Thursday, September 7, 2017

2018 LEAF!

Fresh off the plane from Vegas where I was one of the lucky few to test drive the upcoming 2018 Nissan LEAF.  Unfortunately, full details are still pending so this article may contain partial speculation from several conversations with Nissan personal, other drivers, and the now multitudes of articles that are currently circulating the Web.

Before we get into the details, I have to list my needs in order of importance and later we will get into how the "Big 3" (Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt and LEAF II) covers those needs.

The Needs;

Driving aids
Cargo and Passenger Space

So the story begins.

Nissan was looking for current LEAF owners to do first drive impressions since we are likely to spread the word and be more effective than a random handful of Nissan press releases.  There will be several opportunities for other test drives that will be coming in the new few months.  Check your local and regional NDEW events coming up starting this weekend. Some of those gatherings will be used to sign up for later drive events.  In addition; some lucky NDEW events will have 2018 LEAFs on display where you can get an upclose and personal view.

So a small handful of us were flown to Las Vegas (about 10 I think) to stay at the Aria Hotel and Casino complex.  The hotel was very nice and HUGE!

Since most of you saw the reveal, will be skipping that here and getting to the drive itself.  Nissan now has an online configurator for the 2018 so you can get a sense of pricing.  Unlike other EVs or the Gen 1 LEAF, the planned rollout will be nationwide in January 2018  which means limited options will be available initially to accomplish this.  The full options will be available roughly about March so options like the Green paint or light leather interior will not be in the configurator yet.

A Few things to note; Standard across all lines is Automatic Emergency Braking and E Pedal Driving. I have to admit when I heard this, it didn't make much of an impression on me but after the explanation, its a pretty cool thing!

E Pedal Driving;  This allows you to drive in normal traffic conditions without using the brake pedal.. AT ALL!  In fact, during my test drive (linked to youtube for bandwidth considerations) I never touched the brakes one single time!   Now why did Nissan do this?  Well, partially to have a much higher level of regen but also to make the driving experience more consistent. Any EVer already knows that an EV at 100% SOC drives much different because regen is not available.  This bothers some drivers because the car simply moves faster. There is no deceleration when the foot comes off the accelerator. Its like coasting downhill in neutral and that is uncomfortable to many drivers especially ones who drive multiple cars regularly.   So Nissan created the E Pedal option where in high SOC situations, friction braking is added seamlessly. This means the LEAF will drive the same all the time. Now I do understand that friction braking is verboten for many EVers (including me!) but E Pedal driving is a selectable option, a simple flip of the switch to turn it on or off.  So now we have 3 levels of regen. Mild (D mode) Medium (B mode) and Max (E Pedal as long as SOC is not 100%)  As for me? I probably will use it but not until SOC drops to at least 90% or so.

Automatic Emergency Braking;  This feature will recognize large differences in speed between yourself and the vehicle you are following. It will alert you to any possible collisions  but also initiate emergency braking if you don't.  That is the intuitive side. Another name could also be "smart drive select."    We have all seen it, be it infamous (Prius unintended acceleration events) or quick blurbs on the local news complete with pictures of a car half in and half out of the front of a business. Someone hit the accelerator when they meant to hit the brakes. Shifted into Drive when they actually wanted reverse.  Nissan now has an answer for this. In the event, you start the car, put it into D and forget that you need to back out of the garage first, don't worry. Nissan won't allow you to turn your garage into a carport.  It will recognize you are in the wrong gear and not allow the car to move.

6.6 KW charging for all! (If you have the proper level 2 EVSE) This is the first year Nissan will be providing a dual power EVSE charging at 120 volts (likely at 12 amps) or 240 volts (will provide the full 6.6 KW or 27.5 amps meaning a 40 amp service will be needed)  but its only standard on the SL trim.  You must have the charge package on the S trim to get it or the tech package on the SV to get it.

