While there were concerns that the Nissan Leaf might not be a very good vehicle for colder climates, the automaker is ready to demonstrate otherwise. It recently invited a few dozen journalists to have a go in the snow with its signature all-electric on a test course in Shibetsu, Hokkaido in the north of Japan. Informative video ensued.

With a backdrop of a brace of Leafs frolicking about in the white stuff, interviews were conducted with both engineers and journalists and, from them, we learn some interesting tidbits. For instance, the Leaf battery pack can maintain an operating temperature nicely above freezing despite a chilly -9 C (15.8 F) reading outside. Also, Nissan is working on a new, more efficient, heating system for the passenger cabin, which is good since trying to keep the occupants warm has, perhaps, the biggest impact on decreasing winter driving range.

The cavorting journalists seemed impressed and even surprised with the Leaf's driving dynamics in the slippery conditions. With a low center of gravity, even weight distribution and traction control, the car displayed a comfortable amount of well-mannered poise. Of course, we wouldn't dream of pointing out the pylon that gets punched at precisely 18 seconds into the first video, since that speaks as much to the driver's ability as it does to the vehicle's handling.

Anyhoo, without further ado, hit the jump for a very snowy EV encounter. Besides the main video, which gives an overall rundown of the event, we've also included four more clips featuring further footage of the interviews with company officials and participants. Enjoy.











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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      george costanza
      • 3 Years Ago
      same sh() was said about prius. my mileage is same with snow tires in cold climate. since US has no solutions anymore we will continue to play devils' advocate and doubter...and let others actually DO sh*(. of course with manmade global warming not as cold as even two yrs ago. this yr. average five degrees above normal temps overall and 20 of 30 days in January were above average. and this from denialist broadcast meteorologist on TV who study green screens and tornadoes and have ZERO climate classes or stats or envir. science classes in their major (unless this just changed). my three roommates were broadcast meteorology majors and all basically did nothing but cream themselves at chasing tornadoes...so must be fu(ing nirvana in AL and southeast these days. how do you explain year round tornadoes and yet deny climate change? I would love to see the rationalizing that goes on!!!! anybody? it is a normal cycle yet never happened before???
        Gubbins
        • 3 Years Ago
        @george costanza
        Man made? BS George, as much as you and your buds would love to have another crisis to worry about. If you think the US is a "giant clusterf**k of denialists", why not move to where everybody buys that leftie hand-wringing crap. I'm sure some Euroweenie country would love to have you--you can write this garbage for them, By the way, clean up your writing, it's as incoherent as anything I've ever read.
      george costanza
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am glad I can read about POSITIVE developments from other places in the world coming up with SOLUTIONS to our GLOBAL problems!!!!!!
      • 1 Year Ago
      I live in Colorado which can be quite a challenging environment for an EV. I purchased a used, 2011 Nissan Leaf and have been keeping a diary about the experience. If you're EV curious, follow along! Http://EVearlyAdopter.blogspot.com
      theflew
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's looks to be about an inch of snow, not exactly plow worthy. And 15.8 F isn't exactly cold in the upper midwest.
        Ryan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @theflew
        The 1st generation doesn't have to be 'the perfect car'. It has been that cold here in Ohio this year, but it is rare. It should be a solvable problem for their engineers.
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          These cars did not have the cold weather pack which will be fitted to cars sold in very cold climates, so the engineering issue is already solved.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @theflew
        That's more snow that you usually have in a city where snow is removed on the streets.
        paulwesterberg
        • 3 Years Ago
        @theflew
        I live in the upper Midwest and 15.8F and one inch of snow is about the most extreme driving conditions that I have faced so far this winter...
      StaceyS
      • 3 Years Ago
      Shouldn't that be called a pile of Leaves?
        Ryan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @StaceyS
        I like pile of leaves a lot more than brace.
        marcopolo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @StaceyS
        @StacyS Lol! But seriously, since the cars is only named Leaf, the plural is correctly Leaf's. As in one computer mouse, two computer mouses, not mice! Or one Glass Goose Aircraft, 2 Glass Gooses, not geese!
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @marcopolo
          That's ridiculous. It's two computer mice. Personally, I'd call two of the cars two LEAVES (thanks for the caps, Nissan, dolts) also.
          Aaron Gleason
          • 3 Years Ago
          @marcopolo
          The plural would be Leafs, not Leaf's. :)
          marcopolo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @marcopolo
          @Aaron, You are quite right!!! (Sorry, I forgot about the over enthusiastic autocorrect in i pad)
      TurboFroggy
      • 3 Years Ago
      During the recent Snowmaggeddon 2012, my wife got he Leaf stuck in 3" of snow and ice at her work. She had to leave it there for two days before we had to go get it. I don't blame the Leaf at all, it was the crappy Bridgestone Ectopia tires. They are terrible in the ice and snow. She now has a nice set of Michalin X-ICE that are low rolling resistance ice and snow studless tires. She was concerned about being stuck in the car for hours and freezing to death, however that fear was aveted when I explained to her that she could sit and run the heater for 16 hours+ before the battery would go dead... :)
      george costanza
      • 3 Years Ago
      so not one positive comment. let me take a wild guess at where all commenters live? maybe negativist denialist US? thats okay. go to mao mart and keep buying communist sh*( and wonder why US is a has been and why we dont even get all the electric cars.....just leaf and volt....I see daily commuters overseas as in actual other car cos. which don't even bother with the US market and are driven daily with no problems on interstates, in town, etc..... US is just a giant clusterf*( of ignorance and apathy. thanks denialists and big oil...you're doin' a helluva job! keep thinking world gives a sh*( about US....and arguing about evolution or gravity or color of grass and if sun revolves around earth since other way isn't 'proven' etc.
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't see what this indicates. Range goes way down in the cold due to heating requirements (car and occupant). Did someone really thing electricity was unable to drive wheels in cold? Nope. It's the practicality issues that come to the fore.
        Joeviocoe
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        Range does go down due to cabin heating.... but that is why computer logic is important. Automatically preheating the cabin while plugged in means that the energy needed to KEEP a car warm is MUCH less than it would take to heat it up from cold.
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        It also goes way down if the battery temperature drops too far, so Nissan have proved that the thermal management of the battery, despite criticism, is up to scratch.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      What we would really like to know is what is the range of the Leaf on a chilly -9 C (15.8 F) day.
        Joeviocoe
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nissan_Leaf Winter, stop-and-go traffic 15 mph average. −10 Celsius 4 hr 08 min total drive time 62 miles total with the Heater on For about 15% loss of total capacity. Remember, since this is HEAVY stop and go traffic (15 mph average)... the drive duration is much higher (4 hours) and therefore, the constantly running heater takes a bigger toll on the battery without adding miles. Without traffic, just driving the average 40 mph, the estimated mileage should be above 70 miles... which is about the same as the EPA combined cycle estimate.
      • 3 Years Ago
      So apparently "brace" means "a pair". Wonder about a word choice that confuses the majority of readers. Oh, what is that you say... it is just me that doesn't understand. OK.
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