One interesting theme emerging from these initial test drives is that journalists are going to have to find new ways to assess electric vehicles with lithium ion batteries.
After more than 100 years of the internal combustion engine – and some 10 years of hybrid technology – electric vehicles add a new dimension to the traditional role of the road-test journalist.
I look forward to reading how the road test criteria will change as the electric vehicle market expands over the next couple of years.
But back to those early impressions of the Nissan LEAF.
All the reviews we have read so far praised the driving experience with comments such as “the LEAF corners confidently and leans little… the steering is positive and natural”.
Many like the styling, suggesting that it has been deliberately styled to look ‘like a normal car’ so that potential buyers can see there are no trade-offs in terms of cabin comfort and overall package. Others comment on the “remarkable quietness” thanks to the suppression of wind and road noise that they had expected to be more prominent because of the lack of engine noise.
And the message that the Nissan LEAF launch team has been trying to convey – that the range of 160 km is more than enough for most daily use – is also being taken on board judging by the considered comments we have read so far.
So called ‘range anxiety’ is naturally in the minds of all who drive an electric vehicle. But as the test drives have shown, the Nissan LEAF is starting to get people to re-evaluate how they actually use a car in real-world daily driving. In itself, that mindset change is a revolution in how we think about mobility.
By Simon Sproule, Director, Communications Renault-Nissan Alliance, www.alliance-renault-nissan.com/