2012 Nissan Leaf: Test Drive


The housings for the headlights appear to also be used for reducing drag.  My guess is they prevent the air coming over the hood from spilling off the sides towards the fenders.  By keeping the air moving rearwards as opposed to sideways, I think it reduces the drag.  EDIT: they are indeed for deflecting air away from the outside mirrors as noted by our smart readers.


Sitting on the back hatch is a smaller photovoltaic solar cell.  From my solar engineering class back in the day, the rule of thumb is you get 100W from a PV cell for every square meter.  So this PV cell probably provides around 5W of power and is used as a trickle charger for the 12V battery I think.  Well, the little lady bug off to the left seems to like it.


So who should use a Leaf?  I think anyone driving in a mostly city setting going no more than 60 miles a day (as to avoid range anxiety).  The Leaf is electronically limited to 93mph (tested for the sake of MIQ readers) where it uses roughly 40kW of power.  At 70mph, it uses about 20kW of power.  As you can see, the power consumption goes up exponentially the faster you go.  The Leaf hauls butt up to 30mph but starts to slow down from there.  It probably accelerates about as hard as a Honda Fit at highway speeds which is to say it can handle it no problem, but you do have to plan a bit to make any passes.  And cruising at highway speeds really sucks down the battery.  Using the standard 120V wall outlet, you get about 5 miles of range per hour charging time.  My average daily driving usage is only 20 miles a day, so I could plug in the car for four hours a night using a standard wall outlet and be perfectly fine.  You can also get the 220-240V charger which is about three times faster.  I have to say, I really enjoyed driving the Leaf and drove it almost every chance I got while I was home visiting the 'rents.  Some stickier tires and firmed up suspension would make for great fun darting around the city combined with the quick steering and instant power.  Hmm… Now I just need to find someone with a Tesla S…


nissan leaf, enkei wheels



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