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The (Nearly) 1.0-g Nissan Leaf: Getting an EV to Grip Like a 911 - Feature - Car and Driver


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Nissan’s Leaf is first in nobody’s mind when it comes to any type of  traditionally defined perform­ance. But the positioning of  its heavy battery pack beneath the floor gives it a low center of gravity, a potential handling advantage. In the interest of science, we set out to measure how much roadholding (skidpad grip) we could extract from the Leaf by changing nothing but tires and wheels. … A barely disguised racing slick, the R1 sneaks by the DOT by virtue of two shallow grooves in its tread. It’s technically legal but not a tire we’d use on the street. The R1 is a hothouse flower: It demands quite a bit of heat to generate maximum hold, has no interest in gripping a wet surface, and isn’t even supposed to be stored below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. But a warm set of R1s transforms the Leaf into a corner-devouring track weapon at 0.96 g. In a last-ditch lunge for the 1.0-g mark, we took the doors off the car, further lowering its center of gravity. We almost fell out, but the weight loss helped us hit 0.97 g.

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