Nissan extends Leaf life with boosted flower power

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Higher models of the 2016 Leaf will come with a new 30-kWh battery as standard(Credit: Nissan)

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Nissan has unveiled its 2016 Leaf electric car and, sadly, a glow-in-the-dark paint-job won't be an option. Other new "premium-look" colors, however, will be. More importantly, the new Leaf will have a best-in-class range of 107 miles (172 km) and the NissanConnect infotainment system as standard.

The Leaf has been around since 2010, when it was unveiled with a 24-kWh battery. Now, for the first time, it will be possible to get a Leaf with a 30-kWh battery as standard, in the SV and SL models of the car.

Interestingly, the new, more powerful battery has no more cells than the previous one – both have 192. Nissan says that the power increase is delivered by way of improving the cell structure and electrode material. The new battery is estimated to charge fully in around six hours using the 6.6-kW onboard charger.

Paired with an 80-kW AC synchronous motor, the battery in the SV and SL models will help kick out 107 hp (80 kW), 187 lb-ft (254 Nm) of torque and that 107-mi (172-km) range, which Nissan says is a 27 percent improvement over the previous 24-kWh battery. The Leaf S retains the 24-kWh battery and subsequently has a lower range of 84 mi (135 km).

The Leaf S will get an updated version of the NissanConnect infotainment system as standard, as will the higher-end models, but it will make do with a 5-in color display and support for the user's mobile apps. The SV and SL models will boast a 7-in multi-touch color display and voice control, as well as benefiting from navigation functionality as standard in addition to the support for mobile apps.

The functionality offered by the NissanConnect system includes music and audio streaming, hands-free calling and hands-free text messaging, all by way of Bluetooth. Nissan says the system's interface and customization options have been improved and that car charging info is displayed more often.

SV and SL drivers will also benefit from the NissanConnect EV system. This allows users to connect remotely to their vehicle, so as to view its battery charge, control charging, and turn on the heating and air conditioning in advance of getting in.

Finally, those all important new "premium-look exterior colors" in which the 2016 Leaf will be available are Forged Bronze, Coulis Red and Deep Blue Pearl.

The 2016 Nissan Leaf has a starting price of US$26,700 for the SV model, $29,290 for the SL model and $21,510 for the S model. All those prices are after the US federal tax credit for electric vehicles has been applied.

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