The 2018 Nissan Leaf followed up its worldwide Tokyo debut with appearances in eight U.S. cities, including a recent stop in Cambridge, Mass., at the 22nd Annual Danehy Park Family Day where consumers got a first look at this all-new, plug-in electric vehicle.
Although electric cars are more common than they were just a few years ago, they’re still not the norm. The Leaf was early to the electric car party, and it’s now the best-selling electric car of all time.
“When we launched LEAF in 2010, it instantly became the most affordable, mass market EV in the world. We are not walking away from that proposition,” said José Muñoz, a Nissan executive, following the Leaf’s debut.
The new Leaf goes on sale across the country early next year, and much has changed about the vehicle since its initial debut seven years ago.
Improvements to the 2018 model include a longer range of up to 150 miles versus its previous range of only 107 miles. This gives drivers greater flexibility for longer trips and reduces the need to charge. It also has a new electric powertrain with 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque compared with 107 horsepower on the outgoing Leaf. An even more powerful version of the Leaf with more horsepower and a larger battery capacity will be available in 2019.
Charging time is also improved, so you can be on your way more quickly. A 3kW source fully charges the Leaf in 16 hours while a 6kWh source reduces that time to 8 hours. A quick charging port charges the Leaf to 80 percent in just 40 minutes.
On the technology front, the Leaf uses Nissan’s new ProPilot Assist to make driving in stop-and-go traffic easier. It uses a combination of steering assist and intelligent cruise control to manage the Leaf’s speed in heavy traffic. This hands-on system uses cameras, radar, and sensors to help keep the Leaf in its lane reducing the need for steering input from the driver. It also monitors cruise control, slowing the car when traffic slows and speeding up as traffic resumes. It can even bring the car to a complete stop.
The Leaf also features unique e-Pedal technology. This lets the driver use only one foot on the gas pedal to start, accelerate, and decelerate simply by varying the amount of pressure applied. Lifting completely off the pedal automatically applies the brakes. It will stay stopped and hold in place even on hills and slopes until the accelerator is pressed again.
Inside, the Leaf has a whole new design. Materials are improved to give the Leaf a better look and feel and includes blue contrast stitching on the seats, dashboard, and steering wheel as a nod to being an electric vehicle. It also has Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto as standard features for easy smartphone integration and a reduced chance of distracted driving.
The 2018 Nissan Leaf features new technologies, updated styling and, surprisingly, a lower price tag than the outgoing model. It is priced from $29,990 to $36,200, making it an affordable electric choice rather than something only those with big budgets will be able to consider parking in their driveways.