Nissan's all-new Leaf has been officially unveiled, with the Japanese carmaker presenting a bigger, stronger and more powerful EV.
The covers came off the second-generation model at an event in Tokyo this week, revealing the new-look hatch and its specifications.
The new model is upgraded in every way, with a more powerful electric motor that also produces more torque with a battery pack that offers significantly longer range than the model it replaces. It also features a sleeker look, first previewed by the IDS Concept from the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show.
Nissan claims the new Leaf can travel up to 400km on a single charge - a significant jump from the 170km range in the first generation. That is in large part thanks to a new 40kWh lithium-ion battery, replacing a 24kWh battery in the old model.
Performance has been upgraded as well; the electric motor now produces 110kW of power and 320Nm of torque, another sizable jump from the old model’s 80kW and 280Nm.
Charging times are 16 hours at 3kW, eight hours at 6kW but only 40 minutes to reach 80 percent on a fast charge.
Nissan has also introduced several new technologies on the second-gen Leaf, including autonomous driving functionality.
Dubbed ProPilot, the system is able to keep the car centred in its lane, maintain speed and bring the car to a stop if the traffic ahead slows. However, unlike some other semi-autonomous cars from rival brands, the Leaf will not resume driving from stationary unless the driver touches the accelerator.
The accelerator itself has been re-named the ‘e-pedal’ by Nissan, which claims it has redesigned the way the Leaf needs to be driven. As with most electric cars the Leaf if capable of slowing, and even stopping, without the driver having to touch the brake pedal. Instead drivers only have to lift off the e-pedal and the car will slow due to the regenerative braking.
However, under heaving braking the brake pedal is still required.
“Drivers of the new Leaf will quickly come to love the e-Pedal, as it makes the usual experience of urban driving far smoother and more fluid, and less demanding,” project chief engineer, Hiroki Isobe, explained.
“Our testing has showed that drivers quickly find the e-Pedal intuitive and even enjoyable. It promotes anticipation on the road, which in turn has a positive effect on driving pleasure.”
Also featured on the Leaf is ProPilot Park, a fully autonomous parking system.
ProPilot is part of a wider safety suite that also includes autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, rear cross traffic alert and an emergency assistance if you hit the wrong pedal.
Dimensionally, the new Leaf is slightly longer overall than the model it replaces, measuring 4480mm compared to 4445mm.
The new look incorporates Nissan’s V-Motion grille and ‘Boomerang’ front light signature, which gives the car a familiar look to the rest of the brand’s range. Overall the Leaf is sleeker and sportier the second time around, with a spoiler integrated into the rear hatch and a diffuser-style rear bumper for improved aerodynamics.
The second generation Leaf is due to go on sale in Japan in October but isn’t expected to reach Australian showrooms until late in 2018.
Nissan Australia has given no indication of pricing for the next Leaf. The original model started at more than $50,000 but was reduced to $39,990 by the end of its life.
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