The Nissan LEAF e+ has scored the maximum five-star rating in the Green NCAP. NCAP stands for New Car Assessment Programme and most of us know it as a crash test, where they see how much a dummy will survive various kinds of impact. So how does that square with the Green NCAP? Does it measure what happens if you drive into a tree?
No, the Green NCAP measures how environmentally friendly a car is. It uses both laboratory and real-world driving tests to determine a car’s green credentials, measuring fuel and/or energy efficiency and emissions.
The star rating indicates the average performance of the car across three main areas of assessment – the Clean Air Index, Energy Efficiency Index and Greenhouse Gas Index. The LEAF e+ achieved a perfect score in the first two categories and 9.9/10 for the third, with Green NCAP noting its innovative e-Pedal’s regenerative technology. The e-Pedal is the LEAF’s only pedal and is used to accelerate, decelerate and stop the car.
The LEAF’s 52kWh powertrain gives up to 385km range in a standard test, while the e-Pedal can be adjusted to maximise regenerative braking, optimise power output and conserve energy. This allows the driver to tailor the car’s performance to the needs of a specific journey.
The Green NCAP Test
Green NCAP does not use a manufacturer’s claimed figures, and it does not even get the test vehicle from the manufacturer, just to make sure the test car has not been tampered with. Both lab and road tests are designed to produce accurate real-world results.
The laboratory tests are based on the World-harmonised Light-vehicles Test Cycle (WLTC). The car is mounted on a chassis dynamometer (rolling road) and ‘driven’ through a predetermined set of changing resistances, with each representing a real-world scenario, such as urban driving. To the WLTC, NCAP adds further measures, such as the ambient temperature at which the car is being tested.
In addition to the lab tests, Green NCAP also takes the car on a real driving test. This drive is split into three parts: urban, rural and motorway driving. It is driving at different stages of engine temperature, such as cold start and normal operating temperature. It is also driven in different styles, from maximum efficiency to heavy acceleration and braking.
Green NCAP measures all vehicles, from ICE to hybrids and plug-in electrics. Five-stars is the highest rating and indicate an excellent performance, showing very low fuel or energy consumption and at the same time emitting low pollutants and greenhouse gases, and top emission abatement and fuel-saving technology.
References: Group 1 Auto (www.group1nissan.co.za)