The Nissan Leaf Electric Hatchback: A Complete Guide For India

Nissan leaf electric car
Price: N/A
Type of electric vehicle: Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body type: Hatchback
Battery size: 39 kWh/ 59 kWh
Electric range (WLTP): 168 - 239 miles
Tailpipe emissions: 0g (CO2/km)


Electric Cars: The Basics


For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:

For those keen on an overview of the global electric vehicle (EV) market and the different types of electric vehicles (EVs), simply scroll down to the end of the article!


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The Nissan Leaf Electric Car


Nissan Motor Corporation, a leading player in the global automotive sector is headquartered in Japan. The company is well known for leading automotive brands, to include, Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun. In 1999, Nissan became part of the global Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. The partnership makes these companies the 3rd largest automotive group in the world after Volkswagen and Toyota.

The Nissan Leaf, is one of the best-selling electric cars globally, with nearly 600,000 sold to date.  The BEV was first introduced in 2010 in Japan & the United States. The electric Leaf is now sold in over 59 markets across the globe. In fact, in celebration of the inaugural World EV Day (September 9th 2020), Nissan marked the production of the 500,000th Leaf. Europe remains the largest market for the plug-in electric Leaf, followed by the United States and Japan.   

It has the unique distinction of being the first mass-market electric car in the world.  Since its launch, the ubiquitous EV has won numerous prestigious awards, to include, the 2018 World Green Car at the New York International Auto Show for the second generation Leaf.  The first generation Nissan Leaf won the 2011 World Car of the Year. In 2019, the Nissan Leaf was awarded the ‘Car of the Year’ in the Stuff Gadget Awards.

The latest generation of the Leaf has much to offer. The EV is available in two EV battery sizes: 39 kWh and 59 kWh (usable capacity). The choice of two EV battery sizes increases the potential customer base, as not every EV driver needs a large onboard EV battery and long electric range. Both battery sizes offer a useful and practical pure electric range.

The 39 kWh has a zero-emission electric range up to 168 miles (WLTP), while the 59 kWh offers a range up to 239 miles (WLTP). Even adjusting for real-world driving conditions, both options remain useful! For the 39 kWh expect a real-world emission-free e-range closer to 140 miles, while for the larger battery, 200 miles will be more realistic. More than adequate for city and motorway driving.

The Nissan EV incorporates a single-phase (6.6 KW AC) onboard charger. More than adequate for EV home charging in India, given that the majority of homes have single-phase power supply. The 39 kWh EV can be fully charged in 7 hours and 30 minutes using a dedicated residential EV charger like easee. The 59 kWh can be full charged in 11 hours. Though the Nissan electric car can be charged via a domestic 3-PIN socket, we at e-zoomed discourage the use of a domestic socket to charge an electric car. It will take 21 hours to charge the 39 kWh battery and 31 hours to charge the 59 kWh battery.

We at e-zoomed recommend charging overnight when the electricity prices are lower. We also recommend charging on a regular basis. This way charging times are reduced and regular charging is good for the long-term maintenance of the onboard EV battery. Nissan offers a 8 years/ 100,000 miles warranty for the EV battery.

The Nissan Leaf electric hatchback also offers DC charging capability. However, DC charging is limited to 50 kW, which is certainly not class-leading. Most of the more recent EV introductions offer DC charging capability at 100 kW DC and faster. Nevertheless, the Nissan EV can be charged reasonably fast. For the 39 kWh EV battery it will take up to 60 minutes to charge from 20% to 80%. For the 59 kWh it will take 90 minutes.

In terms of the exterior styling, though the Nissan Leaf has improved, it has retained a balanced mix between a traditional and futuristic design, enabling the EV to appeal to a wider consumer base. The EV has a host of safety features and technology to offer, depending on the trim chosen. Some of these include: ProPILOT, ProPILOT park, intelligent cruise control, intelligent lane intervention, blind spot intervention, lane departure warning, 8″ display screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 7″ TFT screen combimeter and more. In terms of practicality, the EV offers 435 L boot space.

In terms of performance, the front-wheel drive Nissan Leaf (39kWh) achieves 0-62 mph in 7.9 seconds (max power: 150 PS/ torque: 320 Nm). The 59 kWh variant is faster and achieves 0-62 mph in 6.9 seconds (max power: 217 PS/ torque: 340 Nm). The 59 kW has a 98 mph top speed compared to 90 mph for the 39 kWh variant. The EV offers one-pedal driving (to include regenerative braking). Of course, the electric car also benefits from instant torque.

The Nissan Leaf is not available in India.


