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Nissan set to bolster Leaf range with e+

Power Ranger: The 160kW/340Nm Leaf e+ is a likely starter for Australia and capable of travelling 385km on a single charge, according to the WLTP combined-cycle test.

Leaf e+ to allay EV anxiety with 385km range but Nissan has no firm local timing yet

12 Jul 2019

WHILE the second-generation Leaf full-electric vehicle’s battery is two-thirds larger than its predecessor’s unit, Nissan Australia is already eyeing off an e+ version of the new small hatch that will quell range anxiety even further.


Speaking to GoAuto this week at the Leaf national media launch in Melbourne, Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester said the company is keen to introduce the e+ but stopped short of providing timing for it.


“Of course we want to see other battery variants for the vehicle that will give us an opportunity to showcase the incredible performance that Nissan is known for,” he said.


“We’re wide open for business, and we’ll work with the team globally to make sure that happens.”


As reported, the e+ ups the ante over the regular Leaf with its 160kW/340Nm electric motor (+50kW/20Nm) and 62kWh lithium-ion battery (+22kWh) that provides 385km of driving range (+115km), according to the WLTP combined-cycle test.


These figures put the Leaf e+ in the same realm as Kia’s Soul EV small hatch that is due in January with a 150kW/395Nm electric motor and a 64kWh lithium-ion battery that offers up 452km of driving range.


Critically, the e+ supports 100kW DC fast-charging while the regular Leaf tops out at 50kW.


However, the upgrade does not reduce the time it takes to charge the battery from flat to 80 per cent – which Nissan still quotes as “within an hour” – due to the 55 per cent increase in capacity.


The e+ will also provide a decent bump in performance, with it capable of sprinting from standstill to 100km/h in 7.3 seconds (-0.6s) while on the way to a top speed of 157km/h (+13km/h).


Asked if lower-specification variants of Leaf, regardless of battery capacity, will be also introduced in the future, Mr Lester suggested it is only a matter of time before this occurs.


“I think what you naturally see over time is technology always starting at the top and continuing to work its way down as it becomes more mainstream,” he said.


“So there’s no doubt that this will come in other packages down the road, but it will also (come) through other vehicle concepts, too.


“Leaf is just one model, and what we’re most excited about is the future for Nissan – not just in Australia but around the world – is so robust in terms of the product portfolio where EVs are concerned.”


The new Leaf will only be available with a single variant when it enters showrooms next month, priced from $49,990 plus on-road costs.


In order to justify its hefty pricetag beyond its zero-emissions powertrain, the Leaf comes with a full suite of advanced driver-assist systems as standard as well as premium features like heating for the steering wheel and front and rear seats.


Notably, Leaf is the first model in Nissan Australia’s line-up to be fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. It forms part of a new-generation infotainment system that powers an 8.0-inch touchscreen.

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