TECH

Nissan Leaf electric car goes further with one-pedal driving

Nissan has said it will release a more powerful version of the Leaf in a year's time

Nissan has launched a longer-range version of its best-selling Leaf electric vehicle, as it fights growing competition in the electric car market.

The new Leaf can travel about 50% further on a single charge than its predecessor, according to the firm.

But it still falls short of the ranges offered by other recent electric cars from Tesla and General Motors.

Other updates include a new one-pedal driving system, auto-parking tech and a more modern design.

More than 283,000 Leaf cars have been sold since the Japanese firm launched the brand in 2010, making it the world’s most purchased electric car.

However, it is facing increasing competition in the fast-developing “green” car market, fuelled in part by tightening emissions standards around the world.

“The general industry standard for model cycles is around six-to-seven years, so the launch of the second generation Leaf falls neatly in to this timeframe,” commented Ian Fletcher, principal automotive analyst at the IHS Markit consultancy.

“However, the next three to four years looks set to see further upgraded and brand new vehicles, and manufacturers in this space still have everything to play for.”

What’s new?

The new Leaf, on sale in Japan from October and elsewhere early next year, has a longer range thanks to a bigger 40 kilowatt hour (kWh) battery.

Because different territories have different tests for electric vehicles, the new Leaf’s quoted range varies according to where it will be sold:

  • in Europe it is 378km (235 miles)
  • in Japan it is 400km (248 miles)
  • in the US it is 241km (150 miles)

Electric cars tend to achieve about 20-25% below the European quoted figures in real-world tests.

However, Nissan says the introduction of a one-pedal system – in which a button press turns the accelerator pad into an “e-Pedal” that can start, accelerate, brake and stop the vehicle – will provide added energy efficiency gains.

Motorists can, however, drive with both a separate accelerator and brake pedal if they prefer.

Chris Lilly, content manager for the Next Green Car news site, said while the new model was not “groundbreaking” it should be more appealing to drivers.

“It takes every element of the old Leaf and improves upon it, and adds a whole lot of new features,” he said.

Those improvements also include an automated parking system, called ProPilot Park, that will take control of the vehicle to manoeuvre it into tricky spaces.

The system can handle parallel parking, according to the firm, and can deal with up to seven-point turns. Drivers can also use dashboard controls to make adjustments to the parking spot in advance if they feel it is necessary.

The model also automates single-lane highway driving.

Prices will start at 3,150,360 yen (£22,220), Nissan said. The Japanese carmaker said it would offer a higher priced model, with greater power and range, next year.

Source: BBC

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