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Promoted | Why electric cars are more fun to drive than you think

With near-instant acceleration, impressive handling and driver-focused in-car technology, electric cars – like the Nissan LEAF – make every journey a joy...

Nissan LEAF front three quarters

Electric cars have come a long way in the last 10 years – offering significantly more range, while making home charging and on-the-go top-ups even easier and faster. In fact, the line between electric cars and their petrol or diesel equivalents is now so blurred in terms of usability, there really is little difference.

There's one area, though, in which today’s electric cars are re-defining driving: the fun factor. Yes, modern electric cars – such as the Nissan LEAF – are an absolute joy to drive.

Next-generation electric motors are more powerful and responsive, which means that – with 217PS and 340Nm of instantly available electric torque – the 62kWh Nissan LEAF e+ boasts a hot hatch-like 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds. Equally, the latest generation of lithium-ion batteries are more compact. Mounted low in the chassis, they give the LEAF a hunkered down, road-hugging centre of gravity that makes it as engaging to drive as it is powerful.

Equally, the sublime driving experience of the Nissan LEAF isn’t solely defined by its performance. In-car ProPILOT technology, which is standard from N-TEC grade, includes a wealth of driver assistance features – such as intelligent cruise control and lane-keep assist – that ensure long motorway cruises are as low-stress as swooping B-roads are enjoyable[1].

Plus, with up to 239 miles (WLTP combined)[2] of range on LEAF e+ models – allied to an expanding network of rapid chargers that can get you from 20% to 80% battery capacity in as little as 90 minutes[3] – you can go further and recharge faster. This, then, is why electric cars are more fun to drive than you’d think.

To find out more on the Nissan LEAF, visit nissan.co.uk

Nissan LEAF rear three quarters

Take the back road

Electric powertrains have allowed designers to reimagine the interior of electric cars to be even more practical. With seating for five and up to 435 litres of versatile boot space – which expands to 1176 litres with the rear seats down – the all-electric Nissan LEAF is as spacious as any family hatchback. Crucially, it’s just as engaging to drive.

The powerful electric motor of 62kWh Nissan LEAF e+ models produces 217PS and up to 340Nm of instant electric torque – especially useful for confident acceleration when joining a motorway or overtaking another car (when appropriate). Equally, the low-mounted batteries lower the LEAF’s centre of gravity, minimising body roll for better handling in corners.

Powerful regenerative braking recharges your battery as you decelerate, while the e-Pedal helps to give you precise control of your speed using just the accelerator. Equally, the LEAF’s single-gear setup means you can focus on driving, without the distractions of clutches or shifts.

And, with zero tailpipe emissions, you can take the long and winding way home without racking up fuel costs. In fact, with a 7kW home charger it would cost just £10.23 to charge a Nissan LEAF e+ model’s 62kWh battery from 0%-100%[4], while a standard 1.5-litre petrol equivalent (with automatic transmission) would cost £25.99 to cover the same mileage[5].

Nissan LEAF interior

Lending a helping hand

While confident handling and instant electric torque make for a more enjoyable driving experience, pleasure behind the wheel isn’t just about smooth roads. The all-electric Nissan LEAF is crammed with in-car technology and driver assistance features that make a daily commute, a trip to the shops, the school run, or a long motorway trip just as comforting as a winding country road is enjoyable.

Nissan’s comprehensive suite of ProPILOT Intelligent Mobility systems includes Intelligent Cruise Control with Traffic Jam Pilot, Intelligent Emergency Braking and Intelligent Lane Intervention – all of which work with the one-pedal e-Pedal system to make motorway driving even easier and less stressful, whether you’re at 70mph or in stop-start traffic[1].

Equally, Intelligent Around View Monitor with parking sensors, a rear-view camera and Rear Cross Traffic Alert – allied to optional ProPILOT Park that offers automated hands-free manoeuvring – helps take the hassle out of car parks[1].

Full LED automatic headlights cut through the dark, while the whisper-quiet electric motor ensures that every journey feels wonderfully refined. In-fact, our What Car? road testers said the Nissan LEAF was “far more comfortable than the Renault Zoe and BMW i3” to drive and “hard to fault on the motorway and faster A-roads”. High praise, indeed.

Nissan LEAF side profile

Go where you like, when you like

The splash-and-dash nature of petrol and diesel cars has historically made them the more instantly enjoyable driving option, but the UK’s ever-expanding charging network now gives electric cars like the Nissan LEAF the same go-anywhere ability as conventionally powered rivals.

In fact, when using a 50kW CHAdeMO charger, the Nissan LEAF e+ will recharge its 62kWh battery from 20% to 80% in 90 minutes, giving you easily enough time to grab some lunch and plan the next leg of your journey[3].

Equally, charging options are more widespread than you think. The UK now boasts over 34,500 charging points in over 12,500 locations – 8600 of which are rapid chargers (22kW to 100kW)[6]. With 97% of motorway services now boasting rapid charging posts, statistically you’re never more than 25 miles away from a rapid charger[7][8].

As a result, range anxiety is a thing of the past, meaning you can enjoy your EV where you like, when you like. Just another reason that electric cars are more fun to drive than you’d think.

To find out more on the Nissan LEAF, visit nissan.co.uk

[1] It is your responsibility to stay alert, drive safely and be in control of the vehicle at all times. Driver assist features have speed and other limitations and should not be relied on. For more information, visit www.nissan.co.uk

[2] Laminated lithium-ion 40kWh battery with up to 168 miles range and e+ 62kWh battery with up to 239 miles range. WLTP figures shown are for comparability purposes. Actual real-world driving results may vary depending on factors such as the starting charge of the battery, accessories fitted after registration, weather conditions, driving styles and vehicle load.

[3] Indicated charging times and costs may vary depending on factors including charging conditions, battery and ambient temperature at point of use and if the battery safeguarding technology is activated. Visit nissan.co.uk to find out more.

[4] Cost to charge based on average daytime electric rates of 16.5p per kWh (Drive Zero, August 2020). 62kWh at 16.5p/kWh = £10.23

[5] Cost for petrol for 239-mile distance, based on average petrol price of £1.15 (AA, August 2020) and the car delivering a fuel economy of 47.9mpg (combined) 47.9mpg = 4.99 gallons = 22.69 litres @ £1.15 = £25.99 (10.9p per mile).

[6] For more information, visit: https://www.zap-map.com/statistics/

[7] For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-vision-for-the-rapid-chargepoint-network-in-england/government-vision-for-the-rapid-chargepoint-network-in-england

[8] For more information, visit: https://www.goultralow.com/faqs/