Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Take It or Leaf It; the All-Electric British-Built Nissan LEAF Can Now Go Further on a Charge Thanks to the Installation of a More Sophisticated 30kwh Battery. Will That Make It Viable for Mainstream Buyers? JONATHAN CROUCH Decides

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Take It or Leaf It; the All-Electric British-Built Nissan LEAF Can Now Go Further on a Charge Thanks to the Installation of a More Sophisticated 30kwh Battery. Will That Make It Viable for Mainstream Buyers? JONATHAN CROUCH Decides

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN CROUCH

THE Nissan LEAF is a car that divides opinion.

Some love this fully electric vehicle for its bold engineering and surprisingly enjoyable driving dynamics. To date though, most potential buyers simply haven't been able to make a case for it.

The Japanese brand hopes that'll change thanks to the instrallation of a heavier 30kWh battery that is said to be able to boost operating range to as much as 155 miles.

The LEAF was the first mass production electric vehicle to be designed from the ground up for purely battery power. Early EVs, like some of those still on the market, were merely conversions of cars originally created with petrol engines.

Even if you didn't know this, you could perhaps guess the fact from a glance at this dramatic-looking Nissan.

For example, since, as an all-electric car, there was no need to fit a bulky engine in the front, it has a stubby and sharply-angled nose that produces a smart wedge profile and aids the strong aerodynamic performance. But the perhaps the most important thing here is the overall size. At around 4.5m long, this was the first pure electric car big enough for proper family use, no more than around 200kgs heavier than a similarly shaped conventional model and offering cabin space and overall dimensions very comparable to that of a conventional Ford Focus-style family hatchback.

Even today, no other EV on the market can offer you more back seat space. The rear bench can comfortably accommodate three adults on short journeys, two on longer ones and a trio of kids all day long.

Luggage room is 330-litres and you can increase that to 680-litres by pushing forward the rear backrest.

Up front, as before, there's an appropriately futuristically styled split-level dash, with blue-tinted graphics that look pretty conventional until you peer closer and find that they're primarily geared towards advising you just how much further you can go before a charging top-up is needed. The graphics advise you of your success in regenerating electricity and there's an eco-indicator to display the status of electricity consumption, with little tamaguchi-like trees growing on the display, depending upon how frugally you're driving. …

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