Nissan Leaf drive electric tour – Click above for high-res image gallery
Having been to countless other 'drive' events in the past, we were surprised at the different approach Nissan took at this event. Educating the attendees seemed to be at the forefront of the presenters' minds, with a multi-room setup dedicated to teaching potential customers about how the electric vehicle works, how it charges and all its nifty features. The guided presentation was obligatory, and took about 30 minutes. There wasn't much new information that regular readers won't already know, but we did get to see a beta version of the Leaf iPhone app as well as the included extension cable for impromptu charging (see the gallery below for more).
A pleasant surprise was that the test drive took place on public roads instead of simply an empty parking lot. The full loop consisted of 1.8 miles of city driving. Our impressions of the car were about what we expected. It has good initial torque at slower speeds (up to about 40 miles per hour), but seemed to taper off from there. The ride seems very quiet and refined, although taking a right turn at above average speed resulted in tire squeal that we weren't expecting and don't think would happen in, say, a third-gen Prius. We did make it a point to reset the trip odometer in the hopes of seeing the energy consumption after the drive, however, resetting the trip apparently does not allow you to see the energy consumption for that segment. The energy consumption has to be reset within the touch screen system – just a heads up to anyone attending future events. The system on the Leaf we drove showed 34 miles driven since the last reset and had an energy consumption of 3.8 miles/kWh (268 Wh/mi). That would translate into a full-battery range of 91 miles. Anyone else have an experience to share?