Sunday, December 17, 2017

Nissan Leaf promises a more relaxing driving experience by The Star

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For me, three main things came out of this week’s 2018 Nissan Leaf media drive here in Napa Valley.

First, what I originally thought was really a stupid idea turned out to be a great idea. Second, Nissan is doing everything in its power — it seems — to make the driving experience less stressful. Not easier; just more relaxing. Finally, the automaker is intent on emphasizing the EV-ness of the Leaf, rather than continuing to talk about it as being just another car, albeit one with an electric motor.

Nissan is on the verge of a record five years of continuous sales growth in Canada with, as of the end of November, 125,590 transactions. Its best-selling car is the Rogue, with 40,399 sold. The Murano is next with 13,833 deals made. The Leaf is at the bottom of the pile with less than 1,000 sold through November, but the company is optimistic about growth, and to date, there are already more than 800 pre-orders for the 2018 car that should be in Canadian showrooms early in the new year.

When the 2018 Leaf was introduced in Las Vegas earlier this year, the company made a big deal about its “e-Pedal” which would eliminate the necessity of having a driver move his right foot from accelerator to brake pedal and back again. This e-Pedal, activated by a switch, could speed up the car and/or slow it down, simply by increasing or decreasing pressure on the accelerator pedal. Take your foot off the pedal and the braking kicks in and the car stops. The bonus is that the energy from the braking is recovered and returned to the battery.

In Vegas, I got to drive the car for about a kilometre — on an expressway. I got going at a good clip and then took my foot off the “gas.” The car slowed down, all right — I almost got rear-ended. I was not a fan.

This will never fly, I told anybody who would listen. They want everybody who buys this car to learn how to drive a different way, which is nuts.

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