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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: June 14, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

    Live Launch Blog: Nissan LEAF

    Michael McAleer

    06.17am (GMT+8)

    Good morning from Yokohama, Japan, where we are here to test the Nissan LEAF electric car. We have of course, driven this car around a car park, around some cones, but that was a prototype. This will be as close to the production car as we have seen yet. We head to Nissan’s private track to try it out later this morning. I am not alone here either. Minister ¬†for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources¬†Eamon Ryan is also in Japan, as a guest of the Nikkei newspaper. As well as speaking on communications at a conference on cloud computing, he is going to meet with Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi to check out what they have coming down the line. He meets with Toyota today, to see the plug-in Prius and will meet with Nissan and Mitsubishi tomorrow. We will bring you more later this morning.

    09.35 (GMT+8)

    We have arrived at the Nissan Grandrive area, where we have seen the first look at what is more like a production version of the LEAF. It comes with the same light blue colour as the prototypes we have already experienced, but has a proper interior. We are just getting a presentation on the LEAF’s engineering. Nissan have had to find ways to reduce the sound of the wipers, because without an engine noise, the wipers were way too loud. They have also had to develop protruding headlamps, which deflect the wind away from the wing mirrors and there is a new aerial antenna too.

    Projected ranges for the LEAF in Europe

    A presentation on the range of the vehicle shows that things like use of air conditioning and the type of driving that is done by the driver will affect the range. These range from 76km on the highway with an average speed of 81km/h up to 220km when driving at a steady speed of 60km/h.

    This is where you plug it in!

    11.52am (GMT+8)

    We have just driven the LEAF in as close to production form as you can get and while we will reserve the full driving impressions until the review in Motors on the 23rd of June, we will say that we are incredibly impressed. It surpasses anything we have yet tried in an EV.

    Here is the finished interior of the LEAF

    The close-to production version of the LEAF

    Nissan LEAF plugged into fast charger

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