The new, zero-emission Nissan LEAF features improvements and upgrades. The main change is Nissan Intelligent Mobility, with Nissan Intelligent Power, Nissan Intelligent Driving and Nissan Intelligent Integration. We drove the 2018 Nissan LEAF at the LA Auto Show. The interior and exterior have been modernized. It has increased power and pickup while driving. The battery also lasts longer with 38% more storage and an estimated range of 150 miles.
Nissan Intelligent Power
The focal point of Nissan Intelligent Power in the new LEAF is the e-powertrain, which offers improved energy efficiency and increased torque and power output. The new e-powertrain delivers an exhilarating, linear driving performance with a power output of 147 horsepower, 38 percent more than the previous-generation LEAF. Torque has been increased 26 percent to 236 lb-ft, resulting in improved acceleration.
Existing LEAF drivers already enjoy the instant response and linearity of performance as they navigate the city. The new LEAF’s improved acceleration will boost enjoyment even further. Even with the additional power output, the new LEAF’s driving range has been increased. The car’s new lithium-ion battery pack delivers an estimated range of 150 miles, which should satisfy the daily driving needs of the majority of LEAF owners.
The new battery design adds energy-storage capacity without increasing the size. The battery pack occupies the exact same dimensions as that of the previous-generation LEAF. The individual cell structure of the laminated lithium-ion battery cells has been improved, representing a 67 percent increase in energy density versus the original 2010 LEAF model.
Another key engineering improvement for the lithium-ion battery pack is the use of enhanced electrode materials with revised chemistry, resulting in higher power density while contributing to greater battery durability upon charge and discharge.
For those who want more excitement and performance, Nissan will also offer a new higher power, longer range version at a higher price for the 2019 model year. The new LEAF links drivers, vehicles and communities through the user-friendly NissanConnectSM feature and systems that share power between electric vehicles and homes, buildings and power grids.
Nissan Intelligent Driving
Headlining the new LEAF’s Nissan Intelligent Driving technology are ProPILOT Assist, e-Pedal and the company’s heralded Nissan Safety Shield. ProPILOT Assist is a single-lane driving assistance technology. Once activated, it can automatically control the distance to the vehicle in front, using a speed preset by the driver (between 20 mph and 90 mph).
It can also help the driver steer and keep the vehicle centered in its lane. If the car in front stops, the ProPILOT Assist 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.
Another innovation that enhances the LEAF’s driving experience is the e-Pedal, which is offered as standard equipment on all grade levels. It allows the driver the simplicity of accelerating, decelerating and stopping the car by using the accelerator pedal alone — a revolutionary innovation that can change the way people drive.
By simply releasing the accelerator, the LEAF will come to a smooth and complete stop without the need to press the brake pedal. With a deceleration rate of up to 0.2g, 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 U.S. have shown that the 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 percent of their driving needs.
Along with ProPILOT Assist and e-Pedal, the new LEAF is equipped with a set of advanced safety technologies including Intelligent Lane Intervention, Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Intelligent Around View Monitor with moving object detection.
Using vehicle-to-home systems, the battery makes it possible to store surplus solar power during the daytime and then use it to help power the home in the evening. The customer can also recharge the battery in the middle of the night, when prices are lowest in some markets, and then use the electricity during the day to reduce energy costs.
In some countries with V2G (vehicle-to-grid) systems, LEAF owners can get incentives from energy companies to improve power grid stability by absorbing demand fluctuation. The system is not offered in the United States at this time.
Nissan Intelligent Integration with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
A newly designed interface on the Nissan LEAF smartphone app allows users to monitor the vehicle’s state of charge, schedule charging to benefit from optimal energy tariffs, find the nearest charging station, and pre-heat or cool the car before getting in.
Monitors and switches have also been redesigned for smart, stress-free operation. Most notable is the combination of an analog speedometer and a multi-information display. On the left side, the 7-inch, full-color, thin-film transistor (TFT) display shows a power gauge meter by default. The driver can smoothly change the information that is displayed.
The center display has a screen with a flush-surface design allowing the driver to easily operate audio and navigation systems and connect to smartphones intuitively with just a fingertip. The display shows the Safety Shield technology, the vehicle’s state-of-charge and a power gauge, as well as audio and navigation system information.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have been added to the infotainment system in cars equipped with the navigation system. The audio and navigation functions can be modified with a steering switch, without taking hands off the steering wheel.
Overall interior quality has also been enhanced. A matte chrome finish with a high-quality feel has been applied to the rim of the steering wheel, wrapped in genuine leather, and the center display, making for consistent brightness and quality of each metal finisher. Matte and glossy shades of black have been carefully applied in the air conditioner control panel and the vent grille, creating an advanced, precise interface and a comfortable cabin – like a high-quality living room with relaxing softness and warmth combined at their best.
Using NissanConnect, a key part of Nissan Intelligent Integration, the driver can search for continuously updated information such as the location and operating hours of free charging stations and charging station availability. Owners can also access their smartphone to check the car’s battery status.
In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized annually by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year since 2010.