After a long gestation period brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nissan Pilipinas, Inc. has finally unveiled the Leaf EV.
The Leaf is the longest-running, commercially successful electric vehicle (EV), and up until recently, was the best-selling EV in the world, with sales topping 500,000 units worldwide, in the 60 countries and four continents the Leaf EV is sold.
Europe is its largest market with over 180,000 units sold, followed by the United States at 151,000 units and finally Japan with 140,000 units.
Unveiled in 2017, the local motoring media got a glimpse of the Leaf at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show but we had to wait over three years before actual Leaf EV sales could start in the country.
The Leaf is built on its own proprietary platform of a compact front motor / front wheel drive subcompact hatchback body style. The drivetrain utilizes a single-speed transmission coupled to 110 kilowatt / 148hp synchronous AC motor that delivers 320 Newton-Meters of torque at zero RPM. The battery is a 40 kilowatt per hour lithium-ion pack that is able to deliver an astounding 311 kilometers of range on a single charge driven in normal driving conditions, based on the New European Driving Cycle standards (NEDC). That’s the equivalent of driving from Quezon City to Fort Bonifacio Global City five times a week on a single charge, or a one-way drive up to Baguio City from Metro Manila.
According to NPI president Atsushi Najima, a full charge will cost consumers roughly P370. Compared to even the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid assisted internal combustion engines, cost per kilometer is far cheaper. Charging can either be handled by a dedicated wall-outlet that can fully charge the leaf from between 15-18 hours.
A trip to select Nissan dealerships will give unit owners access to fast-chargers, allowing them to fill up in as fast as 40-60 minutes for a full-charge. In the near future, Nissan hopes to partner with major gasoline stations, shopping malls, tourist attractions and other high-traffic centers to set-up more fast charging stations all over and outside Metro Manila, making Leaf ownership easier and more convenient.
The Leaf EV will accelerate to 100km/h from rest in 7.9 seconds, all the way to an electronically limited top-speed of 140km/h. Thanks to Nissan’s V2X technology, the Leaf can also act as a giant battery pack to power homes or simply return power back to the power grid via bi-directional charging properties. In Japan, Nissan has a fleet of Leaf EV’s they lend out to communities stricken with disasters that have had their power cut; the leaf provides energy to power basic health and emergency facilities in times of emergency.
The Leaf is styled like a conventional but futuristic hatchback with the now trademark Nissan V-Motion grill. Inside, Nissan is proud of their e-pedal system: a single pedal acts as both the accelerator and brake. Step on the throttle and the Leaf accelerates instantly. Get off the throttle and the Leaf brakes automatically, improving its regenerative charging function, helping you eke out more from your battery’s charge and reducing fatigue by simplifying operation with a single pedal instead of two.
Being a car for the future, the Leaf is also packed with numerous safety features: Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, Intelligent Around-View Monitors, High-Beam Assist, Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Monitoring and Warning, Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Lane Intervention and Intelligent Trace Control. Think of it as a halfway house to autonomous driving in the near future.
The Leaf comes with a three-year / 100,000 kilometer warranty, but the batteries come with their own eight-year / 160,000 kilometer warranty, whichever comes first.
The Leaf will initially be available at three Nissan dealerships: Nissan Mantrade Makati, Nissan Otis in Manila and Nissan Cebu South-V. Rama, all equipped with fast charging facilities. Four more Nissan dealerships will be certified to sell and service the Leaf by the end of the year.
Priced at P2.798M, Nissan PH is hopeful that despite the critics who find the price steep, Filipinos will be more than willing to pony up for an electrified future. This is a brave, bold step for one of the top Japanese brands in the country, but the brand is optimistic for the future of EVs in general, and the Leaf in particular in the country.
Here’s hoping government legislation supports the electrification of personal mobility and the private sector does its part to make EV ownership easier and more convenient with public charging stations all over the Metro.
A car enthusiast through and through, Botchi Santos believes that different people have different needs. He tries to find the best car for a specific audience, and spruces things up by delving into car culture, helping make the local car community vibrant and enjoyable for all. His passion for motoring is built around a belief that cars are among the top three life purchases.