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Nissan’s new generation electric Leaf brings some interesting technology

 Driving the new Nissan Leaf this week – the world’s best-selling electric car – a small five-door hatch. The battery capacity now 40kwh compared to the first Leaf we saw here in 2011 at 24 kwh, power is up to 110kW and 320Nm of torque while range has risen to 270km. At $49,990 the new Nissan Leaf wants for nothing in terms of safety, convenience and comfort – and nor should it at this price which is $20,000 dearer to a similarly equipped Mazda 3. Recharging via a standard power point will take approx. 24 hours or from the empty warning sign – to 80 percent of charge in around 60 mins. The price incidentally does not include the standard AC charging plug, that’s another $375 – you only get the standard plug for a wall box charge unit which costs on average around $2,000 to be installed  and of course gives you a much quicker charge. The driving experience impressive – smooth, quiet and torquey but I found the cabin tight with the left leg impeded by the centre console and the right hip impeded by the armrest. But there’s some clever technology – it has bi-directional charging capability – able to feed a charge back into the grid at the end of the day to power your home. With the Eco mode selected it charges the battery on the overrun so at the end of the day you will more than likely have available charge.. Nissan’s Leaf has come a long way in this new generation but purchase price is still the biggest impediment to ownership. I’m David Berthon.

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