First Impressions: 2019 Nissan Leaf - Is it time for Malaysia to go electric?

The first-generation Nissan Leaf (ZE0) was launched in Malaysia in 2013 at KL International Motor Show. It was the first electric car to have an official presence in Malaysia What we have is here the second-generation Nissan Leaf, the ZE1 which just launched this year.

Nissan Leaf ZE1 Overview

Max. Power150 PS
Max. Torque320 Nm
Electric range311 km (NEDC)
Battery capacity40 kWh
AC Charging time to 100%7 hours

Unfortunately, the onboard charger is not compatible with the chargers you see at our shopping malls (unless you have an adapter).

Nissan Leaf uses a CHAdeMO (left) and J1772 (Type 1) (right) charging socket. These are sockets used in Japan.

Nissan  Different sockets used in different regions. Image from THEDRIVEN

Without an adapter, you can only charge this at home (charging kit provided). Currently different regions use different sockets.

What is it like to drive?

Very quiet. Virtually no vibration. Good acceleration as expected from an electric car. Not sporty, not premium, and not exciting, but easy to manoeuvre and comfortable. If you don’t pay attention as a passenger, you would barely notice you’re in an electric car. Electric motor torque is very useful for quick and safe overtakes.

Is the Nissan Leaf practical?

There’s ample boot space with the rear seats folded down. The Leaf is about the size of a Ford Focus.

How much does it cost?

RM188,888.00 (OTR without insurance). They clearly don’t plan to sell many. For road tax, the power output was used as a measuring stick. The sales advisor said it was assumed like a 2.0L, but with some discount.

How much is the road tax?

Road tax comes to RM187. It is actually supposed to be RM 374, but the Nissan Leaf receives a 50% discount for this.

According to the new method of calculation, the 110 kW Nissan Leaf road tax is calculated as such:

Above 100 kW to 125 kW – RM274, and RM0.50 for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 100 kW

So that’s supposedly RM274 + RM100 = RM374

It's still inaccessible for now

For RM188,888.00, no. For RM80,000.00, yes. The Leaf is not a premium car. If anything, the Leaf is a good benchmark for an “affordable” electric car. It has very ordinary interior and exterior.  This particular Leaf is actually a mid-range Nissan Leaf, but is also the only variant that is sold in Malaysia.

There is the more premium version with better features and there is also the base trim which sits on steel wheels.

Should you get one?

If you really, really want an electric car, go ahead. If you just need a car, the Leaf is an overpriced hatchback that you can’t fuel up at Shell, Petronas, Petron, Caltex, or BHP yet. Heck, even those shopping mall chargers don’t work (They’re all Type 2/CCS2 chargers). Interesting car though.

Are electric cars the future for Malaysia?

Personally, I have my doubts. We use coal for our electricity generation. All of this is imported, with around 60% of the coal coming from Indonesia. (source) We are not self-sustainable, energy wise. Making our transportation also dependent on imported coal could risk bringing us to a halt due to factors beyond our control (war, boycott, etc.).

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