Can the all-electric Nissan LEAF cut it in the cold and snow?

The video clip you see above, in which Japanese automotive media representatives put the LEAF through the winter test would seem to indicate the answer is yes, at least in terms of how the LEAF handles in snow.

With much of the vehicle’s weight evenly distributed through the middle of the vehicle, the LEAF is considerably less likely to fishtail or spin out, in contrast to most front-wheel gasoline engine vehicles, which tend to have more weight at the front, something that causes the back end of the car to easily slide out, especially when going around corners.

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Cold weather reduces range
The effect of cold weather on range is another thing, though. While there are a lot of variables, most notably how cold it is outside, how much of a headwind you’re driving into and, finally, how high you crank the heat in the LEAF, from what we can tell, the LEAF – like all battery-powered vehicles or devices – sees battery capacity drop considerably in the cold.

In fact – and we’re not necessarily saying this is representative – we’ve even had one current LEAF owner post a complaint on SolarChargedDriving.Com about his total range dropping to less than 60 miles per charge in tough, wintry conditions.

That might not be a problem for people who are almost always driving comfortably under that 60 mile ceiling (that would be us, if only our life situation would change and allow us to buy a LEAF – sigh…), but for those who are pushing, or who think they might be pushing, close to that 60-mile ceiling regularly in, say, places like Minnesota, North Dakota, or Winnepeg, the LEAF might not be your best bet.

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