Nissan’s Leaf has a permanent place in history for being one of the first modern-day mass-production electric vehicles available anywhere, and arguably the first practical EV (sorry Mitsubishi), so it’s no wonder the compact hatchback quickly became the best-selling electric vehicle in the world.
Nissan investing half a billion into US EV manufacturing and technology operations
Therefore, Nissan is investing $500 million USD to partially transform its Canton, Mississippi assembly plant into an electric vehicle production facility, so that it will be capable of producing new Nissan and Infiniti EV models by 2025. This will include retraining and upskilling approximately 2,000 workers from the plant’s current 5,000 employee total, a process that will result in the Canton plant being Nissan’s centre for EV manufacturing and technology.
“Today’s announcement is the first of several new investments that will drive the EV revolution in the United States,” said Ashwani Gupta, chief operating officer for Nissan Motor Corporation, Ltd. “Nissan is making a strong investment in Canton’s future, bringing the latest technology, training and process to create a truly best-in-class EV manufacturing team.”
Nissan Ambition 2030 project responds to massive EV growth expectations
While it’s only part of a $13.5-billion overall investment in Nissan’s U.S. manufacturing operations to date, of which $4-billion was previously invested in the Canton facility alone, the company is betting on industry estimates that 40 percent of new vehicle purchases will be fully electric by 2030.
There are certain to be even more electrified models sold as hybrids and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles in the near future too, which is why the “Nissan Ambition 2030” project is targeting 23 electrified models within the Nissan and Infiniti brands globally by 2030, of which 15 will be fully electric.
Two new electric mid-size crossover SUVs are the likely candidates for Canton
The 19-year-old Canton assembly plant, which currently produces four Nissan models, including the Altima, Frontier, Titan and Titan XD, and has built almost five million vehicles since opening in 2003, will have two entirely new fully electric models in production by 2025.
The Leaf, which is currently built in Smyrna, Tennessee for U.S. consumption (and the Oppama Plant in Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan for Asian markets, plus NMUK in Sunderland, UK for European buyers), won’t be transferring production to the revised Mississippi plant, so it’s likely the two new models will be the upcoming Nissan Ariya and something similar to the Infiniti QX Inspiration, both mid-size crossover SUVs that will target large segments of both mainstream volume-branded and premium markets.
Combining EV and truck production could result in future electrified Frontier
Electrified commercial vans are also a possibility, being that Nissan was selling its full-size NV Cargo and NV Passenger vans, plus its NV200 compact cargo van up until September of 2021, when they were discontinued as part of Nissan’s new Business Advantage plan. A fleet of new electric vans could revitalize this segment for the automaker, and simultaneously expand Nissan’s important fleet customer base for its “Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM)” driving technologies, a more advanced version of its ProPilot Assist system that’s already available in many Nissan and Infiniti retail models.
Story credit: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Nissan and Infiniti
Ask most Canadians to name an electric car and Toyota’s Prius will more often than not get the credit, but the true global EV leader is Nissan’s Leaf. The Prius isn’t actually an electric vehicle,…
Ask most Canadians to name an electric car and Toyota’s Prius will more often than not get the credit, but the true global EV leader is Nissan’s Leaf.
The Prius isn’t actually an electric vehicle, but rather a hybrid that still relies on a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine to get it from point A to B, while using its battery and electric motor for very low-speed (less than 20 km/h), short-distance travel (parking lots) as well as supplemental power to reduce fuel consumption and therefore improve emissions. Toyota now produces a plug-in hybrid dubbed Prius Prime that allows longer EV-mode distances at higher speeds, but its consumer take-rate has been very modest, while the automaker has no full EV available in our market.
The Nissan Leaf, on the other hand, is 100-percent electric, relying solely on its battery and electric motor for propulsion, and therefore requiring regular refills from home and/or public charging stations, instead of the local gas station like the Prius. Where the Prius has long been the world’s best-selling hybrid, the Leaf is similarly dominant when it comes to electric vehicles, having delivered more than 390,000 units since it arrived on the market in 2010.
Wanting to make sure it holds onto that leadership title, Canadians can now purchase the 2019 Leaf with its regular battery as well as with a more potent powertrain featuring stronger acceleration and greater range. The regular Leaf will continue to use a 40-kWh battery and 110-kW (147-horsepower) electric motor resulting in 243 kilometres of estimated driving distance per complete charge, and will also remain the model’s value leader at $40,698. The new Leaf Plus, however, will house a 62-kWh battery within its floorboards, connecting through to a 160 kW (214 hp) electric motor for an estimated 363 km of range, starting at $43,998.
“With the addition of LEAF PLUS, the Nissan LEAF is now available with two battery options and a choice of four trim levels – each featuring the many advanced technologies offered under the banner of Nissan Intelligent Mobility,” said Steve Rhind, director of marketing, Nissan Canada Inc.
To clarify, the 2019 Leaf is available in four trims as of April, including the just noted $40,698 Leaf SV, the $43,998 Leaf S Plus, the $46,598 Leaf SV Plus, and finally the $49,498 Leaf SL Plus, along with a $1,950 freight charge added across the line.