40 kwh hour battery pack;  Cells will have higher charge density and the ability to put out a higher level of power.  Combined with a new motor and inverter,  the LEAF is expected to be faster in both off the line speed but more importantly in passing speeds above 60 mph.   EPA range on the estimated 38.4 kwh usable will come in around 150 miles.  As always, YMMV.   Aerodynamics are expected to be better and since the car is going to be only 100 lbs heavier, should be able to get a decent amount of distance from a charge. In my current 30 kwh LEAF; EPA rated at 107 miles per charge, I am averaging 110-118 miles during the Summer with not so careful driving with almost constant A/C running. In winter, I was seeing as low as 90 miles on heavy rain days but average distance was more in the 98-105 range.  Cold air didn't affect my range nearly as much as the rain did.  I had many clear cold days hitting 110+ miles.  Of course, your experiences will be different, but at least you have a bit of a guideline.  After my drive event, I had 10 mins with the LEAF Expert and we had a very fruitful conversation but I needed 12 mins with him.  I had just finished asking him his thoughts on staying with air cooling (likely passive, no fans or vents) with a larger capacity, more energy dense battery and how the heat dissipation issues of extended high power level 3 charges, etc. would work for pack longevity and he was about to give an answer but was called away.  Great drive event but had the impression that the truly knowledge LEAF personal were simply spread a bit too thin.

The Car;  I am showing you what the light leather interior option looks like. As mentioned above it will be an option but not part of the initial nationwide rollout.  If this is a must have for you, I think Nissan would be more than willing to work with you if you have an expiring LEAF lease before then.  Many 2014 and 2015 LEAF lessees took advantage of waived monthly payments when extending their leases in order to wait for the 2018's.

Display; First off, yes, its an analog speedometer. We all grew up with them so enough on that topic! But I have to admit the displays we are seeing here don't even scratch the surface of what is possible. Each screen is configurable and there are a lot of them!  Now there is two things going here and this will be very polarizing so before we get into a bunch over this, let me state there may be configuration options I am not aware of. Although we were given about an hour to play with the cars on stage at the reveal. They were not powered on so no options to explore the settings menu. An error of judgment on Nissan's part I think, so keep that in mind.  But the obvious thing is having to scroll thru a lot of displays to see what we could see before at a glance. Both a good and bad thing. The good is we now get to see more stuff!  You SL owners might not understand it but we "S'ers" do!

Pro Pilot/ Adaptive Cruise Control

This is the pro pilot screen. When in action and sensing, there will be green lines on each side of the car signifying the LEAF recognises the lane boundaries and can control steering if need be to keep the LEAF in its lane.  Should the lines turn from green to white, that means the car cannot recognize the lane boundaries.  What you will also see is the adaptive cruise control setting which will be lines in front of the car to signify the set following distance. This can be anywhere from 1 (minimum distance) to 3 lines.

Efficiency Screen

This screen needs little explanation to any experienced LEAFer.  Its a different look but the meanings here are clear. We have gone from 12 capacity bars to a "Double A Battery" gauge.  Now how we determine our progress to any battery degradation claim I did not find out?  Guessing there is another screen for that!


Who hates it when Google Maps first instruction is "Head north then..."  Well, I have become dependent on Google Maps for direction (and traffic alerts!) but I am very directionally challenged so a compass is pretty cool.  Notice the power/regen screen is present here as well. 

Power Display
Remember the tiny gauge on the pix above?  Well, if you needed a closer look!  There are more screens but all of these screens plus the settings menu can be reached by scrolling thru the screens via the 4 way steering wheel button on the left side.

Notice the blue button to the right of the cruise control buttons? That is the Pro Pilot button. 

 Notice the cowl like cover on top of the dash over the steering wheel?  This makes leaving the power button in the same location impossible. Not sure I like the power button being so low but I suspect only because other cars I've had had them a bit higher and more "driver centric"  Having the power button in the middle kinda makes me not wanting to share that access with my passenger. Probably just another weird side of me surfacing...

One thing I did like was putting the cup holders in a better place. My current LEAF I have to maneuver the cup around the various cables plugged into 12 volt power.  The center console is set farther back and its about half the size I think. I pretty much only store registrations, cables and change in there anyway so a neutral thing for me anyway.  One thing I read "somewhere" was rear heater vents which will be a welcome addition. Even better would be the option to divert all air flow to back only.  But alas, I did not think to look or ask.

