Exploring the branches of sustainability with the Nissan LEAF e+

by Petrol Mum

Being conscious of your impact on the environment and climate change means living a life of constant questioning. Do I buy this item over that one? Is there an alternative to owning the item? Do I even need this item? It’s all encompassing from what we eat, to how we travel and where we live.

This was demonstrated at Nissan Australia’s recent launch of their new flagship model in the LEAF electric vehicle range, the e+, by hosting their event at the Daylesford Longhouse. Founded on the idea of forming a community based on participatory events and sharing of knowledge, Daylesford Longhouse incorporates living, farming, cooking and teaching functions, where “common sense yields all sorts of poetic pleasures.”

The 100-metre long property, comprising of living quarters, a cooking school and a working farm building, is the first Victorian property to win Australian House of the Year, and is the recipient of the Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture at the National Architecture Awards. The ‘shed’ is constructed from polycarbonate sheeting that allows light into the building and the walls can be opened up to allow rain to enter the internal garden area. Having this internal growing space enables the owners to grow crops like avocados and figs in the cold Victorian climate.

The lunch served at the event consisted of a menu created from produce sourced directly from the surrounding farm and prepared in the garden kitchen by Australian chef Guy Turland. Guy is a surfer, free diver, rock climber, trained international chef who has worked in some of Australia’s best restaurants and who founded the international food and travel media brand Bondi Harvest. Guy talked about the importance of sourcing food locally and preparing it respectfully so nothing goes to waste. Here at the Daylesford Longhouse this means all the kitchen scraps are fed to the resident pigs.

It is estimated that each year we waste around 7.3 million tonnes of food in Australia – this wastage equals about 300kg per person or one in five bags of groceries. Food waste accounts for more than 5% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and globally food wastage is responsible for around 6% of total greenhouse gas emissions. It’s around three times the global emissions from aviation or, to put it in the context of national emissions, it would be the world’s third largest emitter with only China (21%) and the United States (13%) emitting more.

The other “poetic pleasure” of this event was the opening presentation was powered by the Nissan LEAF vehicles themselves as they have the technology of bi-directional charging, meaning that energy can not only flow from charger to vehicle, but can also be returned back to a home or other premises as and when required.  The Nissan LEAF is still the only 100% electric vehicle to offer bi-directional charging capabilities directly from the factory. Nissan is participating in trials that will be deployed in Australia to demonstrate the benefits of this technology to consumers, businesses and the national electricity market.

This Vehicle to Grid technology could see your Nissan LEAF becoming a mobile battery that can be moved about during natural disasters or simply used to power your home when it is not being driven. By using solar panels to charge your LEAF and setting limits on how much electricity is drawn from your LEAF, so you still have enough to travel to work in the morning, this could potentially become a self-sustaining approach for your electricity usage.

The manufacture of electric vehicles is the highest greenhouse gas emitting phase of the vehicle’s lifecycle, so if we are bearing in mind the sustainability of these vehicles it’s something that should be considered. The Nissan Casting Australia Plant (NCAP) has been in operation since 1982 and has 208 staff on site that manufacture 60 different components with an approximately export value of AUD$ 100 million.

These include key components for Nissan EV and Hybrid vehicles that are sold globally, of which over 500,000 have been LEAFs. The Nissan LEAF components made here in Australia include the water jacket cooler, inverter case and inverter cover. Other components made here for a range of Nissan vehicles include aluminium Final Drive components, aluminium Oil Pan engine parts and aluminium Manual Transmission parts.

The Nissan LEAF e+ features a 62kWh battery that delivers 160kW and 340Nm for faster acceleration performance, with 0-100km/h of just 6.9 seconds, and a top speed of 158km/h. The LEAF e+ has a WLTP driving range of up to 385km and a quoted Electricity Consumption of 180Wh/km. For our 217km return journey that incorporated motorways and a mountain pass we used 70% of the battery and this equated to 200Wh/km or 20kW/100km, which would have given me a range of 310km. This is almost identical to the standard Nissan LEAF I drove last year, which used 19kW/100km and similar to the Tesla Model 3 which used 18kW/100km when I drove it. The Hyundai Kona I have driven used only 13.6kW/100km and the Hyundai Ioniq was even better at 13.5kWh/100km.

The “e+” in its name refers to the increased energy density of the model’s battery pack and the higher output of its powertrain. The new powertrain adds to the car’s range by more than 40 per cent, while unlocking quicker acceleration and faster charging capability. Further enhancing the Nissan LEAF driving experience is e-Pedal, which allows the driver to start, accelerate, decelerate and stop using only the accelerator pedal. To match the additional power and increased mass of the Nissan LEAF e+, Nissan has reprogrammed the e-Pedal software for smoother operation and enhanced pedal feedback, especially for operation in reverse, and for smoother and more rapid deceleration, making it easier to stop the car using e-Pedal, even when reversing.

The Nissan LEAF e+ uses a new battery module design that allows for cell modules to vary in number. The new battery module uses an innovative laser welding technique on the cell joints to reduce the overall length of the module. At the same time, by changing the number of lamination layers of the cell, an optimal module height that matches the shape of the vehicle can be achieved.

The combination of these technologies has made it possible to achieve high energy density efficiently inside the battery pack. The key components for achieving this higher density and reliability are the ternary cathode material and laminated-structure cells (battery cells). Ternary cathode material, which has a layered structure, increases battery storage capacity by allowing lithium ions to be tightly packed (higher density).

The On-board AC charger has a 6.6kW capacity and uses a Type 2 (Mennekes) charging port that will charge from empty warning to 100% in 32 hours using a 10A MODE-2 cable with 3-pin domestic socket or 11 hour 30 minutes using a 32A MODE-3 cable with Type 2 socket. The on-board DC quick charger has a peak capacity of 100kW and using a 50kW CHAdeMO quick charger the charging time from 20% to 80% is 90 minutes, with this reducing to 45 minutes if a 100kW CHAdeMO quick charger is used. An app such as PlugShare will locate your nearest chargers and the sat nav system can do this also.

The LEAF range comes standard with the NissanConnect infotainment system, with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless smartphone connectivity. The touch-screen also gives you access to various vehicle information screens including where your energy is being used, either the electric motor, climate control or other systems. It also gives you an indication of your driving range and can show nearby chargers and you can select your favourite charging station and save it.

Active safety features include intelligent cruise control, blind spot assist, forward collision warning, emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, lane departure warning and rear cross traffic alert. It also has a 360o view camera with front and rear sensors. One annoying feature however is the foot operated park brake.

The LEAF e+ is priced from $60,490 excluding dealer delivery and on-road costs and you can visit your preferred Nissan dealer for more information. Of course moving towards electric mobility represents just one small branch of the sustainability tree, but in order to have an impact on our total greenhouse gas emissions all aspects of our life need to be analysed and meaningful changes made.  

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

error: Content is protected !!