Want to pimp your ride?
Updated: Feb 11, 2018
If you're thinking about acquiring a Nissan e-NV200 van or a Nissan Leaf, or you already own one of those models, then you might find this post useful. We've put together some of our favourite bits to help you get the most out of your EV van experience.
Let's get into it, shall we?
Note: this blog is in no way sponsored or supported by any of the vendors we've mentioned - we just know they sell the stuff we're talking about :)
Off The Shelf bits
Goodies you can buy - mostly off-the-shelf - to upgrade your Leaf or e-NV200.
The number one ready-to-go bit has to be the LeafSpy OBD2 Reader.
The OBD2 reader is designed for Nissan Leafs and e-NV200 and will allow you to read the condition of your battery pack. You will need an OBDII dongle that plugs into the port below the steering wheel. This Dongle connects via Bluetooth to the APP “Leafspy”. Once connected you have data on your smart phone that details the state of each cell, the condition of the battery and also records the charging history for the vehicle. You can buy these badboys from TradeMe - just search for LeafSpy. Available in Android or iOS versions.
The next off-the-shelf you're going to want is a Battery Charger.
If your EV has been sat unused for a few weeks, then the 12 volt (auxilliary) lead acid battery may go flat, meaning the car won't start even if your EV battery is full. If you've taken your EV off the road for any reason and you're not using it regularly, use this charger for 24 hours every month or so, and not only will your car be ready when you need it, but it will also protect your 12 volt battery. You can find these at JayCar - look for part number MB3619.
Next up: lighting.
Many of the accessory lights in these vans are still inefficient incandescent or halogen bulbs. LED are a much more efficient option and you can easily find replacements for your vehicle from JayCar or LED Stuff in Hamilton. You can also buy indicator lamps from AliExpress. If the lights are too bright, you can simply darken them down by putting black Sharpie stripes over the bulb, like this:
It's a good idea to check and replace wiper blades on cars that were imported from Japan and the UK. The environment they come from means the rubber can break down quite quickly. You can get new wiper blades just about anywhere, but SuperCheap Autos will also fit them for you for a small fee if you don't want to it yourself.
You can clean your windscreen with car wash, glass cleaner or just about any other glass-cleaning product available, but we've found that Auto Glym Car Glass Polish is the best. It actually treats the glass as opposed to just shuffling the dirt around; use it with a microfibre cloth for top results.
Most vehicles should come with a spare key, but if they didn't and you're rolling around with only one, we definitely recommend you get a spare. Pro-tip: don't store the spare in the car, or it won't lock! You can get spare keys through Nissan, and while there are third parties who can supply keys also, we have found Nissan to be the cheapest option in our experience.
In case you ever need a charge from a standard power socket on the go, grab an extension lead and a large, wide-mouth duffel bag from any home depot store - be sure to grab one with an earth leakage detector (ELD). Mitre 10 sell both, so you could start your hunt there.
Most of these models don't come with the behind-the-visor vanity mirror, so if you're missing having something to check yourself out with, you could get a Polycarbonate mirror custom-cut, like the one below. Graley Plastics in Petone will custom-cut you one, but there are likely plenty of other plastic fabricators around the country who will too.
The more fiddly, expensive or time-consuming changes you can apply to your Leaf or e-NV200.
Your choice of tyre will greatly affect the efficiency of your EV. We recommend Bridgestone Ecopias or Michellin Energy Savers as they are quieter and more refficient. Remember, tyre pressure is another factor that has a huge impact on efficiency, so check it often! Pro-tip: If you inflate the tyres to the higher end of their range (do not over-inflate them), you'll get much more efficiency out of the car.
Charge Port Lights
No one wants to fumble with high voltage cables in the dark, so this solution will make charging at night a bit easier. You'll need an auto-electrician and some LEDs for this - grab some LED lights from JayCar (specifically part number ZD0590) and cut off two rows of three to light up your charging ports. These need to be wired in by an auto-electrician as they need a fused power supply from the vehicle via a switch on the charge port door:
Anyone who drives an EV or has had experience in one will know that often people and animals just can't hear you coming. Add a little retro flair with this fix - instead of using your horn (which will scare kittens out of anyone at close range anyway), install a trolley bell! These ones sound like the Melbourne trams and you can grab them from EV West in the USA. If you buy as a group with a few other EV enthusiasts then you can cut down the cost of the freight. An auto electrician will need to wire this in too as it needs fused power supply from the vehicle and an earthed push button (JayCar SP0756) mounted on the dash, going through the firewall. Check it out: