By on September 22, 2020

The New York Times, or one writer paid by the New York Times (one journalist’s take or analysis or opinion doesn’t represent the entire paper, you know), had a piece out a couple days ago claiming the dawn of the EV age is now.

Somehow, I missed this article until now. But let’s a look at its assertions, shall we, and see what is and is not accurate?

(Read More…)

By on August 18, 2020

2019 Nissan LEAF Plus - Image: Nissan

Want to wear your environmental activism on your sleeve? Park some of it in your driveway.

Gone are the days when driving an electric car required careful trip planning — and white-knuckled, pit-stained trips to the suburbs. Automakers have finally endowed their greenest rides with enough range to keep anxiety mostly at bay.

And, because there’s a pandemic (among other factors impacting electric vehicle sales), some of those same OEMs really want to move those cars off the lot. There’s deals to be had, greenies. (Read More…)

By on February 10, 2020

The year was 1981, and the frazzled mother of yours truly found herself behind the wheel more than usual. This writer was apparently screaming and bawling like a 21st century voter, and the only way to get him to conk out was to bundle him into an increasingly corroded Plymouth Volare and hit the lonely backroads of rural Canada, unsure of whether that Slant Six would stall at the next four-way stop.

It’s a situation most new parents find themselves in — and, save adoption, it’s the last legal resort to getting a screaming child to knock it off, especially now that most food safety agencies don’t allow alcohol-filled gripe water. As powertrains go electric, however, the driving experience is beginning to change.

Worried that these child-lulling drives might prove fruitless in a model like the Leaf, Nissan has recorded an EP to accompany the trip. I’m listening to it now. (Read More…)

By on August 5, 2019

After a few years, most of us begin to notice our smartphones have developed an inability to hold a charge like they used to. The fix used to be pretty simple, no worse than swapping a couple of AAs into the remote. Order a new battery online, pop off the back of the device, and replace the run-down cell with a fresh one. Unfortunately, this simple act grew more difficult as manufacturers gradually decided to seal off access to your phone’s internals — mimicking the plight facing EV owners whose energy source is losing capacity.

A number of electric vehicles in the United States are about to celebrate their 10th birthday. A bunch of them are Nissan Leafs, the first mainstream BEV made widely available in the U.S. market. At the same time, customers have begun complaining about diminished range, with some asking for a battery refurbishment program like the one enjoyed by customers living in Japan.

So far, the best they’ve received is a confident “maybe” from the manufacturer. It might behoove them to expedite things and pull the trigger. Automakers are running behind in terms of establishing a global solution to aging EV batteries, and they’re risking a lot by not already having one in place.  (Read More…)

By on January 28, 2019

Image: Nissan

First off, we could debate whether a true “stripper” vehicle even exists in this era of generous standard content; arguably, my Chevrolet Cruze L doesn’t even make the cut — though one peek at the headliner material suggests otherwise. But I digress…

Certainly, the upcoming Nissan Leaf Plus is not the starting point of the Leaf line, but the new 62 kWh variant, with its larger battery and additional grunt, does include a modest “S” trim. And it seems the cheaper version of the long-range electric hatch packs a range advantage over its pricier siblings. (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2019

Image: Nissan

Ignoring next week’s North American International Auto Show, Nissan instead chose the high-tech confines of Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show to reveal its latest Leaf. And it’s a Leaf that’s finally able to play with the big boys.

Called the Leaf e+, but carrying the Leaf Plus name when it goes on sale in the U.S. and Canada, this Leaf variant boasts more battery — 62 kWh of it. With all of that additional stored energy comes the ability to expand your horizons. (Read More…)

By on October 23, 2018

With governments everywhere attempting to reduce powerplant emissions while simultaneously moving the teeming masses out of ICE vehicles and into electric cars, an energy brick wall quickly approaches. You’re faced with a situation where more people are drawing more power from the grid, but — for environmental or financial reasons — generating more power is out of the question.

In Germany, one solution is to get those EV drivers to stop what they’re doing and plug back into the grid, allowing the contents of their just-filled batteries to flow back into the plug it came from. Goodbye, brownouts. Possibly. If the solution seems odd and potentially self-defeating, it is, but the country’s government just approved the Nissan Leaf for exactly this use. (Read More…)

By on October 17, 2018

2018 Nissan LEAF SL

Nissan did Leaf fans a favor when it upped the model’s driving range to 151 miles for 2018, a healthy increase from the previous generation’s 107 miles. Still, 151 miles falls well short of the industry’s nice-sounding gold standard of 200 miles — the figure to beat (or at least reach) for most automakers. With range like the new Leaf’s, long-distance travel remains complicated, inconvenient, and perhaps even impossible.

It’s no secret that Nissan plans to offer an upgraded battery next year, but just how much extra cash you’ll need for that 60 kWh model remained a mystery. Until now. (Read More…)

By on July 20, 2018

Nissan unveiled the Leaf Nismo EV this week, with sales commencing in Japan at the end of the month. This is a big surprise for the Western automotive media, as few of us truly believed it was possible. While rumors suggested the existence of such a vehicle, we presumed it would either not happen or manifest as a pathetic appearance package on a vehicle entirely consumed with efficiency.