This means the regular Leaf S that was available as a 2019 model mid-way through last year and earlier this year for just $36,798 ($3,900 less than the new base model), and the regular Leaf SL that added features like leather upholstery (actually two-tone black and grey perforated leather and microfibre-like Bio Suede PET cloth), an Intelligent Around View Monitor, Driver Attention Alert, seven-speaker Bose premium audio, turn signal repeaters integrated within the side mirror caps, and more for just $42,698, will no longer be available for order in Canada (they’re still offered in the U.S.), although you may still be able to find them at your local dealer.
An upcharge of $5,900 for more power and approximately 120 km (or about 50-percent) more range might seem like a steep ask for what is basically the same car in mid-range Leaf SV trim, but it’s important to note the non-powertrain/charging system differences between the regular base Leaf and Leaf Plus trims.
For instance, buyers opting for the new Leaf S Plus receive a modified front fascia design integrating unique blue highlights, an “e+” logo plate on the underside of the charge port lid, and new rear badges depending on trim level, while additional standard upgrades include Intelligent Forward Collision Warning (I-FCW), Rear Door Alert (that reminds if something or someone has been left in the back seat when arriving at your destination), and a one-inch larger centre touchscreen measuring 8.0 inches diagonally (the base 5.0-inch display is no longer available).
It should also be noted that both regular Leaf SV and Leaf S Plus models now fill their infotainment systems with standard navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, and more, but only SV trims offer voice recognition, NissanConnect EV (for remotely connecting via your smartphone), two more audio speakers for a total of six, and more.
Also notable, the $3,300 less expensive Leaf SV adds 17-inch alloy wheels compared to 16-inch alloys with the Leaf S Plus, as well as fog lamps, an electromechanical parking brake (instead of a foot-operated one), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a Homelink universal remote, an eight-way powered driver’s seat with two-way power lumbar support, a cargo cover, and a host of advanced driver assistive systems such as Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection (which inherently includes the SV Plus model’s Intelligent Forward Collision Warning), High Beam Assist, Intelligent Cruise Control with Full Speed Range and Hold, ProPILOT Assist semi-autonomous self-driving, Steering Assist, Blind Spot Warning, Intelligent Lane Intervention, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and more.
The list of features just noted is also standard with the new Leaf SV Plus, while a shortlist of luxury items covered earlier in this story, when mentioning the now outgoing Leaf SL, also gets pulled up to new Leaf SL Plus trim, albeit with a sizeable price difference of $6,800 due to its performance and range improvements.
This is a good time to explain that many EV owners look at range performance in a similar light to how traditional car buyers might be willing to pay more for quicker straight-line acceleration and better at-the-limit handling. Either way, the new Leaf Plus is “ensuring that there’s a Nissan LEAF to meet the driving needs of a wider range of customers,” stated a press release.
With respect to those more traditional performance conventions, despite hitting the scales at 1,737 kilos (3,831 lbs) instead of 1,580 kg (3,483 lbs), thenew Leaf Plus is 13 percent quicker off the line than the regular Leaf, which Nissan says will allow its drivers to “confidently pass slower-moving vehicles, exit corners faster and more seamlessly, and merge easily with fast-moving traffic.” What’s more, the Leaf Plus’ top speed is 10 percent higher, which Nissan says is beneficial “for comfortable cruising.”
Many will find its faster charging capability an even better reason to ante up for the Leaf Plus. It comes with a new standard 100kW-capacity quick charging system that allows more efficient charging of up to 80-percent in only 45 minutes (according to the Nissan Canada’s retail website). If you can only find a 75-kW DC quick charger it will take just 5 minutes longer (50 minutes) to reach that 80-percent total, or an hour with a 50-kW DC quick charger (the regular Leaf needs about 40 minutes for an 80-percent charge with the same 50-kW DC quick charger, but can’t hook up to either 75-kW or 100-kW DC faster chargers).
Lastly, a regular 240-volt home charging station will completely fill the new Leaf Plus’ battery after approximately 11.5 hours, which is only 3.5 hours more than the regular Leaf requires, and take note the Leaf Plus can also receive an extra 35 km of range after about 60 minutes of being plugged into this less potent charging station.
Utilizing resources in mind, both Nissan EVs are incredibly efficient, with their energy equivalent ratings measuring 1.9 Le/100km in the city and 2.4 on the highway for the regular Leaf, or 2.1 Le/100km city and 2.5 highway for the Leaf Plus. Of course, litres of gasoline never enter the picture, but the Le/100km rating can be used as a guide to help those new to electric vehicles understand how their energy consumption more directly compares with an equivalent gasoline-powered vehicle, and how the energy use of EVs compare to each other.
Also important, the more capable Leaf Plus battery doesn’t impact interior passenger or cargo volume one iota, with front and rear seating still generous in all dimensions, and the rear cargo area capable of swallowing up a sizeable 668 litres (23.6 cubic feet) with its 60/40-split rear seatbacks upright, and 849 litres (30.0 cubic feet) when they’re folded flat.
