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First Drive: 2018 Nissan Leaf

Second-gen model gets horsepower and range upgrades.

by on Sep.07, 2017

The second-generation Nissan Leaf offers more horsepower and nearly double the range of its predecessor.

Most anyone who has driven a modern electric car acknowledges that they are fun to drive with solid ride and handling and the kind of pickup from a standing start that can match a good old-fashioned muscle car.

With the introduction of the second generation all-electric Leaf, perhaps the most successful and popular electric vehicle on the market in the past decade, Nissan is doubling down on the fun-to-drive component of EVs, even as it extends its range and adds new technology into the car, while maintaining what it describes as an affordable price, which starts at $29,990 before adding in the $885 destination charge.

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At its heart, the 2018 Leaf’s electric powertrain has been upgraded. The new Leaf carries a 40-kilowatt battery with a range 150 mileswhich translates into a 40% improvement over the previous generation vehicle and opens the door to longer commutes and reducing driver anxiety. The new e-powertrain is rated at 147 horsepower and 236 foot-pounds of torque, providing improved acceleration and seat-of-the-pants driving enjoyment. (more…)

Nissan Expects 2018 Leaf to Turnover New Buyers

Maker plans to play up Leaf's performance, not its green impact.

by on Sep.06, 2017

Nissan's 2018 Leaf EV is expected to see a bump in sales as interest in electric vehicles is on the rise.

(This story has been updated to reflect the coming addition of an optional, longer-range battery and higher-performance powertrain for the Leaf.)

The rising interest in electric vehicles as well as well as the availability of competitive models will ultimately help Nissan sell EVs in the U.S. once the 2018 Leaf goes on sale across the country early next month, company officials predicted as they took the wraps off the Leaf during an event in Las Vegas.

Brian Mangano, director of EV marketing and sales strategy, noted during an interview that there is greater awareness of electric vehicles now than there was back in 2010 when the first-generation Leaf made its debut. “It’s the awareness that comes with more entrants into the market. It validates EVs as a viable mobility option. Those things help us along,” he said.

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“Plus, we’ve just learned a lot. We’ve expanded into new markets. We’ve been available in all 50 states for a long time, but we’ve expanded our marketing efforts in places like Vermont,” said Mangano, who noted the since its launch in 2010, Leaf has been the most affordable mass production EV in the world. (more…)

Nissan Rolls the Design Dice with 2018 Leaf

Conservative-looking EV expected to hit dealers early next year.

by on Sep.05, 2017

Nissan took a gamble with a conservative design for its second-generation Leaf, which debuted in Las Vegas.

For much of the motoring public, electric vehicles remain something of an exotic technology that carmakers are doubling down on EVs as the automotive landscape continues to change. Nissan and its ally, Renault, are moving to remain the leader in battery-electric vehicles.

José Muñoz, chief performance officer, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., and chairman, Nissan North America Inc., said Nissan’s objective is to remain the global leader in electric vehicle sales as he unveiled the second-generation of the Nissan Leaf at an event in Las Vegas.

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The Las Vegas debut immediately followed the Leaf’s global launch in Tokyo, Japan. The next-generation Leaf goes on sale at Nissan dealers in all 50 states in early 2018, Munoz said. (more…)

Nissan Working Up 200+ Mile Version of Leaf Battery-Car

“We want to be competitive,” says CEO Ghosn, as GM reveals long-range Chevy Bolt.

by on Jan.12, 2015

The current Nissan Leaf is due for a redesign and new battery pack in two years.

Nissan is planning to launch a new version of its Leaf battery-electric vehicle about two years from now, and it will offer a “high-output” version that should deliver 200 miles or more of range.

That would roughly double the current Leaf’s battery range – and put it up against the Chevrolet Bolt, the new 200-mile pure battery-electric vehicle General Motors announced on Monday during the opening day of media previews at the North American International Auto Show.

