Nissan introduced the 2016 all-electric LEAF with an available 30 kWh battery that provides an EPA-estimated range of 107 miles (172 km)—a 27% increase over the previous 24 kWH battery. All LEAF models feature an 80kW AC synchronous motor that generates 80 kW (107 hp) and 254 N·m (187 lb-ft) of torque, which drives the front wheels through a single-speed reducer.
The new battery (with 25% more capacity than the 24 kWh pack) is standard for LEAF SV and LEAF SL models. LEAF S models continue to be equipped with a 24 kWh battery with an EPA-estimated range of 84 miles.The 2016 model also offers an enhanced IT system that is more user-friendly and gives drivers greater vehicle connectivity.
The new 30 kWh battery design adds capacity without increasing battery package size by improving the cell structure of the laminated lithium-ion battery cells. Improved electrode material with revised chemistry results in higher power density and contributes to enhanced battery durability upon charge and discharge.
While the 24 kWh battery is composed of four cells per module (192 cells total), the new 30 kWh battery’s modules contain eight newly designed cells per module (192 cells total). Unlike conventional cylindrical batteries, the thin, compact laminated cells offer more flexibility in packaging and design applications. The 30 kWh battery pack weighs just 46 pounds more than the 24 kWh battery pack and has the same battery pack size and footprint.
The 2016 LEAF SV and SL have MPGe ratings of 124 city, 101 highway and 112 combined fuel economy, while LEAF S has MPGe ratings of 126 city, 101 highway and 114 combined.
As in previous years, the front-wheel drive LEAF uses a dedicated Nissan EV platform with batteries housed in the floor for optimum vehicle packaging and weight distribution. The body design includes a rigid-mounted battery frame, which helps provide greater body rigidity compared to a conventional compact car.
Nissan LEAF rides on a 106.3-inch wheelbase, with a 175.0-inch overall length, 69.7-inch width and 61.0-inch height. LEAF provides room for five adults and 24 cubic feet of cargo space. Placing the batteries in the floor of the vehicle provides optimum weight distribution to help enhance handling and allows for five-passenger seating by not intruding into the cabin space.
The 2016 Nissan LEAF offers a number of charging options. A charge port is located in the front body for the 240V charger and portable trickle-charge cable (110V). A charge port light and lock are standard. The available Quick Charge Port (standard on SV and SL, optional on S) allows charging to 80% capacity in about 30 minutes at public charging stations using a CHAdeMO fast charger. There is also a standard photovoltaic solar panel spoiler on SL models, which supports charging of the 12-volt battery for vehicle accessories.
LEAF SV and SL grades feature a 6.6 kW onboard charger that, using a 240V outlet, will charge the battery to 100% in about six hours. The system is an option on LEAF S, which in standard form utilizes a 3.6 kW onboard charger. All LEAF models come with a standard portable trickle charge cable.
Smooth ride and handling are provided through use of an independent strut suspension with stabilizer bar in front and a torsion beam rear suspension with integrated stabilizer bar. Nissan LEAF utilizes a vehicle-speed-sensitive electric power steering system, while responsive braking is provided by power-assisted front vented disc/solid rear disc brakes with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist.
The standard regenerative braking system in LEAF helps increase range. By applying the brakes or reducing speed by letting off the accelerator, the electric motor acts as an electric generator, converting energy that would otherwise be wasted into battery energy. The “B-mode” (standard on all grades) allows the driver to engage an even more aggressive level of regenerative braking while decelerating, such as when going down hills. B-mode is offered in addition to the normal and Eco drive modes.
Standard LEAF safety systems include Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt sensors and occupant classification sensor, front seat-mounted side impact supplemental air bags, roof-mounted curtain side impact supplemental air bags for front and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection, three-point ALR/ELR seat belts (driver’s seat ELR only) with pretensioners and load limiters, child seat upper tether anchor, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system and child safety rear door locks. Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Traction Control System (TCS) are also standard on all LEAF models.
Since Nissan LEAF launched in December 2010, we’ve become the global leaders in electric vehicle sales with an all-electric car specifically designed for the mass market. [More than 185,000 current Nissan LEAF owners world-wide. Ed.] We know that to maintain that leadership, we must continue developing battery technology that strikes that ideal balance between capacity, packaging, durability and affordability.
The new battery is just one of several enhancements for the 2016 LEAF. We’re also bringing audio and connectivity upgrades by adding NissanConnect with Mobile Apps with 5.0-inch color display as standard features for LEAF S models, and for SV and SL grades we are offering NissanConnect with Navigation and Mobile Apps–featuring a 7.0-inch color display with multi-touch control and Nissan Voice Recognition as standard features.—Andrew Speaker, director, Nissan Electric Vehicle (EV) Sales & Marketing
The NissanConnect with Mobile Apps system for 2016 LEAF S includes Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System, Streaming audio via Bluetooth, Hands-free Text Messaging Assistant and USB connection port for iPod interface and other compatible devices.
NissanConnect with Navigation and Mobile Apps for SV and SL grades include a 7.0-inch color display with multi-touch control, Nissan Voice Recognition for navigation and audio, HD radio, and SiriusXM Travel Link for weather, fuel prices, movie listings, stock info and sports (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately).
The menu screen graphics and customization process have been improved and charging screen information is now automatically updated every time the ignition is turned on and with every 12 miles (19 km) of driving.
The NissanConnect EV system (no-charge subscription required), also standard on SV and SL grades, allows remote connection to the vehicle, providing monitoring of battery state-of-charge, start charging event control and turning on the heating and air conditioning system prior to entering the vehicle.
Nissan LEAF and its battery are assembled in the United States at Nissan’s Smyrna, Tenn., assembly plant.
The 2016 Nissan LEAF has a starting price of $26,700 after the federal tax credit of $7,500 for the SV model and $29,290 for LEAF SL after the federal tax credit. Starting price for 2016 Nissan LEAF S grade remains $21,510 after the federal tax incentive.