PROS CONS
A good all-rounder and affordable electric carDC charging limited to 50 kW
Two EV battery size optionsOnboard charger limited to 6.6 kW AC
Decent electric rangeHeadroom for rear seats limited

Gallery


The All-Electric Nissan Leaf (credit: Nissan)


Driving an electric vehicle (EV) is cheaper than driving a petrol or diesel vehicle. As an example, in India, filling a full tank of fuel for the internal combustion engine (ICE) Tata Nexon SUV will cost up to Rs 5,000 (assuming an average cost per litre of Rs 100. The Tata Nexon has a fuel tank capacity of 44 L).

In comparison, the Tata Nexon Pure Electric SUV will cost less than Rs 300 for a full EV battery charge (EV Battery size: 30.2 kWh). In India, the average cost for residential electricity is between Rs 5 to Rs 10 per kWh(unit). Therefore the cost to drive per km (or mile) in a pure electric vehicle is substantially lower than a petrol or diesel vehicle.

At an average one can expect a cost per km of Rs 1 for a zero-emission EV, while for an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle, the cost per km could be up to Rs 7 per km. The annual cost savings achieved by switching to electric driving is significant!


At A Glance
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Vehicle Type:Hatchback
Engine:Electric
Available In India:No

Trims (5 Options)
Acenta: Nissan LEAF
N-Connecta: Nissan LEAF
Tekna: Nissan LEAF
e+ N-Connecta: Nissan LEAF e+
e+Tekna: Nissan LEAF e+

EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-ion
EV Battery Capacity:Available in two battery sizes: 39 kWh/ 59 kWh (Usable Battery)
Charging:50 kW DC Rapid Charging. Onboard charger: 6.6 kW AC
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Warranty:8 years/ 100,000 miles

Charging Times (Overview)
Slow charging AC (3 kW – 3.6 kW):6 – 12 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SOC)
Fast charging AC (7 kW – 22 kW):3 – 8 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Rapid charging AC (43 kW):0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Rapid charging DC (50 kW+):0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Ultra rapid charging DC (150 kW+):0-80% : 20 mins to 40 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Tesla Supercharger (120 kW – 250 kW):0-80%: up to 25 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)

Dimensions
Height (mm):1540
Width (mm):1788
Length (mm):4490
Wheelbase (mm):2700
Turning Circle (m):10.8
Boot Space (L):435

Leaf 39 kWh
EV Battery Capacity:39 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):168 miles
Electric Consumption (Wh/km):171
Charging:50 kW DC Rapid Charging (20% to 80%: 60 mins). Onboard charger: 6.6 kW AC (0%-100%: 7 hrs 30 mins)
Top Speed:90 mph
0-62 mph:7.9 seconds
Drive:Front-wheel drive
Electric Motor (kW):110
Max Power (PS):150
Torque (Nm):320
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:5
Kerb Weight (kg):1,518-1,594
Colours:10
NCAP Safety Rating:Five-Star

Leaf 59 kWh
EV Battery Capacity:59 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):239 miles
Electric Consumption (Wh/km):185
Charging:50 kW DC Rapid Charging (20% to 80%: 90 mins). Onboard charger: 6.6 kW AC (0%-100%: 11 hrs)
Top Speed:98 mph
0-62 mph:6.9 seconds
Drive:Front-wheel drive
Electric Motor (kW):160
Max Power (PS):217
Torque (Nm):340
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:5
Kerb Weight (kg):1,700-1,736
Colours:10
NCAP Safety Rating:Five-Star

Global Electric Vehicle (EV) Market


Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), more commonly referred to simply as, electric vehicles (EVs) or as plug-in electric cars, have come a long way over the past decade and certainly a long way over the past 100 years.

Electric vehicles came into prominence in the early 1900’s, a time when horse-drawn carriages were the primary mode of transportation.  Archived black and white photographs from that period show famous avenues like Madison Avenue in New York city filled with horse-drawn carriages.  In stark contrast, a similar photograph taken a decade later of Madison Avenue showed not a single horse-drawn carriage.  Instead the avenue was filled with motor vehicles, a new invention at that time. 

We are now witnessing a similar fundamental shift in road transportation, as polluting internal combustion engines (ICE) petrol and diesel vehicles are being replaced by low-emission and zero-emission electric vehicles. In countries like the United Kingdom, a leader in e-mobility, we can expect a comprehensive replacement of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 (UK will ban the sale of new ICE cars in 2030). The UK is not the only country that has a vision of a mass transition to zero-tailpipe emission electric cars.