If saving a few thousand is more important to you and your budget than increasing performance and range, or alternatively purchasing a more luxurious Leaf SL for considerably less money, make sure to contact your local Nissan dealer as they may have regular 2019 Leaf S and SL stock still available. Then again, if the charging benefits, extended range and added performance of the new Leaf Plus appeal more, these new models are now starting to arrive at said retailers across Canada.
To learn more about all 2019 Nissan Leaf and Leaf Plus trims, packages and standalone options, including pricing on each, plus find out about available rebates and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands, make sure to check out CarCostCanada.
Nissan has taken a very different tack by normalizing its second-generation Leaf, which is both good and a bit of a shame. Don’t mistake me for being negative about its more familial design direction,…
Nissan has taken a very different tack by normalizing its second-generation Leaf, which is both good and a bit of a shame. Don’t mistake me for being negative about its more familial design direction, because the first version’s whacky styling almost made a balloon look square, but much if not all of the initial model’s whimsy is now gone, replaced by a slick, efficient, business-first compact.
I like the look. With the Leaf’s original Dr. Seuss-inspired styling now relegated to EV history, a design that must have fully appealed to the plug-in masses that snapped it up faster than any EV before, a matured interpretation of the monobox design is all crisp, clean creases of trademark V-motion, floating C-pillar, Z-like taillight Nissan goodness, a sharp contrast to the ovoid Leaf of yore.
Alas, open the tiny hood just above that new V-shaped grille and the old car’s beautifully detailed metal “engine” cover with blue and chrome “NISSAN zero Emission” branding is gone, replaced by a much more advanced 110kW electric motor topped off with a much less inspiring black plastic cover, the branding now simply stating its “NISSAN” maker.
Yes, the electric vehicle industry is growing up, and with its maturation our once fun and funky Leaf teenager is becoming an older, more responsible adult. This said there’s much good that can be said for a more conservative approach when it comes to car design, especially when factoring in the need for aesthetic longevity, which translates into higher resale values due to greater appeal within the used market.
That new 110kW motor may do even more to bolster pre-owned Leaf values than styling, thanks to a lot more get-up-and-go and much greater range. Imperially that number reads 147 horsepower, a 40 hp gain over its predecessor, while torque is up 30 lb-ft to a much more motivating 236.
A more potent 40kWh Li-ion battery now powers the uprated motor, a 16kWh improvement over the previous generation without any increase in physical size. This means it can now travel up to 241 kilometres on a single charge compared to just 172 km for the old model, and this 69-km extension makes all the difference in the world.
Depending on the length of your commute or the complexity of your errand list, the new Leaf lets you drive around for days without recharging. What’s more, the range anxiety some might have experienced with the outgoing model should be all but gone, as long as you top it up well before the little blue battery graphic shows a need.
Replenishing from near empty takes about seven hours from a 240-volt charger or more than an entire day when hooked up to a regular 120-volt household socket. I recommend you purchase a proper Level 2 charger so you can fill up overnight, or you’ll be making a lot more impromptu stops at retail outlet charging stations than your schedule may allow for. Then again, if you can find a Level 3 DC fast-charging station you’ll be able to fill it from near zero to 80 percent in about 40 minutes, while recharging to 80 percent is always significantly quicker than trying to top it off the final 20 percent, no matter which charging process you’re using.
Fortunately, owning a plug-in allows for some front-of-the-line exclusivity when it comes to parking spots. In my city the majority of shopping malls, big box stores, hotels, and government buildings offer free charging for their greenest customers, and more often than not these specialized parking spots are located right next to the front doors of their establishments, providing a level of VIP convenience to EV ownership.
Livability in mind, the Leaf has always been roomy and comfortable. The new one is not noticeably improved for occupants or cargo, with the latter measuring a fairly generous 668 litres (23.6 cubic feet) with the 60/40-split rear seatbacks upright and 849 litres (30.0 cubic feet) when they’re folded. What’s more, there’s no battery awkwardly protruding into the cargo area like some other EVs, with the Leaf SL’s load floor nice and flat other than a smallish Bose Acoustic Wave System boombox butting up against the rear seatbacks, the seven-speaker audio upgrade making the most of the otherwise near silent Leaf interior.
The Leaf cabin is certainly quiet thanks to a lack of engine and exhaust notes, the wind rushing past and the road below the only noticeable aural intrusions, and the latter two variables are kept to a hush thanks to ample sound-deadening insulation, plenty of plush surfaces, and soft-touch composites on the dash-top and door uppers, resulting in a fairly refined environment for this class. Of course, such should be expected of a compact hatchback costing upwards of $36,798 (check out CarCostCanada for all 2019 Nissan Leaf pricing including trims, options, rebate info and even dealer invoice pricing), a seemingly steep price until considering the smaller Chevrolet Bolt starts at a cool $44,400.
Even with provincial rebates of up to $5,000 in BC and $8,000 in Quebec (Ontario no longer offers a plug-in incentive program), that’s a lot of coin for a vehicle class that normally starts well under $20,000, whereas the Leaf’s second-rung SV trim will set you back $40,698, and the top-line as-tested SL rings in a total of $42,698. Again, that’s chump change compared to the top-tier Bolt’s $49,300, while a similarly sized BMW i3 I recently tested topped $70k.
