The PR newswire says the new battery-electric Nissan Leaf is coming to New Zealand, one of seven Asia-Oceania markets to get the zero-emissions hatchback.
What it doesn’t say is that the second-generation Leaf has upwards of twice the range of the current model and comes complete with technological firsts.
There’s no mention also of two variants: the introductory model will have a range of 380km, and a later model will be good for 500km-plus. That’s a range roughly 220km and 340km further than today’s Leaf.
No mention either of the Leaf being the first Nissan to feature intelligent driving technology ProPilot. It controls the car’s steering, braking, and engine to make the driver’s job easier, especially in traffic queues. It can also park the car using 12 sonar sensors and four cameras.
Nissan regional vice-president Yutaka Sanada told the Nissan Futures conference in Singapore that the company wants to bring the Leaf to as many markets as possible.
“The new Leaf is the most advanced, yet accessible 100 per cent electric vehicle on the planet,” Sanada said. It will “make you fell more confident, more excited, more connected than any other mainstream electric vehicle.”
The new Leaf has been developed under Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility programme, which has three pillars: Intelligent Driving, Intelligent Power, and Intelligent Integration.
Intelligent Driving is the biggest advance for the Leaf and comes in the form of Nissan’s e-Pedal. It increases the regenerative braking to 0.2g when you lift off the accelerator.
That’s around four times more than regular engine braking in a petrol or diesel car. Nissan claims you can deal with 90 per cent of driving using just the accelerator.
Intelligent Power covers the car’s battery pack and electric motor. Like the current model, the new Leaf will be offered with a choice of two battery packs.
The standard version uses a new 40kWh lithium-ion battery, up from the 30kWh in the outgoing model. The front-mounted motor produces 110kW up from the outgoing car’s 80kW. Torque is said to be 320Nm.
The battery pack is the same physical size as the unit in the original Leaf but is denser for a greater range. The recharging time remains the same, at around 40 minutes for an 80 per cent fast charge, or roughly eight hours for a full top-up from a normal household three-point plug.
There will be a higher-capacity battery available in a more powerful variant, perhaps later in 2019 or early 2020. The physically larger battery will be teamed with a more powerful electric motor, although Nissan has yet to details.
New Leaf gets a new power-management processor, twice as fast as that in the old one, meaning more urgent acceleration. Add in the more powerful motor and the direct cooling for the inverter, and it means the new Leaf is a full 30 per cent faster from 50km/h to 100km/h.
Nissan’s Intelligent Integration deals with the connected aspects of the car, even distributing electricity back to the grid using a new vehicle-to-home facilitity. But the bigger benefit to most owners will be the connectivity inside.
To improve efficiency, the body has been redesigned with a flat floor, sharper nose and more aggressively tapered rear. The new form has a drag coefficient of 0.27, making it quieter on the move.
Nissan’s trademark V-motion grille, boomerang lights and kicked-up rear shoulder line mean it also looks more conventional, to appeal to more buyers.
- Nissan has sold more than 300,000 Leafs worldwide since the model first went on sale in 2010.