World’s favourite electric car coming to Australia
NISSAN'S diminutive Leaf has flown under the radar in Australia. The previously generation could only be considered a failure locally selling just 635 examples in five years.
However, the world has judged the hatch differently with the Leaf surpassing 400,000 sales making it the world's most popular electric car.
Nissan claims that since 2010 Leaf owners have driven more than 10 billion kilometres which is equal to the distance internal combustion vehicles would cover on about 3.8 million barrels of oil.
Australia is one of the last markets globally to get the new Leaf, which has been on sale in Japan and parts of Europe for more than a year already. The local operation says there have been about 11,000 expressions of interest in the coming model.
The second-generation Leaf is due to go on sale locally in August with prices starting at $49,990 (before on-road costs). This is about $5000 more than the rival Hyundai Ioniq and below the mark the base Tesla Model 3 would sell for in Australia.
And Nissan is hoping that the Australian electric car market has matured since the original Leaf was on sale.
Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester says the brand is giving the Leaf every chance to succeed this time around.
"With strong interest in the new Nissan Leaf we see great potential for the vehicle and at this price we are giving it every chance to succeed," says Lester.
"It's certainly an exciting time for EV buyers. With a contemporary design, increased range and long list of standard features, this incredibly fun to drive car presents Australian electric vehicle buyers with a stylish, affordable option."
The Leaf's numbers stack up relatively well for city-based drivers, with a claimed range of 270km and a 40kWh battery powering the electric motor, which makes 110kW and 320Nm. Both power figures are up dramatically compared to the previous model.
There are several charging options for the Leaf with a standard household outlet capable of recharging the battery in 24 hours. Adding a 7kW home charger can reduce this time to 7.5 hours and a fast charger can bump the battery life from 20 to 80 per cent in one hour.
The Leaf isn't just about emission-free motoring - it also has some pretty nifty features.
No. 1 on the list is the e-Pedal tech, which allows drivers to accelerate, brake, come to complete halt or hold the car using just one pedal.
Depressing the pedal gets the car accelerating; taking the foot off the pedal will brake. The car can come to a complete stop and hold without using the brake pedal.
And this is all in the name of energy saving, as regenerative braking tops up the battery as the car slows.
The Leaf is available in just one high specification. Standard kit includes an eight-inch touchscreen, seven-inch digital instrument display, heated steering wheel and leather trimmed seats.
Safety tech includes adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist and warning and rear cross traffic alert.
Earlier this year Nissan revealed the more powerful Leaf e+ which has a bigger 62kWh battery that increases range to 385km and extra shove from the 160kW/340Nm motor. When or whether this version will come to Australia is knot known.