You can bet that both the BMW and Bolt come fitted with leather seats and plenty more, but so does the Leaf SL. In fact, the SL’s partially perforated leather upholstery was ultra-luxe thanks to a two-tone black and grey design, the latter comprised of the same microfibre-like Bio Suede PET cloth used for the two lower trims’ upholstery, while plenty of blue contrasting thread was joined by the same stitching on the armrests, all complemented with blue accented graphics in the gauge cluster and infotainment touchscreen, not to mention a cool blue glowing gear selector.
The seats are plenty comfortable too, with decent two-way powered lumbar support that seemed to fit the small of my back quite well, but much to my surprise and disappointment the otherwise beautifully finished leather-wrapped, flat-bottom steering wheel has a standard heatable rim but no telescopic capability, only moving up and down marginally via its tilt feature. This posed a problem when trying to get comfortable and maintain best possible control, as I had to stretch my arms too far to reach the steering wheel rim when the pedals were set up for my admittedly long-legged, short-torso five-foot-eight body.
The rear seating area is fairly roomy, albeit it’s still easy to tell you’re in a compact car. I had about five inches ahead of my knees and plenty of room for my feet when the driver’s seat was set up for my aforementioned height, although the latter isn’t raised up very high so it was difficult to get my shoes underneath when wanting to stretch out my legs. Likewise, the Leaf only provided about two and a half inches above my head, and it’s pretty narrow side-to-side with about three inches to the door panel from my outside shoulder and hip. There’s also no folding centre armrest in back, while my next gripe isn’t really a complaint, but more of a “What were they smoking?” oddity, in that the outboard rear passengers will need to reach forward to the sides of each front seat bolster in order to turn on their two-way cushion warmers.
Some might also find hauling larger cargo items challenging too, because the load floor doesn’t even come close to lining up with the 60/40-split rear seatbacks when lowered. This latter point is a tradeoff that I’d be willing to live with due to all of the extra stowage space within that deep loading area, and I must say it really works well when hauling taller, fragile items like plants, but a moveable shelf system would provide a best of both world’s scenario when requiring a larger, flatter load floor.
Now that I’m complaining, the cargo compartment isn’t finished any nicer than you’d find in a $15,000 hatchback, while when back up in front I’m forced to point out fewer pliable plastic surfaces than I’d like in any car, let alone one that hardly comes cheap, but I don’t want to totally thrash on a car that does so many other things well, particularly its digital interfaces.
Before getting into the good, I might as well tell you about the big yellow “Warning: Malfunction See Owners Manual” alert that kept taking over the multi-information display throughout my weeklong drive, especially because the graphic included showed two cars crashing. Restarting the car seemed to reboot the system so that the warning disappeared for a time, but it kept coming back annoyingly, showing something needed attention.
That warning graphic showed up on a 7.0-inch high-resolution colour TFT display that makes up the left two-thirds of the aforementioned gauge cluster, an attractive package filled with blue, green and white eco info plus more, whereas the right-side speedometer is analogue yet circled with the same stylish aqua blue hue.
Over on the centre stack is a large 7.0-inch tablet-style touchscreen on SV and SL trims (the base audio display is 5.0 inches) complete with quick-access switchgear to each side and a couple of traditional rotating knobs that came in very handy for adjusting the audio volume and scrolling through the infotainment system’s various functions, not to mention pushing to make audio sound adjustments. The graphics are attractive, and depth of contrast quite good for having a more fingerprint-friendly matte finish, plus the system is easy to operate and responds quickly to tap, pinch and swipe gestures, the navigation mapping especially reactive and the GPS guidance very accurate. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration is standard, as is a smartphone app that lets owners monitor their Leaf’s charging status, schedule a future charging time, find recharging stations, pre-heat/cool the interior, and more.
A unique bowtie-shaped single-zone automatic climate control interface sits just below in all trims, while standard two-way front seat heater switches are included within a collection of buttons that also house a 12-volt charger, USB and aux ports, and the car’s illuminated start-stop ignition button. Giving it a press brings the Leaf to life, with the only choices left being the option of default or Eco mode, and selection of the E-Pedal before releasing the electromechanical parking brake (that’s strangely not standard) and taking to the streets.
The E-Pedal is essentially the Leaf’s fourth driving mode, after default “D” for drive and “B” for increased regenerative braking, the latter two found by pulling the gear selector to the left and rearward once and then twice respectively, while Eco mode dulls response to throttle input and helps to eke out a little more range when driven economically. The new E-Pedal is more of an automated B-mode, in that it immediately applies regenerative braking when lifting off the throttle. It can be a little disconcerting at first, because it feels as if some mischievous gremlin is getting hard on the brakes without your consent, nearly bringing the Leaf to a full stop if you don’t get back on the throttle, but once familiarized it performs well and quite smoothly, while helping to recharge the battery effectively.
