Is the Nissan LEAF safe enough?
Our editor, Armen Hareyan, is a member of a popular Nissan LEAF group on Facebook. Recently, prompted by an article by John Goreham on the Tesla Model S, he asked LEAF owners in that group what they thought should be added to the car for safety (read it here). The answers were interesting, but when coupled with safety ratings from the two major safety testing agencies in the U.S., it became apparent that the LEAF could use some improvement.
First, let's look at forum responses. Accident prevention technologies were the first things offered as something that might be needed - adaptive braking, adaptive cruise, lane departure, etc. As another user pointed out, however, those technologies have little proof of being helpful in preventing accidents in the real world.
One suggestion that caught my eye was that the LEAF should have a "charging handle eject" from inside the car. At first glance, this just appears to be laziness. Why would I want that? Just get out and unplug! Then it occurred to me.. charging stations aren't always in the best spots in town, in terms of safety, and the forum in question was for Seattle, Washington-area owners - a place known for inclement weather at all times of the year. So being able to charge up without getting into or out of the car more than once (to plug in) would quickly become a boon and would, in fact, save energy as it would mean not losing cabin heat when opening the door to unplug. That's actually a good idea.