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07 Setiembre 2017, 07:20 | Dolorita Barahona
Nissan Motor Co's new Leaf the latest version of the world's top selling electric vehicle, is seen during its world premiere in Chiba
"Nissan is the first manufacturer to officially announce its intention of offering a mainstream intelligent EV (electric vehicle) in Thailand", Antoine Barthes, president of Nissan Motor Thailand, said at the global unveiling of the new Leaf in Japan yesterday. But it falls short of being a Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt competitor.
Based on looks alone, the answer is probably "yes".
"That's a lower price than the Leaf in market today and it includes more power, range and technology, all wrapped in a lovely new exterior and interior design", Muñoz said.
Will it be enough to give the new Leaf traction in the market?
The Nissan is priced lower than the other two but also doesn't match up to them in the power output, driving range and features department. Its predecessor's quoted range was 155 miles in top-spec guise.
The update comes after the firm revealed its new Leaf on Wednesday, but declined to say where the new vehicle would be manufactured. With normal charging, a full 16 hours are needed for a 3-kilowatt system, and eight hours at 6 kilowatts.
The new Leaf also has a suite of driver-assist features, including lane assist and emergency braking. This setup isn't yet in place in the United Kingdom, but the Government recently announced a £20 million feasibility study in this area. As soon as you take your foot off the accelerator, the Leaf's regenerative brakes (which uses otherwise-wasted kinetic energy from the brakes to recharge the batteries) and its standard brakes will automatically slow the auto. Instead drivers only have to lift off the e-pedal and the auto will slow due to the regenerative braking. Well, for now. Ford has confirmed interest in building electric cars (including a 300-mile electric SUV), Hyundai and Kia are pushing harder on EVs (the Ioniq EV already has a 124-mile range), and EVs will become an increasingly important part of Volkswagen's future. Part of the genius of the original Leaf was anyone coming from a petrol or diesel vehicle would find it relatively familiar inside. A 7-inch touchscreen with the usual "infotainment" features is standard. The ProPILOT Park system can automatically manoeuvre the Leaf into a space by controlling the acceleration, braking and steering.
A more satisfied Leaf owner said he installed a three kilowatt solar panel at a cost of 750,000 rupees and was not drawing power from the national grid to charge his vehicle. The new battery creates 147 horsepower, a sizable step upwards from the current model's 107.
Research has shown that Leaf buyers wanted a vehicle below the $30,000 starting price, but they also wanted more features, Maragno said. With the foot completely off the accelerator pedal, the vehicle will sit still until the accelerator is pressed again. However, unlike some other semi-autonomous cars from rival brands, the Leaf will not resume driving from stationary unless the driver touches the accelerator. It maintains a set distance between the Leaf and the vehicle in front, in addition to keeping the Leaf centered in the lane and braking to a full stop if necessary.
Reed is convinced the new Leaf is the right package at the right price, and that 150 miles of range meets 90% of the usage requirements for Leaf customers.
Overall, it left us impressed.
Cabin noise has been reduced thanks to less wind drag, aerodynamic changes and a quieter electric motor.
It's improved, but is the new Leaf starting from behind?
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