Published: Thu, September 07, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Raising the bar for electric vehicles — New Nissan Leaf

Raising the bar for electric vehicles — New Nissan Leaf

The automaker introduced its second-generation Nissan Leaf electric vehicle with a range of 150 miles - a 40 percent increase from its predecessor but still a far cry from competing EVs.

The zero-emissions vehicle - which Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co. unveiled in the US late Tuesday and in a Tokyo suburb Wednesday - promises a travel range of about 400 kilometres in Japanese driving conditions or 150 miles in the USA, before needing another charge. The range also depends on what other features are being used such as the car's heater.

The Tesla Model 3 can run at least 220 miles on a single charge and starts at $35,000 (£26,850), while General Motor's Chevy Bolt - with a range of 238 miles - starts at about $38,000 (£29,150), according to the companies.

Nissan, the maker of the Leaf electric vehicle, is aiming to more than double annual deliveries after the revamped model hits showrooms starting next month. That's $690 less than the 2017 Leaf MSRP and well below the price of the Model 3. In Japan, the vehicle starts at a price of 3.15 million yen ($29,000), according to a statement Wednesday. "We believe the new LEAF will be another game changer for Nissan in the USA, just as the redesigned Rogue has been in the past year and a half, hitting the "sweet spot" in the growing EV segment", said Muñoz. This feature allows you to drive the Leaf by just using the accelerator.

Chris Lilly, content manager for the Next Green Car news site, said while the new model is not "groundbreaking" it should be more appealing to drivers. The driver hardly ever needs to use the brake pedal in most normal driving situations. Its comparatively low price and wealth of driver aids add to its value proposition, especially when you consider that even in its top-trim SL form, the Leaf costs about the same as the Bolt and Model 3 in their base configurations. I think that's what we're doing at the moment with Leaf.

2018 Nissan Leaf RangeWhat you need to know about the 2018 Nissan Leaf range. And while that range is important in the US, he noted it is not as significant in other markets.

You can reserve the 2018 Leaf and you will lock in a free gift of a Google Home with a Nest thermostat, Apple Watch or Go Pro with purchase or lease of the 2018 Nissan Leaf.

The new Nissan LEAF also boasts three main new intelligent driving technologies.

The declining demand for Leaf electric cars had a serious knock-on effect on the second hand electric auto market.

"There really is no outstanding attractive quality about an electric vehicle", he said, noting drawbacks such as finding charging stations. That Leaf is expected to have a 60 kWh battery, same as the Bolt's, which should be enough for a range of well over 200 miles. Nissan plans to offer a higher-powered version for the 2019 model year that will also provide longer driving range.

In the USA, most drivers travel less than 50 miles on a typical day. The company had been phasing in the vehicle starting on the West Coast.

Nissan may have more electric vehicles on the way.

Nissan chief planning officer Philippe Klein said at a briefing on Wednesday that electric vehicles won't be a "profit handicap" for the company in the future. The model will be introduced next year, Nissan said in the statement. Automakers will also have to change to meet new kinds of competition, forming partnerships and acquiring software and connectivity capabilities, not just sticking with traditional engineering.

While the company repeated several times at the launch that it sees the vehicle as more than "just an EV", claiming it is capable of competing with mainstream rivals around the world, Australian and Asia-Pacific officials recognise it will still be a tough sell in Australia. Tony Seba, an expert on technological evolutions, who teaches at Stanford University, says the gas engine vehicles may go the way of film cameras before the advent of digital photography and old-style phones before the arrival of smartphones.

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