2016 Nissan LEAF Test Drive: What Do You Want To Know?

They look just the same as last year’s 2015 Nissan LEAF, but under the floor of the 2016 Nissan LEAF SV and 2016 Nissan LEAF SL electric car is a larger battery pack capable of an EPA-approved range of 107 miles per charge.

That’s a major improvement on the 84-miles of EPA-approved range of the previous model-year car, made possible by an increase in battery pack capacity from 24 kilowatt-hours to 30 kilowatt-hours. In turn, that increase is made possiible without any exterior modifications to the car thanks to a next-generation lithium-ion cell which Nissan says is far more energy dense than its predecessor, squeezing more energy storage capacity into the same physical space as last year’s battery pack.

What's the new 2016 Nissan LEAF like? We're about to find out.

What’s the new 2016 Nissan LEAF like? We’re about to find out.

Alongside the increased battery pack capacity in the Nissan LEAF SV (Acenta) and SL (Tekna) models, the 2016 Nissan LEAF gets Nissan Connect EV — a brand-new on-board telematics system complete with new smartphone connectivity and applications which Nissan says will give the 2016 LEAF “additional functionality” over previous model year cars.

Probably of most interest to prospective buyers is a new range screen displaying owners how far they can comfortably drive before their car will need a recharge, as well as a new charging information screen which more accurately represents real-time charging information and availability.

To date, Nissan has only demonstrated its new 2016 LEAF SV and SL models with short test-drives at events like the recent National Drive Electric week celebrations in Los Angeles, California.  But tomorrow and Friday, our very own Kate Walton-Elliott will be  getting the keys to one of the first longer-range Nissan LEAFs off the production line and putting it through its paces with an extensive test-drive in and around the countryside surrounding Nice, France.

Naturally, we’ll be doing our usual full-spec test drive to see if the 2016 Nissan LEAF is capable of the claimed 107 miles per charge, as well as how much improved the new Nissan Connect EV is over the older Carwings system.

Since we know the 2016 Nissan LEAF is based on the same 2011 Nissan LEAF which debuted at the end of 2010, we know that the interior and driving dynamics of this longer-range car should be fairly similar to previous model year LEAFs, but we also know that you’ll have lots of questions for us to ask Nissan’s engineering team about the inner workings of its latest plug-in.

We know that you're all interested in real-world range: we'll do our best to test it on our test drive.

We know that you’re all interested in real-world range: we’ll do our best to test it on our test drive.

So, this is our usual call to readers and subscribers to ask what you’d like us to ask Nissan on the official Nissan LEAF press launch. The event kicks off in just over 24-hours, so you’ve got until then to leave us your questions and thoughts in the Comments below. We can’t guarantee to answer them all, but we’ll do our best.

In the meantime, you can follow our official Twitter account for real-time tweets from the media presentation and test drive, or follow Kate’s personal twitter stream to keep track of what else she’s up to on the event.


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  • Ad van der Meer

    I wonder if it has more power due to the higher battery capacity assuming it has the same relative power output. Better acceleration?
    Has there been improvements in efficiency of the motor or other parts of the car?

  • windsorsean

    I also am wondering if performance has changed at all due to the higher capacity battery. It appears the next gen Volt has improved acceleration, better than rated. Also has Nissan changed the battery gauge from 12 bars for the higher capacity?

  • vdiv

    Is the new battery pack actively cooled akin to the e-NV200?

    • Dennis Pascual

      Nope. Same passive cooling. (I did a quick drive of one at NDEW2015 in Los Angeles (the same one that had the Bolt EV Concept in it).

  • How is the fast charging experience with the larger battery?

  • Chris Laidlaw

    Will any of these improvements be made available to current owners of 2011-2015 Nissan Leaf? Ability to purchase the 30kWh battery and upgrade to Nissan Connect services specifically. Speaks to Nissan’s commitment to investing in their existing consumer base. Thank you.

    • Neb

      From what I’ve read elsewhere, it seems existing Leaves (Leafs?) won’t be upgradeable to 30kw/h as though the shape is the same, the control electronics are quite different. I imagine you could hack it to work if your warranty was expired, but I doubt it’d be cost effective, especially if you’ve got a Gen 1 (or Visia) without the efficiency improvements.

