Tree-Hugger? Nah, This Nissan Leaf Owner Hugs Corners, Beats Gas Cars

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There are some who might say the Nissan Leaf is a bit of a car for wimps. A hippy car. Or even a car for those who don't really think we should be driving cars at all.

Tell that to the guys who take their Leafs to autocross events--and even beat those racing on internal combustion.

Of course, the Leaf isn't an obvious choice for motorsport. Most would agree it's in its element at lower speeds, soothing drivers silently around crowded city streets.

With instant torque, a low center of gravity and front-wheel drive traction though, it seems a few drivers have found the Leaf surprisingly adept at racing between the cones.

There's no great tuning industry for the Leaf at the moment, unlike many cars, but resourceful owners have worked on spring and shock combinations to improve the handling. Further improvements would be possible with better tires, but most of these cars are daily driven so can't be too uncompromising for road use...

Likewise, removing trim and unused accessories would reduce weight further and let the Leaf's 107-horsepower electric motor really get to work.

Even as it is, some Leafs are putting in decent times--the car in the video got around the course in 47 seconds, beating several other vehicles on the day. We've previously even seen near-stock Leafs matching Mustang GTs and Nissan GTRs on autocross events.

And the best thing? After you've kicked some gas-guzzling ass on the track, you can drive home without using any gas at all.

Well, as long as you've not used all your electricity having fun...


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Comments (10)
  1. Yes, I like that thought of kicking ass and not using any gas to do it, and I think in a short period of time, before the Nissan battery needs replaced, we will not have to worry about running out of juice after we kick all the ICE's asses.

  2. Comment disabled by moderators.

  3. John, why did you delete my comment and not the next to last paragraph of the article? Are you saying that it is okay for you to say (ass) but not me?

  4. @James: Actually, you have a fair point. I had inexplicably skipped over that bit of the article. Since it appears in the text, your comment isn't inappropriate.

    For future reference, I've asked the author not to use it--and I'd extend the same request to you. But I've also restored your original comment.

  5. I guess we could say "kicking gas" instead.

  6. Nick - I like it! Will keep that one in mind...

  7. I'm glad you're not forcing us to say "donkey" instead!

  8. What did he say, what did he say :-)

    Once you get over 40 MPH, you start losing steam, so this type of racing is perfect for the LEAF. I can't wait to see some power slides in the rear-wheel drive i-MiEV next (and maybe a roll or two.)

  9. Cool to see my video here, thanks!

  10. You're welcome Adrian - I'm surprised I didn't find it sooner!

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