The Route

  The Drive; The test drive was fun...and waaaaay too short! Besides myself, I had a Nissan Events guy and Sal Cameli (UBUYGAS)and wife and part of his test drive (need to stop talking with my hands especially when videotaping...)   But we were able to bee bop down the freeway and experience a bit (very small bit) of nearly every type of driving.  Unfortunately, my time on the freeway was not nearly as congested as I hoped it would be which brings me to something that has been raging on social media and that is the statement on the Nissan website that Pro Pilot only works from 18 to 62 MPH.  This is NOT what I experienced.  That statement also seems to conflict with other parts of the Nissan website itself.

How can it do all that if it only works between 18 and 62 mph?   In my 10 mins with the LEAF guy, I did verify with him the Pro Pilot works from zero to "about 90 mph" IOW, no real limitations.  He did say that if at a standstill longer than about 3 seconds, I would have to hit the "Resume" button (on the CC control panel) to get going again.  This was needed so the car would not mistake simply parking somewhere with being stuck in traffic.  Check my video link above. I was going slowly when I first initiated Pro Pilot so I went to add 10 mph to my vehicle speed but added about 30 instead.  At the same time I was increasing my set speed, I was changing lanes but a car had also changed into the same lane just ahead of me. The LEAF probably got just north of 70...ish, before recognizing the slower car ahead and adjusting the speed accordingly. This allowed me plenty of time to set it at a more sedate 66 mph.  (FYI; the "+" on the current LEAFs cruise controls do NOT work the same as the "+" on the adaptive CC/ Pro Pilot controls!)  One good thing I wish my Cruise Control has is the speed setting (in digital format this time) on the Pro Pilot display. Had I been watching that instead of just tapping away, I would have remained legal, right?  But at least it was a great test of the adaptive CC system!

Now during the drive, it was emphasized that Pro Pilot is not self driving.  So autonomous driving its not but its still pretty cool. During my drive, I allowed Pro Pilot to negotiate some pretty good curves at near freeway speed.  It will steer and brake for you but that is only the beginning (check the link above to Sal's test drive for a great explanation of the Pro Pilot initiating an emergency stop!) .  Take your hands off the wheel and in about 3 seconds, you will get the first alert to put your hands back on the wheel. Soon you will get another alert. After a total of say 7-8 seconds or so, Pro Pilot will slow the vehicle. Eventually if you keep your hands off the wheel, Pro Pilot will slowly bring the car to a full stop in your lane with emergency flashers going.  Gone are the accidents caused by a medical incident.  Not sure if your LEAF will then call 911 so someone can check on you which brings me to

Nissan Connect; Yeah, yeah, I know. sucks, slow, doesn't do much. Well 2018 not only solves that but also brings some relief to all previous owners.  The 2018 version is greatly expanded and will have much more features including setting boundary alerts, remote unlock, Car alerts, Charge start AND Stop, etc.  Ever lost your car at the Mall? I have. It sucks. Walking around with FOB in the air hoping the battery is good, etc.  Now you have the option to beep the horn on your LEAF from the other side of the World if you want to.  Slow is gone with 4 G LTE connectivity. Average refresh time; about 7 seconds.

Again, there is a threat to charge a fee for Nissan Connect (that threat started on Day One btw) so pricing for now.

The complete service is complimentary for 3 years, except Premium Plus service which is only free for 6 months. After that the costs are $11.99/month for the basic service, 19.95/mo for the Premium service and $24.98/month for the Premium Plus service.

The Basic service includes:
NissanConnect Services Skill with Amazon Alexa [*]
Remote Door Lock / Unlock
Vehicle Health Report
Maintenance Alert
Scheduled Maintenance Notification
In-Vehicle Messaging

The Premium services adds:
Automatic Collision Notification
Emergency Call
Roadside Assistance
Stolen Vehicle Locator
Alarm Notification
Remote Engine Start/Stop [*]
Remote Horn & Lights [*]
Boundary Alert [*]
Valet Alert [*]
Curfew Alert [*]
Speed Alert [*]
Parked Car Finder
Google® Send to Car [*]
Connected Search
Destination Download

And the Premium Plus service adds:
Destination Assistance

But the best part is the features will be backwards compatible to ALL PAST AND PRESENT LEAF MODEL YEARS.  There will be some restrictions simply because the electronics of older LEAFs simply can't do some of the things the New Connect will be able to do but even if you hang onto your old LEAF, Nissan Connect becomes a whole lot more useful!

