In 2017, Nissan boosted the battery capacity in its popular Leaf electric car to 40 kWh to double the range per charge on the previous model. At CES 2019 in Las Vegas this week, the company has announced another bump in the right direction, with a 62 kWh battery adding about 40 percent extra range to the new Leaf e+.
In 2011, an entry level Tesla Model S rocked a 40 kWh battery pack for up to 160 miles (about 260 km) of range per charge. That's the same capacity as the current Nissan Leaf models (though Nissan's EPA-estimated range is given as 150 miles), so a boost for this year's upcoming Leaf e+ that will offer up to 226 miles (363 km) of EPA-estimated range per charge should only add to the appeal of the world's best-selling electric car.
"The new Nissan Leaf e+ offers all of the style, convenience and electric vehicle benefits that have helped make Leaf the best-selling electric vehicle in the world, plus even more driving excitement, range, power and choice," said Denis Le Vot of Nissan North America.
The 62 kWh battery pack is more or less the same physical size as the 40 kWh pack in the current model and, in spite of the battery capacity jump, Nissan says that Leaf e+ drivers will be able to fully charge the vehicle in about the same time as current Leaf owners, thanks to a 70 kW (100 kW peak) quick charging system.
This bigger battery combines with a 160 kW motor to deliver 45 percent more power than before, and 250 lb.ft (340 Nm) of torque. Nissan doesn't give standstill to 60 mph sprint times, but instead focuses on acceleration at higher speeds, with the zip from 50 to 75 mph (80 - 120 km/h) reported to be 13 percent quicker than the current car. Top speed is said to have increased by about 10 percent.
The Leaf e+ retains the sporty look of the current model though stands slightly taller – 5 mm to be precise – courtesy of 16 inch wheels. Nissan has revised the front fascia for the new car though, treating it to blue highlighting and the all important "e+" logo near the charging port. The external and internal dimensions remain unchanged.
The new Leaf gains an 8 inch touchscreen display with an updated navigation system, with apps updated over the air at the touch of a button (instead of having to manually update at a dealership or using USB).
There's a semi-autonomous driving system in the shape of ProPilot Assist, that can help take some of the tedium out of stop/start motoring, while keeping the vehicle bang in the middle of its lane. And one pedal driving has been included courtesy of the e-Pedal introduced in 2017, which allows the driver to move off, slow down and stop using only the accelerator pedal.
The e-Pedal software has been tweaked for the Leaf e+ to take into account the car's extra power and heavier demeanor, with smoother operation promised and improved feedback from the pedal, particularly when reversing.
Other safety tech installed in the new EV includes Intelligent Lane Intervention, Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Intelligent Around View Monitor with moving object detection.
And finally, the Leaf e+ is reported compatible with Nissan Energy initiatives, for vehicle-to-grid, vehicle-to-building and vehicle-to-home integration.
Nissan reports global sales of over 380,000 Leaf units worldwide since its introduction in 2010, and more than 128,000 sold in the US. The new Leaf e+ series will roll into dealerships in Japan from this month, ahead of US and European availability by the middle of the year. Pricing has yet to be announced. In the US and Canada, the Leaf e+ will be badged as the Leaf Plus.
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