The average Indian buyer may not know it, but Nissan does a whole lot more than the Micra, Sunny, Terrano and Evalia. And that’s something Nissan India wants to make a noise about. Ironically, it wants to do so by bringing in the carmaker’s quietest model yet, the unique Leaf. Unique not for its interesting shape but its source of propulsion. Much like the Mahindra e2o we are more familiar with, the Leaf has no traditional engine and relies on an 80kW (107bhp) electric motor. The motor draws power from a 48-module lithium-ion battery (marginally larger than what’s at the back of your phone!) stacked under the cabin. It takes eight hours to fully juice up the battery, that can power the car for up to a claimed 160km. Of course, you’ll work through the charge much faster if you drive with a heavy foot but the regenerative brakes are there to maximise the distance before you need to bring out the power cable.
The Leaf cabin has its interesting elements and is pretty well-finished too.
We got a chance to sample one in New Delhi a couple of years ago and got a refresher more recently too. And it must be said, of all the things that make the Nissan Leaf special, what stands out most is how ordinary it feels. And I mean that in the best way possible. The fact that it feels pretty much like your average five-door hatchback is a big compliment as electric cars go. It’s as spacious, as well built and as well equipped as other cars of its size — the reason why over 1,60,000 buyers the world over have taken to the silent charms of the Leaf, making it the most successful electric car so far.
But Nissan doesn’t and frankly shouldn’t expect to add much to the tally if, and when, it brings the car to India. Forget the low adoption rate of electrics in India, because the bigger barrier to success will be the Leaf’s price — being a full import, it could cost as much as a luxury sedan. But the few willing to pay the price will also have the distinction of owning the model that made electric cars mainstream.
|Price||Rs 35 lakh (est. ex-showroom, Delhi)|