Anyway, enough of that.  The car is rock solid on the road and much more confident on turns.  At the end of my drive, I negotiated a roundabout at a very reasonable speed but still fast enough that a hint of body roll (along with 4 occupants) should have been there. Didn't happen!  Although a lot of dimensions have appeared to change little, I feel the center of gravity is lower in the new LEAF without sacrificing seating position. I do not have to climb out of the seat here.  This is a highly desired feature for me and my old self! Although I did not get radical on any corners, the road feel is some much better. Perhaps the benefit of 17 " wheels? 

We are all familiar with the sound of our LEAF and its "mini jet engine" take off sounds.  Granted there was a lot of background noise since we started in a covered low ceiling area with concrete and other echo-y things around but I did notice other testers not making any noise at all including the pedestrian warning sound. When the car was taking off, the "mini jet" was undetectable.  It was a VERY quiet ride. (I know what you are going to say after watching the drive videos. "with all that talking, how could you hear anything!")  but I was actually listening for ANYTHING from the car and it just wasn't there. 

The Nissan site states 23.6 cu feet of cargo space behind the seats so no change BUT as you all know from previous blogs, I frequently use ALL 23.6 cu feet of my cargo space and the hatch area of the new LEAF IS BIGGER!  which leads me to believe that  LEAF Engineers spent so much energy on the new tech stuff that by the time it was time to measure the cargo space, they simply didn't have the energy to do it so just "cut and pasted the old specs.  

One reason why 16 cu feet Bolt cargo space would be a challenge. I put 3 3-step ladders on this mess and still able to close the hatch!

2018 hatch (with Bose)

Remember the 2011'12's? Had that hump that went across the entire back behind the seats? Well, it wasn't removed...until now. From 2013 to 2017 a large chunk of the hump was removed from the middle leaving about uh... hold on...  a chunk of hump measuring about 8" by 8" by 10" on each side. As you can see, the hump is well, not gone per se but definitely mitigated.  Now the floor area is nearly square. I can't tell you how much this means to me! I was more than a bit tired of playing Tetris when packing the car for work!  So how the cargo space is still 23.6 cu feet is beyond me but don't really care. Its still a notch up on the usability gauge!

Now another thing that they changed is the charging port position. The old LEAF did require a bit of bending (even for short guys like me) when plugging in.  I guess I should consider myself lucky in that I have done it so many times, I don't have to aim anymore. I have kinda memorized the position of each port but others may not be so lucky so the charging ports were move up onto the hood area and rotated to face more upwards. This means a higher plug position and less or no bending to plug in.  Hopefully all the water proofing steps were done!

So there you have it.  Because of a "few" requests  for my impressions of the car, this is a bit rushed so guessing I forgot something so edits are more likely than not.  But before we go, back to the beginning!

Driving aids
Cargo and Passenger Space

Its up to you as to what is important.  One person was unhappy that the "EV tunnel" is still present. That is the hump in the center of the backseat floor area.  With a family of 5, someone would be stuck in that middle seat and if long legged, could be uncomfortable on longer trips.  I have had 5 in my LEAF including less than a month ago but was only for a short trip. Couldn't imagine a road trip with 3 adults in the back. My work has Chevy Impalas and we don't ride 3 in the back of those except in emergencies or very short drives.

But I will take the ones above in order of importance. starting with....

(its not range!) Driving Aids.  There is a lot of things that can be mitigated, enhanced or simply modified in a car.  Driving aids tends to not be one of them.  This is a relatively new need for me.  I am fully convinced the only reason Puget Sound is not rated the worst traffic area in the country is because the people who collect those stats simply haven't updated lately.  In the 5 years I have had my current job which requires travel all over the region, the traffic has become progressively worse. But the last 6 months, the issue has spiralled out of control.

