India's electric car journey has been rocky to say the least and that's mainly due to the half-baked products that were brought into the market in early stages. Only recently, the Indian market has received the Hyundai Kona which is a proper EV.
However, the car that you see here could be the perfect EV for India and actually kick-start our acceptance towards them. The new Nissan Leaf is not only one of the first electric cars ever made, but is also the most popular with over 4 lakh sales worldwide.
Though Tesla is all about the glitz and glamour, this car rightfully needs to be credited for starting the EV revolution.
So why is it suited for India? Here’s why— the Leaf is fundamentally a great car and the quintessential electric vehicle. It's only available in the electric version and wholly focuses on perfecting the mechanism.
Though this is not the India spec car, there is plenty of sci-fi appeal with the Leaf and we like that. For India the size is perfect and considering our cramped roads this is perhaps the perfect size. Cars are getting bigger and bigger plus our love for SUVs means jostling for space is an issue. A compact but spacious electric car does the job.
Yet the Leaf is not cramped as such and is pretty spacious which again signals the USP of an electric being that the packaging is much simpler and with no ICE (internal combustion engine) to lug around there is space but without it being big in its physical footprint.
The big question with electric cars has always been the range and battery. The two big components are electric motor plus the battery while a lot of tech revolves around it. The Leaf like other EVs has a lithium-ion battery pack but since it was designed to be an EV in the first place, Nissan has made it more efficient.
With around 400 km on a full charge, the Leaf actually removes any anxiety and even in bumper-to-bumper traffic, the range does not drop alarmingly as we saw. Thus a full charge is expected to take care of your day’s commute easily.
With air pollution being an issue, a car like the Leaf is best suited for India considering its fit for purpose unlike any other. Indian buyers need more electric car options at a feasible price point and while we hope Nissan brings this car early to our market, the car would be expected to be heavily modified to our tastes.
There is no denying the appeal of an electric car with the silence and unquestionably being the right form of mobility for the future but it should also be at the right price and at the right time. Tesla is too expensive and not interested in our market but a well-sorted electric car like the Leaf should be the answer to that question now. It will not be cheap at an expected price of Rs 35 lakh plus but it’s a step in the right direction and we need that now!