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“We want to be competitive,” Ghosn said during a conversation following a media briefing, quickly adding, “It may have even more range.” (more…)

Nissan Leaf Breaks EV Sales Record for U.S. – Again

Maker tracking to hit 30,000 units.

by on Oct.30, 2014

The Nissan Leaf broke it's on single-year sales record, which it set last year, with two months left this year.

And the winner is…the Nissan Leaf! Again.

The best-selling electric vehicle in the world set a new annual sales record in the U.S. with two months to spare. Through September, the company sold 21,822 Leafs and was on pace to beat the previous high of 22,610 in 2013.

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The Leaf set that record too. For the record, Leaf sales are up 36% this year and are on track to approach 30,000 units. (more…)

First Drive: 2011 Nissan Leaf

Battery car charges into the unknown.

by on Sep.10, 2010

The 2011 Nissan Leaf is the first of several battery vehicles from the Japanese maker.

Automakers, by nature, tend to be a risk-averse group.  No surprise considering a major new vehicle program can quickly run costs up to a billion dollars or more.

Yet, Nissan is putting plenty on the line as it gets ready to roll out its first battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, the 2011 Leaf.  Not just money, but prestige, with CEO Carlos Ghosn’s own reputation on the line as he personally champions the breakthrough battery car.

Will the 2011 Nissan Leaf live up to expectations as the first purely battery-driven automobile to meet the needs of the typical American motorist, rather than tech-crazy “first adopters” and enviro-addicts willing to opt for anything promoted as green?  To find out, we jumped at the change to drive the new BEV, which Nissan had waiting for us at its technical center in suburban Detroit.

It takes only a quick glimpse to recognize the Leaf isn’t your everyday automobile.  Like Toyota, with the popular Prius, Nissan has opted for a unique – and distinctive – design that will blare out, “I’m different,” as it rolls by.

Now, that’s not just to let owners easily show off their environmentalist bona fides.  There’s a practical purpose to the sweeping lines of the 2011 Nissan Leaf.  Minimizing aerodynamic resistance has yielded a significant bump in the BEV’s range and improved performance as well, the maker claims.  It also has advantages when it comes to creature comfort.

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In the plus column when it comes to electric vehicles is their naturally quiet nature.  You don’t have a big internal combustion engine roaring away directly in front of you.  But that creates what some call the “stumps in the swap syndrome.”  All the little tics and pops that are normally masked by the IC engine are suddenly quite apparent.

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California Regulators Just Say “No” to Chevrolet Volt HOV Access and a $5,000 Tax Credit

Senior GM exec sees no sales "impact." Volt to qualify in 2012?

by on Jul.28, 2010

The Chevrolet Volt is moving from prototype to production, but it won't have access to commuter lanes along the way.

Is it a show of favoritism or simply the strict interpretation of the rules?  Either way, buyers of the new Chevrolet Volt will not get the coveted sticker that gives them access to the California’s fast-moving commuter lanes, nor will they qualify for a potential $5,000 state-funded rebate.

But those who opt for another new battery car, the 2011 Nissan Leaf, will qualify for both, according to the California Air Resources Board.  Considering both vehicles will soon go to market with lease rates of $350 a month, it raises the possibility that CARB will, in effect, be lending support to Nissan at Chevy’s expense.

While a senior General Motors official is clearly disappointed, he stresses that some tweaks to the Volt emission system should allow it to qualify for the HOV – or High-Occupancy Vehicle – lane pass and tax break by 2012, a little more than a year after the first Volt rolls into dealer showrooms. (See Single Occupant Honda CNG and Fuel Cell Vehicles Granted California High Occupancy Vehicle Access)

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In the meantime, insists Volt’s program chief Tony Posawatz, “The car won’t have trouble selling,” especially during the first year, he tells TheDetroitBureau.com, when availability of what is technically known as an extended-range electric vehicle, or E-REV, will be limited to just 10,000 vehicles.

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