B-mode still exists because some owners prefer recharging their battery manually, and to that end truly skilled drivers can probably get more kinetic charging from B-mode than the E-Pedal, or at least they claim to in forums, but those new to the Leaf lifestyle might be better off leaving the E-Pedal on and Eco mode engaged when trying to extract the most from a depleting battery. Nissan claims the E-Pedal is good for 90 percent of driving requirements, with the regular brake pedal only needed for the other 10 percent, and if used this way the Leaf won’t need its brake pads replaced very often.
As long as Eco mode is turned off, throttle response is quite strong, especially when compared to conventional internal combustion engine-powered compacts. It won’t accelerate faster than a Bolt, which is a comparative pocket rocket, but it certainly won’t cause any disgruntled honking from behind.
The ride is firm, this probably due to its standard Michelin Energy Saver low roll resistance tires, but it’s hardly punishing. Roughly finished inner-city streets, irregular pavement on the highway and bridge expansion joints will be immediately noticeable, but the suspension has a reasonable amount of compliance for such a small hatchback, and as noted the seats are comfortable.
The previous Leaf wasn’t exactly sporty, so I was pleasantly surprised that the new version handles quite well, at least as far as small hatchbacks go this side of a Golf GTI, while it’s nice and stable at high speeds. To get more from the battery you’ll probably want to leave it in Eco mode at speeds under 120 km/h, while I found the default Drive position better for higher speeds, as it coasts more effortlessly.
Speaking of effortless highway driving, the Leaf offers the option of Nissan’s new ProPILOT Assist semi-autonomous self-driving in SV trims and above. It combines the Leaf’s all-speed adaptive cruise control with steering assist so you can let your hands off the wheel for short durations while traveling down the highway. While I found it more of a novelty, it helps keep the Leaf centered within its lane and is kind of fun to use.
Automatic high beams are also standard on the Leaf’s two upper trims, as is Intelligent Lane Intervention, Blind Spot Warning with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Pedestrian Detection for the otherwise standard Automatic Emergency Braking system, while Driver Attention Alert that warns of drowsiness is standard with the SL.
I found the automatic emergency braking system’s warning system worked very well, mostly because it didn’t flash its big orange warning very often. It only lit up when I was getting too close too fast, exactly like it should. Likewise, lane keep assist gently tugged the Leaf back into place when it started to leave its lane or I tried to nudge it into an adjacent lane that already had a car occupying it.
Now that I’ve started talking trims and features, the base Leaf S includes a generous supply of standard equipment such as the aforementioned heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, while the standard Leaf package also incorporates a battery heater, auto on/off LED headlamps with LED signature DRLs, proximity-sensing keyless access with pushbutton ignition, cruise control, a rearview monitor, Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming, text message reading and response, four-speaker audio, satellite radio, and all the usual active and passive safety features.
Moving up to SV trim adds the previously noted advanced driver assist systems, the electromechanical parking brake, the larger infotainment touchscreen with navigation and voice recognition, ProPILOT Assist, NissanConnect EV telematics, a hybrid heater system, 17-inch alloy wheels on 215/50 all-seasons (the base steel wheels are 16s wrapped in 205/55s), fog lamps, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a Homelink universal garage door opener, six-speaker audio, an eight-way powered driver’s seat with powered lumbar support, and a cargo cover, while the top-tier SL gains all the extras already mentioned plus LED turn signals integrated into the side mirror housings, Nissan’s very helpful 360-degree Intelligent Around View Monitor, and the impressive seven-speaker Bose audio upgrade noted earlier.
On a side note, I was glad to see a sunglasses holder in the overhead console, and yes it’s still marred by an oversized nosepiece holder that oddly doesn’t fit normal eyeglasses causing them to flop around within, but it’s better than nothing. I also appreciated LEDs used for the overhead reading lights up front. There are no rear reading lights in the rear, however, and the centre dome lamp is an old-school incandescent bulb, plus there’s no sunroof available at all, an issue that might bother some folks in need of light therapy during dark, cloudy days. Its unavailability may possibly be a weight saving issue, but when automakers are forced to compromise to such levels when going electric, it’s reasonable that some consumers just won’t go.
Yet to Nissan’s credit plenty of Canadian consumers are buying into the Leaf lifestyle, the thought of never again being gouged by greedy oil companies and greedier provincial governments too fantastical to pass up. I must admit that I’d rather plug in than pump, and as of Q3 2018 there have been exactly 10,000 Canadians that have chosen likewise.
The Leaf’s popularity has grown exponentially since it launched in 2011, with its first year of sales only resulting in 170 deliveries, its second calendar year just a bit more at 240, and the following years following suit with 470 units sold in 2013, 1,085 in 2014, 1,233 in 2015, 1,375 in 2016, a dip to 946 in 2017 due to the new model changeover, and now, wait for it, 4,481 new second-generation Leafs sold in the only first nine months of 2018 (believe it or not this hodgepodge of numbers actually added up to an even 10,000).
