The last time we sat in a Nissan Leaf was at the Goodwood Moving Motorshow, so it was nice yesterday to sit back and take delivery of our very own Leaf for a local blogger challenge that we are lucky enough to be participating in (more on that in the coming weeks, but believe you me it’s fun!). It was delivered on the back of a truck, so as not to waste those precious electric miles, and there was a certain tremor of excitement in the office as we all gathered outside for our first chance to really get to know this award winning car.
First impressions, somewhat surprisingly, were almost entirely positive. Of course there are the major issues that accompany all aspects of electric cars – the long time taken to charge, the short range, and the decreased functionality that these limitations cause. Then there is the assumption that an electric car (even if you’ve already seen the photos of the Leaf!) just doesn’t look like a “car”. The initial start-up compnies that started the Great Electric Push, branded their cars as peculiar stylised bubbles – something that is fun to ooh and ahh over on paper, but not to actually drive with a decent level of self-respect.
However, the moment you are all crowding around the Leaf you realise that actually, it is pretty cool. First things first, it’s big – more than enough room for the kids in the back, and after some decent testing more than enough room to easily fit in some 6-Foot Plus back seat riders too. Then there’s the looks – it looks like a car. A real car. It has some strange lights and that distinctive blue shade (and of course the blue Nissan logos), but it doesn’t stand out like the figurative sore thumb. Plus, the space age interior (read: blue lights and pale suede) looks smart, especially the neat (but strange-feeling) gear toggle.
The other notable impression when you are actually around an electric car is the lack of noise. We all know it in theory, but it keeps tricking your brain again and again ans the car swoops past you like an owl in flight. People step out in front of you, noone hears you coming – it’s something of a Ninja machine. You get worryingly used to the lack of engine noises from the cockpit (although the lack of intuitive noise responses that you have to judge performance from feels strange), but from the outside, it just doesn’t seem to gel with what your long-trained brain expects.
Overall, a great first impression, and we’re looking forward to getting involved with the Leaf a lot more in the months to come!
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