The Nissan Leaf – The Car of the Year

Billed as the first fully electric car, Nissan’s latest offering, the ‘Leaf’, is the car of the year, but which year is that?

Everything about this model is modern, from the state of the art technology to the minimalist chic of the bodywork. Yet adverts show the car being leisurely driven through impossibly picturesque scenery where nobody is in a hurry. And it’s called the ‘Leaf’.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qLAW2U5KHo

Yes ‘Leaf’ is very, well, green, but it’s a ridiculous name for a car. I want my car to sound substantial, protective or glamorous, not ‘natural’. Why isn’t it called something which reflects that it’s electric?

The answer, of course, is that Nissan are trying to please everybody.

If we aren’t seduced by the high performance, ‘energy efficient’ aspects of the car, we can be tempted by traditional advertising techniques to long to travel to the cleaner, greener world of the Leaf.

The trouble is it’s impractical. The whole advert is in slow motion, which is exactly how you would feel stuck behind one of these in traffic jam, shortly before it broke down because it couldn’t reach the nearest charging station!

Charging pods will be at your home – you have to buy one on top of the car price if you ever want to drive the thing – and at all Nissan showrooms.

I’m no science whizz, but won’t the electricity necessary to charge the car result in greater damage to the planet through the increase in power stations?

The car itself is undoubtedly innovative, with all the features you’d expect, but comparing the ease of charging the ‘long lasting’ battery to a iPhone is slightly ironic as most people with an iPhone will tell you its biggest fault is a tendency for the battery to die alarmingly quickly if you do much more than look at it.

And as with iPhones, Nissan have created pointless shiny accessories for another £176 pounds you can buy a ‘charging port lid cover’ should you feel the need.

What I do like about Nissan is the positioning of the brand. The ‘We are the Traitors’ campaign is marketing gold. Instead of acknowledging that at almost £26,000 the Leaf is an investment not a necessity, Nissan have decided to play the rebels, telling their captive audience that they are ‘the dreamers’ ‘the fighters’ and ‘the outlaws’ and they too can drive the Leaf. Nissan make a product which is clearly aspirational seem suitable for the common man. If only they could afford it…