1. One of the first electric cars created from scratch
Ten years ago, the Leaf was one of the few cars that was already designed as an electric car. The other electric cars of that time were mostly converted internal combustion engine machines. It also largely explains the look of the original Leaf, which was subordinate to aerodynamics. This is a factor that largely determines how efficiently battery power will be used.
The placement of the car’s heaviest parts – the battery – under the seats and the free space behind the legs also has a specific goal – to lower the car’s center of gravity as much as possible in order to improve the car’s structural strength and driving stability.
The battery is also one of the biggest changes in Leaf’s future upgrades. If at the beginning its capacity was 24 kWh, then it has already reached 62 kWh, and the reserve has increased from 177 km to 385 km, respectively.
2. Plastic bottles in car interior
About 60% of the interior of the first generation Nissan Leaf is made of recycled materials. Most of these materials are plastic bottles. It is also interesting that at the end of the car’s life cycle, 99% of it can be recycled – in plastic bottles or in new cars.
3. Headlights make the car even quieter
Engineers have found additional functionality for this exterior component. By giving the car’s headlights a wing shape, the headwind is directed along the mirrors, thus reducing the noise level in the car interior to a minimum.
Flashlights are not the only engineering innovation. Later models also introduced the so-called E-pedal, which perfectly replaces the brake pedal with the recuperation function. In addition, the electronics use all the braking energy obtained to charge the batteries. In this way, Leaf is able to drive up to 528 km without charging in the city cycle.
4. The best selling electric car in the world
On September 1, a resident of the Norwegian capital Oslo became the owner of 500 thousand Nissan Leaf. Meanwhile, 122 Nissan Leafs have been registered in Latvia since 2014 until the end of July this year.
5. One of the most awarded electric cars
In its 10 years of life, Leaf has received several awards from car manufacturers. These include the Green Car Vision 2010 award presented by Green Car magazine at the annual auto show in Washington, the European Car of the Year 2011, the World Car of the Year 2011 and the Japanese Car of the Year 2011-2012.
6. Leaf battery not only drives the car but also gives energy to the buildings
About three months after the launch of the first generation Leaf, the north-east coast of Japan experienced a severe earthquake and tsunami. After the disaster, 4.8 million households were left without electricity. Nissan donated 66 Leaf vehicles to the rescue services. In March, it is still quite cold in this area, so the doctors of the evacuation center were the first to ask the car manufacturer whether the batteries of the vehicle can also be used in the “opposite” direction, ie to obtain electricity from them.
It was this experience that inspired the manufacturer to hurry up with the development of a new battery technology – two-way charging. Namely, so that the battery energy can be used not only for driving, but also, for example, for operating a washing machine and refrigerator at home.
In 2020, Nissan received Japan’s Best Resilience Award in the business and industry category for developing and implementing this technology.