  • Lee

    will the uk model come with a 6.8kw charger as standard to 30kw models? if you opt for the Acenta trim because you like the new stone wash cloth over leather will you be able to add LED headlights as an option for people that suffer from poor night visibility using halogen, what is the charge time using on-board charger to 100% and what is the chadamo charge to 100% not to 80 using 50kw charger, what is the motorway range at 120kph (70mph), will it include a sail mode like the golf for better motorway range,
    what improvements have been made with new telematics system. does the acenta model come with rear view camera for backup and can it get 360 camera option. will a lighter leather colour be offered as an alternative to black simalar to what is offered in japan

    • Neb

      From what I’ve gathered on Nissan UK’s website (the 30kw/h models are already on there) it looks like the Acenta will still come with the 3kw on board charger, with the 6kw available as a cost option. I’d like to know about a “coasting” mode as well. It’s fair to assume the 30kw/h models will mostly be sold to people who make more long-distance motorway journeys, so a coasting mode would seem logical. I’d like to see Nissan take a – ahem – “leaf” out of VWs playbook when it comes to re-gen and coasting.

      • Lee

        hi thanks for the info, hmm its a shame England getting short changed on the top model again especially since there biggest rival the kia Soul EV (a very good car by the way) has one on board, my old 12 leaf with is 4 bars missing and 45 mile range on motorways it was getting a problem commuting to the east of the country who have Very few Rapids (come on ESSEX) so when to lease was up I jumped back to two wheels for the time being as the prince for petrol running on this thing is about the same at the £5 per charge each way on the leaf at pay and go essex charger
        but I always had a thing for my old leaf so to hear that they were doing a 30kw compete with the kia and bmw I3 range has me interested. sure its no 200 mile monster we were all hoping but around town and short runs its easy to hit the 85 mile range on the mk 1.5. so the mark 1.9 (30kw) should easly hit the 110 around town or I’m hoping 99mile highway at 70mph (120kh)

        what some us readers won’t know is that in england we only have the entry level kia soul ev only with cloth. with no leather or even on the options list that are on the ev+ model and no battery winter heater option. of the test car I borrowed from my cus from good old orange county as good as the car was yes even at (freeway) motorway speeds it happily reported a 95 mile range on a very cool (12c – 14c) evening I did my 70 mile run
        but the thing that bothered me most and while I didn’t drop a payment on it was because of the smallish boot (lets just say its not k9 friendly even without the parcel shelf) and well the I3 as good as it is to drive the fact that you can;t get a heat pump even as an option because it uses the same space as the engine and the price when you add all the options you may as well drop it on a telsa 70d as theres about 2-3 grand in it. and the golf ev hmm lets just say its a good car but range is everything and no chadamo option madness when I think there are just 2 CCS chargers in the country and 12 hour charge time on 20 amps kills it for me.

        so being a bit of an ev convert I am really interested to here what people think of the 30 kw models when they ride them.

        1) what is the real world range at 70mph (120kph) if you have a bit of a lead foot

        2) how long to charge to 100% using a 30amp lev 2 using on board, and what is the charge time to 100% using rapid its it sub 40 mins?

        3) what is the new 80% charge range (for people who want to preserve there battery)

        4) with the Acenta 30KW leaf can you get the 360 camera as an option

        5) can you get the led headlights and interior lighting on the Acenta 30kw

        6) snap shots of the new stone wash seats would be great (what can I say I just don’t like black)

        7) are there any differences in performance to 62mph (100 kph) times or driving styles e.g. like the kia its slower off the line on power delivery for better winter traction and range.

        8) after looking at the info on nissans site I still need to know if the 30kw models have a heat pump because the way it reads there back to the mk1 or entry heating which sucks big time,

  • KIMS

    Prio 1 question:
    (When) Will they start taking into account topography when estimating range? (Similar to Tesla.)

    Secondary question:
    “new charging information screen which more accurately represents real-time charging information and availability”

    Maybe I read that wrong, but I heard Leaf has had issues with steering people to charging infrastructure that is either not built yet, or is in other ways not operational or accessible.. Did they improve on that? Also, what do you mean “more accurately represents real-time charging information”? Similar to what you could get via the various aftermarket data logger plug-in & phone app gadgets?

  • In Las Vegas, EV drivers are disconnected from the rest of the world. With our EV’s it’s a real challenge to leave town. I met a gentleman from Utah (OHM MY) who drives his (24 Kwhr) Leaf to Las Vegas and he described the challenge that that trip is, usually requiring one or more hotel stays.

    I find myself in L.A. a few times a year and it would be great if there was (CHAdeMO) charging in Baker, CA and Yermo, CA.

    If you speak to Nissan, please ask them to make that happen somehow.