Nissan Leaf scores five-star NCAP safety rating – 2012 launch in NZ

May 26th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Nissan’s fully electric vehicle the Leaf is going from strength to strength and can now add a five-star crash rating to its list of accolades. The zero-emission vehicle is the first electric vehicle ever to earn the highest rating Euro NCAP gives out.

To break it down the Leaf scored an 89% rating for adult safety, an 83% rating for child protection and an 84% rating for its on-board safety assist systems, which include Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and a speed limiter as standard. It also got a passing grade of 65% score for pedestrian safety, thanks in part to the low nose design and the comparative lack of ‘hard points’ under the bonnet.

“The Nissan Leaf proves that EVs can achieve the same safety levels as traditional cars. The standard is now set for the next generation of such cars on the European market,” said Euro NCAP Secretary General Michiel van Ratingen.

Nissan Leaf’s safety assessment followed standard Euro NCAP procedure, with tests for frontal impact, side impact, side pole impact and whiplash. The car’s 48 lithium-ion battery modules, which are housed in a special compartment beneath the floor, withstood all the impacts. The EV’s battery system was switched on during the crash simulations to test the in-built safety measures of the electrical system, which includes automatic cut-off isolation in the event of an accident. The car passed without problems. Continue reading “Nissan Leaf scores five-star NCAP safety rating – 2012 launch in NZ” »

Nissan Leaf Nismo RC gets first track workout (+video)

May 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Nissan Leaf Nismo RC electric race car is one of the first genuine race-spec electric cars ever constructed. So what? Well this special Leaf is providing a sneak peak into the likely future of motorsports, and is proof that there will come a time when motorsport fans talk about volts, amps, and kilowatt-hours instead of horsepower and fuel capacity.

Nissan still hasn’t worked out exactly where it will campaign its electric racer but that hasn’t stopped its development as evidenced by a recent shakedown. Following its official debut at the recent 2011 New York Auto Show, the Leaf Nismo RC has become a rolling laboratory for the accelerated development of electric cars and aerodynamic systems. It is also the first serious platform for the development of new green motorsports series and is giving Nissan a head start in this area.

The Nismo RC is all stealth with its carbon fibre bodywork, three door body and silent electric powertrain. It’s longer and wider than the production model Leaf but uses a relocated version of the same drivetrain as the street-going model.

The video below shows the electric race car’s first public shakedown test at Sodegaura Forest Raceway in Japan. Check out the clip below. Continue reading “Nissan Leaf Nismo RC gets first track workout (+video)” »

Gang of top supercars battle it out on Fuji track (+video)

May 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

A new video has been doing the rounds online and shows some of the World’s finest sports machines battling it out on the racetrack. A simple idea sure, but when it’s done with stock production models and a level playing field it makes for compelling viewing.

The all star cast includes the Lexus LFA and its main rivals, the Japanese Nissan GT-R, the American Corvette ZR1 and the European Porsche 911 GT2 RS. There’ s also a Ferrari 430 F1 thrown into the mix for good measure. The battle takes place on the Fuji Speedway and is fought over three laps. Continue reading “Gang of top supercars battle it out on Fuji track (+video)” »

Nissan wins huge New York City taxi contract

May 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Over 13,000 taxi cabs roam the streets of New York City and producing them, supplying them parts and servicing them is big business. So when a contract for the next-generation of NYC taxis was put up for tender it was hotly contested. But there could be only one winner and hot-right-now carmaker Nissan took out the prize.

The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission awarded Nissan a 10-year contract to produce the cabs. The Japanese automaker was shortlisted along with Ford and little known Turkish automaker Karsan for the deal that’s worth more than $1 billion US dollars. Nissan won and will now be responsible for building one single vehicle to replace the 16 models that are currently allowed to transport New York City residents around the Big Apple. The company’s design was based on its NV200, and the minivan is expected to turn up for work from early 2013. Continue reading “Nissan wins huge New York City taxi contract” »

Nissan Leaf EV hitting Wellington streets next year

May 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Nissan has been busy teaming up with Wellington City Council on the implementation of a pilot programme in Wellington under which the operation of Nissan’s zero emission Electric Vehicle – Leaf would be tested in the Wellington environment. The Leaf has already been launched in the United States, Japan, and Europe with success and its launch into other world markets will follow shortly.

Nissan’s EV has proved popular internationally, and recently won the coveted 2011 European Car of the Year title – the first time a fully electric car has won the award.

