Nissan Shows Off New 2018 Leaf
Nissan just revealed its new Leaf model at extravagant ceremonies held in Tokyo and Las Vegas. The car goes on sale in early 2018. Nissan showed off red, white, and blue models during the events. The global unveiling was live streamed from Japan on a huge screen.
The original Leaf was groundbreaking as a mass-market electric car. The model has been the world’s best-selling fully-electric car since it was introduced back in 2011. The Leaf won the 2011 European Car of the Year, the 2011 World Car of the Year, and the 2011–2012 Car of the Year Japan, among other accolades. Nissan has sold over 112,000 of them in the US, and over 283,000 globally.
The revamped model has gotten a mainstream makeover and had some semi-autonomous capabilities added. The 2018 Leaf has a more angular look that fits well with the rest of Nissan’s model range. The company also gave the vehicle a lower center of gravity and a low hood.
The dash is built around a 7-inch touchscreen with a redesigned layout. The electric motor puts out 147 horsepower, 38 percent higher than the outgoing model. Torque has been increased 26 percent to 236 pound feet.
Nissan claims the new Leaf’s 40 kWh battery will provide 150 miles of range under EPA testing, a significant improvement over the 107-mile range of the previous model. Yet the Leaf still falls short of the Chevrolet Bolt’s 238 miles and the Tesla Model 3’s 220. Nissan plans to offer a more powerful version with longer range and more horsepower at a higher price for the 2019 model year.
The new Leaf can be driven with a single pedal, which handles starting, accelerating, decelerating, and stopping. Nissan estimated that drivers would use the accelerator alone for 90 percent of their driving. The new Leaf is also the first car to adopt Nissan’s new ProPilot autonomous driving technology and ProPilot Park. Nissan is giving the new Leaf a starting price under $30,000.
Nissan hopes the Leaf’s technological upgrades will appeal to consumers seeking semi-autonomous driving at an affordable price. Fully electric vehicles currently account for less than one percent of new car sales in the U.S. The electric-car segment represented 0.5 percent of the U.S. market through August, up from 0.4 percent during the same period of 2016. However, as the technology becomes more mainstream, prices will come down and sales will rise. Analysts have projected that electric cars would be cheaper than conventional vehicles by 2021.
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