Will the New Leaf Put Nissan Back on Top?

The Nissan Leaf, the best-selling and, arguably, most well known electric vehicle, is about to get a major update.

Unfortunately for Nissan, the Leaf has been losing popularity over the past few years as its competition stepped up. So, will the new Leaf give Nissan lovers something to cheer about?

What’s New

The biggest update for the new Leaf is a 150-mile range, compared to the current model’s 107-mile range. This is thanks to a new 40 kWh battery pack, up 10 kWh on the old model.

The extra battery is needed to power the Leaf’s upgraded 110 kW motor, up 30 kW on the previous model. Torque has also gone up to 236 lb-ft, a significant jump from the 187 lb-ft the old model had. All in all, the new Leaf should be a significantly quicker car.

Long Range Model

While a 150-mile range is a good improvement, it’s still 70-80 miles short of the Bolt or the Model 3. Thankfully, there will be a long range Leaf, although the exact range hasn’t yet been announced.

Nissan are launching a long range Leaf and should compete, in terms of range, with the Bolt and Model 3.

Self-driving Features

The new Leaf comes with Nissan’s ProPilot Assist System,  a semi-autonomous driving mode that keeps the Leaf centered in a lane on a highway.

Another autonomous driving feature will also be included on the new Leaf, Nissan’s ProPilot Parking system. This system will handle parking maneuvers.

Styling

Although the new Leaf isn’t as radical in terms of styling as say the Model 3, it has gotten a much-needed facelift.

The interior has been updated too, including a 7-inch touchscreen in the center console. This screen will support in-built navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

What’s Not New

The base model 2018 Leaf is expected to start at $29,990 which, thankfully, remains relatively unchanged from previous models. It’s even a little cheaper than previous models.

Fast Charging

Once again fast charging capabilities will be an optional extra for the Nissan Leaf. A surprising move from Nissan, when you consider both the Bolt and Model 3 have fast charging capabilities as standard.

It’ll take 16 hours to fully charge the Leaf from a 120v, Level 1 power source or 8 hours from a 240v, Level 2. For those who do opt for a Leaf with fast charging, you can expect an 80% charge in 40 minutes.

Cooling System

Once again Nissan hasn’t equipped the Leaf with a liquid cooling system for its battery pack. Something they have been criticized for in the past, as early model Leafs suffered battery degradation in extreme climates.

The Bottom Line

The 150-mile, sub $30,000 Leaf is the pick of the bunch, having a noticeably better range than rivals like the e-Golf and Focus Electric.

Without performance figures for the long range version, it’s hard to say whether or not it will be a match for the Bolt or Model 3.

By Robert Bacon
Updated: September 12, 2017

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