IF there is a true pioneer electric car for the new millennium it's undoubtedly the Nissan Leaf.
Why? Because rather than being the offspring of a golf buggy it is a proper small car with room for the nuclear family, great performance in the urban environment, plenty of luggage space and good road presence.
If it has lacked anything, it is range. Its 24kWh battery pack makes it the perfect city and suburban runabout but highway work hasn't been Leaf's forte.
That might be about to change with a new Leaf running a 30kWh battery pack just released in Europe to combat range anxiety and to prove its durability, Nissan let it loose on the roads of Europe for an all-electric grand tour.
Showcasing its low running costs, the test unit cost a mere 3 euros ($4.45) for every 100 kilometres travelled.
Leaf now has a claimed 250-kilometre driving range without detracting from its other benefits.
The epic journey put the Leaf on roads in Italy, Spain, Germany, Norway, Scotland and France for a 650-kilometre total drive distance, powering-up each day using the network of charging stations rolling out around the continent. There are now 2800 quick chargers in Europe with more being installed on a weekly basis.
Nissan says 54 per cent of car owners prefer the highway to the skyway (or any other kind of way), but fuel costs are causing concern. The full-electric car, it says, could prove to be the ultimate travelling companion.
Since launching Leaf in 2010 Nissan has sold more than 228,000 of them globally with Europe accounting for almost 60,000 sales.
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