Nissan revealed the Nissan LEAF electric vehicles in a global launch event in Yokohama, followed by its North American debut at a media event in Las Vegas. The new LEAF features greater range, a dynamic new design and three main new intelligent driving technologies. The first is ProPILOT advanced driver assistance system; the second, ProPILOT Park; and the third, e-Pedal (earlier post).
The new e-powertrain gives the new Nissan LEAF 110 kW of power output (up 38% from the previous generation) and 320 N·m of torque (up 26%) from the EM57 motor. The LEAF now offers a range of 400 km (249 miles) on the Japan JC08 cycle. Nissan puts driving range in Europe at 378 km (235 miles) on the NEDC and in North America at 150 miles (241 km). Maximum speed is 144 km/h (89 mph). The new LEAF will also be followed in model year 2019 with a high-power version with increased motor power and battery capacity.
The new LEAF features a 40 kWh Li-ion battery pack that can be quick charged up to 80% in 40 minutes). The new battery design adds energy-storage capacity without increasing the size; the battery pack occupies the same dimensions as that of the previous-generation Nissan LEAF.
The individual cell structure of the laminated lithium-ion battery cells was improved—a 67% increase in energy density versus the 2010 model. Another key engineering improvement for the lithium-ion battery pack is enhanced electrode materials with revised chemistry, resulting in higher power density while contributing to greater battery durability on charge and discharge.
With the aerodynamic body styling, including a rear bumper with a clear-cut curve and aero-design wheels, the drag coefficient of the new Nissan LEAF is a low 0.28.
To match the improved output of the electric motor and inverter, Nissan engineers enhanced the car’s chassis for better stability. Heavy components including the battery are placed in the center of the body, helping achieve smaller yaw moments of inertia compared with front-engine vehicles and thus improving directional stability, enabling smoother cornering.
The new Nissan LEAF’s electric power steering system has a more linear feel that enhances confidence, especially on highways, with enhanced feedback from the road surface. This is the result of a software upgrade, new control logic working in conjunction with the steering angle sensor, and a 10% increase in steering torsion bar stiffness.
Additionally, the urethane bump stop for the rear suspension has been replaced by a rubber one to reduce shocks and bumpiness when driving on uneven roads. The new Nissan LEAF also comes with Intelligent Ride Control for more precise electric motor torque control generation when cornering, reducing vibration while simultaneously improving ride quality and steering control.
The new Nissan LEAF features three main new intelligent driving technologies:
ProPILOT is a single-lane autonomous driving technology. Once activated, it can automatically control the distance to the vehicle in front, using a speed preset by the driver (between about 30 km/h and 100 km/h). It can also help the driver steer and keep the vehicle centered in its lane.
If the car in front stops, the ProPILOT system will automatically apply the brakes to bring the vehicle to a full stop if necessary. After coming to a full stop, the vehicle can remain in place even if the driver's foot is off the brake. If traffic restarts, the car will resume driving when the driver touches the switch again or lightly presses the accelerator to activate ProPILOT. All these functions can significantly reduce stress when driving on the highway in both heavy and flowing traffic.
ProPILOT Park is a fully fledged system that helps drivers park by automatically controlling acceleration, brakes, handling, shift changing and parking brakes to guide the car into a parking spot.
By combining advanced image processing technology using four high-resolution cameras and information from 12 ultrasonic sensors around the car, ProPILOT Park guides the car into a space safely and accurately. All steering, braking and throttle inputs for various parking maneuvers, such as parallel parking, are automated. The system can automatically identify a parking space around the car so that the driver doesn't need to set a target parking position. Requiring only three easy steps for activation, this technology liberates drivers from one of the most tedious, and at times the most challenging, tasks of driving.
e-Pedal, offered as standard equipment, allows the driver the simplicity of starting, accelerating, decelerating, stopping and holding the car by using the accelerator pedal alone. By simply releasing the accelerator, the car will come to a smooth and complete stop and hold without the need to press the brake pedal. With a deceleration rate of up to 0.2 g, the e-Pedal eliminates the need for drivers to constantly move their foot from the accelerator to the brake pedal to slow down or stop. This helps reduce fatigue and increase enjoyment.
Studies by Nissan in Japan, Europe and the US have showed that the Nissan LEAF’s e-Pedal reduces the number of times the driver must apply the brakes while commuting in heavily congested traffic. While the conventional brake pedal must still be used in aggressive braking situations, the e-Pedal lets drivers use a single pedal for more than 90% of their driving needs.
Drivers of the new Nissan LEAF will quickly come to love the e-Pedal, as it makes the usual experience of urban driving far smoother and more fluid, and less demanding. Our testing has showed that drivers quickly find the e-Pedal intuitive and even enjoyable. It promotes anticipation on the road, which in turn has a positive effect on driving pleasure.—Hiroki Isobe, chief vehicle engineer
Along with ProPILOT, ProPILOT Park and e-Pedal, the new Nissan LEAF is equipped with a set of advanced safety technologies including Intelligent Lane Intervention, Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning, Traffic Sign Recognition, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Intelligent Around View Monitor with moving object detection and Emergency Assist for Pedal Misapplication.
The new Nissan LEAF drives Nissan Intelligent Mobility, which is the core brand strategy for Nissan’s future. The new Nissan LEAF, with its improved autonomy range, combined with the evolution of autonomous drive technology, such as ProPILOT Park and the simple operation of the e-Pedal, strengthens Nissan’s EV leadership, as well as the expansion of EVs globally. It also has the core strengths that will be embodied by future Nissan models.—Hiroto Saikawa, president and chief executive officer of Nissan
The new Nissan LEAF goes on sale 2 October in Japan. The model is slated for deliveries in January in the US, Canada and Europe. It will eventually be sold in more than 60 markets worldwide.
In the US, the starting price was announced at $29,990—$690 below current 2017 LEAF starting MSRP.