While there were concerns that the Nissan Leaf might not be a very good vehicle for colder climates, the automaker is ready to demonstrate otherwise. It recently invited a few dozen journalists to have a go in the snow with its signature all-electric on a test course in Shibetsu, Hokkaido in the north of Japan. Informative video ensued.
With a backdrop of a brace of Leafs frolicking about in the white stuff, interviews were conducted with both engineers and journalists and, from them, we learn some interesting tidbits. For instance, the Leaf battery pack can maintain an operating temperature nicely above freezing despite a chilly -9 C (15.8 F) reading outside. Also, Nissan is working on a new, more efficient, heating system for the passenger cabin, which is good since trying to keep the occupants warm has, perhaps, the biggest impact on decreasing winter driving range.
The cavorting journalists seemed impressed and even surprised with the Leaf's driving dynamics in the slippery conditions. With a low center of gravity, even weight distribution and traction control, the car displayed a comfortable amount of well-mannered poise. Of course, we wouldn't dream of pointing out the pylon that gets punched at precisely 18 seconds into the first video, since that speaks as much to the driver's ability as it does to the vehicle's handling.
Anyhoo, without further ado, hit the jump for a very snowy EV encounter. Besides the main video, which gives an overall rundown of the event, we've also included four more clips featuring further footage of the interviews with company officials and participants. Enjoy.