Nissan Leaf 2018 preview
Say hello to the second-generation Nissan Leaf electric car. It replaces the bug-eyed original that has been around since about 2011. That car’s divisive appearance hasn’t done it any harm, however, as it’s the best-selling electric car of all time. Naturally, part of that is down to the lack of rivalry in the sector and as that is all about to change in a big way, Nissan has given its new Leaf a far more attractive design and plenty more besides, including more power, a longer range and some new technology.
What will its rivals be?
At the time of writing, there are still only a few pure electric cars on sale in Ireland that are similarly priced to the Leaf, but expect lots more in the coming years. The closest in size is the Volkswagen e-Golf, which underwent a major update earlier this year and is a lovely car. Then there’s the Renault Zoe, which is smaller, but cheaper to buy, too. Sitting above the Leaf is the highly impressive BMW i3. Think of all this in a different way though, and you’ll realise that the Leaf’s main rivals are conventional C-segment hatchbacks using internal combustion engines, as the clear majority of new car buyers are still not convinced they are ready for electric car ownership.
Any tech info?
The new Leaf is brimming with tech. First up, the battery pack and motor have been changed, so now the official combined cycle range between charges is 378 kilometres – as opposed to 250 kilometres for the last of the first-generation cars. Naturally, that may not be achievable under real-world conditions, but it’s still a worthwhile improvement. Power and torque are up considerably, too. Helping drivers marshal all of that in an efficient manner is the new ‘e-Pedal’. This is the accelerator pedal, basically, and it can be used for some 90 per cent of the time without touching the brake pedal as it directly controls the braking system when you back off.
What will the range be like?
As before, the Leaf will be offered in a single, five-door hatchback body style. It will be fully automatic in terms of the transmission and the maximum outputs are quoted as 150hp and 320Nm of torque. A full charge takes up to 16 hours, or as little as 8 hours depending on the source, while quick-charging to 80 per cent capacity takes just 40 minutes. Nissan Ireland is expected to offer a few specifications and there will be an even more powerful model down the line with a longer range between charges.
One option worth noting is called ProPilot, Nissan’s first foray into autonomous driving technology. It can take over parking, as well as offering an advanced active cruise control function.
We already like the looks of the second Nissan Leaf, so that’s a big start. The added performance and range are very welcome too. If the price can be kept down, then there’s no reason why the Leaf can’t continue to be the best-selling electric car there is.