New Nissan Leaf unveiled as EV market grows

The market for long-range electric sedans continues to grow, as Nissan last night introduced its new Leaf EV.

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.

The Leaf gets 150 miles on a single charge to its 40 kilowatt hour battery pack. It can drive and brake on one pedal and delivers the powerful, quick-start torque of an EV. The new Leaf also has a suite of driver-assist features, including lane assist and emergency braking.

A fast charge can deliver 22 miles of range in an hour, while high-powered public charging stations can add up to 88 miles in a half-hour. It links to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The base model Leaf checks in with a sticker price of $29,990 before incentives. Higher-end models start at around $36,000 and include premium audio and additional safety features. Nissan expects to offer bigger batteries and more motor power in the 2019 model year.

Nissan is taking reservations and expects to deliver the car early next year. The new Leaf  is scheduled to be on display Saturday, Sept. 16 at the National Drive Electric Week event at De Anza Community College in Cupertino.

The updated Leaf joins the growing ranks of electric vehicles with ranges over 100 miles, made possible by dropping battery prices.

Tesla delivered 30 Model 3s to hand-picked customers in July. The base version has an advertised range of 220 miles and starts at $35,000 before incentives. Tesla received about 450,000 reservations for the electric vehicle, and is boosting production at its Fremont factory to meet demand.

The Chevy Bolt, introduced in late 2016, has a 238-mile range and a starting price around $37,000. GM has sold about 11,700 of the zero-emission vehicles this year.

Nissan introduced the Leaf to the U.S. in 2010. Early versions got about 70 miles on a single charge and appealed to commuters wanting a thrifty, green car. It has become the best-selling EV in history, topping more than 280,000 owners worldwide.

Despite the expanding options for EV customers, zero-emission vehicles make up only about 1 percent of all U.S. car sales.

Photo: Nissan revealed its 2018 Nissan Leaf at a media event in Las Vegas Sept. 5, 2017. The next generation of the all-electric Leaf goes on sale at Nissan dealers in all 50 states in early 2018. (Courtesy of Nissan)

 

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