Nissan LEAF: An ingenious blend of electric and conventional

Nissan has played the right card with its electric compact on time, and while many are just now catching the plug, they have sold over 400,000 copies of their LEAF so far, making it the best selling fully usable electric car ever. And while in Norway, LEAF, in big letters because it is an acronym for “Leading Environmentally-friendly Affordable Family car”, is one of the best-selling cars, it is a complete unknown here. No wonder, because Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country that in practice does not recognize the existence of electric cars or encourage anything in their sales.

Accordingly, LEAF is not officially offered by Nissan in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but that did not prevent the dealer of this brand, the company Guma M, from introducing our market to this model. After all, as much as we like it or not, these kinds of cars are becoming more common and there will be more and more, so countries like ours will have to adapt to them over time, both with the charging infrastructure and the laws themselves.

Despite all this, the Nissan LEAF wants to be the most conventional car that, by the way, is electrically powered. So we approached him like that, driving him and looking for his defects like any other car.

This second-generation LEAF has delivered significantly better energy efficiency, but also more power and torque, giving the compact a new dimension of a dynamic and fun car. With the new and more powerful propulsion, LEAF also received new lithium-ion batteries with more capacity.

Still, when you first see the LEAF, it’s a little different from any conventional compact. The attractive and crisp distinctive design lines of Nissan stand out well, and when you open the door, a very spacious and practical interior is revealed. In the rear seats, the LEAF offers space which is among the better in the segment, while the 435-liter boot is above the average of most compacts. The extra body height creates a sense of roominess in the cabin and is generally comfortable to drive and travel in the LEAF.

Still, the driver’s seat reveals that the LEAF is not exactly an ordinary compact. A digital dashboard with adjustable instruments and indicators as well as a central tunnel with an unusual “gearbox” take some getting used to. Nissan managed to be original with the gear selector, but still this “ball” takes some getting used to. On the other hand, the steering wheel and most of the infotainment functions are the same as on the other Nissan, so overall the LEAF cockpit is still more conventional than unusual. Also, the driver’s seating position is essentially quite high, which corresponds to visibility but also to longer distances. What is important to emphasize is not to look for the stronghold of the high LEAF price inland. The quality of the materials and workmanship is in accordance with compacts of the value of about 30-40 thousand marks. The reason for the high price is, of course,

Startup and ride alone is what sets the LEAF apart from all other compacts. Pressing the start button and the “ready” sign are the only indicators that the engine is “on”. The quiet startup and the ease with which it moves is inherent only in electric cars, and it honestly still entertains us as young children. At first, extinguish anything that might interfere with this almost flawless silence, and then want to quietly release Enjoy the silence from Depeche Mode. The most important thing, though, is to keep in mind that with LEAF you are equally quiet and pedestrian, so you should be more careful at crossings or near pedestrians and be sure that they are even aware that their car is nearby.

When and if you get tired of the silence, the fun can begin. As strange as it may sound for an eco-friendly electric car, yes, it can be a lot of fun. Now in the second generation, the LEAF comes with noticeably more power, so this basic version already has 150 hp and more importantly a powerful 310 Nm of torque. Available immediately!

The power of the electric motor is transmitted to the front wheels, and the acceleration is very strong and very impressive for a car weighing 1.5 tons. It reaches 100 km / h in just 7.9 seconds, and as there are no transmission losses it will easily “skip” more powerful and more sophisticated sports cars. Of course, low rolling resistance tires are not something you want when you want a sporty ride, so with sudden acceleration, the LEAF will easily spin one of the drive wheels.

While driving, LEAF is still primarily impressed with its ease of movement and quietness, and although it is one of the more difficult components, the fact is that the main culprits of that weight are still hidden in the best possible place. The LEAF floor contains battery cells with a total capacity of 40 kWh and is also responsible for the very low center of gravity of the car, which is not really that low at all. In turns, the LEAF steering does not give too much feedback and is generally too light, while the suspension itself is not tuned for some sporting tastes. The LEAF is simply a comfortable city compact that is more than capable of making longer journeys.

How long it depends is primarily on the driver. If you easily play around with infectious accelerations and keep a high average speed on the highway, the range will easily fall to less than 200 kilometers. On the other hand, if you are moderately accelerating and maintaining speed, this range can be around 350 kilometers, which is already a respectable value. The B (braking) function on the transmission or the E-Pedal can also be a big help. When your legs are lifted off the accelerator pedal, if it is at all decent to call it that pedal here, it is accompanied by a stronger deceleration and regeneration of kinetic energy that can significantly supplement the battery. The difference is that with the engine braking, the E-Pedal system adds the brakes themselves, which makes the deceleration and regeneration of energy even more efficient. Depending on the altitude profile of your route, this can be a valuable and good option for extending the range to the first charger. Not only that, with the E-Pedal function, the driver can use only one pedal on average 90% of the time, which significantly reduces the driver fatigue itself, of course when you get used to the system mode.

Perhaps the biggest objection to engine and battery technology at LEAF is the expense of cooling. Since this generation does not have a water cooling system, LEAF and its batteries are very sensitive to high temperatures, which significantly affects the long-term durability of the batteries as well as the range they can provide. This becomes more pronounced with faster driving speed.

LEAF only charging is a process that depends primarily on the charger available to you. If you are going to use a regular power outlet and accessories that came with the LEAF, be prepared to take about 12 hours or more. You can charge LEAF much faster and more efficiently on special chargers up to 6.6 kW, where you have to wait 6 hours and 30 minutes from 0 to 100% of the charged battery. You can charge it even faster if you have access to a fast charger with a power of 50 kW, when charging from 10 to 80% of the battery takes only 40 minutes. Clearly, to protect the battery, charging from 80 to 100% will go at a slightly slower pace, while continuous charging on such chargers is not recommended due to its durability and capacity protection.

Although buying a car like this still makes no financial sense to us, the very atmosphere and driving experience provided by LEAF showed us why it is the most popular electric car of today. Also, it is practical enough and usable in everyday life that you do not feel it as a burden but as a commodity, and with a range of about 300 kilometers it is possible to drive it very relaxed even in BiH. Although the network of electric car charging stations in our country is not specifically developed for praise, the project of Elektroprivreda BiH, which initially created a network of charging stations in Sarajevo, Bihac, Gorazde, Mostar, Travnik, Tuzla and Zenica. It is far from enough, but with a few private bottlers it can be enough to travel around BiH with this kind of car with previous planning.

Test car basics: Nissan Leaf 40kWh N-Connecta
Price tested with options: 74,000 KM

Engine: electric, 150 hp from 3,283 to 9,795 rpm, 320 Nm from 0 to 3,283 rpm
Power transmission: to front wheels
Performance : acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h – 7.9 sec, top speed 144 km / h.
Range: 378 km
Dimensions: length 4,480 mm, width 1,790 mm, height 1,540 mm, wheelbase 2,700 mm
Weight: 1,520 kg
Warranty: 5 years or 160,000 km

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