Nissan Leaf – the 100% Electric Car in Malaysia

The new Nissan Leaf!

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Edaran Tan Chong Motor Sdn Bhd (ETCM) today launched the Nissan LEAF Pilot Program, the first-ever program in Malaysia which involves a Nissan electric vehicle (EV).

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The program, entitled ‘Journey to Zero Emission’ demonstrates Tan Chong Motor’s support for the Malaysian government initiative to promote Green technology and ensure sustainable development.

“Edaran Tan Chong Motor supports the green direction set by the Malaysian government and will assist the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water to achieve its goal of having 10% to 15% electric vehicle penetration in the market by 2020,” said Dato’ Dr. Ang Bon Beng, Executive Director of ETCM.

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I have pledged my personal support for hybrids and environmental – friendly vehicles many times before (Honda Insight and Toyota Prius C) thus naturally I’m all game for an electrical vehicle.

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This sturdy, little cute vehicle had me smitten the moment I saw it. Roundish with no edges, part of its allure is it’s aerodynamic build and compactness.

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Let me re-iterate in case you’re missing the point; it’s a 100% electric car running on 2 batteries, one wet battery just like any other vehicles and another solely for powering the car. Apparently, it can travel up to 160km on a single charge of 8 hours.

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Though it may look small, the size is just right for a small family (it seats 5 individuals comfortably).

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There’s plenty of leg room both front and back. The interior felt plush and the fabric cushions are really soft and cozy.

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The boot space is amazingly spacious too. We were told that it fits 2 golf bags easily. Golfers; yay or nay? 🙂

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I thought the front lights bulged out a bit too much though.

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Exploring the interior next, I inspected the dashboard, the panels and the doors. The overall design and feel of the interior was satisfactory enough for me.

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This little blue gear knob is so cute!

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We were given a chance to test drive the car and I wasted no time signing the indemnity form.
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Heart thumping at first, I was worried at first that I may not be able to handle an electrical vehicle. Are there any weird functions or procedures that I should know of? Does an EV car behave any differently from any other vehicle?

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I’m sure most of us who are not automotive experts would have such concerns in our minds. Most of us would rather not voice it out in fear of appearing foolish.

Well, it was just me and the Nissan consultant during the drive so I went ahead and asked all the questions I had burning in my head. Affable and patient, he explained the panels, the display on the dashboard, the acceleration and everything else.

Power button.

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The display panel in front of the driver seat.

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This panel provides plenty of information about your car as you are driving.

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The panel slides open to reveal a compartment for the CD and another feature which I forgot.

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Drive mode = Eco; says my test drive consultant.

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Auto Cruise and the other usual controls on the wheel.

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The engine.

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I enjoyed my drive and really, rest assured that an EV is just like any other car on the road. If anything, I felt that the Leaf was quieter and smoother. Handling was a breeze and my test drive consultant informed me that the car power is equivalent to a 3.5l engine’s . Wow, how’s that for power for you.

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Next is lunch. We were served healthy, organic and eco-friendly cuisine too!

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Even our plates and cups were environmentally friendly!

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Food was delicious! 🙂

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The carrot cake was moist with balanced level of sweetness and non-oily. The steamed organic pumpkin kuih was nice.

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Unfortunately, the Nissan Leaf is not for sale. For TCM, the first step is to create better awareness of EVs and their benefits and also to get feedback of the vehicle in use in Malaysian conditions.
This feedback will be shared with Nissan Motor so that when the LEAF is offered for sale in future, it will be fully compatible with local driving conditions and the requirements of Malaysian motorists.

Besides offering the LEAF to the media for test-drives, ETCM will select few Malaysians to be LEAF Ambassadors who will ‘live’ with the EV for an extended period of up to two months. These ambassadors, representing a cross-section of Malaysians, will use the vehicle in their daily lives, share their experiences with their friends, and also provide valuable feedback to ETCM on the performance of the LEAF in Malaysian conditions. ETCM will provide each with a unit of the LEAF and install the necessary equipment at their homes for recharging the vehicle.

ETCM – choose me!! I want to be a LEAF Ambassador! :DD

Also, if you think that the LEAF is not safe to be on the road, you do not have to worry. All 10 vehicles in the showroom has road tax and the LEAF has been on sale in a number of countries since December 2010. To date, over 27,000 of units have been sold, mainly in Japan and the USA.

For those in KL who’s itching to drive the LEAF, hop in Nissan showroom on Jalan Kemajuan on Sat and Sun (5th, 6th May 2012) from 930am onwards. A total of 90 test drives are allocated per day on first come first basis.

So go and test it out! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I did! 😀

NOTE: Further information can be found at the ‘Journey to Zero Emission’ website at www.nissan.com.my/Leaf/media.

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Category : Automotive
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