After a world-wide success with the first Leaf model, Nissan launched a second-generation Leaf electric car, that is already available for sale in the UK. The first Leaf model was released in 2010, at a time when the EVs market was at the early stages. Since then, Nissan Leaf evolved into the world’s best-selling electric car, but is currently threatened by the upcoming supply of new EVs by most global car makers. Hence, the new Leaf model was unveiled at a time when the EVs market is becoming increasingly more competitive, allowing Nissan to maintain a leadership position in the transition to sustainable mobility.
New design and features developed with Intelligent Mobility
The new Nissan Leaf will be available for purchase in February, selling at a fairly affordable price range from £21,990 to £27,490. This price will include a £4,500 grant to electric car buyers, provided by the government. A special “very well equipped” launch edition, called Leaf 2.Zero, will cost £26,490. The promotional model will contain features like a digital dashboard, 17-inch wheels, front and rear heated seats, a seven-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as an autonomous ProPilot system.
Nissan reinvented its design in an attempt to attract more customer. The bodywork of the car has angular crease lines instead of curved lines, and a sharper, trademark V-motion grille, inspired from the new Micra model. It also has boomerang lights and a kicked-up rear shoulder line. The interior of the new model contains the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav. It is wider and has more space from the lengthened wheelbase.
The second-generation Leaf was developed with Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility programme, based on three pillars, namely, Intelligent Driving, Intelligent Power and Intelligent Integration.
Intelligent Driving refers to Nissan’s switchable braking system, called e-Pedal. The system is the biggest innovation, enabling increases in the regenerative braking when the accelerator is lifted off to 0.2g, or around four times more than regular engine braking in a petrol or diesel car. This means that drivers can rely on 90% driving by just using the accelerator.
The Intelligent Driving pillar includes the autonomous ProPilot system, which is a standard feature for the cars sold in Europe. The ProPilot system controls the car’s steering, braking and engine to assist drivers. It is suitable for motorways, where it can take over the command in queuing traffic. An additional feature, called ProPilot Park, enables the car to manoeuvre itself into any parking space using combinations of 12 sonar sensors and four cameras.
The second pillar, Intelligent Power, relates to the battery pack and electric motor. The new Leaf will be sold with two battery packs. The standard version has a new 40kWh lithium-ion battery, upgraded from the current 30kWh. The electric motor, positioned in the front end, can produce 110kW, or 148bhp, exceeding the first model’s performance by 40bhp.
In addition to the power increase, Leaf has an upgraded battery range from 155 to 235 miles on a single charge. The battery charging time will remain the same as in the current model. 40 minutes will still be required to charge 80% of the capacity, while six hours with a standard 6kW wall charger will be needed for a full charge.
The new model will have a twice-as-fast power management processor, implying sharper responses to acceleration. The more powerful motor and direct cooling of the inverter will make the new Leaf 30% faster than the first model, going from 37 to 62 mph maximum speed.
The last pillar, Intelligent Integration tackles the car’s connectivity. For example, the new Leaf includes vehicle-to-home facilities that help distribute electricity back to the grid when needed, as well as connectivity applications within the vehicle.
Nissan plans to manufacture another model with higher-capacity battery and a more powerful motor, 12 to 18 months after the launch of the new Leaf. Additional details regarding the excess performance capabilities will be revealed upon release.