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Raising the bar for electric vehicles — New Nissan Leaf

Raising the bar for electric vehicles — New Nissan Leaf”

"So, I would expect the sales (of the new Leaf) to be larger for this new generation of Leaf".

Japanese giant Nissan Wednesday unveiled a new electric vehicle with an extended range and semi-autonomous driving functions, as it seeks to battle off competitors in a sector it once pioneered.

The upgraded 2018 Leaf offers electric vehicle customers another choice - along with the Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt - in the market for lower cost, long-range battery-powered cars. Image source: Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. Its exterior styling is attractive in a mainstream sort of way, something that can't be said about the outgoing model's quirky looks. Nissan calls it the "ProPILOT Assist" system, and it offers limited self-driving capabilities in highway driving situations. When activated, the car's ProPILOT Park technology takes control of steering, acceleration, braking, shift changing and the parking brake to automatically guide it into a parking spot. The new Leaf's battery pack occupies the same amount of space as the older model's, but it's rated at 40 kilowatt-hours (kWh) versus the older car's 30 kWh.

The second-generation Nissan Leaf has a potential range of 400 kilometres (250 miles) between charges, compared with a maximum of 250 kilometres for its previous version. As in the outgoing Leaf, the new Leaf's motor drives the front wheels only.

Redesigned both inside and outside, the new Nissan LEAF also incorporates NissanConnect which enables the driver to search for continuously updated information such as the location and operating hours of free charging stations and charging station availability.

It's improved, but is the new Leaf starting from behind?

.

"If the range goes up and the price remains the same, the new Nissan Leaf will continue to offer one of the least expensive and practical ways to own a pure electric auto", said Ed Hellwig, a senior editor at car-shopping researcher Edmunds. Tesla Inc. launched its entrant into the mass market in July, the Model 3, priced at $35,000 before the federal tax credit and with a starting range of 220 miles.

But that still falls short of ranges offered by rivals Tesla and GM. There isn't a recommended retail price for the United Kingdom yet, but in Japan the price of the new LEAF will start at 3,150,360 yen which is equivalent to around £22,000. The Yokohama, Japan-based automaker sold 49,000 Leafs in 2016, about 2,000 units fewer than Tesla's Model S, data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance show.

New Nissan LEAF electric vehicle is displayed after the world premiere in Chiba, near Tokyo, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. In Japan, the vehicle starts at a price of 3.15 million yen ($29,000), according to a statement Wednesday. It's enough to drive a marketing person insane. It's a gamble. We'll find out next year.

Other Japanese automakers have not been as bullish on electric vehicles.

Both are expected to use the new electric-vehicle architecture that Nissan developed for the 2018 Leaf, and they should represent an aggressive challenge to the family of mass-market electric vehicles now under development at Volkswagen.

"Until we see a significant improvement in range and/or economics that feed through to a rise in gasoline prices, EV buyers will be buying for environmental or altruistic reasons", said Janet Lewis, head of Asia transportation research at Macquarie Securities. That's right - they think these 10 stocks are even better buys. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.



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