Nissan's 'be-leaf' in electric vehicles

New EV brings game-changing charging capability.

Nissan’s first EV, the Tama, rolled off their production-line in 1947 in response to an oil shortage in Japan post-WW2. Further development work since the 1970s and several electric concept vehicles later, the first-generation all-electric Leaf came to market in 2010 and the Australian market in 2012.

Now Nissan have released the second-generation Leaf into Australian showrooms, stating it’s their “springboard” for other EV models, including an SUV. They also claim that electric vehicles will make up 10 percent of our new vehicle sales by 2025. And they have partnered with ChargeFox to help roll out charging infrastructure.

The new Leaf, in just one well-equipped specification, has a list price of $49,990 and will now be sold through 89 dealers nationally, 21 of them in Queensland (metro and regional).

Nissan have been liberal with their intelligent safety technologies and included around-view monitor with moving object detection, driver-alertness warning, forward-collision warning/emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning/lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, high-beam assist, intelligent cruise control, and vehicle-approach warning for pedestrians.

Nissan Leaf

And there’s a little bit of Australia in every second-generation Leaf, with several alloy parts produced at Nissan’s Dandenong casting plant and duly marked with a kangaroo logo.

Lithium-ion battery capacity has increased from 24kWh to 40kWh. Nissan claim an indicative real-world range for new Leaf of 270km. The 350V drive-batteries are warranted to eight years.

The first-gen Leaf’s 80kW of power and 280Nm of torque are also boosted in the new model to 110kW and 320Nm. Acceleration and drivability are improved as a result.

The new Leaf incorporates a drive mode that Nissan dubs e-Pedal. When engaged, drivers can use just the accelerator pedal, for around 90 percent of driving needs, reducing fatigue. Press the throttle on and the car moves away and accelerates. Ease off and the car decelerates at up to 0.2G and can be brought to a complete stop. Only aggressive braking will require use of the foot brake.

The new Leaf is currently one of the only EVs that is bi-directional charge capable. That means it can also transfer energy from its on-board batteries back to your home or the grid. So cheaper off-peak or solar power can be used for vehicle charging and the vehicle can then be an energy source during peak electricity usage times or back-up power in an emergency. Expect about 12months delay before the chargers and control systems for bi-directional operation are validated and approved for our market though.

Nissan leaf rear