pink-colored Nissan Electric Vehicle

Nissan Leaf gets ‘playful’ with Mother Nature

We know that the Nissan Leaf, being the world’s first mass-market 100% electric vehicle (EV), represents everything about green mobility solution. It’s like the Japanese automaker’s love letter to Mother Earth. But in a recent first-of-its-kind driving test, Nissan decided to go on a different approach.

Only this time, a speed challenge against nature’s powerful elements—fire and wind. Well, Nissan is not trying to go against Mother Nature, of course. Call it having fun with these elements, instead.

Carried out in an enclosed area at Samroiyod Beach in Thailand, Nissan set up a kilometer-long challenge that put the Nissan Leaf head-to-head with fire and wind. By using a pyrotechnician’s “fire-line” and a champion kite surfer, it was an interesting setup to witness the fastest to reach the finish line. The objective of this challenge was to change the perception towards EVs being not dynamic or exciting enough when it comes to acceleration, perhaps. So, Nissan, as a global leader in electric mobility and innovative technologies, chose to dismiss this conception in the form of a “friendly competition”. 

The result? The Leaf demonstrated an impressive rapid acceleration of 100 kph in just 7.9 seconds, ahead of its elemental rivals. “No doubt, EVs are the most environmentally responsible cars of the future. And with this challenge, we aim to show that the Leaf is simply amazing, not only because of zero-emission but also being a cool car with mind-blowing acceleration and driving dynamics that can handle any challenge,” said Nirmal Nair, Vice President for Marketing, Nissan Asia & Oceania.

Nissan Leaf’s e-Powertrain is capable of producing instantaneous acceleration. Imagine that kind of power directly being transferred straight to the wheels. That goes for any EVs out there demonstrating quicker launch, very smooth, and responsive drive. The Leaf, with its compact and lightweight frame driven by a highly efficient e-powertrain generating instantaneous torque with low vibrations, managed to outrun both fire and wind during the challenge. To date, there are already more than 470,000 Leaf units sold globally.

Lyft pledges to go fully electric by 2030

Meanwhile, Automotive News reported that the San Francisco-based American ride-hailing company Lyft Inc recently pledged that every vehicle on its ride-hailing and rental car platform would go fully electric by 2030. But while it would not provide direct financial support to drivers for switching from gas-powered cars, the company would push competitors, lawmakers and automakers to make the transition to EV easier for drivers by establishing incentives, according to Lyft executives.

According to Lyft’s co-founder and president John Zimmer, the company has reached a scale to impact policy change and that it would aggressively promote and help drivers access incentive funds. Currently, Lyft’s vehicle fleet has less than 1% of electric cars. “If policymakers do their part in the next few years, EVs should reach cost parity with gasoline vehicles by mid-decade”. 

Based on the study, ride-hail services contributed around 50% more carbon emissions than private car trips. So, environmental activists have called on Lyft and larger rival Uber Technologies Inc to electrify their fleets. “Lyft is likely to get hit with regulations pushing them in this direction anyway,” said BloombergNEF head of transport analysis Colin McKerracher. “So, they may just be trying to get out in front of that and announce it on their terms.”

Uber, meantime, has not made a blanket commitment to electrification but is partially subsidizing drivers’ EV purchases in London. To date, EVs are more expensive compared to their internal combustion-powered ones, but the comparable cost is lower in terms of operation and maintenance over time. In fact, Lyft said that the price for ride-hail trips in battery-powered cars might even decline in the future. In the past, the ride-hailing company shared that 80% of its drivers have full or part-time jobs, and offer rides to supplement their income.

Many of these ride-hail drivers also use leasing companies to rent a vehicle while concerned about the wear and tear. Lyft also offers rental services for drivers and consumers through its platform. They even intend to acquire EVs for their fleet but declined to confirm the exact quantity. According to the news source, the company also said it was in active discussions with automakers on electrification, but declined to provide details.