Is NISSAN LEAF a family-friendly car? Perspectives From My Hubby...

~ Posted on Monday, November 12, 2012 at 12:46 PM ~

(** NOTE: The following is written by David Tan)

When we first got wind that we were short listed to become part of the Nissan LEAF ambassadors, I had a whole list of things I wanted to test on the car. The typical nerd who wants to just know the parameters of the car; things like range, handling, gadgets, widgets, basically the bells and whistles. This car engages me in many levels. I will attempt to reveal them to you. Layer by layer.


To the Star Trek fans out there, this ship.. I mean car, gives the information heads up display (HUD) similar and not too far fetching from a Federation shuttle pod!

When you press the ON button, you’d be hoping one day you can hack the boot up sound to play: “Space… the final frontier…”.

When I reverse the car and align it on the road while the shuttle bay doors *ahem* auto gate is closing, and as you gracefully and effortlessly accelerate this car, the feeling is indescribable. It’s probably the closest we Trekkie fans of this generation will ever experience Star Trek shuttle with impulse drives! (Bearing a temporal time shift anomaly).

This car brings you from a standstill to 80km/h real fast and it does so without all the grunting, churning, revving and gear changing awkwardness. If this car had a voice automated command, it would say “Computer! Full impulse burst... ENGAGE!”

The beauty of all this Trekkie feeling is, you don’t need to be a Federation pilot nor engineer to drive this car. The car reeks of Doraemon’s simplicity, at the same time a huge cushion of safety designed to protect the user form his/herself.

Guys, I know all of us have very loving, caring, beautiful young wives (Shaddap and keep nodding if you know what’s good for you!!!). But does any of the below sound familiar to you?
  • Sending your wife’s car for oil change maintenance. (Why? Reached the mileage? No reached the time duration)

  • Driving your wife’s car out to refill petrol. Why? Very dangerous nowadays... plus when your wife ask you to do it... Wrong time to be a manly man…

  • You are at the office and the phone rings “honey the car cannot start, how yah? Can you come home?” @#($&)#@$&#@)$@#(!!!!!!!!

  • How many of them struggle with steep slopes at a traffic light? (aka bukit)

Well men, I have good news for you!
  • The Nissan LEAF DOES NOT require oil change. (What? It’s a miracle!!)

  • The car charges from home and in future at places like the shopping malls/super markets.

  • Yup, no more early morning dead battery emergencies.

  • The Nissan LEAF has an auto releasing handbrake that disengages the moment you start moving forward thus making the slope no longer a nightmare for many (including some men)

There is something very primal in us that leads towards, deep revs, gear change, torque transfer timings. But every now and then we need the TLC and pampering. Once the swimming pool I frequent for my daily swim was closed due to rain, I found myself instead spending an hour just driving to nowhere. It’s almost therapeutic.

There is no better feeling I have knowing my wife is driving the car with my children in the Nissan LEAF. Why? Not only because it’s has an NCAP safety rating, 6 airbags, reverse camera, isometric anchor for child seats or even the option to disable the front passenger side airbag so you can put your toddler car seat in front. It is actually how they are sewn together.

A lot of thought and ergonomic design has gone into the car to make all these features human. I only have 1 request. Please Nissan, please, please, insist on the 6 airbags when the car is finally on sale in Malaysia.

Like it or not everything boils down to dollar and cents right? Well I’m not going to give you guys too much data too soon (it’s only been a week), let’s try a whole month of heavy driving and then find out on an average monthly usage.

But all I can tell you now is my average charge (near empty) is about 14kwh so let’s take say 30-40 cents heck lets use 40 cents as a higher average rate we pay to TNB.
That equates to RM5.60 a day.

31 days of driving this car at full should cost between a range of RM130.20 – RM173.60 for daily average of 80kms (heavy traffic kl driving) that’s 2480km.
Compare that to my Nissan Sentra n16 SGL 1.6litre. To achieve 2480kms (average at about 350km per fill up of RM75 (Ron95), that’s 7 refills which cost RM525.

RM173.60 vs. RM525.
I’m looking at 66-75% savings.
RM351 a month extra.

That’s a 10% increment to a person who makes RM3,510 a month. Ever heard of a car that gives salary increments? Yeah me neither. Need more perspective?

RM351 can buy 2 weeks grocery for a family of 2 adults 1 elderly and 2 children.
It can buy 7 bags of 50 pieces of premium grade diapers.
RM351 a month into your mortgage can significantly reduce the repayment time.
Saving RM351 a month for 7 years at a savings interest rate of 3% equates to RM32,763.06 (calculated using savings calculator from

I must admit that I like everybody else am scared and pessimistic about how far this car can go before needing a recharge.

I pre-plan my routes and make sure.

Then how about my trips to Penang and Melaka for holiday? Well driving the car for 1 week so far I’m still trying to see what’s the maximum range this can go efficiently.. Furthest I’ve gone is PJ -> Shah Alam -> KL (super duper jam) -> back to PJ on 1 charge.

But there is a part of logic in my brain that tells me. “Hey David, this thing called planning route... isn’t this logical to do even if you are on combustion car?” See what I’m getting to here is this.

I’ve come to a realization that petrol is a lazy excuse to waste energy. Because the petrol pump is available everywhere there is not really a need to over plan routes. “Oh hey, David, it’s easy for you to say. How about us who don’t really have a choice?”

Exactly, choice! Nissan has been spearheading that choice to give us that ability that one day we can CHOOSE to throw down the addiction we have towards fossil fuel.

We hear, watch, read and even experience the effects of our carbon footprint we’re leaving behind. For who? Our children to inherit?


Ok so this is where I signoff for now. Before I do, I’d like to leave you with some words of a theoretical physicist.

Dr. Michio Kaku said, “We are in an era now that we have the power to destroy ourselves as a civilization or bring it to the next level of technological and civilization breakthrough.”

And I personally believe that the Nissan LEAF is a herald of things to come in the not too distant future ☺


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