Latest generation Nissan Leaf gets matured styling and whole host of advanced features with much improved electric driving range
Nissan India’s President Thomas Kuehl has recently confirmed the launch of Leaf electric vehicle in the domestic market this financial year as the brand prepares to launch one new model every six months to revive its local fortunes. A fleet of Leaf EVs will be imported into India for testing at the production facility in Tamil Nadu and also for homologation purposes.
It will reportedly be sold in limited numbers and brought into the country via CBU route. The globally popular Leaf could carry a price tag of around Rs. 40 lakh. Its customer response and favourable local policies could lead to Nissan importing more Leafs for sales, helping in expanding its EV footprint.
The Leaf has been around for several years now and it has been well-received in European as well as other foreign markets. As the first generation Leaf got to the closing stages of its lifespan and it was replaced, logically speaking, Nissan will introduce the brand new Leaf sold globally in India.
Much to the excitement and months of speculations, the new Leaf’s global premiere had happened with significant upgrades in terms of efficiency and design language. The sales of Leaf had crossed well-over 2.5 lakh examples in its seven year life cycle and Nissan is targetting even bigger figures with the new generation model.
It possesses some interesting features like the innovative e-Pedal driving that uses regenerative braking to accelerate, decelerate and stop the vehicle via a single pedal. Activated with a switch, it shows how well automakers are adapting the regenerative tech like the Chevrolet Bolt EV and even Tesla models managing them cleverly.
Nissan Leaf will act as a learning tool for understanding the electric vehicle market but considering the quirky nature of our local customers, it might have to come up with something new for India. On a longer perspective, Nissan might create a low-cost EV that would fit to the mileage needs in a volume segment.
Nissan announced a low-cost EV for China and the knowledge learned there could be transferred to India. In two battery modes – 24 kWh and 30 kWh – the old Nissan Leaf returned range of 228 km and 280 km respectively. However, it is a whole different story on the brand new version.
The restyled new Leaf vows to capitalise on the success of its predecessor, emulating its global sales. The old leaf was criticised for its bland looks and Nissan has addressed the form factor in the new model with well-defined cuts and creases along the body bringing a more matured stance.
It gains new set of headlamps and taillights, faux front grille, thick C-pillars, sporty silhouette and is said to be more aerodynamically efficient offering better driving stability and performance. The 2018 Leaf, which first premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show, is up for grabs in international markets since late last year. Prices start at $29,990 (Rs. 19.22 lakh) before incentives in the US.
It gets powered by a 40 kWh lithium-ion battery pack linked to an electric motor producing 147 horsepower and 320 Nm of peak torque. Nissan’s EPA-estimated range is at 150 miles (242 km) in the US while in European it is rated to have cruising range of 235 miles (378 km). The charging time of the battery is 16 hours via a 3 kW plug, 8 hours on a 6 kW plug amidst the quick charging function enabling 80 per cent battery in just 40 minutes.
The new-gen Leaf boasts several advanced technologies like ProPILOT and single-lane autonomous driving tech. It automatically controls the distance to the vehicle in front at speeds between 30 kmph and 100 kmph. It steers the vehicle and ensures remaining at the centre of the lane. When necessary, it can bring the Leaf to a complete stop and reactivating the ProPILOT is simple with the touch of the accelerator.
The autonomous parking function uses 12 ultrasonic sensors to guide the Leaf into a parking space. The quirky standard e-Pedal system, claimed to be used for more than 90 percent of driving conditions, allows driver to accelerate, decelerate, stop and hold through the accelerator pedal.
Other stuffed technology list includes Intelligent Lane Intervention, Traffic Sign Recognition, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Intelligent Around View Monitor, Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Emergency Braking and Blind Spot Warning among others.