At the time of the first generation Nissan Leaf, there wasn't much in the way of competition in the electric vehicle segment. Sure, there were attempts by other companies- but arguably the Leaf was the most holistic attempt at producing an everyday usable electric vehicle with practical range and design. It proved to be a lot more popular than previous electric vehicle attempts, but the market has changed a great deal since then.
Companies like Tesla are really stepping up their game, blending luxury elements with their vehicles to provide more exciting offerings. But just as there are luxury cars and mass market cars, there are luxury electric cars and mass market electric cars. Nissan kept the Leaf as a car for the people, and with this second generation model there are a lot of improvements courtesy of advancements in battery and electric technology.
The main highlight for the new Leaf is its extended range. Under Japanese testing cycles, this Leaf is capable of travelling up to 400 kilometres on a single charge. But as testing standards are different from region to region, we can instead look at the US EPA standards: the final iteration of the first generatio Nissan Leaf could travel up to 172 km, while the all-new model can travel up to 241 km. That's a substantial increase, and as with the previous generation we are likely to see improvements in range with each model year.
Charge times haven't changed much as a proportion of available range. The previous model took roughly 8 hours to charge from empty to full with a 5.2 kilowatt power supply. In comparison, the new model takes 8 hours to charge from empty to full with a 6 kilowatt power supply. In terms of fast charging, the previous model could go from empty to 80% in 30 minutes, while the new model goes from empty to 80% in 40 minutes. The new battery's capacity is 40 kWh, which is 25% more than the outgoing model.
Design may not be particularly high up on the list of priorities for an electric car buyer, but one can't deny that Tesla's model designs have definitely helped to sell their cars. Nissan can no longer get away with making a basic hatchback shape, and so this all-new Nissan Leaf gets some sporty touches to help increase its appeal to an increasingly younger target market. The exterior gets some nice two-tone styling while the interior gets a more premium feel with vibrant blue stitching. There's also the E-Pedal function that we mentioned earlier, which should provide a different driving feel, and the ProPILOT park system for autonomous parking.
The Nissan LEAF will go on sale in Japan on October 2nd, while the North American and European markets can expect it at the start of 2018- along with our Malaysian market launch, as Edaran Tan Chong Motor has just announced. This will also coincide with the time Nissan will begin offering a more powerful variant of the Leaf with longer range (as expected if the trend with the first generation Leaf is followed). While we are unlikely to see it here anytime soon, it is positioned as being a more budget friendly alternative to the Tesla Model 3 with equivalent range performance- but again, it's an apple to orange comparison.