One of the everlasting questions that first needs to be answered is: how far it can go on a single charge?
To address the doubts, the Japanese manufacturer decided to put automotive experts, IT journalists and lifestyle media in a fleet of brand new LEAFs and let them drive to the peak of Thailand's highest mountain - Doi Inthanon.
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The trip to Doi Inthanon at 2,565 meters and back was about 200 km (124 miles), which turned out to not be a big deal even for the 40 kWh LEAF, especially since on the way back EVs can regenerate energy (up to 20%).
"The drive started in downtown Chiang Mai, climbed to the top of Doi Inthanon, and then returned to the hotel – all on a single overnight charge. Regenerative braking in the all-new Nissan LEAF can help increase range when the brakes are applied or speed is reduced, with the electric motor acting as a generator by converting energy that would otherwise be lost into battery energy. Up to 20% of total kWh usage of potential power can be gained back, depending on the driving behavior and slope of the route. The LEAF's `B-mode' allows the driver to engage an even more aggressive level of regenerative braking while decelerating.
By the way, there are pretty cool landscapes in Thailand:
Gallery: Nissan LEAF in Thailand
Now since the reasonable range for daily commuting was proved, it's time to work on affordability as the launch price was 1,990,000 Thai baht (over $60,670 then and $65,960 today).
Ramesh Narasimhan, president, Nissan in Thailand said:
"Consumers often ask how far a Nissan LEAF can travel with one charge, and might have a misconception that it cant handle long distances or topographies. So to put the Nissan LEAF to the test of range, performance, innovation, and comfort, we created this drive that included an ascent on the single lane road to the top of Doi Inthanon and a 200km round trip to show the vehicle's capabilities,".
"The descent allowed us to showcase the power of the unique regenerative braking system and e-Pedal technologies –which can help increase range. Our Nissan LEAF full battery EV delivered outstanding performance that conquered even Thailand's highest mountain,".