In the past year the 2011 Nissan Leaf has launched in many different countries across the world, from Japan through to Ireland and Australia to Canada.
But while you probably know the Nissan Leaf’s sticker price varies from country to country, you may not know there’s a few subtle differences between which features are available as standard in different markets.
After spending some time with Nissan Leafs in other countries, here are just a few differences between the U.S. and the rest of the world.
In the U.S. auto-folding door mirrors are seen as an expensive extra on most cars, but in many countries including Japan and parts of Europe, they are must-have features to help protect your car in tight parking lots.
Automatically folding into the car when you turn it off, auto-folding door mirrors both protect the mirror glass as well as make the car a little smaller when parked, meaning other drivers are less likely to hit your car in the parking lot.
In Japan, auto-folding Leaf door mirrors are offered as an aftermarket accessory, while in Europe, drivers can fold the mirrors remotely using a switch next to the electric window control.
While we’re on the subject of mirrors, some countries -- including Japan -- offer aftermarket mirror housings with LED indicator lenses in them, adding anther set of indicators at the right height to be noticed by pedestrians and other drivers
2011 Nissan Leaf Software UpdateEnlarge Photo
While the U.S. Nissan Leaf comes standard with cruise control, the 2011 Nissan Leaf comes in Europe with a speed limited fitted as standard in addition to the cruise control.
Activated by pressing a button next to the cruise control, the speed limit system helps avoid speeding tickets in traffic flow too erratic for cruise control. Setting the limit is similar to setting cruise control, but it electronically prevents the car from going over the set limit. This helps drivers ensure they don’t go over the posted limit while retaining full manual control of their car at lower speeds.
To override, drivers can simply turn the system off, or utilize the kick-down function fitted as standard for the market.
While the 2011 and 2012 Nissan Leafs may feature automatic headlights in the U.S., European specification cars also feature automatic windshield wipers.
Offered in place of the auto-dimming rear-view mirror, the automatic windshield wipers activate when the car’s rain sensor detects moisture, speeding up according to speed of the car or how heavy the rain is.
A feature on some of the European Leaf’s we’ve driven, the U.S. cars lack the kick-down simulation which mimics an automatic transmission.
Giving a sprung resistance, the kick-down mode makes it easier to drive more efficiently in the Leaf’s “eco” mode, only releasing the full 80 kilowatts of motor power when the accelerator has been pushed beyond the kick-down spring resistance.
Although it’s unnecessary in an electric car and is purely a simulation, we think it helps car drivers who aren’t used to electric drivetrains acclimatize to economical driving patterns.
Level 2 portable charging
2011 Nissan LeafEnlarge Photo
Since Europe’s standard domestic power supply is 230 Volts AC instead of 110 Volts AC, all European Leafs come complete with portable level 2 charging cables, meaning they can charge at around 3 kilowatts from any domestic power socket.
As a consequence, European Leafs can be charged anywhere in under 8 hour without requiring a modified electric vehicle supply equipment chord.
Have we missed anything?
If you know of any other features you know of that are present on non U.S. Leafs that you think we’ve missed, let us know in the Comments below.