Test: Nissan Leaf

What the Leaf really does is relaxed driving

The Nissan Leaf is like any car fast at the traffic lights start. When loading, however, he is one of the slower copies.

E-car pioneer and world bestseller - despite its merits and achievements, it has the Nissan Leaf never made it to the top of the sales lists in Germany. The bestseller rankings conquered in this country the Renault Zoe; and as a historic pioneer of the new drive technology is usually Tesla perceived. Both have advantages that go out to the Japanese: second car suitability in one case and sexiness in the second. The virtues of the Japanese, however, are currently less in demand.

Covetousness awakens the Leaf at least hardly, if one faces him in the dealership or on the street. The five-door hatchback shuttles somewhere between pleasing and inconspicuous - not excited, but also scares anyone. The restrained appearance is deliberately chosen, but the new drive technology demands enough from the customer. An expressive design should not reduce the purchase intent in addition.

Ultimately, the Leaf on the surface is a classic compact car for the whole family. With 4,49 meters significantly longer than a segment colleague VW Golf, with a large flap on the back for the luggage and with space for two children and the grandmother in the rear. This forces the buyer to make a currently tough decision: The Leaf is already from the body cut so much a Erstauto that you must consciously and completely prescribe yourself as a buyer of electric mobility. He does not leave space for experiments: for a second car, it is too big and too expensive. It's different, for example, from a small, budget-priced short-haul car like Renaults Zoe.

When loading you need patience

The relatively lush dimensions are probably due not least to the focus on the American and Japanese markets, where smaller limousines hardly stand a chance. However, the Nissan has taken something else - really disturbing - from home: single-phase charging. What is standard in the USA and Japan due to the power grid architecture is a real disadvantage in Germany because it makes charging on the three-phase low-voltage grid extremely slow. In theory, the Leaf sucks up to 6,6 kW from the wallbox, but legally only 4,6 kW is possible due to the German unbalanced load regulation. The test car's 62 kWh battery takes more than half a day to fully charge. Refilling the electricity overnight in the garage is therefore impossible if the battery is empty.

Even at AC charging stations it takes forever, until energy is consumed appreciably. In the best case, 3 has hours of energy available for 100 kilometers of driving. If it has to go fast, the fast-charging alternative remains. But even there, the Nissan does not offer the ideal solution for German customers: DC power only flows through the Japanese-French Chademo connection into the battery. Although there is also in Germany, new pillars often have only the more common CCS connector. After all, if you find a Chademo column, the Leaf loads up to 50 kW in 60 to 90 minutes from zero to 80 percent.

The design has become more pleasing

In the end, loading is in any case unnecessarily slow and complicated - despite its size of the first car, the Leaf as a family car is only a natural choice for flexible and reach-free people. That's a pity, because the standard range of just under 385 kilometers in practice is quite reachable and makes the Leaf interesting for frequent travelers. If you do not need the long-distance capabilities, you should take a look at the Leaf version with the small 40 kWh battery. The comes after norm after all 270 kilometers far and is to have 6.000 euro cheaper.

What really dominates the Leaf is relaxed driving. The well-balanced and always sovereign suspension, which manages both long waves and fences on the highway as well as gull-de-icing and asphalt damage in the city, contributes to this problem. The driver and front passenger take their seats on quite ordinary, albeit hardly adjustable, seats and enjoy the high level of acoustic comfort. The electric motor can not only quietly, but also powerful thanks to its 160 kW / 217 PS. The Nissan needs just under seven seconds for the sprint to speed 100, but on the first few meters, he leaves even real sports cars behind him. And even when overtaking from medium tempo, the Japanese benefits from its 340 Nm torque. At 157 km / h, however, is the end to the drive - in practice, one drives for the purpose of battery saving but usually slower.

The Leaf also educates one with its special pedal policy also to a restrained driving: Pressing the E-pedal knob in the center console, the brake force recovery switches to the highest level, so that the generator acts as a strong brake, as soon as the Take foot off the "gas pedal". The real brake is then used in practice only in an emergency, when the car should come to a quick stop. Electric car driving is often already a relaxed affair - in the Leaf she is in a very special way again. However, a little fine tuning with the real brake pedal could not hurt - the delay effect is sometimes quite rough.

The seats are hardly adjustable

The e-car pioneer has not helped his balanced temperament in Germany so far. And in the future it will be even more difficult when European-based competitors like the VW ID3 start, where the charging technology are more adapted to the local conditions. And the Nissan should also undercut the price. With at least 44.700 Euro for the 62 kWh variant and currently 36.800 Euro for the version with the 40 kWh battery, the Japanese is anything but a bargain.

Specifications - Nissan Leaf e +:
Five-seat, five-door compact car, length: 4,49 meter, width: 1,79 meter (with outside mirror 2,03 meter), height: 1,53 meter, wheelbase: 2,70 meter, trunk volume: 394 liter

Electric motor, 160 kW / 217 HP, maximum torque: 340 Nm at 0 - 4.600 rpm, front wheel drive, input gearbox, battery capacity: 62 kWh, charging connection: Type2 and Chademo, AC charger: single phase 4,6 kW in Germany (theoretically up to 6,6 kW), DC charging power: 50 kW, 0-100 km / h: 6,9 s, Vmax: 157 km / h, standard consumption: 18,5 kW / h, test consumption: 16 kWh, standard range: 385 km, CO2 output: 0 g , Efficiency class: A +; Price: from 44.700 Euro (environmental bonus possible).

Short description - Nissan Leaf:
Why: comfortable and harmonious handling, good space
Why not: only single-phase AC charger, Chademo plug for DC charging
What else: VW ID3, Hyundai Ioniq, Toyota Prius

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