Late on Tuesday, Nissan unveiled the all-new 2018 Leaf at a world premiere event in the Las Vegas Strip. The king of electric vehicles is back with a new design and more smart features courtesy of Nissan Intelligent Mobility. It goes on sale in Japan this October and it will launch worldwide early next year.
The Japanese automaker returns to claim its throne back, as other green cars have recently taken protagonism away from the pioneer of energy-efficient consumer vehicles. Chevrolet’s Bolt and Tesla’s new Model 3 come to mind, particularly when they are priced within the same price bracket.
However, much has changed since its 2011 introduction, and competitors have gained an advantage in the market with some impressive battery technology and semi-autonomous driving systems. Nissan’s Leaf has some work to do if it wants to catch up by 2019.
— Nissan (@Nissan) September 6, 2017
2018 Nissan Leaf: aerodynamic design and more power
Nissan designers and engineers tackled the performance issue in two fronts: battery technology and design. It was inherently necessary to make batteries last longer, but reducing drag on the car was also essential for it to go farther with less effort.
So, the team at Nissan got to work and did exactly that, delivering a more stylish angled design on the vehicle that makes air split in the front and meet at the back as far as possible from the moving Leaf. The new 40 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is more energy-dense and gives the car a 150-mile range when fully charged.
Aerodynamics and more power also bring more torque and horsepower, which now sit at 236 lb/feet and the 147 mark respectively. There are no 0 to 60 mph figures yet, but it is expected to clock quite decent numbers given electric cars provide solid performance on that front.
2019’s Nissan Leaf will have even better performance
Other than that, there are some new assistive driving features by the Nissan Intelligent Mobility team, namely the e-Pedal and ProPilot systems. There is also a touchscreen console with a simple interface to control other aspects of the car.
Essentially, e-Pedal technology is Nissan putting all the power in your right foot. As you press down on the accelerator or release pressure, the car will go faster, slow down, or come to a halt completely. Some people might find this weird at first, but allegedly it is quite intuitive.
ProPilot is exactly what you think it is: a semi-autonomous driving system. It is still a long way from Tesla’s Autopilot and it is more like a soft cruise control mode which makes the car stay in its lane, alert you of other cars in your blind spot and so on. Oh, and you can press a button so it can park itself, so that’s cool.
The infotainment system consists of a 7-inch screen that does all your usual stuff like providing navigation support, music playback, and Nissan’s Safety Shield technology. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now both supported on the Leaf.
By 2019, Nissan promises to put out a new Leaf model dubbed the e+ that will feature a 60 KWh battery pack and at least 225 miles of range, according to reports. In the meantime, you can save $30,000 for the initial premium of the car, plus roughly $7,000 in federal tax that you’ll need to pay if you want it next year.