European debut for new Nissan Leaf

  • 150hp, 320Nm and claimed 235-mile driving range
  • Clever e-Pedal and other driving assistance
  • 2.Zero launch edition on sale now
  • 150hp, 320Nm and claimed 235-mile driving range
  • Clever e-Pedal and other driving assistance
  • 2.Zero launch edition on sale now

This is the second-generation Nissan Leaf electric car – which combines more conservative styling with vastly increased driving range, greater performance and a healthy dollop of advanced driving assistance technology.

The new Nissan Leaf is on sale now, ahead of first deliveries in early 2018 – but as yet the only pricing available is for the limited Leaf 2.Zero launch edition, which costs from £26,490, including the government plug-in vehicle grant.

What’s the driving range of the 2018 Nissan Leaf?

The 2018 Nissan Leaf has an official driving range of 235 miles – a substantial increase over the 155-mile best of the previous version.

This has largely been achieved by the adoption of a 40kWh – that’s kilowatt hour – battery pack, which offers greater electricity storage than the 24kWh and 30kWh options available in the current car.

As with all official fuel economy and driving range figures, you should not expect to match them in real-world driving. But in electric car terms, the new Leaf is basically as good as you can get without spending three times the money on a Tesla.

How long does it take to charge the 2018 Nissan Leaf?

This depends on what you’re able to plug it into.

These are the official charging times:

  • 3kW domestic supply: 16.5 hours
  • 6kW Wallbox: 8 hours
  • 7.5kW Wallbox: 5.5 hours
  • 80% Quick Charge (50kW): 40 minutes

As usual with electric cars, the quick charging process is limited to 80% of maximum capacity in order to avoid over-stressing the batteries – quick charging generates a lot of heat.

Does the 2018 Nissan Leaf go faster?

It certainly will do, yes. We haven’t been given any official performance figures yet, but the new 110kW electric motor in the 2018 Leaf is equivalent to a 150hp conventional engine and also produces 320Nm of instant torque.

That’s up from the 80kW/109hp and 254Nm of the current model – so quite a boost.

What are the advanced driving features?

The 2018 Leaf adopts a number of new driving technologies

ProPilot is Nissan’s collected name for driving assistance tech including lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control. Working together, these can essentially drive the car for you in very particular circumstances – such as low speed traffic jam situations.

There are plenty of other cars that already have similar systems.

More intriguing is the Nissan Leaf’s e-Pedal system. This takes so-called ‘one-pedal driving’ a stage further.

What is the Nissan Leaf e-Pedal?

Many electric cars already allow you to drive using only the accelerator if you’re careful – the braking effect of the electric motor whenever you lift off being enough to slow the car during most regular driving.

The e-Pedal takes this further by also activating the conventional brakes when you release the accelerator, completely slowing and even stopping the car.

This process helps recuperate energy that would otherwise be lost, recharging the battery and extending the driving range. But it also holds the car on a hill until you’re ready to start moving again, too.

How well this works in practice we’ll have to wait and see, but Nissan claims ‘it takes the stress out of driving like never before.’

Anything else that’s new?

Nissan is also claiming the Leaf is ‘not just an electric vehicle’ – but rather ‘a mobile power unit.’

What does this mean? Well, the 2018 Leaf features ‘bi-directional charging’, which allows it to give energy back to the grid, not just receive it.

This ‘Vehicle to Grid’ technology points towards a future where electric car batteries can be used as energy storage when electricity supply exceeds demand in order to then release it again during hours where demand may start to exceed supply.

Essentially, it’s an evolution of the existing concept of static energy storage using old electric car batteries; making that energy storage mobile means you could conceivably transport electricity to areas of limited supply as well.

This may all sound a bit far-fetched at the moment, but it’s good to see carmakers thinking about these things given the potential increase in electricity demand wholesale adoption of electric cars could cause.

What about the design and specification of the 2018 Nissan Leaf?

As you can see for the pictures, the new Leaf is a much more conventional looking vehicle – though still very aerodynamic and sleek.

The interior maintains a futuristic, spacious feel, however, with a 7.0-inch infotainment system that now incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the usual sat-nav and driving information.

Exact trim level information is still be revealed, with the exception of the Leaf 2.Zero launch edition.

What is the Nissan Leaf 2.Zero?

A limited edition celebrating the launch of the second-generation Leaf, the 2.Zero is priced from £26,490 and becomes the first Nissan in Europe to get the firm’s ProPilot technology.

These are the key items of standard equipment:

Exterior:

  • 6.6kW on-board charger
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Electric-folding door mirrors
  • Halogen headlights with high-beam assist
  • Front foglights
  • Chrome door handles
  • Illuminated charging port

Interior:

  • 7.0-inch infotainment system with sat-nav and DAB radio
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Front arm-rest
  • 60:40 split-folding rear seats
  • Keyless ignition
  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
  • Air-conditioning
  • Automatic lights and wipers
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Around view monitor 360-degree camera system

Safety and assistance

 


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