Road to Madrid : Nissan Futures 2019

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A trip to Madrid for the UEFA Champions League final beckoned to us during the 2019 Nissan Futures summit in Hong Kong

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HONG KONG – In a span of three days, Nissan gave journalists from around the world a view of the automotive future in the appropriately-named Nissan Futures summit in Hong Kong.

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In between four-hour (too long) seminars and four-hour (too short) dinners (plus drinks!), the grand prize of a UEFA Champions League Final trip to Madrid was dangled in front of the journalists. The caveat? To return from a 90-minute test-drive in the Nissan Leaf with the highest amount of charge remaining.

(90mins? Click HERE to read about the time we drove the BMW i3 94Ah REx from Singapore to JB for a day of meals & wheels)

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With a quoted range of 270km that we think is great for city-use, the Leaf won’t take you as far as a Tesla (but you also probably won’t go broke after buying the Nissan). With the grand prize in mind, we turned off the air-con and wound down the windows before starting our trip.

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To win my seat at the Wanda Metropolitano, I cruised around in Eco mode with e-Pedal activated. Nissan’s e-Pedal allows for single-pedal driving, where the car gradually comes to a complete stop on its own without the driver needing to step on the brake pedal.

It was useful to me (and my fellow journalist in the same team) in this instance because some of the energy generated from the braking is used to recharge the battery in spurts (and hopefully, bring me closer to Madrid!).

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From 99 per cent energy at the start, we reached the first checkpoint with 91 per cent. It then dawned on me (the noobest of noobs) that maintaining the vehicle at a stable speed helped more with energy-saving than constant braking for that quick recharge – in fact, the range increased significantly when we maintained a speed of between 50-60km/h.

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Down but not out, we corrected our driving style and moved on. Our UK-spec Leaf could punched out 320Nm, while its 8secs 0-100km/h was nothing to scoff at. However, these figures were sparingly tested in the spirit of going to Madrid erm, eco-consciousness.

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All through the economy challenge, the Leaf offered us everything an EV should provide. We enjoyed the plush ride and the e-Pedal really helped in the infamous HK traffic, where lanes seemed to just be a ‘friendly suggestion’. True to EV form, the motor was reactive for quick spurts and the regenerative braking became second nature to employ in city driving – I took to it quickly and managed to drive it with ‘one-pedal’ for the entire journey.

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Seeing Whampoa (yes, we’re still in HK) also signified the near end of this challenge. We finished with 81 per cent left, a number I thought would be good enough to at least make top 3. Alas! No figures were released, but a representative from the Australian contingent took top honours to the tune of the UEFA Champions League anthem. To Nissan’s credit, there were drinks to soften the blow.

Thus ended the sad tale of our Road to Madrid. But we had fun, and I’ll take that any day... maybe just not over a trip to Spain.

STORY Loo Hanwei

Author: TopGear
Top Gear is a British television series about motor vehicles, primarily cars, and is the most widely watched factual television programme in the world.