The new Nissan LEAF will go on sale in middle of 2013 and will be built in Britain for the European markets.
The LEAF is not a hybrid but purely runs under electric power with zero emissions in use. The LEAF has been on sale for two years in which time over 50,000 have been sold worldwide. The popularity of EV (Electric Vehicles) is on the increase in Europe with an increase in public charging points with increased from 12,000 to more than 20,000 over the last year. There has also been an increase in the number of Nissan Dealers supporting the LEAF – which has increased from 150 a year ago to 1,400 Europe wide.
The new model features over 100 changes to its predecessor with the focus on driving range, better charging performance and more equipment choice.
One of the key improvements has been to the range which has been increased from around 109 miles to 124 miles. Changes have been made to the Eco driving mode. A new ‘B' setting on the transmission increases regenerative braking during deceleration while a separate ‘Eco' button on the steering wheel extends driving range by altering the throttle mapping to discourage rapid acceleration. The two systems can be operated independently of one another, unlike in the original LEAF.
There is a new optional 6.6Kw charger which reduces the charging time from 8 to 4 hours on a 32 amp supply (you might need an electrician to install a charging socket to use the 32 amp charger on its own dedicated circuit). The lithium-ion batteries are now being produced at a new facility nearby on the Sunderland site. And are now protected with a new warranty covering defects in materials and workmanship for five years/62,000 miles, including a ‘State Of Health' clause which covers gradual capacity loss over that period.
Other technical improvements encompass the powertrain which is now fully integrated incorporating the charger assembly, inverter in one single stack. This has helped to increase the boot space from 330 litres to 370 litres.
The steering, chassis and suspension setup have been revised to give a more European feel to the LEAF, for example the weighting of the steering has been increased to give more feedback.
There are now three trim levels for the Nissan LEAF, Visia, Acenta and Tekna.
The LEAF Visia models have 16-inch steel wheels with full covers, black door mirror caps and halogen headlights.
The Acenta adds 16-inch alloy wheels, suede fabric seat trim, body coloured mirror caps and rear privacy glass.
The Tekna comes with 17-inch alloy wheels as standard, LED headlights, the Bose sound system and Around View Monitor (AVM) which displays a 360-degree overhead image of the car on the central display, aidng parking or difficult manoeuvres.
We will have full Nissan LEAF prices and detailed specifications as soon as possible.Published 27 February 2013