Nissan amped by electric future
Nissan has unveiled its second generation electric hatch in Sydney today, while also revealing the brand’s plans for the future.
One third of the Japanese car maker's Australian portfolio will feature some form of electric assistance by the year 2022, according to Nissan’s mid-term plan.
Pricing is still unconfirmed for the Leaf, but when the city-hatch arrives mid next year it will be offered in just one "high-grade" specification at an expected cost of around $50,000.
Stephen Lester, Managing Director for Nissan Australia says the brand is confident consumers will be willing to pay a premium price for a zero emissions vehicle.
“When the product is as exceptional as it is, and when it meets the needs of consumers, I think you will find a very healthy customer base,” says Lester.
The second-generation Leaf will be available in 89 Nissan showrooms across Australia - up from 12 specialists for the original - and will be powered by a 40kWh battery that delivers 110kW of power and 320Nm of torque through an electric motor that drives the front wheels.
It will be the first Nissan product fitted with Apple Carplay and come standard with a 360-degree camera and a full suite of active safety functions such as active cruise control, lane keeping assistance, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection and rear cross traffic alert.
The Leaf will be the first in an expanded range of electrified models, with Nissan's MOVE 2022 mid-term plan confirmed to introduce two more fully-electric vehicles and five e-Power hybrid vehicles in the next five years.
While Lester was reluctant to confirm any details about the future product plans, it is expected the next-generation Qashqai due in 2020 will be a key part of Nissan's electrified plan. The new machine is understood to have been previewed by the iMX concept at last year's Toyko motor show and will be offered with Nissan's unique e-Power series hybrid powertrain that uses a small 1.2-litre petrol engine only as a generator to recharge the batteries, which in turn delivers power to the same electric motor from the Leaf to drive the front wheels.
The e-Power system is already available in the Note small hatchback in Japan, where it has proven popular.
Other than the new-gen Qashqai, Nissan is expected to offer e-Power versions of the Micra small hatch that will be making a comeback to Australian showrooms next year and the X-Trail medium SUV.
Lester also says the brand is evaluating electric light commercial vehicles like the overseas Nissan e-NV200 for the Aussie market.