaner and environmentally friendly mobility…

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In a world where fossil fuels remain as one of the main engines of society, but where environmental issues have also been taking place among the concerns of people, Nissan continues its efforts to make electricity, preferably obtained cleanly, the fuel of the future for cars with four wheels. Developing for such a technology that, despite the many steps taken paths to the future, still has autonomy in matters such as its biggest limitation.

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Moreover, and despite the advances and setbacks registered in many markets relatively strong and assumed in Electric Vehicle bet, the Japanese manufacturer has not failed to reveal a determination to praise, now materialized with the launch of the second generation of its passenger car 100 % electric – the LEAF. A project that, according to information released by Nissan itself, required an investment of around EUR 480 million, but still in Europe and despite being the only Nordic country to assume a clear focus on this type of vehicle, just is not enough to discourage the Japanese manufacturer.

Now fully produced in the UK, the truth is that few changes recorded outside the New LEAF and pass that basically for a few minor changes and the adoption of a new design wheels with 17 inch tires with low friction, little or announce anything about the more than 100 engineering changes and technology operated in Japanese tram. That keeps the same air space … and especially marked by elements like the slender LED rear lights and rear spoiler with integrated photovoltaics panel, which aim to collect solar energy to supply the secondary equipment.

New, but in terms of functionality and safety, the fact that charging of the batteries is done via jacks located in the compartment below the front cover whose logo can now be opened from the key button; connecting cords (perfectly accommodated, when not in use, placed in a bag in the boot) used in loading in public posts in this second generation has a system of operable magnetic locks via a simple button to the left of the steering wheel and prevents the plug is withdrawn until the completion of the process; or even the front compartment where are the contacts have a small LED light, so that, especially during night, you make no mistake in the correct slot.

Furthermore, even in relation to shipments, Nissan Announces New LEAF for this improvement and another passing through the time required for battery supply: the case of rapid loading on public payphones, it is now possible to replace up to 80% of battery capacity in a maximum 30 minutes, whereas said normal loads to be carried out for example at home and allow to restore 100% of capacity takes, in the new generation, only 8 hours. And, if the client is willing to spend a little more, you can purchase as an optional adapted to semi-fast loading cable, with which you can reduce the time spent on the process for 3 to 4 hours.

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Indeed, on the issue of costs, it should also mention two aspects of weight … and positive: first, that the shipments in public posts continue to be the tassel during the pilot phase which will remain in force until mid-2014 ( and, even after finishing, Nissan ensures a full charge should be around € 2.5), and, secondly but not least, the decline in the retail price of LEAF – € 31,400 is New PVP, provided the customer adheres to the new mode of sale created by Nissan and passing through rental, not purchase, of the batteries. Solution that requires the customer to pay a monthly fee of 70 € / month, but it removes any and all concerns about the validity of this component, and includes assistance.

However, for the more “jealous” and sense of ownership, it is said that the previous method of sale of LEAF remains in force, the owner can afford the car along with the batteries … but for € 37,300.

Aspect that also causes reticence in most skeptical, supply and assurance of knowing (almost) always where there is a loading point in proximity remains assured by well-known entertainment and telematics system Carwings touch screen in place of the center console, which, bailing from the help of a smartphone with wireless connection offers as major gains that allow an upgrade at all times the location of charging points is around the vehicle, at the place of destination or even at a selected location on the map, would lead us to the nearest or chosen by us loading point, always taking into account the autonomy line or even put us in contact with a telephone caller can inform us whether the service or is not in operation, or even whether or not vacant.

For example, if it is a service station with charging point for electric vehicle (as for example in the Galp service stations on the motorway linking Lisbon to Cascais, A5), putting us in contact with store employees and in the case of any loading point on a street of our cities, making the connection to the service line from the public MOBI.E, which supposedly is an operator to give us the information desired.

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And we say “supposedly” because, unfortunately, in these cases, things, at least with us, did not work as planned – not only there were times when we were presented with a message saying it was not possible to speak with the operator as to unbelief us, the service comes to an accumulation of work only from 08 to 18:00. And that makes us ask the question:? Do the 100% electric vehicles are banned from the evening …

Fortunately and a totally opposite plan, deserved praise for the employees of the Galp service station on the A5, which, both times when we called there to see if the point of charging electric vehicles were in operation, have offered to ready to confirm the condition of the equipment.

