Last updated on June 2nd, 2023 at 11:24 am
Lifetime Achievement Award: Nissan Leaf
Few EVs have done as much to popularise electrification as the Nissan Leaf. Where the Tesla Model S made electric cars aspirational, the Leaf showed that they could be affordable and practical for everyday use. The Leaf turned 10 nearly two years ago, and the fact that it’s still on sale now shows how strong the initial design concept was.
However, the Leaf has improved over the years since it was launched. Initially, it came with a 24kWh battery and 107hp motor. Although the 0-60mph sprint of 9.9 seconds was hardly brusque, the low-end torque of an EV meant that the Leaf could pull away up to 30mph surprisingly quickly, making it an incredible city car. The original range of 73 miles (EPA) or 109 miles (NEDC) also made the original Leaf better suited to cities, although inclusion of CHAdeMO DC charging on some versions from the beginning made longer journeys possible – if you could find a charger back then.
The latest Leaf now offers battery sizes up to 62kWh with a range up to 239 miles (WLTP). It’s much faster, too, with the most powerful 215hp version able to hit 62mph in just 7.3 seconds. That’s approaching hot hatch performance. The design does show its age in some areas, such as the lumpy boot space with the rear seats down, the infotainment system, and the continued use of CHAdeMO, which is rapidly being outgunned by CCS charging connections. But the Nissan Leaf should be commended for all it has done for EVs over its 12 years (so far). It’s a true legend.
Read our full review of the Nissan Leaf.