The Nissan Leaf, a car the Japanese manufacturer says has become the world's best-selling electric vehicle with 50,000 units sold globally, has been updated and re-engineered to appease European tastes.
Part of the more than 100 updates to the new Nissan Leaf see the all-electric car’s driving range improve from 175km to 199km, under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), and charging times reduced by half, from eight to four hours, via a new 6.6kW on-board charger that allows the use of 32-amp charging where available (typical domestic sockets deliver 10 amps).
While visual changes are limited to a subtly revised front grille that helps reduce aerodynamic drag from 0.29 to 0.28 Cd, the new Leaf’s powertrain – still made up of an 80kW AC synchronous motor powered by a 48-module compact lithium-ion battery – is now assembled together as a single stack unit and mounted below the cabin. The new location means a lower centre of gravity and should result in improved handling.
The updated Leaf’s charger has also been moved from the rear of the car to under the bonnet. This has not only allowed cargo space to increase by as much as 40 litres for an overall boot capacity of 370L, but also eliminates the obstacle in the middle of the boot floor seen when the seats are folded down. Rear legroom has also been increased thanks to reshaped seat cushions.
In another tweak, a new LED inspection light has been added to the front-mounted charging port meaning drivers won’t need to rely on external light sources when connecting their cars to an electric source at night. The charging port itself has also been reworked, now featuring a release mechanism that employs an electric switch, which is matched by a new electro-mechanical locking mechanism for the car’s charge cable that removes the need to lock the cable to the car manually.
New more supportive height-adjustable front seats and new environmentally friendly bio-fabric seat upholstery – 100 per cent derived from sugar cane – join extra features including new wheels, new colours and Nissan’s Around View Monitor.
Production of the 2013 Nissan Leaf will now spread across three different locations: North America, Japan and Europe.
Nissan Australia is yet to confirm when the updated Leaf will arrive on our shores.
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