Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The 2018 Leaf Isn't Just an EV; It's an Icon of Nissan's Future


“The era of Electric Vehicles has come,” boldly declares Hiroto Saikawa, Nissan’s President and Chief Executive Officer as the company pulled the curtains off the all-new, second-generation Leaf. And just as its predecessor changed the perception of market viability for EVs (it has sold over 300,000 units globally making it the best-selling EV), the Leaf aims to embody Nissan’s future. It just so happens it’s an EV.

With the race to build and market fully autonomous cars in full steam, Nissan has stepped up by providing Level 2 autonomy in the 2018 Leaf. Through ProPILOT technology, the Leaf significantly reduces driving stress on the highway in both heavy and flowing traffic. It achieves single-lane autonomous driving technology. Activated at speeds up to 130 km/h, the Leaf can steer and keep itself centered in its lane. If any obstacle is detected (vehicle or pedestrian), it can bring itself to a complete stop without driver intervention. And when traffic moves once more, the car can then resume driving when the driver touches the switch or lightly presses the accelerator. Meanwhile, ProPILOT Park allows the Leaf to park and un-park itself in perpendicular or parallel spaces without any driver intervention. Using its suite of cameras and sensors, the Leaf can steer, accelerate, brake, and switch gears by itself.



Another innovation in the Leaf is e-Pedal. It allows the driver the simplicity of starting, accelerating, decelerating, stopping, and holding the car by just using the accelerator pedal alone. By simply releasing the accelerator, the car will come to a complete stop and hold itself without the need to press the brake pedal. It eliminates the need for drivers to constantly move their foot from the accelerator to the brake pedal reducing fatigue.

With over 3.5 billion accumulated kilometers driven in 49 markets around the world, Nissan has listened to customer feedback and is now offering improved range, power, and torque in the 2018 Leaf. The new Leaf now offers a power output of 110 kW (150 horsepower), a 38 percent improvement over the previous-generation model while torque is up 26 percent to 320 Nm.



Despite the increase in power, the Leaf’s overall driving range has been extensively increased. Thanks to a new lithium-ion battery pack, it offers an estimate range of 400 kilometers (Japan standards) or 378 kilometers (European NEDC standards) on a single charge. This makes recharging the Leaf potentially a once-in-a-week affair. Responsible for this new-found range is the added energy storage capacity without increasing the battery’s size. Energy density is up 67 percent.

Nissan has also announced that a higher-power, longer-range Leaf is in the works and will be out in the market in fiscal year 2018.

Setting its sights on the world’s biggest segment, the C-segment or compact car segment, the Nissan Leaf promises excellent performance and agility. It has a lower center of gravity compared to the previous model thanks to mounting the heavier components such as the battery lower. Plus, the electric power steering system has been tweaked for a more linear feel while a 10 percent bump in torsion bar stiffness improves handling. Finally, it uses the electric motor to control torque during cornering, similar to that of a torque vectoring control system.



Communicating its forward-thinking attitude, the 2018 Nissan Leaf continues where the IDS Concept Car left off. It’s aerodynamically honed, achieving a low co-efficient of drag (0.28). More than that, it uses clean lines and robust silhouette that evoke the look and feel of high-tech devices. The use of horizontal lines and even a two-tone roof motif visually lowers the car, communicating a fun-to-drive feel. It’s also the first Nissan model to adopt dual direct-lens LED headlights.

Now, the big question is: Will Nissan be bringing the Leaf into the country? The answer is surprisingly, a complicated one.

Nissan Philippines, Inc. is currently studying the market viability of the all-new Leaf. According to Ramesh Narasimhan, Nissan Philippines’s President and Managing Director, the company is always keen to bringing in cutting-edge global products such as the Leaf in the country.



That said, he cites the lack of incentives on EVs or hybrids as the main challenge; more so than the lack of charging infrastructure. A firm believer in electric vehicles, Mr. Narasimhan says that he wants Nissan to start the EV revolution in the Philippines just as they have in other markets around the world. “I don’t have to make money off selling the Nissan Leaf in the Philippines,” he said. “We [Nissan] are doing this for the future. We must drive electrification forward even if we are doing it at low volume in the beginning. It’s our commitment in sustainable mobility.” It’s an apt statement actually, given Nissan literally stands for “Nihon Sangyo” or Japan Industries—a nod to its social responsibility by democratizing mobility for everyone.




11 comments:

  1. Can this so called emergency auto stop also consider the distance of the vehicle behind, just wondering

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  2. i don't want an expensive EV like Leaf, tesla or Bolt. just give me a reasonably safe electric subcompact that's CHEAP for use around the city. then i charge it at home. i don't need extensive charging infrastructure around the country

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    1. The Leaf is priced like a compact car so there's no worry about pricing. That said, the Renault-Nissan alliance is coming up with a sub-P 500,000 electric car as well.

      Nissan is aware that price is the biggest barrier to entry and they're hoping that incentives would come in and help them bring the prices down. Infrastructure, they say, is secondary.

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    2. give me an electric that costs 1M and i'll buy it today. leaf still costs way more than that. but i'm sure they'll go down in price as battery prices go down, and when they start stripping out features i don't need like autonomy. in fact the car i'll buy this year would probably be the last gasoline car i'll own

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  3. I wonder what the cost/km will be with our high electricity rates.

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  4. It looks... pretty normal. That's a good thing because it won't alienate conservative buyers. Some electric cars are known to be deceptively fast. Hope this one is too.

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    1. It is. Nissan says it'll do 0-100 km/h in less than 8 seconds. No official figures have been released yet though.

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    2. Wow that is pretty fucking fast. Might be a better alternative to the honda civic.

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  5. I'm all for electric vehicles but autonomous driving? are people really that lazy these days? and any car enthusiast wouldn't want that I'm sure.I mean, we buy the cars we like because we want to drive them. It's not really a "need", car companies make it just to have an edge over competitors. The other commenter is right, to make the price lower they should just get rid of that autonomous thing.

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  6. Electricity is so hugely expensive in the Philippines...major hurdle to this development.

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