We were wrong. Nissan actually retuned the Leaf’s computer for improved acceleration and gave it a bunch of meaningful performance upgrades. (Read More…)

By on July 16, 2018

2018 Nissan LEAF SL

Many years ago, back when full-on electric cars were rare oddities, I drove an early first-generation Nissan Leaf in power-sapping Eco mode. It was, to this day, the slowest vehicle I have ever driven. The driver of a 1980s Tercel with a three-speed automatic could have handed me my ass in a stoplight drag race.

That was then, and this is now. The second-gen Leaf, which bowed for 2018, offers buyers 142 horsepower and a generous helping of low-end electric grunt to go with their 151 miles of range. But there’s another beast arriving for 2019 that should satisfy those looking for more miles and more horses. (Read More…)

By on May 4, 2018

2017 Chevrolet Volt - Image: Chevrolet

Jason writes:

Dear Sajeev,

This isn’t so much a Piston Slap question, but rather a “what would Sajeev do (WWSD)?”

My father recently approached me and said that he and my mother are interested in getting a pre-owned electric to replace one of their aging cars. My father drives a 2009 Hyundai Sonata GLS (w/ popular pkg) with 65k on the odometer and my mother drives a 2008 Honda Civic EX Sedan with 85k. Both cars are close in age and miles, however, the Honda bests the Hyundai in resale value, hands down. Whatever they end up selling, my dad will keep to drive as an everyday car and my mom will get the electric. My dad is adamant about selling the Hyundai due to some shortcomings like the interior build quality (dashboard makes noises during hot climate) and the fuel tank has an odd evaporation issue where it forces the car not fill properly. However, I’m more for selling the Civic because the Sonata overall is a quieter and plush car for someone his age. In the past, he has complained the Civic is too low and I see him struggle to get in and out of my stock ILX. It’s a tough decision for us because both cars were purchased brand new and if you saw them today, you’d think they qualify as certified pre-owned vehicles.

The second question is the car they intend to purchase. My mom really likes the look and shape of the Nissan Leaf, but I introduced the Chevy Volt as an alternative and she approves. Both are completely different from one another but are a few thousands a part on the certified pre-owned market. My mother has a few years left until retirement and commutes (30 miles round-trip) for work, so both cars will suit her current and future lifestyle.

I know it might sound crazy to you (and readers) to sell any Asian car in such prime of their lives to get an electric car, but my parents are aging and at the end of the day, it’s whatever makes them happy that matters to me. So which makes more sense, selling the Sonata or Civic? Leaf or Volt? Or are we crazy and just keep the set up as is?

(Read More…)

By on February 17, 2018

2018 Nissan Leaf

After becoming something close to a joke over the past couple of years, the once-groundbreaking Nissan Leaf enters 2018 with a new skin, larger battery, and enhanced range. Next year brings an optional battery upgrade, finally giving the five-door EV a range capable of challenging Tesla and General Motors.

Now that it has a competitive vehicle positioned as a value pick in a growing segment, Nissan wants everyone to get a chance to buy one, no matter where they live. It may have shied away from sales targets in the U.S., but Nissan’s not dialing back its global ambitions. (Read More…)

By on January 31, 2018

2018 Nissan Leaf

What a difference a mile makes. Or does it? In the case of the 2018 Nissan Leaf, the second-generation model’s newly enlarged driving range might not sway a single buyer or suddenly place the model ahead of a close challenger, but any improvement in an EV’s travel radius is worthy of a celebration at the company’s HQ.

If you haven’t heard the news, the 2018 Leaf’s range now stands at 151 miles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s just-released official rating. What was it before? Well, Nissan estimated 150 miles. Hardly shocking, but it’s nonetheless good news as the automaker waits for next year’s arrival of a longer-ranged, more competitive model. (Read More…)

By on December 29, 2017

Nissan LEAF GT

We drove the new 2018 Nissan Leaf in California earlier this month, finding it to be an effective foil to the Prius Primes and Chevy Bolts of the world. With far more mainstream styling than its predecessor, the Leaf stands a good chance of hooking customers who would have never considered the old model.

Now, we’ve learned the company will bring a Leaf GT concept to the Tokyo Auto Salon in early January, a Japanese event most easily described as a fantastic mashup of CES and SEMA.

(Read More…)

By on October 3, 2017

nismo-leaf

Nissan appears to be considering adorning the Leaf with a NISMO nameplate and appearance. Unveiled on Monday at Nissan’s Futures 3.0 event, the stock 2018 model provides improved performance, range, and less nerdy looks. However, Nissan wants further improve the Leaf’s image with a NISMO-trimmed variant.

Oh goodie.

While we get that economy models can morph into fun-to-drive little darlings, we also scrunched our noses at Toyota’s performance-enhanced GR Prius last month. Not every car can be the next GTI and, if automakers would like to build something that could be, they’ll have to provide us with more than a bodykit and a set of custom wheels.  (Read More…)

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