A little while back, I was invited by the nice folks at Regency Nissan to take a test drive in the 2012 Nissan Leaf. Being an electric vehicle enthusiast and having a couple EV projects of my own under my belt I welcomed the opportunity to experience one of the first of a new wave of electric vehicles from a major automotive manufacturer.
The Leaf is designed to be the perfect urban runabout. A 5 door hatchback, it accommodates passengers with ease, and because it has no gas tank, the rear cargo area is considerably larger than that of other comparable cars. Perfect to load up on delicious bulk items from the local Costco! Because the drivetrain is much simpler than that of a gasoline powered car, it doesn’t take up as much space on the inside of the cabin. The hump that usually goes the length of the car is gone, freeing up a lot of room, especially for passengers in the rear.
Like a lot of new cars, the Leaf starts up with the push of a button, rather than inserting a key into the ignition. The similarities end there, though, as there isn’t the familiar sound of an engine turning over to let you know it’s running. Instead, the digital dashboard comes to life in a bright blue display, letting you know how much power you’re using, the remaining charge and range and of course your speed. Speaking of speed, just because the Leaf is an electric car doesn’t mean it’s slow. For those of you with a bit of a lead foot, rest comfortable in the knowledge that the Leaf can smoke most other cars in it’s class thanks to a healthy 207 pound feet of torque, all of which is available the moment the pedal hits the metal. It’ll leave any Smart Car in the dust and most compact cars that haven’t been tuned into next week. As for range, well just like a regular run of the mill car, it all depends on how you drive it. Those with lead feet will notice a decidedly lower fuel economy than those with a gentler touch. And keep in mind, you’ll never EVER have to visit a gas station again which means complete freedom from the volatility of always rising gas prices.
But all this is just words on a screen. To really understand how this car fits into the modern urban lifestyle you’ll have to try it yourself. And what better way to get primed on electric cars, than with two tickets to see the Vancouver premiere of Revenge of The Electric Car. Presented at the International Village Cinemas (Tinseltown) this Thursday by the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association, Revenge is the sequel to the 2006 hit documentary, Who Killed The Electric Car, and takes a look at the trials and tribulations of getting electric cars into a competitive and volatile market. After the screening, there’s a Q&A session addressing recent developments around Vancouver’s growing electric car charging infrastructure, the new $5000.00 provincial rebate towards the purchase of hybrid or electric vehicles. You’ll also get to see, electric cars from around the Lower Mainland and meet the people who drive them every day. To sweeten the deal, the nice folks at Regency Nissan, have also offered up a demonstration drive where you, our lucky reader, gets to take a Leaf for a spin and see what it’s all about.To enter is simple: RT, “I heart Electric Cars in 2012” to @hipsterdesigner. For those who just want to see the the Thursday screening of the film, you can order tickets here.