The Next Chapter: The New Nissan LEAF
It’s arrived, the new Nissan LEAF – more practical, better to drive, a longer range and even more equipment.
Since the LEAF’s launch in 2011, more than 50,000 examples have found homes and the world’s best selling pure electric car has been built solely in Japan. But this is set to change the new model will soon commence production at Nissan’s Sunderland Plant with more than 100 changes made to the multi-award winning car.
There have been many improvements including better charging performance, more interior space, greater recyclability, an extended driving range, more equipment and, with three versions to choice from, greater choice. Its also had some subtle styling changes to the nose of the car to improve its aerodynamic efficiency.
Most of the changes have come from pioneering LEAF owners feedback. With some of the most active Internet forums of any car-owning group, LEAF drivers have become committed crusader’s of zero-emission mobility and of the car itself. The Nissan LEAF has the highest customer satisfaction rating of all the Nissan models with a score of 93%.
Aswell as human feedback, Nissan have also used feedback from its aggregated data which is taken from the unique Carwings telematics system, which lies in the heart of the LEAF. This feature helps customers understand the ability to control the heating and charging of their car remotely and also logs information on charging, usage patterns and distance driven. The LEAF has been on sale from more than two years and the engineers at Nissan have been using some of the data collected to optimise the car in line with actual customer usage.
The LEAF has a new powertrain assembly which makes the car more practical, with simple modifications such as the addition of an LED inspection light within the charging port making overnight charging easier.
Owning a LEAF has now become easier since its launch in 2011, there’s now 1,400 Nissan dealers selling and servicing and more than 600 quick charger units and the number of conventional public chargers have increased from 12,000 to more than 20,000. Customers peace of mind has also been increased with a new comprehensive warranty plan for the batteries. Aswell as covering the batteries against defects in materials and workmanship for 5 years/100,000kms, they will be covered by a ‘State Of Health’ clause which covers gradual capacity loss.
At a glance the LEAF appears to have changed very little from the original. But the breadth and depth of the changes mean, to all intents and purposes it is a new car. Now more comfortable and roomier and it will go further than before and depending on the market it can be charged in half the time too.
Changes to the new LEAF include – a new fully intergrated powertrain, enhanced ride and handling with chassis tuned for Europe, an extended real-world driving range, a faster charging option and enhanced technology and more driving modes.
The exterior changes include a revised grille for improved stability, a new range of wheels and an extended colour palette of seven different colours with solid, pearl and metallic finishes. Also a new i-Key that controls the charging port cover and cable lock has been added.
The interior has also been enhanced with new more supportive seats, new environmentally friendly seat fabrics, a choice of leather trim, a bigger luggage space, more equipment including an around view monitor and three level trims of Visia, Acenta and Tekna, given customers more choice.
The Visia version offers a lower entry price point while the Tekna models features even more standard equipment than the original model. The Visia models have 16-inch steel wheels with full covers, black door mirror caps and halogen headlights. The Acenta versions have 16-inch alloy wheels, suede fabric seat trim, body coloured mirror caps and rear privacy glass. The Tekna model features leather seats as standard, 17 inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, Bose sound system and AVM.
The only thing that Nissan haven’t changed is the model’s comprehensive level of standard safety equipment. As well as front side and curtain airbags the new LEAF has ABS and EBD with brake assistance as standard along with Electronic Stability Program (ESP).
The new LEAF, goes on sale in Europe in the middle of 2013.