|2012 Nissan Leaf. Photos courtesy of Nissan|
Powering the 2012 Nissan Leaf is an 80-kilowatt electric motor that is connected to a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack mounted to the underside of the car. The motor produces 107 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Drivers should be able to drive about 73 miles between recharging the battery pack, according to EPA estimates. Nissan reinforces that the driving range is only an estimate, and that real-world results are affected by a person’s driving style and habits. The Leaf has earned an EPA energy efficiency equivalent rating of 106 mpg in city driving and 92 mpg in highway driving.
Charging the Nissan Leaf is a task that can be done at home or at a public charging station, in areas where such stations exist. Owners who choose to charge the Leaf using a standard electrical plug can expect the process to last at least overnight. Nissan offers a home charging station that cuts the charging time down to as little as four hours. Cars outfitted with the special quick-charging plug can use public stations to charge in as little as 30 minutes.
Since the Leaf’s introduction in 2011, Nissan has improved its offering by including more features on the interior and exterior of the 2012 Leaf. For the 2012 model year all models come with new standard features that benefit those who live in colder climates, such as a heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, heated side-view mirrors and a heater for the car’s battery. SL models come with a port for quick charging of the car’s battery at public stations as standard equipment.
Other standard features for all Leaf models include LED headlights that efficiently illuminate the car’s pathway, 16-inch wheels, cruise control and a cloth interior that is made from recycled materials. Nissan throws in technological creature comforts like Bluetooth phone connectivity for hands-free calling while driving, a navigation system and a jack on the car’s stereo system that connects to an MP3 player. SL models also come with automatic headlights, fog lights, a backup camera and a solar panel that mounts to the car’s spoiler.