Nissan says new electric vehicle competitors 'positive' for market

The 2018 Nissan Leaf falls far short of those two in terms of EV range, but it also falls well short in price.

The updated Leaf joins the growing ranks of electric vehicles with extended ranges, made possible by lower battery prices. Let's take a look. Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co. unveiled its zero-emissions vehicle in the USA late Tuesday.

At first glance, the new Leaf has a lot going for it, starting with its surprisingly attractive styling. But if it wants to compete with Teslas of the world without breaking bank, these tiny additions could go a long way, especially if they become options across Nissan's line of vehicles one day.

Still, it's clear Nissan's real Tesla competitor has yet to come.

The new Leaf's infotainment touchscreen, for example, will be familiar from other Nissans, while the round drive control unit has been carried over from the previous model.

The 2018 Leaf's interior is more familiar than futuristic.

Yutaka Sanada, Head of Asia and Oceania for Nissan, explained that even though the new electric hatch won't sell in big numbers without incentives it was important for the brand to have the Leaf in Australian showrooms.

Like an adaptive cruise control system, ProPILOT Assist keeps the auto at a set distance from the vehicle ahead, accelerating or braking as needed. And while a little way off a fully autonomous setup, ProPilot "can also help the driver steer and keep the vehicle centered in its lane".

There are a handful of new driver assistance features, some of which are unique to the Leaf. The new Leaf's battery pack occupies the same amount of space as the older model's, but it's rated at 40 kilowatt-hours (kWh) versus the older car's 30 kWh. The electric motor now makes 147hp and 320Nm of torque.

Schillaci said the new model would be launched into the USA and Europe early next year. A longer driving range of around 150 miles on a charge also gives it more of a regular-car feel. Peterson added that his firm's research has found the "EV range sweet spot is 225 miles", which is well above the 2018 Leaf's capability. Along with excellent aerodynamics, the styling - from the sleek silhouette to the car's "advanced expression" - evokes the exhilaration of driving an EV. The base version has an advertised range of 220 miles and starts at $35,000 before incentives. I think that's what we're doing at the moment with Leaf.

Nissan on Tuesday unveiled its 2018 Leaf to relatively little fanfare.

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.

  • Fernando Stephens