Christmas in April - 2011 Nissan Leaf Long-Term Road Test
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2011 Nissan Leaf Long-Term Road Test

2011 Nissan Leaf: Christmas in April

April 19, 2011

LeafTree.jpg

Our Honda Insight gave us flowers. The Fusion Hybrid grows a patch of leaves. The Nissan Leaf? Trees. I like these visual incentives. It makes driving like an octogenarian tolerable. I attained the first tree pretty easily; within the first seven miles of my drive home. By the time I hit 10 miles, I had a tree-and-a-half. According to the owner's manual (which appears to be printed on recycled paper), the display maxes out at three mini trees and one big one. I'm on a mission to someday get all four.

Now I'm wondering how much fun we can make these incentives...

Maybe we can start with a cartoon of a regular guy. As you drive more eco-friendly, he begins to transform into a hippie -- his beard gets longer, his clothes goes tie-dye. Keep going, and maybe his old lady appears and at the final level, they start freeform dancing.

Or maybe we go with a middle-eastern despot. The more eco points you earn, the angrier he gets; ending with cartoon steam jetting from his ears.

We can also think up some visuals for when you're not driving economically. I always thought that the Ford Fusion Hybrid's leaves should burst into flames and rain down in ashes when you lose one. Maybe our hippies start giving you the stink eye like you just harshed their buzz, and our oil despot begins to smile demonically, greedily rubbing his hands together?

Ok, maybe the trees are a good idea after all.

What would you like to see as an eco-indicator?

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor


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