- Second generation Leaf to go on sale in January 2018 with new 40kWh battery
- A higher capacity version is expected a year later with a 310-mile range
- Is it enough range to make drivers want one? Automotive analysts think so
- T&E claim car makers haven’t spent enough to market electric vehicles
Nissan has taken the wraps off its new 235-mile capable Leaf electric car that’s due to go on sale next year, will be built in the UK and could cost about £20,000.
Based on official figures, only the range-topping Renault Zoe and super-expensive Tesla Model S and X are capable of covering longer distances between charges in the UK. But is that enough to tempt you to buy one?
While latest industry figures show there’s an uptake in alternative-fuel vehicles right now, a new report has said that carmakers are falling short of their own electric car sales targets.
On your shopping list? The new-for-2018 electric Nissan Leaf has been revealed with a claimed 235-mile range. Is it the zero-emissions car that could tempt you to switch to electric power?
Based of official NEDC test figures, these are the claimed ranges of mainstream electric cars on sale today. In instances where a model is available with different battery sizes, we have picked the one with the longest claimed range
Nissan revealed details of the second-generation Leaf on Wednesday morning – a full week ahead of the car’s official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week.
It will go on sale in January in the UK. Its cost has not been confirmed but prices for the outgoing Leaf currently start at £16,680, although it’s likely that Nissan will raise the price of the new car – perhaps substantially.
The biggest talking point is the increase in range it offers on the car it replaces. With a claimed 235 miles from a new 40kWh battery, it is 80 miles more than the outgoing Leaf. Although that is still someway short of the longest-distance covering EVs on sale today, the Leaf is considerably more affordable option than a Tesla.
Charging time remains around the same as before, with a 40 minute fast-charge providing a boost to 80 per cent battery capacity and a full charge taking 8 hours from a standard charger.
Currently, the electric car with the most extensive travel range is the Tesla Model S 100D – though at a whopping £86,200, that’s more than three times what the Leaf is likely to cost.
A more realistic rival for the Leaf is the Model 3, the American brand’s forthcoming ‘affordable’ family car.
In the most basic form, fitted with a 50kWh battery and expected to cost from around £35,000, it is said to be able to cover up to 220 miles on a single charge.
While that might be short of Nissan’s claim for the new Leaf, a more expensive Model 3 with a 75kWh motor will push that range to 310 miles.
An upgraded model with a bigger battery pack is said to follow in around 2019 and will up the range to 310 miles
The front-mounted motor produces 110kW, or 148bhp. The 40kWh batteries are stored in the floor
If you want a pure-electric car with a long range, Tesla has the best option – though for relatively high prices. The Model S 100D (left) can cover 393 miles on a single charge while the Model X 100D (right) can travel for 251 miles
But Nissan could still compete. According to Auto Express, the Japanese brand, which will build the Leaf at the Sunderland plant in the UK, will also offer a higher-capacity battery option that will match the 310 miles quoted by Elon Musk’s car brand.
As well as an more practical range, the Leaf will also debut Nissan’s revolutionary e-Pedal.
This single pedal has switchable settings to increase or decrease the regenerative braking as soon as you release the throttle. Replicating the sensation of engine braking in a conventional petrol or diesel car, the higher the setting – and therefore the quicker the car slows – the more power it feeds back into the car’s battery.
It means a driver, in theory, can accelerate, slow down and stop without having to touch the brake pedal at all. In fact, Nissan says that 90 per cent of the time, owners will only need to use this one pedal.
