Nissan’s Leaf could be the world’s best-selling electrical car. However the automaker is pitching the second technology as all that and far more.
The redesigned Leaf begins by boosting the vary some 40 p.c to 150 miles to ease worries about being stranded with a depleted battery. That is sufficient to remove vary anxiousness in markets reminiscent of Japan and Europe, CEO Hiroto Saikawa mentioned on the automotive’s Tokyo unveiling.
A performance-oriented Leaf with a extra highly effective motor and better battery capability will arrive within the fiscal yr beginning in April 2018. That can have sufficient juice to make vary anxiousness a reminiscence in North America as effectively, Saikawa mentioned. A premium version may even comply with.
On the surface, the brand new Leaf additionally dumps the previous bulbous profile for a sleeker, extra standard hatchback design tweaked to attraction to the plenty.
However the up to date EV additionally masses up automated driving options and connected-car capabilities. Below the banner of Clever Mobility, Nissan is making an attempt to eclipse the electrical car phase with new applied sciences as rivals pile into the market with rival choices.
“To name the brand new Nissan Leaf simply an EV doesn’t inform the total story of the ingenuity behind the car nor does it signify its large potential,” mentioned Daniele Schillaci, government vp for zero emissions in addition to world advertising and marketing and gross sales.
Gallery: 2018 Nissan Leaf inside pictures
The Japan-market model was unveiled at a carnival-like, laser-lit occasion outdoors Tokyo. It guarantees peppier decide up. It upgrades to a 40 kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery, from a 30 kilowatt-hour one. Most motor output climbs to 110 kilowatts, from 80 kilowatts, and prime torque will increase 26 p.c. Subsequent yr’s efficiency version will get a 60 kilowatt-hour battery.
Saikawa mentioned the 60-kwh model will ship a spread of greater than 300 miles, sufficient for almost each driving want in america. However he didn’t specify a testing cycle. Japanese testing cycles, for instance, are extra lenient and permit for longer EV ranges.
A Nissan official later mentioned the larger battery wouldn’t attain 300 miles below the EPA testing however that it may ship that sort of prolonged vary in real-life driving.
The Leaf additionally will get an up to date version of Nissan’s ProPilot autonomous driving system in addition to a brand new e-Pedal know-how that turns the gasoline pedal right into a mixed accelerator-brake.
Nissan says tools and applied sciences on the Leaf will fluctuate by market.
The brand new automotive is slightly longer and wider than the its predecessor, whereas maintaining the identical wheelbase. It is usually barely decrease to help aerodynamics and lend a svelter silhouette.
International gross sales of the brand new Leaf needs to be at the very least double that of the outgoing mannequin, and perhaps triple, Saikawa mentioned. Nissan bought 47,000 Leafs worldwide final yr, implying gross sales of at the very least 94,000 models and probably as excessive as almost 150,000. “The minimal, minimal line that I mentioned is double the gross sales and it may very well be triple,” he mentioned.
The EV panorama is vastly completely different from December 2010, when Nissan pioneered new floor by introducing the first-generation Leaf. Again then, it was thought-about gutsy to easily attempt seling an EV, with their pricey batteries and restricted vary. However Nissan went all in, with plans to construct meeting strains for the brand new automotive on three continents and its personal battery factories as well.
Carlos Ghosn, then CEO of each Nissan and its French associate Renault, predicted the alliance would promote some 1.5 million EVs by 2016. It didn’t fairly work out that manner.
By means of July, the alliance’s cumulative EVs gross sales reached 481,000 automobiles worldwide. The Leaf alone accounted for 281,000, nonetheless off mark however sufficient to make it the world’s top-selling EV.
Within the meantime, nonetheless, loads of different carmakers grew to become satisfied of the potential of EVs. And in the present day, rivals have entered the mass-market EV enviornment from almost each nook.
Telsa has moved down market with its Mannequin three. Common Motors has launched its Chevrolet Bolt EV. Hyundai joined the fray with an all-electric model of its Ioniq eco automotive. And Volkswagen, Honda, Ford and Toyota are among the many many others engaged on their very own electrical automobiles.