That’s significant growth, and a great deal more per capita than Nissan’s U.S. division has achieved this year. They were only able to sell 10,686 units over the same three quarters, resulting in 2018 sales numbers that may not even reach half of the Leaf’s 2014 high of 30,200 units, showing Canadians are serious about their EVs (spurred on by much higher fuel costs. How such poor U.S. results will impact investment in the Leaf and other Nissan EVs in the future is anyone’s guess, but at the very least the Japanese brand can also take a deep bow for creating the best-selling electric car of all time, with more than 300,000 Leafs delivered globally since inception.
In the end, the new Leaf is hardly perfect, but it’s a considerable improvement over the quirky original and is apparently much more acceptable to Canadian EV buyers. Even considering the new Leaf’s 1.9 Le/100km city and 2.4 highway fuel economy equivalent rating, the $20k or so surcharge over a similarly sized and equipped conventionally powered compact hatchback will keep it and all other EVs in the fringe, however, especially in markets where provincial rebates aren’t offered, selling in similar numbers to performance-oriented sport compacts like the VW GTI/Type R, Subaru WRX/STI, and others.
After all, going electric requires the same level of enthusiasm and even greater financial and personal dedication than most performance car fans put into their rides, so it only makes sense for the target market to remain niche at best.
When Q2 of 2018 came to a close, Nissan Group certainly had reason to celebrate thanks to its Canadian division achieving its best June ever. Sales increased to 16,330 units nationwide last month, which…
When Q2 of 2018 came to a close, Nissan Group certainly had reason to celebrate thanks to its Canadian division achieving its best June ever. Sales increased to 16,330 units nationwide last month, which represents a 2.0-percent year-over-year increase as well as an all-time monthly sales record.
Breaking that total down by brand, the automaker’s namesake Nissan division sold 14,932 units, providing a 0.9-percent increase, which left the Infiniti luxury brand with 1,398 new model sales, this being a 16.3-percent improvement over June of 2017.
The top-selling Nissan model remains the ever-popular Rogue compact crossover SUV, which found 4,342 new owners in June, whereas the smaller Qashqai crossover achieved a new all-time record of 2,150 sales during the same 30 days, helping it continue forward as the second best-selling model in Nissan’s Canadian lineup.
Also impressive, the all-new, all-electric Leaf EV set a June sales record as well, with 492 units down the road. Additionally, Nissan has found 2,408 new Leaf buyers during the 2018 calendar year-to-date, building on one of the Japanese brand’s most significant success stories.
A newcomer to the Nissan family got off to a good start in June as well, with the 2018 Kicks subcompact crossover SUV selling a total of 609 units during its first full month, while at the other end of the size spectrum the Titan full-size pickup truck recorded its best June ever at 684 units, a gain of 61.3 percent when compared to June of 2017.
Continuing on the XXL theme, the Armada full-size SUV had a solid month of sales too, achieving its best June ever thanks to 156 deliveries, which represents an increase of 16.4 percent from the same month last year.
In other positive June news, the 370Z and GT-R sports cars grew their sales by 14.3 and 20.0 percent respectively, while the NV200 and NV commercial vans experienced 13.0 and 13.6 percent growth.
All in all, cars have seen stronger year-over-year growth since the beginning of 2018, with year-to-date Nissan car sales having increased by 16.3 percent, and YTD SUV and truck deliveries decreasing by 5.9 percent.
After achieving its best sales results ever in 2017, Nissan Canada has yet another sales milestone to celebrate, albeit this one is a global affair. The Leaf, which was the first mass-produced plug-in…
After achieving its best sales results ever in 2017, Nissan Canada has yet another sales milestone to celebrate, albeit this one is a global affair.
The Leaf, which was the first mass-produced plug-in electric vehicle when it went on sale in 2010 and has since become the world’s best-selling EV as well, surpassed the 300,000-unit delivery benchmark.
This is an impressive feat for a dedicated EV that’s only been on the market for eight years, no doubt most recently spurred on by the totally redesigned second-generation 2018 model that launched in Japan and some other markets in September of last year.
“These numbers prove that the Nissan LEAF remains the most advanced car in the world, with the widest reach and the greatest availability,” said Nissan Executive Vice President Daniele Schillaci. “The new Nissan LEAF is the icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility because it delivers an even more exciting drive and enhanced ownership experience and contributes to a better world. It will take Nissan’s EV leadership even further.”
The “Intelligent Mobility” Schillaci speaks of is the Leaf’s ProPILOT Assist and ProPILOT Park technologies, a suite of semi-autonomous advanced driving assistance systems that would have the ability completely take control of the Leaf’s steering wheel and other driving functions if our laws allowed for fully autonomous driving.
The new 2018 Leaf, boasting styling that’s arguably more appealing to the masses than its predecessor, is also a more powerful car with much greater EV range of 241 kilometers from a single charge, while its $35,998 MSRP makes it thousands more affordable than competitors with similar capability.
What’s more, the new Leaf’s five-passenger compact volume continues to be more accommodating than key rivals, while its increased cargo capacity, now measuring 668 litres, improves its load hauling capability over the outgoing model as well as EV challengers.
