A skidpad is a simple circle with a 300-foot radius drawn on a flat piece of pavement that is used to judge the lateral g-forces a vehicle can generate whilst completing circumnavigations. Super sporty cars, like the Porsche 911, can hit 1.0 g. The Nissan Leaf, an all-electric hatchback made for efficient commuting, achieves less than that: a modest .79 g.
As an experiment, Car and Driver decided to see if they could improve on that metric and perhaps make the battery-powered commuter perform more like the fire-breathing polluter. They kept it simple by just swapping out different sets of incrementally stickier tires, recording the results as they went along. Though it isn't specifically mentioned in the video, one should keep in mind that what they gained in higher lateral performance capability, they lost in increased rolling resistance and decreased range.
As much as we liked this exercise – we won't give away the results, but will say that we were happy to learn that the Leaf's steering feel could be so easily improved – we wish they had of put a modicum of effort into the suspension as well. While they proved the electric Nissan can increase its skidpad rating, the body roll they experienced in the process seem somewhat disconcerting. Taming that aspect as well would inspire a bit more confidence in real world driving situations.
Scroll on down to watch C&D's Sam Smith put the Leaf and the 911 through their paces on the asphalt at Willow Springs and let us know in the comments if you'd consider trading some range for a little rubber stick-to-it-iveness in your EV.