Some background; Seattle area real estate is the fastest rising housing market in country some months more than double the rate of the 2nd fastest market and has been for quite some time. What does this mean?

Pierce County WA is the fastest growing county in the US percentage wise. That is a telling statistic but the piece that really puts the story together is Snohomish County is the 2nd fastest growing county in the United States.  It is not a coincidence that Pierce County borders Seattle to the South, Snohomish County borders Seattle to the North.

All this means commuting HELL! I have several jobs starting at 4 AM so that means anywhere from 45 to 90 mins drive time when there is no traffic  but also means the afternoon commute home with traffic is 2½ to 5 hours. This is a long day and lately I feel like I am on the edge of getting into an accident.

Now before we go on; I can drive 3-4 hours straight on the open road easily without getting tired and the reason why is because there is minimal risk of something happening "every" second. This allows me to take mental breaks. This highly desired luxury is not available in bumper to bumper traffic that can't make up its mind how fast it wants to go. The result is even just an hour of congested traffic is very fatiguing under the best of circumstances.  We see it every day. fender benders, rear enders, all contributing to make commuting even worse.

Driving Aids.  Need; Critical   
Tesla Model 3; yes
LEAF II; yes
Chevy Bolt; No

So lets look at the 2nd most important need;  (sorry still not range) Cargo/passenger space. 
As mentioned above, company policy is 4 people per car or 6 per van (7 passenger Van) and is that a comment on the "growing waistline of America?"... Yeah, probably.  Either way, 4 is the most I will haul for work although I did do 4 in the back seat plus luggage in the hatch for a short Seatac to office trip a few years ago.  And no, I do not advise you try that at home!

Again; cargo space is hard to mitigate. The reality is you either have it or you don't.  Now you can always make your car a 3 passenger or even a 2 passenger car.  Some have that option, I do not. This means I am stuck with the 23.6 cu feet (or whatever it really is now) the LEAF hatch offers me. As mentioned above, the more "squareness of the space will help me better to pack them far corners effectively. 

Cargo/Passenger Space. Need; Required

Tesla Model 3; Even with the frunk option, two small spaces tends to mean twice the unusable nooks and crannies.  I have yet to experience one in the flesh so I would the best I can say is; Maybe (but doubtful)

LEAF II; if my current LEAF works, than this will work since the hatch space is BIGGER! (or at least Nissan did a great job of making it seem bigger...)

Chevy Bolt; It has 16 cu feet or basically a 3rd less space. I have my doubts. One possible way is vertical packing. This I don't like cause I tend to have what I need on the bottom;  Possible but with a much higher level of compromise. 

So on the the 3rd need (yes, this time its range) My driving needs (based on the last 6 months and ignoring local jobs) ranges from 23 to 221 miles ONE WAY.  As you know, my employer reimburses me when I use personal transportation although the #1 policy is to take company vehicle when its available (very rare!) but they also require it if its a long way (cause they are cheap!) but some jobs are away from the office meaning I would have to go in the opposite direction to get a car to drive back past my house to the job location.  Either way, unlike MOST of you, I would likely be using the full range plus some several times a month. But range is not something set in stone. Its easily modifiable using the technique commonly known as "public charging."  Now a confession; the longest trip in my LEAF in the last 6 months was a mere 169 miles.  In fact, I have only done 11 trips that were more than 150 miles one way.  So yeah, that 221 was a bit of a white lie but did actually drive it. The funny thing was I took that job at the last second because I wanted to avoid going to Montana; a 400 mile trip... So yeah, range is important. Very important. 

Range.  Need; Highly Desired 

LEAF II, Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt; No. 

Not even close. None can do the trips without public charging. I am not talking about the random Idaho, Montana or Alaska trips (want to go by boat but boss refuses to pay for that!) 

Ok, I would prefer to stop right there but that might not go over well with "some" :)  so I guess we have to add another need... 

Public Charging;  Soon, another 4 Tesla Superchargers will be added to the Puget Sound Region. As always, they are well planned, well placed and covers every direction I need to go. (except Alaska) Currently Tesla bills 11 cents per kwh for usage above and beyond in WA State.  Yeah, that's right; 11 cents!  Most of the people I know would kill to get that rate at home so the thought of getting that rate on the road is simply crazy. 

