The new Nissan LEAF has arrived – and it has a longer range, is more practical, better to drive and has even more equipment.
Since its launch in 2011, more than 50,000 examples have found homes and the world’s best-selling pure electric vehicle has been built solely in Japan. But production of the new model will soon commence at Nissan’s Sunderland production facility with more than 100 changes made to the multi-award winning car.
Improvements include an extended driving range, greater recyclability, more interior space, better charging performance, more equipment and, with three versions now available, greater choice. Subtle styling changes to the nose of the car have improved its already impressive aerodynamic efficiency.
Many of the changes have come as a direct result of feedback from pioneering LEAF owners. With some of the most active Internet forums of any car-owning group, LEAF drivers have become enthusiastic advocates of zero-emission mobility and of the car itself – LEAF enjoys the highest customer satisfaction rating of any Nissan model with a score of 93 per cent.
Changes range from a new powertrain assembly that greatly enhances the car’s practicality to simple modifications, such as the addition of an LED inspection light within the charging port making overnight charging that much easier.
Other aspects of LEAF ownership have also changed dramatically since the car first appeared on Europe’s roads, with a greatly expanded charging infrastructure and a significant rise in the number of Nissan dealers selling and servicing the car in the last 12 months alone.
Customer peace of mind has also been increased with a new comprehensive warranty plan for the batteries. As well as covering the batteries against defects in materials and workmanship for five years/100,000 kms, they will be covered by a ‘State Of Health’ clause which covers gradual capacity loss. Over time, lithium-ion batteries lose a percentage of their capacity, a natural phenomenon. But should battery life reduce quicker than anticipated over the same warranty period it will either be repaired or replaced.
New LEAF, which goes on sale in Europe in the middle of 2013, marks an important milestone in Nissan’s global zero-emission leadership. It will soon be joined by pure electric versions of the award-winning NV200, to be called e-NV200, in both light commercial van and seven-seat combi versions. Development is also underway on a dedicated EV taxi based on the e-NV200.
NEW NISSA LEAF IN DETAIL
• New fully integrated powertrain
• Enhanced ride and handling with chassis tuned for Europe
• Extended real-world driving range
• Faster charging option
• Enhanced technology and more driving modes
• Revised grille for improved aerodynamics
• New range of wheels
• Extended colour palette
• New more supportive seats
• New environmentally friendly seat fabrics
• Leather trim now available
• More luggage space
• More equipment, including Around View Monitor
• Three trim levels
New LEAF’s real-world driving range has also been improved by the only visual change to the car: a subtly revised front grille helps reduce the aerodynamic drag coefficient Cd figure from an already impressive 0.29 to 0.28. The new LEAF’s driving range is certified at 124miles (200km) under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), which is an increase from 109 miles (175 km) in the prior model.
The new LEAF is more fun to drive, too, thanks to changes to the chassis, steering and brakes engineered at Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE). Principal changes have been to damper settings to reduce float and deliver a more agile and dynamic drive without adversely affecting ride comfort. The steering system has been given more weight to provide steering feel more in tune with European tastes while the performance of the brakes has been improved to make them more progressive in use, while also increasing the amount of energy recovered.
Reduced charging time is also promised by a new option that will cut the conventional charging length in half, from eight to four hours. A new 6.6kW on board charger will permit the use of 32 amp charging using the latest generation of chargers installed in domestic and commercial properties. A typical domestic socket delivers 10 amps.