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2019 Nissan Leaf Plus First Drive Review

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2019 Nissan Leaf Plus First Drive Review

SAN DIEGO — The 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus is a type of “ask and also you shall obtain” conditions. The corporate has lagged behind within the range dialogue for too lengthy — the redesigned 2018 Leaf has solely a one hundred fifty-mile range, in any case. That is a lot for some individuals, however the competitors provides extra. Nissan heard the cries, and now we’ve the Leaf Plus. Hallelujah, proper?

Choosing out a Leaf Plus from a gaggle of regular Leafs is best in case you’re taking a look at it from behind. Nissan added a “Plus” badge to the underside proper-hand a part of the hatch beneath the trim designation. Then should you’re a real EV sleuth, the decrease entrance bumper lip is painted in a contrasting blue so long as you did not go for the darkish blue paint choice. This seems good on some colours, however a bit disjointed on others. Select correctly, we’ll say.

Pop open the cost port cowl and you will discover an “e+” emblem on the fast charging cap. You may need remembered that when Nissan revealed the large battery Leaf at CES earlier this yr it was referred to as the e+. That nomenclature continues to be round for people outdoors America, however right here Nissan thinks a car named “Plus” as an alternative of “e+” will supply larger residual values. For what it is value, the “e” was quite redundant anyhow. The Leaf is clearly an electric car.

Semantics apart, the large modifications for the Plus occur underneath the ground within the battery pack for elevated range and quicker charging. It has gone from a forty kWh battery to a sixty two kWh battery, offering a 226-mile range, in line with its EPA score. That is a seventy six-mile increase over the one hundred fifty-mile range within the regular Leaf. This implies we will lastly examine the Leaf to automobiles just like the Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Kona Electrical and others with out an enormous asterisk mark.

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus first drive2019 Nissan Leaf Plus
2019 Nissan Leaf Plus first drive2019 Nissan Leaf Plus first drive

The Leaf Plus’s “greater” battery pack is 1.fifty seven inches taller, however this does not change the interior or exterior dimensions save a negligible journey peak improve. Engineers advised us the pack is far more power dense, with extra tightly-packed cells than earlier than. Nissan did an identical factor when transitioning from the 30 kWh pack to the forty kWh pack, however this sixty two kWh pack is even denser.

With a bigger battery to cost, Nissan improved the fast charging price to one hundred kW DC, and so in best circumstances the Leaf Plus can obtain eighty % cost after forty five minutes, packing in 60 extra miles of cost in the identical period of time than its slower-charging counterpart.

That is progress, nevertheless it nonetheless does not tackle the battery cooling difficulty. Whereas many new electrics are outfitted with liquid-cooled battery packs, the Leaf continues to make do with air cooling. Nissan advised us “liquid cooling is an answer, however it’s not the one answer.” Air-cooling is lighter and cheaper than liquid cooling, however the tradeoff is decreased efficiency in excessive ambient temperatures and a few points with quick-charging speeds. The Leaf cuts cost velocity as warmth builds, so on an extended journey with a number of quick-charging stops it might take longer and longer to prime up — a feature, not a bug, however an inconvenience for some house owners that has led to some controversy for Nissan. To assist maintain temperatures in verify on its up to date battery pack, Nissan employed totally different wiring and battery chemistry. Not one of the testing we have been capable of do on the primary drive in sunny San Diego can inform us if there are any tangible enhancements, however know that modifications have been made.

Energy from the only everlasting magnet electric motor will get a noticeable bump as much as 214 horsepower and 250 pound-ft of torque. For comparability, that is fifty four horsepower and 14 pound-ft of torque greater than the traditional Leaf makes. Nissan claims this Plus is sweet for acceleration to sixty two mph in roughly seven seconds, one second faster than the forty kWh Leaf.

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus first drive2019 Nissan Leaf Plus first drive

This additional energy makes itself recognized when you’re already shifting at an honest clip. Mat the throttle if you’re touring alongside at metropolis speeds and the Leaf Plus jumps forward immediately, as you’d anticipate from a torquey electric car. Do the identical from a lifeless cease and issues really feel fairly lifeless. We would not name it sluggish, however there simply is not any electric verve to acceleration from a cease. Even with traction management turned off, the entrance tires will not break unfastened if it is pointed in a straight line. It’s kind of of a disgrace, as a result of the ridiculous torque surge proper off the road has all the time been the hilariously enjoyable a part of driving an electric car.