Since 2011, the global electric vehicle (EV) market has increased at a year-over-year growth rate of over 50%. In 2020, according to the Global EV Outlook 2021 report, the global stock of electric vehicles (EVs) had surpassed 10 million units . In 2015, the Global stock was just over 1 million units. In 2020, Europe accounted for the largest share of new car registrations of EVs (1.4 million registered electric vehicles), followed by China (1.2 million electric vehicles). In Europe, countries like Norway, Iceland and Sweden continue to show strong leadership in the transition to electric driving. In Norway more than 75% of new cars are electric, followed by 50% in Iceland and 30% in Sweden.

However, this is not just a western phenomenon. A number of countries across the world have announced their support for electric cars, to include India. Pure electric cars are now common sightings in a number of global markets, and EV automotive manufacturers, like California based Tesla Motors are now household brands.

Traditional automotive manufactures have also shown significant commitment to the migration to electric engines, to include Volvo Cars, the Volkswagen Group, Renault, Nissan, Peugeot, Hyundai, Mercedes, Land Rover and many more. Forecast for the sale of EVs suggest up to 30 million electric vehicles to be sold before the end of the current decade.


Types Of Electric Vehicles (EVs)


Electric vehicle” is an umbrella term, and a broad one at that. There are a number of different types of electric vehicles (EVs), each with its distinct characteristics and advantages. These include:

  • BEVs: Battery-electric vehicles (pure electric)
  • PHEVs: Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (electric and internal combustion engine (ICE) combined)
  • MHEVs: Mild hybrid electric vehicles (internal combustion engine (gasoline or diesel) along with regenerative braking)
  • FCEVs: Fuel cell electric vehicle (electric with hydrogen as fuel)

The above “types” are powered either entirely or partially by electric energy and have different environmental impacts.


Battery-Electric Vehicles (BEVs)


Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), also known as pure electric vehicles, are powered entirely by electricity (i.e. the vehicle does not have a conventional internal combustion engine). BEVs have zero-tailpipe emissions and help improve local air quality.

BEVs are also very economical to drive. A BEV can cost as little as Rs 50 per 100 kilometres to drive. Examples of best-selling EVs include, the all-electric Tesla Model 3 and the all-electric Renault Zoe. A BEV is charged by plugging in the electric vehicle to a dedicated electric car charging station (home or public charging stations). BEVs are well suited for those living in towns, cities and urban centres. Of course, battery-electric vehicles are also suitable for those living in rural settings.


Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)


Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) differ from battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), in that, PHEVs use both a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric engine for propulsion. Plug-in hybrid vehicles combine the advantages of electric driving and internal combustion engine driving.

On shorter distances, the PHEV uses the electric mode to drive emission-free, using the on-board EV battery and regenerative braking. For longer distances, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles switches to using the internal combustion engine. With a PHEV, the vehicle can cost as little Rs 50 per 100 kilometres to drive on e-mode, without any tailpipe pollution, and also be driven long-distances, without the fear of range anxiety! Most PHEVs have an EV battery of up to 15 kWh and can achieve a zero-emission electric range of up to 50 kilometres. No wonder PHEVs are fast becoming popular globally, with much potential or India. Like a BEV, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is charged by using an external power source (EV charging point) for charging.

PHEVs are suitable for those that drive long-distances on a regular basis but want to lower the negative environmental impact from tailpipe pollution. PHEVs are also suitable for those individuals and families that are seeking to save money by taking advantage of electric driving. The Volvo XC40 PHEV and the Volkswagen Golf 8 are good examples of PHEVs.


Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles (MHEVs)


Mild hybrid electric vehicles (MHEVs) are a limited form of electric driving. These vehicles also use hybrid technologies (electric driving and internal combustion engine), but the EV battery is much smaller than a BEV or PHEV. Moreover, in a mild hybrid, the EV battery cannot be charged via an external source (i.e. EV charging station). In a MHEV, the battery is charged by capturing the energy released during braking, a process known as regenerative braking. MHEVs have lower tailpipe emissions, and are more economical to own, run and maintain than petrol and diesel cars. MHEVs are a better option than a petrol or diesel car, but not as good an option as a BEV or PHEV. Mild hybrids are well suited for those living in regions with limited charging infrastructure. Again, MHEVs have great potential in India, given the limited public EV charging infrastructure.

The Toyota Prius is a good example of a mild hybrid electric vehicle.


Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs)


Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) also called hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, have a fuel cell stack that uses hydrogen to generate the electricity needed to power the electric vehicle. The fuel cell generates electricity and pure water vapour that can escape via the tailpipe. It is capable of generating electricity as long as there is a steady supply of hydrogen. Fuel cell electric vehicles can be refuelled with hydrogen at purpose built filling stations. Filling an FEC takes no more than five minutes.

FCEVs have a range of about 500 kilometers or more between refueling. Today, the only and major limitation is the very limited hydrogen refuelling station network globally. The Toyota Mirai FCEV is a good example of this type of EV.


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Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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