The Bolt has the least support but I noticed a Chevy Dealer recently put in a CCS station. First in the area that I am aware of. Wondering what they thought about the Kia Dealer a few blocks away who installed a dual mode fast charger? 

The LEAF with chademo is currently more convenient than Tesla's SC station (as evidenced by the large number of Tesla's using chademo chargers) but still needs a lot more stations both in areas that don't have them and in areas that need more of them. 

Public Charging.  Need; Required

Tesla Model 3; Not here yet, but for a price, the car has options!
LEAF II; available now but needs improvement. 
Chevy Bolt; Not here yet and has no options (other than L2) 

To clarify; We have enough of all types of chargers that all 3 can get around but not without some level of compromise. Tesla is by far the closest because of its ability to use Tesla only stations and chademo.  It is the cross country choice for sure. 

So there you have it.  What I haven't mentioned is the price. My choice would be the SV with climate package and the tech package which would bring MSRP to the mid $35's.  But as an existing LEAFer, I don't expect to pay MSRP.

Now, I will admit my prediction of early deliveries by Thanksgiving or Halloween is not going to happen. But then again, I was expecting the tiered rollout.  So expect ride and drive events in Nov-Dec with early Jan deliveries.

Finally; (this is an edit due to social media response)

My take on the LEAF effort is since its on the same platform, a lot of changes couldn't have happened if they wanted them.  The 2018 LEAF is really a launch vehicle for the Pro Pilot Tech and its my opinion that Pro Pilot will become a huge hit. So the best I can really say is "LEAF I½" is a very worthy option for anyone who wants a well made economical entry into the EV World


Thanks to Gary Lieber we have details on the features from the LEAF and its various trims. This clears up a LOT of confusion

Just a quick note;  Many are saying that backseat heaters are not available in any trim or option.  Still waiting for confirmation one way or the other and received pix of SL from Brian Henderson that is supposed to show that seat heaters are available? but unable to see anything from the Pix that confirms this.   I did look at an SV at NDEW Portland and there is no controls for it despite the car having the climate/comfort package so looks like a definite no on the SV.

Another thing; Telescoping visor is apparently gone.  This is very much desired for me due to the high latitude I live in (Olympia is Northernmost State Capital in Contiguous US) which means low Sun angle on the horizon is a battle for about 10½ months of the year (the rest of the time, its too cloudy to see the Sun!)

Now I have been told several times that LEAF sales would be a nationwide launch in January but there are now several reports that Smyrna is building them now.  That seems like a pretty long lead time and I am guessing (like previous years) the sales will begin when the 2017 inventory hits a certain point. Considering the fire sale on the 2017's, I have to stick with my original (revised from Halloween) prediction of Thanksgiving.


  1. Excellent, comprehensive and informative blog post! They certainly did well selecting you for this event! Thank you for your thoughts!

    1. Thanks Ray. After reading your comments, my hat doesn't fit anymore!

  2. Great review, lots of excellent info here that was not highlighted in other reviews... great to have a real world driver's impressions!

  3. I don't know how I feel about that Bose subwoofer (I'm assuming) being in the middle of the trunk either, seems like they could have tried to hide that thing someplace else.

    1. Ya, lots of comments about that. Wondering how it will sound buried under a mountain of suitcases and sleeping bags!

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  5. The Bolt has the safety driver's aids, but not the Cell Phone Text Assistant (aka autosteer/ACC). It does have AEB avail, superb visibility, 360° view, digital wide-frame rearview mirror, blindspot/crosstraffic, etc.

    Saying 320 miles of EV range (M3LR) is the same as 150 miles ignores worst case driving conditions, cold/rain/mountains/headwind/4+ passenger/heater can severely cut range.

    You basically said the 2011 Leaf is identical to the Model3LR and Bolt since any advantages they have is ignored, such as passing distances, range, or any features not present on the Leaf.

    1. Note that the 2018 Leaf is highly improved in all aspects. However that does not alter the metrics that exist on other automobiles.