Both Nissan has fettled with the tuning to maintain issues in verify at low speeds, or the everlasting magnet motor simply is not responsive sufficient from the get-go. Induction motors are inherently sportier to drive, however that is an pointless requirement for the price range Leaf, which makes do with the cheaper, extra environment friendly everlasting magnet unit. Weight might play an element right here, too. The Leaf Plus is simply over 340 kilos heavier than the traditional Leaf in each trim degree — that is no small achieve relating to a vehicle’s dynamics. Each variations of the Leaf have the identical ultimate drive ratio of eight.193:1, main us to consider the offender is not to be discovered there. The lazy begin is sort of probably an element of some or all the weather we listed above.

In addition to a a lot-great addition in acceleration in most circumstances, driving the Leaf Plus is an entire lot like driving the traditional Leaf, with added peace of thoughts in electric range. It simply bumps your head off the headrest slightly more durable whenever you give it the whole lot it has. Consolation, like we have famous in earlier reviews, continues to be a robust promoting level for the Leaf Plus. Bumps are soaked up properly for the small size and financial system car nature of the Leaf. The cabin was impressively quiet with a hair of wind and tire noise being the one intruding sounds. There actually is not a lot to complain about on this entrance for what you will be paying (nonetheless unannounced) for the Leaf Plus.

Dealing with is common if not barely uninspiring. The chassis feels strong with a low middle of gravity, however the steering’s numbness and the excessive-up driving place restrict any potential for enjoyable. Even with the seat adjusted as near the ground as potential it nonetheless felt like we have been sitting too excessive up. All in, you will have a bit of little bit of enjoyable driving the Leaf Plus on a winding street, however no more than that.

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus first drive2019 Nissan Leaf Plus first drive

We spent loads of time driving by way of the town and in cease-and-go visitors, the place most Leaf house owners will in all probability be. The E-Pedal perform (Nissan’s identify for its one-pedal regenerative braking mode) can be utilized to deliver the Leaf Plus to a cease in almost each circumstance. Nissan says it is modified the tuning a bit for the Plus to supply even higher stopping energy by means of the regenerative braking — this implies the mechanical brakes shall be used even much less. Until somebody makes an sudden transfer, you may by no means have to the touch the brake pedal all through your complete commute. Conventional two-pedal driving is accessible on the press of a button, however when you get used to at least one-pedal operation, you are not going to need to change again.

Nissan switched to an eight-inch infotainment display for the 2019 mannequin yr, changing the seven-inch unit beforehand housed within the middle stack. It has up to date software program, however nonetheless feels dated for a brand new 2019 system. A slick new look and graphics package deal might make an enormous distinction. As it’s, we think about most people will in all probability simply need to use the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto that comes standard.

The Leaf Plus’ success could have quite a bit to do with price and whether or not Nissan is ready to undercut rivals just like the Bolt and Hyundai’s/Kia’s trio of electric automobiles both coming to market or for sale now. Globally the Leaf has bought properly. In relation to the U.S., a Nissan consultant stated, “you can say we’re hanging in there.” Whereas a model-new Leaf Plus will not be a discount in comparison with gasoline powered automobiles its size, Nissan is hoping extra miles per cost finally ends up which means extra gross sales.

Whether or not people truly require the additional seventy six miles is a completely totally different argument. No matter actual driving wants, the optics look rather a lot higher for the Leaf with range within the 200s moderately than the 100s — and a perkier electric motor is an enormous plus. Should you favored the Leaf earlier than, you are positive to love the Leaf Plus much more — Nissan is planning to promote them each aspect-by-aspect for the foreseeable future at totally different price factors.

Sadly, we will not inform you what the Leaf Plus will run you, as a result of Nissan is not prepared to half methods with that information fairly but. You are still within the protected zone to get the full $7,500 federal tax credit score when shopping for a Nissan for the close to future. We have been advised that roughly one hundred thirty,000 Leafs have been bought within the U.S. to date, leaving room for an additional 70,000 earlier than the full credit score disappears. As soon as the price for the large-battery Leaf is introduced (it is anticipated to be priced according to the competitors) we’ll return to this dialogue with an replace.

For now, this low cost and cheerful electric equipment will get extra interesting with aggressive range and a bit extra energy. A “hallelujah” second? Not precisely. Let’s name it a medium-sized step in the proper course. That is extra prefer it.

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