Nissan hasn’t confirmed a price for next year’s Leaf. The current one starts from under £17,000, with a £4,500 subsidy provided by a government grant
The Tesla Model 3 is one of the Leaf’s rivals. While examples are yet to land in the UK, they’re said to be able to cover 220 miles in their most basic, £35,000, form
The Leaf not only has a better range, it also has much improved looks. The styling looks more conventional than the old car, though it still has futuristic tweaks, like the blue lights in the grille. We’re not sure if the rear diffuser will do much for the performance
2018 Nissan Leaf stats
Battery: 40kWh Li-ion
Electric motor maximum power output: 110kw (148bhp)
Maximum torque: 320Nm
Maximum speed: 90mph
0-62mph: 9.8 seconds
Cruising range: 235miles NEDC)
Charging time (normal charging): 16 hours (3kW), 8 hours (6kW)
Charging time up to 80% (Quick Charging): 40 minutes
A new semi-autonomous ProPilot system also allows the Leaf to drive itself at speeds of up to 89mph and the driverless technology will be continually upgraded to the point where it will be able to navigate city traffic on its own by 2020.
Despite all this additional technology, the Leaf still won’t be all that quick. With the 40KwH offering up around 148bhp – up from 108bhp in the first generation car – acceleration from a standstill to 62mph will still take 9.8 seconds.
Is 235 miles enough range for UK drivers?
Considering some 283,000 versions of the first generation Leaf were sold over seven years worldwide, there has already been some appetite for mass-market EVs. And studies hint that is going to rise in the coming years.
New research by Sainsbury’s Bank said that more than 40 per cent of British motorists are planning to buy an electric car within the next decade.
However, just 3 per cent of the panel of 2,000 motorists intend to purchase an EV in the next 6 months, suggesting that many are waiting for battery technology to advance to a stage where extended ranges are more achievable.
That tallies with up-to-date registration figures, with only around 13,800 electric cars being registered in the UK during the first quarter of 2017. While that’s a 17 per cent increase on the same period a year earlier, it only represents a fraction of the 562,337 models registered in the first three months of the year.
The Leaf has an up-market interior and features a new e-Pedal that accelerates, slows and even stops the car without you having to touch the brake
Experts have predicted that longer electric-car ranges are starting to make drivers seriously think about buying a plug-in vehicle
But experts believe that an extended range of 235-mile quoted by Nissan could make the difference for many car buyers.
Ana Nicholls, automotive analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said: ‘Ranges on electric vehicles are now getting to the point where they are no longer a big deterrent for drivers.
‘Combined with the rollout of charging systems, they mean that the old fear of being stranded is waning.
‘Although the Nissan Leaf’s new range does not match that of Tesla’s Model 3, this is a cheaper car, which will make it more appealing to some EV drivers.’
Electric car sales are behind schedule, and manufacturers are to blame, T&E says
A new study by Transport & Environment said that a poor choice of electric cars, a lack of availability in showrooms and lack of marketing by car brands are the reason EVs haven’t become popular more rapidly.
The report said that there are just 20 pure electric vehicles on sale in Europe today compared to 417 conventionally-fuelled models (petrol and diesel).
And the many of these models are simply not available for sale in showrooms or have long waiting times due to a lack of manufacturing capacity, such as the Hyundai Ioniq and BMW i3.
Transport & Environment said manufacturers can’t keep up with demand for electric cars. Models like the Hyundai Ioniq (left) and BMW i3 (right) are subject to long waiting times in Europe, according to the campaigning group
It also said that on average across Germany, France, UK, Spain, Italy and Norway only 2.1 per cent of carmakers’ marketing budgets were spent on zero-emission vehicles and 1.6 per cent on plug-in hybrid models.
As a result, carmakers are already behind their own sales targets, according to T&E.
Julia Hildermeier, clean vehicles and e-mobility officer at the campaigning group, said: ‘Most car makers are failing to meet their own targets for electric vehicle sales because they are making little effort to do so. Instead they blame governments for a lack of incentives and recharging points.
‘The reality is that if car makers provided more choice, and marketed and sold the vehicles more aggressively, they could meet their own goals and clean up the emissions.
‘European car makers should put their money where their mouth is and start focusing on clean cars rather than resurrecting the market for obsolete dirty diesel cars.’
Courtesy: Daily Mail Online