Taking a ride inside a Nissan Leaf

Not the best quality video – hopefully one day I’ll be able to purchase a proper digital recorder. Unfortunately I’ve never been able to get my digital camera to allow for focusing when in video mode ( auto focus is a big fail ).

A few nights back we had to make a visit to Miles Nissan in Decatur, IL. After heading across the street to Miles Chevrolet to check out their Volt – we got to take another spin in their Leaf. Once again my girlfriend Cheryl is driving while I ride shotgun. Since it was near closing time and we had a long drive home – the “test drive” was a quick ride around a long block.

We had the windows down off and on during our road test. So this makes inside the vehicle sound more noisy than what it really is. During our first drive a few weeks back we used the air condition. There are portions of the video where you can hear the electric engine doing it’s job. Electric cars are quiet but they aren’t silent. There seems to be a popular misconception that these cars make no noise at all.

You can definitely see how stable the vehicle is on bad roads. Many of the major Decatur potholes barely jolt me when filming. In your average car the camera would have be all over the place.

The first time we took this Nissan Leaf for a spin the satellite navigation ( GPS ) was enabled. I had to turn this feature on during our drive. I didn’t take the time to flip through all the other available options. To give complete coverage of this car I’d need to spend more time with it.

We started out with 61 miles for travel capacity. After driving in a commercial, retail and residential area of Decatur we pulled back into the Miles Nissan lot with 61 miles still available. Regenerative braking in electric cars helps to recharge the batteries. You should see the best results when driving in town with many stop starts. From what I’ve read I didn’t think the regen on a Leaf was anywhere near as hardcore when compared to other electric cars. In some EV’s it can take a little while to get comfortable with regenerative braking. This is why some manufacturers have tweaked the settings.

My assumption would be that we came back with 61 miles range left do to in-town driving and the brakes recharging the battery pack. There was a recent update to the Leaf’s mileage management system. I’m doubtful the demo above has been updated. The software upgrade was done to help provide drivers with the most realistic mileage numbers.

During parking you can see the backup camera in use. You can also hear the audible backup warning. The driver side window was down at that time so the alert could be heard. It’s barely audible in the cabin when the windows are closed.

It’s really unfortunate that people seem to focus on the negatives of electric cars. Honestly many of the arguments against them could be used in regards to gasoline powered vehicles. The only thing different with an electric car is the power source. They drive just like a gas car – actually in some ways they drive better.

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