2019 Nissan Leaf: No need to hit the brakes on this one

Pure and simple, the 2019 Nissan Leaf is one of the best electric motorcars on the market today.

That said, electric cars still aren’t for everyone.  You still have to charge it up, and that means you most likely will need to do it overnight. In a garage.  If you have one.  And road trips are out, at least long ones.

If, however, you’ve thought long and hard about getting an electric car, the 2019 Nissan Leaf is worth your consideration.

And now, after having driven well over a dozen of them, I have a few important observations about how they operate.  To be sure, you can’t apply standard automotive operational thinking to an electric car.  That intuition doesn’t work here. But here is what does:

Running around town requires very little braking ever:  Because your car is powered by electricity and not gasoline, you don’t have to ‘gear up’ for power.  Likewise, you don’t have to ‘power down’.  Thus, when you want to stop, often, at low speeds, all you have to do it take your foot off the gas.  Whereas with a gas engine, the car would coast to the point of stop and require you to apply some sort of brake, with an electric car, taking your foot off the gas is like killing the switch to a stage show. Yes, it took me awhile to adjust to it.

Hitting the gas really meanings giving it lights, camera, action:  Similarly to flipping switch and the power is on, when you hit the gas, the power is on.  It is right there.

I was on the highway this past weekend to have lunch with some old high school friends (an old Catholic school, we were known as the ‘Cougars’) when I hit the gas to merge into tragic. Wow, did I rocket into the fast lane – and almost into the cars in front of me.  You see, when you hit the gas with a gas engine, it takes a few seconds for the throttle to open up and respond, but once you do (depending on the engine), the response is swift and powerful.  With an electric engine, however, once you hit the gas, you are immediately signaling that you want to go Full Speed Ahead.  So right then and there, you go rocketing forward – with no hesitation. It can be a little shocking at first. If you aren’t prepared for it, you will have no time to respond.  Or stop.

Driving an electric car is like driving a big bumper car: We’ve all been on the bumper cars where it can just feel a little weird compared to a gas-powered Cougar or Mustang. An electric car, to include the impressive Leaf,  can often feel like all you are doing is coasting – until you are suddenly rocketing down the highway (again, caution is advised).  It is a weird feeling, especially if like me, you grew with the sounds and smells of gasoline engines, motor fluids and guys who really enjoyed being all greasy and dirty in a garage or a mechanics’ pit.

Simply put, unless you are just getting started in life, it will take some time to get used to the overall essence of an electric car.  Yet like it or not, the electric car is the wave of the future.  Countries all over the world are beginning to make their usage mandatory, phasing out the usage of gasoline, fossil fuels, or anything that even remotely smells or seems like it might pollute or damage the air or ground.  It’s coming, so we must all start getting used to it.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing.

I’ll just have to search harder for those places with men up to their elbows in axle grease and 10-40w oil…


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