Standard features with base S trim include auto on/off LED headlights with LED signature daytime running lights, proximity-sensing keyless access, pushbutton ignition, a 7.0-inch colour TFT configurable gauge cluster, automatic climate control, a 5.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, a rearview parking monitor, Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming, hands-free text message assist, satellite radio, a USB port, a heatable steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, a quick charging port, a portable charging cable, automatic emergency braking, Nissan’s e-Pedal that pushes back on your right foot as a reminder to drive more conscientiously, and more.
Mid-range SV trim, which starts at $39,598 plus freight and fees, adds fog lamps, 17-inch machine-finished alloy wheels, a larger 7.0-inch touchscreen with NissanConnect, voice recognition, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, NissanConnect EV telematics allowing for remote connection from your smartphone, auto high beams, adaptive cruise control, ProPILOT Assist, upgraded intelligent emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blindspot warning, lane departure warning and intervention, rear cross traffic alert, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an eight-way powered driver’s seat with two-way lumbar support, a cargo cover, and more.
Lastly, top-line SL trim that starts at $41,998, includes standard leather upholstery, an Intelligent Around View Monitor with moving object detection, a driver alert system, a seven-speaker Bose audio upgrade, side mirrors with integrated turn signals, and more.
The new Leaf, which will be sold in more than 60 markets worldwide, is now available throughout Nissan’s Canadian dealership network.
Toyota’s Prius may be the world’s most notable hybrid and Tesla’s Model 3 currently hottest on the news cycle, but with nearly 300,000 units delivered, Nissan’s Leaf is easily the world’s bestselling…
Toyota’s Prius may be the world’s most notable hybrid and Tesla’s Model 3 currently hottest on the news cycle, but with nearly 300,000 units delivered, Nissan’s Leaf is easily the world’s bestselling electric car.
This is especially important considering most global jurisdictions are now eschewing internal combustion engines, especially diesels, and embracing electric vehicles. To be clear, EV adoption remains miniscule at far less than a single percent of global production, and the Leaf hasn’t been able to hold onto the top EV sales position in North American markets, but it can honestly claim first mass production status as part of its legacy, and enjoys a multitude of Leaf loyalists to draw upon when the completely redesigned model launches worldwide next year.
The 2018 Nissan Leaf says goodbye to the original car’s funky styling and instead adopts a more mainstream approach that should appeal to a larger portion of the market. This tact only makes sense being that EVs appear to be entering a new phase of acceptability, even if their upcoming popularity is being forced upon many consumers through government mandate. China and some other markets aside, we the people vote such governments into power, so depending on ones point of view we can either take credit or accept blame for the new green agenda, and there are certainly worse ways to spend taxpayer money than on electric car rebates, a comprehensive supercharging infrastructure, massive hydroelectric dams, fields of solar panels, new wind and tidal farms, etcetera to create the required power.
Most should like the 2018 Leaf’s sporty hatchback lines, with highlights being a frontal design incorporating Nissan’s now trademark V-motion grille, a floating rear D-pillar inspired by the brand’s Maxima flagship and Murano mid-size SUV (which bears a resemblance to a similar design used for BMW’s i3), and unique taillights that look like they could’ve been pulled from a slightly softened next-generation Juke (which will never be). Where the outgoing Leaf was upright, roundish and somewhat unusual in shape, the new model appears long, low, lean and much more in keeping with Nissan’s overall brand identity. The new car’s profile is not only aesthetically appealing, but no doubt its 0.28-coefficient of drag gave Nissan’s aerodynamicists reason to smile too.
The original Leaf made news for its 160-kilometre range when introduced in 2010, and while the outgoing 2017 model is now capable of 172 kilometres from a single charge, even that improved number has been overshadowed by newer entries like Chevy’s Bolt that can achieve 383 kilometres between charges, and the Tesla Model 3, which, depending on trim, will reportedly allow for 350 to 540 kilometres of ultimate range when it arrives here sometime next year.
What about the new 2018 Leaf? The U.S. EPA is estimating the equivalent of 241 kilometers of range, which isn’t as headline grabbing as the original for its time or its most formidable peers now, but with an MSRP of $35,998 plus freight and fees the Leaf makes up for that with much lower pricing than both the $43,195 Bolt and $45k-plus Tesla 3.
The Leaf also provides more useable passenger and cargo space than either, the former remaining “essentially unchanged” and therefore comfortable for “five people”, stated Nissan in a press release, and the latter measuring 668 litres (23.6 cubic feet).
The Leaf’s toughest competitor may be Volkswagen’s new $35,995 e-Golf, although its 201-kilometre range is less appealing unless compared to BMW’s $50,965 i3 that can only manage 183 kilometres per charge, or for that matter Ford’s $31,498 Focus Electric with just 172 kilometres of total range at its disposal, or Kia’s $35,395 Soul EV that can only muster 150 kilometres. At least the blue oval badged hatchback delivers good pragmatic value and the red and white oval crossover (or in the case black) offers fun-loving styling and even more practicality, but sales of the blue and white roundel badged i Series cars have driven off the proverbial cliff in recent years. Speaking of living life on the edge, there’s always the $27,998 Mitsubishi i-MiEV with a range of 160 kilometres.
