How to drive & charge the new 2019 Nissan LEAF

January 26, 2020

 

Have you been thinking about purchasing the new Nissan LEAF?

 

From the minute they entered the electric vehicle market back in 2012, the ease of driving and electric car charging of this Japanese brand has made it a firm favourite amongst early adopters, both here in Australia and across the ditch in New Zealand.

 

As a passionate EV driver and enthusiast, and as the owner of a 2012 LEAF, I was lucky enough to get a test drive in the newest version, courtesy of Nissan Australia. With 2 weeks in the new EV, here are my thoughts on this great level 2 charging electric vehicle.

 

I had planned a 4,000 km trip to Canberra up the Hume across the Alps to Eden and back via Lakes Entrance.  But, as the fires in East Gippsland grew, my planned trip was reorganised to be up and back to Lakes Entrance.  Then when the fires looked likely to hit Mallacoota, I cancelled that one too.

 

Instead, I took it on a tour of nearby attractions over the summer break with the kids, starting with the Yarra Valley.


Why you should choose a Nissan Leaf EV

 

My first impressions are that when you go from 90 km range (in the 2012 LEAF) to 279 km (in the 2019 LEAF) you really don't think about daily charge. In fact, I could easily travel to work for 4 days without needing to use an electric car charger for a top up.

 

The longest single drive I did was 170km in the Yarra Valley. I took the LEAF up steep mountains I would have never gone near in my 2012 LEAF. The new LEAF powered on with no issues, until I came across gravel roads, at which point I turned back to avoid gravel rash on the exterior.

 

The LEAFs air-conditioning was sensational, especially on some of the hottest days over the period. The upgraded interior and larger boot were a huge step up from the white valour in the 2012 LEAF.

 

The bigger horsepower motor is also a nice step up, however in brake mode with ECO on, I really didn't notice it, not that you really need the acceleration of a Tesla.

 

I loved e-peddle in heavy Boxing Day traffic...above all, the LEAF really is ideal for heavy traffic driving.

 

Things that I'll be recommending be improved with this electric vehicle

 

The menu for the LEAFs sat-nav was a huge step backwards. To type in an address was painful. I was not able to get Google Play to work; I assume it was my phone causing the issue. 

 

Cruise control distance setting kept resetting to max distance to the car in front. More than once the brakes engaged when a vehicle was already out of the lane turning or in a slip lane causing the LEAF to dramatically slow in traffic.

 

I noticed a reverse camera glitch on whilst driving forwards a few times. I will pass that on to Nissan with the keys.

 

All the warnings, alarms and modern features are nice, but it would be great if you could easily disable them. I didn't try as I didn't want to reset them after.

 

Because I was not able to do a long road trip I was not able to test the rapidgating at mutiple 50kWh chargers in a single day. I would like to hear from a 2019 LEAF owner in Australia who has tried this to confirm if its still an issue. 

 

How to charge the 2019 Nissan LEAF

 

And finally, the granny charger which you pay extra for (which came standard in the 2012 LEAF) is limited to 10 amps. I used it sparingly as it did not fully charge the car overnight.

 

Myenergi ZappiMy 2012 LEAF has an aftermarket portable charger cable from EVolution which can charge at 6, 10 or 15 amps. So, I should have been able to fully charge up overnight with my 15amp outlet if i had the type 2 version.  However, as with my integrated home electric car charger, the , I was not able to charge up the 2019 LEAF as they're set up with a type 1 plug for my 2012 LEAF.

 

Overall I was so impressed with the Leaf ❤😜. I am seriously considering upgrading the 2012 LEAF in a few months. 


If you'd like to know more about the Nissan  - any version - a great place to start is the Nissan Leaf owners Facebook page. Welcome to electric driving!

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