Welcome, everyone, to the new Nissan Leaf, the second version of the world’s best-selling fully electric car.
With the new Leaf, Nissan promises more power, more tech, and a better range between charges. But what you’ll obviously notice from the off is that it’s much sleeker looking. Gone are the bubbly, cute, rounded lines, and in comes a more angular, purposeful design language.
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Certainly, Nissan had to make big improvements to the outgoing Leaf in order to stave off the upcoming Model 3 from Tesla. While the Leaf is less expensive (Japanese prices start at JPY 3,150,360, or AED 106,000) than the Model 3’s target price of around AED 130,000, you’re certainly going to consider both if you’re looking to buy a small electric car.
If you do compare the two, you’ll note that the Nissan won’t win any performance shoot-outs (fast electric cars are Tesla’s thing, after all). Still, power has increased to 147 bhp and 320 Nm of torque – not bad for a family hatchback. That power comes courtesy of a bigger and more efficient battery pack, which also increases the car’s range. Nissan now promises 400 kilometres on a single charge.
That said, Nissan hasn’t completely eliminated one of the major problems associated with electric cars – charging time. A full charge will take hours, though Nissan promises that you can quick-charge to 80% in 40 minutes.
In terms of tech, the new Leaf is certainly edging the boundaries of autonomous driving. There’s ProPilot, a lane-assist and adaptive cruise control feature, and ProPilot Park, which will see the car park itself once it’s identified a parking spot. You’ll still have to be in the car, but the steering, braking and acceleration will be taken care of you.
Elsewhere, there’s what Nissan calls the e-Pedal, which lets drivers start, accelerate, decelerate and stop based on the amount of pressure you’re placing on the right pedal. When the accelerator is fully released, regenerative and friction brakes are applied automatically. According to Nissan, you’ll be able to do 90% of your driving without touching the brake pedal.
The new Leaf will go on sale in Japan next month, while other markets will start to see deliveries from January 2018.