The 2018 Nissan Leaf small electric hatchback looks like it will be a very safe choice for buyers. And we mean that very literally. Euro NCAP, the organization responsible for crash tests and safety ratings in Europe tested the Leaf and gave it five stars out of five for overall safety. The safety rating is based on four categories with a maximum score of 100 percent in any one. The Leaf earned a 93 percent for adult occupant safety, 86 percent for children, 71 percent for pedestrians, and 71 percent for safety assists.
In comparison with the Chevy Bolt EV, known as the Opel or Vauxhall Ampera-e in Europe, the Leaf wins out. The Bolt/Ampera-e got four stars, and its scores of 82 percent and 73 percent for adult and child safety respectively are clearly worse. The GM electric did get better pedestrian and assist scores of 75 and 72 percent respectively, though.
The idea of electric cars is that they're meant to help reduce our carbon footprint in the world. However there are some questions, such as what do companies do with the used batteries after they've done? Do they simply throw them away? While different companies probably have different approaches, Nissan has an idea: use them to power street lights.
In a program dubbed "The Reborn Light", this sees Nissan take recycled Nissan Leaf batteries and use them to power street lights. This will involve the use of a solar panel that will be used to charge the batteries so that at night, the batteries can then be used to provide lights on the street for both pedestrians and traffic.
One thing about electric cars is that at some point they will become old electric cars. And old electric cars have old batteries, which are a terrible thing to waste – no matter if they're in a car that has reached the end of its useable life, the batteries might still serve a purpose, or they can be recommissioned.
The first generation of the Nissan Leaf was introduced in 2010, meaning that the batteries in the oldest Leafs (Leaves?) can now be ripe for picking. Together with the 4R Energy Corporation in Japan, Nissan has started a project that will provide the Japanese town of Namie with lighting, using solar panels and used Leaf batteries. Namie was significantly damaged by the tsunami that caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, and these streetlights are part of the town's ongoing rebuilding efforts.