If you want to see the latest and greatest new cars to hit the market, you’d ordinarily have to head to a major auto show such as the Detroit Auto Show, Los Angeles Auto Show, Tokyo Motor Show or Paris Motor Show.
Even then, not all of the cars on display would be available for members of the public to sit in, drive, or otherwise drool over.
But Yesterday something very rare happened in Los Angeles as part of Plug In America’s National Drive Electric Week: the just-launched Tesla Model S P90D, soon-to-launch 2016 Nissan LEAF and upcoming 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric cars appeared together for the first time in public.
If that wasn’t enough of a treat, the 2016 Nissan LEAF was making its world debut, while the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV — a working pre-production engineering prototype — was making its first in-person appearance since being unveiled as a concept car back in January at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.
Fresh from the production line, the Tesla Model S 90D was announced in mid-July as Tesla’s new flagship performance model. Essentially a higher-performance version of Tesla’s Model S P85D, the Tesla Model S 90D features a slightly larger battery pack over the Model S P85D, while improvements to its battery fusing system and power contactors gives it Tesla’s already infamous ‘Ludicrous’ mode — accelerating it from 0-60 mph in just 2.8 seconds.
Its presence at the event — ahead of the majority of Tesla Model S 90D deliveries to customers — reminds us that while Tesla’s Model X SUV is due to begin deliveries later this month Tesla’s primary focus is still very much geared towards its luxury sedan.
For Nissan, Sunday’s NDEW event was the first time it had not only shown the recently-announced 2016 Nissan LEAF in public but also the first time that it had offered members of the public the chance to drive it — beating even members of the automotive press behind the wheel.
Unveiled on Thursday last week, SV and SL trim levels of the new 2016 Nissan LEAF feature a new, improved, lager-capacity 30 kilowatt-hour battery pack. Noticeably larger than the 24 kWh pack in the outgoing 2015 Nissan LEAF and entry-level 2016 Nissan LEAF S, the 30 kWh pack gives the 2016 Nissan LEAF SV and SL an EPA-approved range of 107 miles per charge.
While we weren’t able to attend the event ourselves, we’ve heard from our local correspondent Dennis Pascual, who told us that the while he only had a “quick drive around the block” the 2016 Nissan LEAF SV “drove very much like the 2013-2015 Nissan LEAF.”
“Sadly the new NissanConnect EV telematics system wasn’t registered,” he continued, “so I was unable to put it through its paces.”
While it was driven to its mark in front of the main stage during yesterday’s NDEW event, GM didn’t offer members of the public test-drives of Chevrolet Bolt EV.
Given the fact that it is more than a year away from production that’s hardly surprising. Indeed, while the vehicle on display was opened up for the general public to look inside — giving us a good chance to see how the four-seat, 200-mile electric car will be appointed when it launches in just over a year’s time — the internal mechanicals and drivetrain will be far from production-ready.
While it may already be undergoing extensive testing on GM’s test tracks, the Bolt EV will certainly not be ready for members of the public to drive for some time.
We’ll be covering other aspects of yesterday’s event in a later post — but if you were in Los Angeles yesterday, we’re keen to know what you thought of all three cars.
Did you get a chance to get behind the wheel of either the Tesla Model S 90D or the 2016 Nissan LEAF? Did you check out the Chevrolet Bolt EV up close and personal for the first time? And are you tempted to buy any of the three?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
[We’d like to thank Dennis Pascual for taking the photos featured in this article. Reproduced with permission]
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