The original Nissan Leaf was the company’s first mass-market electric vehicle. At its launch in 2010 it was the first such car on the market, and was well-received across the globe. A 107-mile range, unique design, and affordable price tag meant that it was a popular choice of EV for the everyday driver. However, competition from manufacturers such as Chevy, Opel, and Tesla has meant that the Leaf needs a new edge. In 2018, we’ll see the Leaf 2.0 take to the roads.
Nissan announced the second-generation Leaf just ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, with a host of changes from the original model. Aesthetically, it looks much more in-line with the rest of the Nissan range, both inside and out. It also features an improved battery, range, and more horsepower. In terms of technology, a touchscreen console, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto availability, ProPilot Assist, and e-Pedal technology have all be added to the new model. All this, it should be noted, without an increase in the price of the base model.
The difference in design between the two models is noticeable at a glance. Gone are the rounded curves of the original Leaf, being replaced with a more streamlined-looking design that fits the Nissan convention. The headlamps at the front and back are more angular on the new model, while a sporty bumper and bigger grill replace the bubble-like features of its predecessor. Overall it has a sportier look to it. However, it does lack some of the soft charm of the first-generation model.
Inside the cabin the changes are equally as drastic, giving the Leaf a much more modern feel. A seven-inch touchscreen display is at the center of the main console, with a variety of buttons and knobs on either side. The overall look is cleaner and less cluttered than before, with a more luxury feel to it.
Two of the most notable new features in terms of driving are the ProPilot Assist and e-Pedal technology. Starting with the former, it’s a system that assists the driver in single-lane driving. The user can set the speed of the car and the ProPilot system takes over the steering, braking and stopping of the vehicle according to surrounding traffic. It can also take care of the ever-tricky parallel park. It’s a system that Nissan says takes a step towards fully autonomous driving. e-Pedal technology allows the driver to control the acceleration, deceleration of the car using just one pedal.
Although the new Nissan Leaf model uses the same EM57 electronic motor as the first-generation model, the capacity, range and horsepower have all been increased. The outgoing model had a capacity of 30kWh which is upgraded to 40kWh in the 2018 version. A range of 107 miles is increased to 150 miles, and a horsepower of 107hp steps up to 147hp. Although the increased mileage is a definite plus, rival companies are producing EVs with a further range than the Leaf. However, Nissan has promised to deliver an even greater range on models starting in 2019.
There are two main competitors that have been vying with Nissan for position in the market. These are the Chevrolet Bolt and the Telsa Model 3. Although both are relatively new and pricier than the Leaf, their range and performance is certainly an attractive prospect. These alternatives will certainly be tempting to new EV customers.
Overall, the new Nissan Leaf brings some exciting innovations to the market. The company has built on the success of their first-generation model and added some great new features. Nissan will hope to remain at the forefront of affordable electric vehicles going forward. The second generation Leaf has already launched in Japan to brisk sales, and arrives in North America and Europe in early 2018.