    2. AEB available means in higher trim or as part of tech package? Well that is a key element for sure but remember at the very beginning of the blog, I clarified these were "my" needs and did my best to explain how my needs came about so this in no way is some sort of argumentative presentation to talk someone out of getting something else.

      To reiterate a few key points; I have enough charging options around me covering all types of vehicles that 150 mile range IS enough and more than that is really fluff. This is hardly the case for everyone.

      Up until now, I have ONLY cared about getting the most range I can at the best price. So my current priority of needs is a new one for me. One that was not easily possible due to price, drive train, etc. This LEAF becomes the first EV to have the safety features I seek at a MUCH lower price point than anyone else is offering. Keep in mind; its nothing new or revolutionary, its simply a new way of presenting existing technology. The Prius had ALL that stuff 4 years ago.

      If I was going to put it in a nutshell, I will take the safety of my family over range any day, every day.

    3. One of our harem is a 2017 Volt. It runs nearly 100% on electricity because it's an EREV design with a more powerful EV motor than range extender. It accelerates very good with no lag or delay.

      It rates the highest NHTSA (5/5) and highest IIHS (Top Pick+) and has HUD long range threat radar display.
      If somebody is going to put your family at risk, it throws 6 high intensity LED markers on your windshield, augments the powerbrake boost, and if that doesn't do it, it hits the brakes so violently you feel ABS shudder through the chassis. It's very good. I've driven a lot of car up to about $200k and found none better at AEB yet. The Bolt has the same system as do our Cadillacs.

      Perhaps the 2018 Leaf will rate higher than the Volt or Bolt, but trust me, they are a very hard act to follow.

      The Tesla? Substandard safety electronics are in the Model S and X. I doubt the Model 3 will change anything.

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  7. Thank you Dave for your very informative review. Watched your test drive video many times, good stuff, but this review is even better. Cannot wait to get my LEAF 2 next year.

    One quick question about the new L1/L2 portable charger. In your picture it seems the 240V plug is for NEMA 14-50. Did you confirm that with the experts? Would like to know if I need to upgrade my electrical panel/socket to use that charger. Thx.

    1. This is correct but you always have the option to use the 120 volt 12 amp version. For full charging speed, a 40 amp circuit is required for most areas. A continuous circuit can only handle 80% of its rating and now 6.6 KW is available on all trims standards so it can draw up to 27.5 amps. A 30 amp circuit is only certified to draw up to 24 amps continuously. As far as the ability to adjust it down? nothing specific on that yet but guessing it would make sense to be able to set a lower current.

  8. Great write up Dave lots of good data. I got to see it and you at the Portland Drive electric week event last Saturday. I agree with your assessment that this is really Leaf 1.5 and that it is a substantial Improvement which will meet the needs of many folks. They now have serious competition with the bolt and the model 3 so they are going to have to keep their prices competitive. Looking forward to driving it next month and hoping that they're going to make me an offer I can't refuse. My wife has now pretty much taken over driving art 2012 leaf and are used to be so eco and tech sheik 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid now feels so clunky and primitive. I also appreciate and agree with your comment about it being good that the entry-level height being unchanged. Keep charging on.

    1. Thanks Chaz! I don't think Chevy or Tesla have anything to worry about. I see all 3 in completely different segments. There is a lot of people who won't do the T3 cause of storage, low seating position, and minimalistic instrumentation. A lot won't do the Bolt due to lack of safety features, cheap trim and poor seats. A lot won't do the LEAF because of range and reputation for degradation (although its still a fairly well kept secret)

      As far as old cars. I had 3 Priuses, used to swear by them, now I only swear at them. They are still great cars and do what they do very well but they simply don't go where I need them to go!

  9. Any telescoping steerimg wheel?

  10. Any idea if the 2018 Leaf will support a hitch like the previous models? I'm thinking mainly for carrying bikes, not towing. Good article and photos Thanks.

    1. WEll technically, the LEAF never supported a hitch but if properly done and making sure you don't take on too much weight, you will be fine. Torklift Central in Kent WA specializes in custom hitches for plug ins and hybrids. Based on the fact that little has changed chassis wise, I think you will be fine. I have a hitch from them and haul lightweight stuff mostly bikes, coolers, etc.
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