2018 Nissan Leaf powertrain
The Leaf’s powertrain has gotten a significant upgrade over the previous generation’s offerings. It has 37 percent more power, now offering drivers 147 horsepower. The Leaf has 236 lb.-ft. of torque, a 26 percent increase. Its 40 kW battery pack is the same size as the old Leaf’s, however, the cell structure has been improved representing a 67 percent in energy density over the 2010 model, resulting in a 150-mile range.
Despite the Leaf not offering as much range as the Model S or Bolt, the Leaf does offer plenty for the average daily driver, who travels around 30 miles per day according to numerous industry estimates. A longer-range Leaf is coming for 2019.
If you’re comfortable plugging in each day, or every other day, you likely won’t see an issue with this range. On a Level 2 plug, the car takes 7.5 hours to charge. The time to charge on a Level 1 plus is a whopping 35 hours.
The result of keeping the heaviest components in the center of the car and the addition of better bump absorption materials in this new generation Leaf is a smooth ride and sufficient acceleration at the ready as tested through the roads of Napa County, Calif. and on the mean streets of downtown Los Angeles during two separate test drive days. The car was composed through twisting roads but required enough steering input to deliver an engaging drive.
The car offers an e-Pedal drive mode, a one-pedal driving mode that speeds the car as you press on the accelerator then slows the car in a confident fashion when you stop pressing the pedal. While testing the function in Napa, I preferred it on the winding side roads to city driving situations and while in L.A., I found it to be a much better approach to driving during rush hour than the usual acceleration and braking that comes with that traffic. It was easy to get used to in either situation.
The Leaf can come equipped with Nissan’s new semi-autonomous ProPILOT Assist technology. Designed for highway use, the system works to keep the Leaf between the lines and maintain safe speeds as other cars move around you. ProPILOT Assist works as advertised on the highway and is especially helpful during rush hour. There is no ping ponging between lane lines, unlike what you’ll find with other similar technologies.
ProPILOT Assist is not meant to drive for you and it will remind you to keep your hands on the wheel if they’re removed to an extended length of time. If you leave your hands off the wheel, ignoring all annoying and intrusive prompts and reminders, the car will slow to a stop for the safety of the driver and those around them.