Going back to “our” LEAF, renovated for optimal access but already known to the carrier, to which is added a nice driving position praise, a little high, provided by a bank with too little, although positive lateral support in ensuring visibility all information and around the vehicle, as well as good access to most commands. But also with a height and depth adjustable steering wheel, and with nice catches … and too many buttons – only 7 left side!

Also identical to the previous generation, continues the cabin, still and always marked by originality … and a certain air space: the dashboard is fully digital, albeit in a very intuitive reading, the joystick pseudo gearbox now with a new mode of operation “B” or even the aforementioned Carwings the system screen, through which you can not just go watching the functioning of the powerplant system, as well as among other advantages and view the space around the vehicle, owing to the four outdoor cameras – front, rear and door mirrors.

And if, in terms of build quality and materials, this new LEAF can not hide still have way to go, starting with, first, the quality of most plastics, as far as the functionality is concerned, the highlights aspects as storage spaces open and closed (although the open with not much capacity) and the accessibility of most commands. Being the exception that proves the rule positioning of controls for heating the front seats on the inside of the back of those same banks. Unusual at least …

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With batteries placed under the floor and the transformer and inverter current transferred from the engine under the front hood, the New LEAF maintains a livability that although improved with the redesign of the rear seats, still more suited for 4 adults, fault bulky transmission tunnel which eventually affects the comfort of a possible occupant of the center seat, which is still dealing with the low distance is that, in the rear, is the roof. This also because all the banks are in a position on high.

Much better this second generation shows the load capacity of the luggage compartment, which increased to 370 liters (+40 liters in the predecessor), with more floor plan, albeit with a high access and not having any solution functionality. Be a hook carrier bags or even a storage space any independent under the floor or sides. Since even the possibility of folding 60/40 rear seat back is of no great benefit due to too high a position in relation to the height that is the floor of the trunk.

Available with three different equipment levels (Visia, Tekna and ACCENTA), it is also true that the new LEAF now appears much more complete in terms of equipment, serial counting, in the case of the version tested by us (Tekna), with arguments as 6 airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist Emergency, Audible Warning of Approaching Vehicle Pedestrian (AVSP), Electronic Stability Control (ESP / VDC), hill start assist, immobilizer, cruise control with speed limiter , Bose audio system with high efficiency with 7 speakers and subwoofer, automatic air conditioning with pollen filter, smart key, 360th vision camera, B driving mode, ECO driving mode, rain sensor, exlusivo telematic service Carwings allowing remote connection to the vehicle via PC or phone, exclusive EV Nissan navigation system with indication of recharging points and automatic updating and display of 7 “color LCD touchscreen with Telematic Services and Navigation, Bluetooth hands free system with voice activation, regenerative brakes, front and rear, leather and heated seats, auto headlights activation system with “Follow Me Home” headlights (with auto-leveling) and rear LED headlights with fog light function of the day, alloy wheels 17 “, rear roof spoiler with photovoltaic cells, darkened rear windows and anti-holes kit.

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Equally or better equipped than many C-segment models with combustion engines, the New LEAF also features totally new motorpropulsor group and the size of a football (!), Which therefore contributes to performance and behavior not very different the vast majority of competitors but with combustion engines proposals. If Entranhando rapidly in the habits of the driver, convinced not only by a good management plan or by a competent braking system (not only the adoption suckers for exceeded parking brake actuator with the foot), but mainly for ease of use , comfort and agility driven by one who is also one of the major arguments of electric vehicles – the acceleration capability, real reason hidden smiles, for example, the so-called “Fight of the traffic lights.”

However, and because the Japanese brand advertising for this new generation increased autonomy for 199 kilometers (previous, autonomy promised amounted up to 160 km), the New LEAF premiere, besides the aforementioned B driving mode can ensure recovery of up to 94% of the energy used in braking and deceleration, an ECO mode, operable via button on the steering wheel, which limits the benefits announced 144 km / h top speed and 11.5 seconds in the passage from 0 to 100 km / h.

And if, in terms of response, this specific way of using the system is easy it is noted immediately, making the LEAF less responsive to the throttle, since in terms of energy savings, the use of ECO mode allows gains rondarão 10 kilometers. Ie, with the active system, the driver will ensure about 10 km further on autonomy announced by batteries.

Here too, in particular, moved a step closer to a future that actually and once overcome some minor obstacles, can even be electrical …

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