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In the last seven years more than 283,000 Leaf cars have been sold, making it the most purchased electric car on the planet.
Over the years its functionality and range have improved but so has the pace of electric vehicle development. It faces stiff competition from the Volkswagen e-Golf, the Chevrolet Bolt and the Tesla Model 3.
Now Nissan has launched a longer-range version of the Leaf, with production expected to start in the UK and the US by the end of the year.
Here are 10 things you need to know about the second generation of the world’s most popular electric car:
1. The car will have a range of 235 miles on a single charge thanks to a bigger 40 kilowatt hour (kWh) battery, about 50 per cent further on a single charge than its predecessor. But it still falls short of the ranges offered by other recent electric cars from Tesla and General Motors. The Tesla Model 3 can run between 220 and 310 miles. General Motors’ Chevrolet Bolt has a range of 238 miles.
2. It features 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. Nissan says this will provide added energy efficiency gains, although motorists can drive with both a separate accelerator and brake pedal if they prefer.
3. The car includes an automated parking system, called ProPilot Park, that will take control of the vehicle to manoeuvre it into difficult spaces. Nissan says the system can handle parallel parking 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.
4. Prices will start at £22,220. Nissan plans to offer a higher priced model, with greater power and range, next year. Prices for the Tesla 3 start at £26,850 and £29,150 for the Chevrolet Bolt.
5. Order books for the new Leaf will open on October 2 in Japan and in the coming months in the US, Canada and Europe. The Leaf will go on sale in Europe from January 2018.
6. The car will be built at Nissan’s Oppama plant in Japan, Sunderland plant in the UK and Smyrna plant in Texas. Production of the new car is expected to begin at the end of 2017 which indicates that customers will receive the new car towards mid-2018.
7. The new Leaf has a more dynamic look with a sporty, eye-catching body. Its exterior was designed with clean and simple lines and a sleek silhouette. The bumper and highlights in the lower part of the body emphasise the lower centre of gravity.
8. It comes with a wider range of exterior colour options including the new ‘Spring Green’ which is a first for the Leaf.
9. The angle of the charging port at the front has been reconfigured for greater convenience, letting the customer connect the charging cable without bending down. Nissan said its testing found that the new 45-degree angle allows drivers of all heights to easily connect the charger.
10. Even at highway speeds, the new Nissan LEAF’s cabin is designed to be very quiet. Along with producing less drag, aerodynamic upgrades and exterior refinements have led to a reduction in wind noise. Other noise-reduction measures include optimisation of the redesigned inverter’s structural rigidity, and a noise-isolating cover on top of the power distribution module . The noise from the electric motor itself has also been reduced.