“Nissan takes pleasure in being an EV pioneer,” Saikawa mentioned. “The whole world is shifting towards an period of EVs.”
Saikawa, who took the helm from Ghosn in April, says reasserting Nissan’s lead in electrical automobiles is a prime precedence. Regardless of large capability funding within the U.S., Europe and Asia, Nissan continues to be coasting on the only Leaf hatchback launched in 2010.
In an interview with Automotive Information earlier this yr, Saikawa mentioned Nissan wanted to increase its lineup of electrical automobiles past the Leaf and provide new applied sciences to distinguish them.
The brand new Leaf goals to kick it up a notch by providing extra than simply battery-powered driving. That is the place Clever Mobility enters with its promise of automated driving and connectivity.
For starters, the following Leaf will get an up to date model of Nissan’s ProPilot autonomous driving system. It permits the Leaf to drive itself in stop-and-go site visitors and in single-lane freeway journeys, even round curves. However Nissan is including a brand new push-button self-parking perform.
Nissan says ProPilot Park will enable the Leaf to self-park in parallel, angled, front-in and straight back-in spots by robotically taking up the accelerator, braking and steering.
One other new gizmo is Nissan’s so-called e-Pedal. It turns the accelerator right into a brake-cum-gas pedal, permitting one-pedal driving. Push down, it speeds the automotive forward. Raise off the gasoline, and the automotive will sluggish to an entire cease even on hills. Nissan says it may cowl 90 p.c of a driver’s wants, relieving drivers of the stress of shifting backwards and forwards from the brake and accelerator.
The know-how makes use of motor braking and customary friction braking to sluggish the automotive. It’s an improve of an identical system use within the Nissan Word e-Energy, a hybrid car bought in Japan.
On the connectivity entrance, the brand new Leaf will function extra superior vehicle-to-infrastructure applied sciences that allow the automotive to hook up with the ability grid.
The subsequent Leaf achieves a full-charge driving vary of 150 miles EPA for the U.S., up from the outgoing Leaf’s 107 miles. In Japan, the vary of the second technology is rated 400 kilometers (249 miles), up from 280 kilometers (174 miles) below Japan’s testing regime.
Nissan goals to gas gross sales by maintaining the brand new Leaf competitively priced.
The steered beginning costs is $29,990 within the U.S. earlier than subsidies and incentives, slightly below the outgoing entry level of $30,680. In Japan, the Leaf begins at three.15 million yen ($28,725), barely increased than the primary technology’s base of two.eight million yen ($25,500).
However the Leaf faces a crowding area of rivals.
The Tesla Mannequin three begins at $35,000 and delivers a spread of 220 miles. It does zero to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and tops out at 130 mph. The primary wave of Mannequin 3s function a long-range battery, which provides $9,000 to the bottom worth for 310 miles of vary.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV base worth is $36,620. It will get 238 miles on a full cost, makes zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and has a prime velocity of 93 mph.
Each automobiles provide automated driving capabilities reminiscent of lane-keep help and superior cruise management. However they’re optioned as expensive upgrades. Mannequin three consumers should plunk down a further $5,000 for an enhanced Autopilot system. And to get full self-driving functionality, Tesla house owners should pony up a further $three,000. For the Bolt EV, drivers should shell out $four,000 further.
Nonetheless, promoting any EV is an uphill problem within the present local weather, when low-cost gasoline costs deflate curiosity in inexperienced automobiles and bulked-up crossovers and SUVs are all the craze.
The Bolt EV, which hit vendor heaps earlier this yr, is outselling the Leaf within the U.S., however not by a lot. Bolt EV gross sales totaled 11,670 models by means of August within the U.S.
Leaf gross sales had been up 22 p.c within the U.S. by means of the primary eight months.
However that was with the assistance of incentives averaging $16,246 per car, in response to trade figures from Autodata Corp. Even then, total Leaf quantity rose to a modest 9,685 models.
“New Nissan Leaf pitched as high-tech showcase with 150-mile vary” was initially printed at Automotive Information on 9/6/17.