Nissan LEAF expands its horizons
Recently, the Nissan LEAF has shown a whole new side to its zero-emissions personality by turning up in two unexpected forms on the opposite sides of the world. Eight of these green machines have been tapped for duty by Portugal's PSP (Polícia de Segurança Publica), which handles law enforcement in large urban areas of the country. While primarily intended for use in conjunction with the organization's Safe Schools Program, the cars are decked out in full cop regalia including lights and sirens and could be used in any and all capacities if necessary -- battery range notwithstanding. Portugal is a leader in promoting the use of EVs and was the first European country to sell the Nissan LEAF to private customers. Although constituting a mere sliver of the PSP's 5,000 total vehicle fleet, Superintendent Paul Gomes Valente, National Director of PSP, proudly notes that they are the first pure electric cars to be used in this manner and set a new benchmark for pollution-free driving.
Back here in America -- Nashville, Tennessee, to be exact -- the Embassy Suites South hotel commissioned a firm in Missouri to transform its LEAF into a full-on stretch limo capable of carrying up to eight people including the driver. Like the PSP, the Embassy Suites organization also is a staunch proponent of expanding the role of EVs wherever possible. According to Trevor Goulding, the hotel's director of sales, "the world's first roadworthy, licensed, street-legal electric limousine" will be used as a VIP service vehicle. With the average per trip distance only being about five miles, range anxiety has not been an issue.
Some 400 pounds heavier than a standard LEAF, this up-scaled one-off retains most of the car's basic powertrain elements, although the battery pack has been repositioned in the rear to improve the vehicle's balance. Beyond that, the LEAF's more generously proportioned cabin has been brought up to full luxury spec with the addition of leather upholstery, cedar paneling and the obligatory mirrors.