Wellington City Council wishes to encourage the early adoption of EV’s within Wellington, and is confident that the Wellington area is ready to embrace the retail availability of these vehicles without the need for further evaluation. Nissan and Wellington City Council have therefore agreed to forego the planned Wellington pilot programme.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said that “Wellington is well placed to welcome electric cars, we now have a public charging post in the city and the Nissan LEAF is highly anticipated here, we look forward to its arrival and sale in New Zealand”. Continue reading “Nissan Leaf EV hitting Wellington streets next year” »

Nissan Micra Ti 2011 Review

April 29th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Chihuahuas are considered cute, even laughably so, right up till the moment they bite you. Once those pin-like teeth are nibbling on your leg, there is no doubt left in your mind that however harmless the Chihuahua looks it’s still an animal. What Chihuahuas are to the dog kingdom the Nissan Micra is the same for the automotive world, it’s compact, it’s cute but it still has the most of the same abilities and bite as any other car. The Micra story began back in 1982 when a boxy first-generation model was built to battle the Honda City. It would go on to have two more generations and become known for its budget price tag and quirky styling. Now, for its fourth generation this super-mini has toned down its radical design and is baring its teeth to its competitors in the light segment through strong equipment levels and improved practicality. Car and SUV took the new top-spec Micra Ti for a run to see if it has the bite to match its bark.

The new Micra is set to be a true global car for Nissan, with sales planned for 160 countries worldwide and production at four different factories. With this broad focus in mind, the Micra design is now much more conventional. The bug eyes remain but are better molded into the bonnet line and there’s a more discrete single-bar grille.  A wider lower air dam and fog lights on the Ti spec model give it a sporty, more purposeful face. Along the flanks it’s fairly tame with nice colour coding on the wing mirrors and door handles, with 15-inch 7-spoke alloys filling the guards. Out back there’s an integrated hatch spoiler with stop lamp, vertical taillights and a wide-opening hatch. The new styling slims the Micra down compared to its bulbous predecessor but a keen eye will notice that the new model is larger in wheelbase, width and length. Even with the more subdued styling the Micra won’t blend into the background, particularly when finished in ‘Spring Green’ like our extroverted test vehicle. Continue reading “Nissan Micra Ti 2011 Review” »

The Future of motorsport? Nismo RC electric race car

April 29th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Electric cars haven’t really made their way into motorsport circles just yet but that doesn’t mean there’s not parties already pushing for full EV racing classes. Some are even going so far as to suggest that the technology could be used in F1 first and then filter down to lesser motosport divisions later. Western Springs speedway would certainly get much less noise complaints if it was electric-powered cars lapping the dirt oval. But before all that, the first step would be to organise the first fully electric racing class and Nissan have taken the first steps towards it.

Nissan have recently unveiled its Leaf Nismo RC (Racing Competition) concept at the New York Auto Show. The prototype racing hatchback has lost a couple of doors from the production model and nearly four inches out of its wheelbase, but it’s wider and longer with a minimal ground clearance of just 2.4 inches.

The dedicated racer also gets a full carbon fibre monocoque bodywork with removable front and rear sections, fixed windows, LED headlights and taillights and a driver-adjustable rear wing. Nissan says the racing special weighs just 938kg – around 40 percent lighter than the production Leaf. Continue reading “The Future of motorsport? Nismo RC electric race car” »

Nissan 370Z races Mexican chicken for TV ad (+video)

April 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

So you thought you were pretty choice that time you dragged your mate off at the lights, or that time you blew away that V8 Commodore through some twisty back roads. Well that’s all good, but you aren’t nothing till you’ve battled a fully trained Mexican racing chicken.

That’s right – a Mexican racing chicken, they’re out there and they are fast little critters. Nissan UK got involved recently and put it’s latest 370Z up against a racing chicken in a straight-up race for a TV advertisment. It was a brave move with the chicken expected to be quicker through the corners but the Z car has more power, through its 6-cylinder motor, on the straights.

The ad sets the scene for the race in a bleak underworld where poultry is put up against metal in reckless racing matches for bragging rights. This Mexican racing chicken goes by the name ‘Pepe’ and he’s not like the Tegal number 6 job you have in your freezer at home, he’s the real deal and Nissan really should have entered its GT-R into this battle to guarantee victory. Can the 370Z do it?

Think this is a joke, well you better watch the clip below and find out. Continue reading “Nissan 370Z races Mexican chicken for TV ad (+video)” »

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