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Nissan Leaf becomes rolling lit-up Xmas tree powered by regen braking

Nissan announced Monday that it outfitted a Leaf electric vehicle with thousands of LED holiday lights. The cool thing is that all those lights are powered by the EV’s regenerative braking. Sure, it’s a stunt – but it illustrates a good point about an EV’s ability to reclaim energy on the road. And it’s done in the spirit of the holidays.

The lighting of the Leaf’s decorations, from the snowflakes on the wheels to the reindeer on the roof, is powered by the Leaf’s e-Pedal system and B mode functions. The Nissan Leaf arguably has the most aggressive and effective regen braking system among EVs (settle down Bolt owners, you win). In this case, it’s used to turn the EV into a rolling, illuminated Xmas tree.

Nissan said the demonstration is only made possible by “energy generation through owning an electric vehicle.”

According to the company, 11,000 miles of driving will generate 744 kilowatt-hours of energy. That’s good, clean energy that is totally lost by internal-combustion vehicles.

Those 744 kWh, according to Nissan, can light 266 Christmas trees with 799 incandescent lights for an hour, power 297 ovens for an hour to cook holiday dinners, or power 744 televisions for five hours of holiday movie viewing.

Nissan describes its e-Pedal solution like this:

With the flip of a switch, the technology turns your accelerator into an e-Pedal, allowing drivers to accelerate, decelerate, and stop using just the e-Pedal. e-Pedal technology is the world’s first one-pedal operation that allows drivers to bring the car to a complete stop even on hills, stay in position, and resume driving instantly.

Compared to other EVs, I find the e-Pedal to be the most aggressive, almost too restrictive and sticky in stop-and-go traffic. But I like how it removes vehicle creep. And I thoroughly enjoyed the one-pedal driving feel on sweeping country roads ­– where the Leaf’s 0.2g of deceleration slowly brings you to a stop, maximizing the regen.

Helen Perry, head of electric vehicles for Nissan Europe, said:

Santa shouldn’t be the only one with a festive mode of transport. We wanted to make the Nissan Leaf more fun at this time of year whilst driving home a very important message.

EV drivers taking a holiday drive to Grandma’s house will never be the same.

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Avatar for Bradley Berman Bradley Berman

Bradley writes about electric cars, autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and other tech that’s transforming society. He contributes to The New York Times, SAE International, Via magazine, Popular Mechanics, MIT Technology Review, and others.