Nissan Leaf to go further in 2018

Brian Maragno, director of electric vehicle marketing for Nissan in the US, said the 2018 Leaf will start at $29,990 before a $7,500 federal tax credit, an important price point to current Leaf owners, many of whom will be repeat buyers. The car's 40 kWh battery can take the Nissan Leaf up to 400 km on a single charge, with a power output of 148 bhp and a torque of 320 Nm.

At the forefront of the new technology bundle sits the semi-autonomous ProPilot, but market dependent the Leaf also has self-parking technology, among others.

The second, ProPILOT Park, will change the way people think about parking.

Nissan has also introduced several new technologies on the second-gen Leaf, including autonomous driving functionality.

The new model, to be launched on October 2 in Japan and in January in the United States and Europe, has improved acceleration and performance, according to the automaker.

The Nissan Leaf faces more direct competition from models including the Volkswagen e-Golf, BMW i3 and Hyundai's Iconiq.

Cumulative sales of the original Leaf, launched in 2010, stood at some 280,000 units, with those in Japan accounting for some 80,000 units.

Much of that revolves around Nissan's ProPilot autonomous technology, a clever "Cruise" function which lets you set a speed which the LEAF will maintain, but also keeps you in lane and the right distance from the vehicle in front, varying its speed as needed all the way down to a full halt.

For the last few weeks, Nissan has teased pictures of the new Nissan Leaf, so we pretty much knew what the new EV looked like. In performance, range and capabilities, though, there's a lot less between the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model 3. For now, we do know the Leaf will undercut both in terms of pricing, as the base model kicks off at $29,990, which is actually lower by $690 compared to the current US Leaf pricing.

The new Nissan (NSANY) Leaf debuted to mixed reviews from auto sites and blogs late Tuesday, with most noting that what the 2018 model of the popular mass-market electric vehicle lacks in design and range, vs. rivals from General Motors (GM) and Tesla (TSLA), it makes up in price. It lets drivers start, accelerate, decelerate and stop by using only the accelerator. It is slated for deliveries in more than 60 countries, including the United States and in Europe, after January.

Nissan has sold almost 300,000 Leafs worldwide since its introduction - an impressive feat considering EV sales accounted for only 0.5% of the global auto market in 2016. In Japan, the vehicle starts at a price of 3.15 million yen ($29,000), according to a statement Wednesday.

  • Joey Payne