At least we need to give Mitsubishi credit for having the courage to publish its i-MiEV sales numbers, these resulting in 61 down Canadian roads as of August 31, 2017 and 86 last year, whereas Ford, Kia and Volkswagen hide their EV deliveries behind total Focus, Soul and Golf nameplate volume respectively. I’m sure if their electrics were outselling the Bolt or Leaf we’d hear about it, so for now we will report the Bolt as first amongst pure electrics with 1,065 deliveries during the same eight months of 2017, and the Leaf a very close second with 909. Contemplate for a moment, the Bolt is a brand new car introduced for the 2017 model year, and in comparison today’s Leaf has only been mildly updated over its seven-year lifecycle. It’s easy to guess which car may soon assume the lead.
In the 2018 Leaf’s corner is a new 40-kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery, which is a gain of 10 kWh over the outgoing version, but thanks to 67-percent greater density it occupies the same physical space within a vehicle that’s about the same size as the outgoing model. Also notable, despite benefiting from 25 percent more capacity the battery only takes 10 minutes longer to replenish from “alert” mode to 80-percent when hooked up to a quick charger, the total process now requiring 40 minutes. Those charging from home or another conventional 120-volt socket will need 16 hours to replenish from totally empty to completely full, whereas a 240-volt Level2 charger requires eight hours. Of note, Nissan Canada will provide a Level 1/Level 2 (120v/240v) charging cable as standard equipment.
Motive power comes from a new 110-kW AC synchronous motor making 147 horsepower from 3,283 to 9,795 rpm and 236 lb-ft of torque from zero to 3,283 rpm. That’s a gain of 107 horsepower and 187 lb-ft of torque over the old motor, by the way, so the new Leaf, which at 1,557 to 1,591 kilograms (3,433 to 3,508 lbs) depending on trim is actually lighter than the 1,624-kg (3,580-lb) Bolt and 1,610- to 1,723-kg (3,550- to 3,800-lb) Model 3, should scoot along quickly.
As good as all this sounds, Nissan has already announced a more potent 60-kWh Leaf for next year, but hasn’t estimated its range and also isn’t saying whether it will be an option, a la Tesla, or the new standard power unit.
Right from day one the new Leaf will include a standard “e-Pedal” that provides both traditional acceleration and automatic braking. In other words, you’ll be able to ease into the pedal (or put your foot to the floor) to get going and then simply let go to slow down and eventually come to a stop, the system said to be good for 90-percent of driving requirements, with the traditional brakes only needed for the other 10 percent. That won’t only reduce driver effort, but it should minimize brake wear as well. If you’d rather apply more personal control you can defeat the e-Pedal by pressing a button.
Nissan’s ProPilot Assist single-lane driving assistance technology will make its North American debut in the new Leaf too, the system offering a higher level of semi-autonomous driving than previously available. Along with dynamic cruise control at speeds ranging from 29 and 100 km/h, ProPilot Assist will automatically steer and even centre the car within its lane, while it will also automatically brake all the way down to a full stop when prompted by forward traffic. Additionally, it holds the car in place without requiring the driver to press the brake pedal when stopped, and then restarts with the flow of traffic, as long as first prompted by the driver via a switch or lightly pressing the throttle. Nissan has purposely incorporated such driver involvement for safety’s sake, but the technology for full autonomous driving is embedded within.
Additional advanced safety systems available with the new Leaf will include Automatic Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Lane Intervention, and an Intelligent Around View Monitor with moving object detection.
Like most other Nissan products, the 2018 Leaf will be available in three trim levels including S, SV and SL, all of which are said to feature higher-grade cabins with better materials quality than the outgoing model. In the same aforementioned press release the brand promised its “signature vibrant blue stitching” for the seats, door trim, armrests and steering wheel, the latter wrapped in “genuine leather”, plus more blue used for the illuminated ignition button and shift knob finisher, while matte chrome along with matte and glossy black surfacing treatments will be added elsewhere.
Instead of tradition analogue gauges the 2018 Leaf will get a 7.0-inch colour TFT primary cluster overtop the steering wheel, while Nissan will replace the outgoing model’s 5.0-inch infotainment display and dated graphics with a bright, colourful, contrast-rich centre dash-mounted 7.0-inch touchscreen across the line. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity will be on the menu, albeit only when the system is upgraded to also include navigation.
Nissan has not announced the availability of the unique Leaf-to-Home power system available in other markets, however, which reportedly lets you use the car’s stored energy to power your home, cabin, trailer, or most anything else. Leaf-to-Home would be an ideal backup battery for an emergency outage, but nonetheless it likely isn’t part of the Leaf’s Canadian specification.
The new 2018 Nissan Leaf went on sale in Japan on October 2, and is forecast to arrive in Europe and North American markets in early 2018. It will be sold into more than 60 global markets when fully available, which should bode well for maintaining its leading EV sales status for the foreseeable future.
The world’s most popular plug-in electric vehicle will soon receive a complete redesign, which is compelling news in itself, but being that Nissan hasn’t shared much about the upcoming model thus…
The world’s most popular plug-in electric vehicle will soon receive a complete redesign, which is compelling news in itself, but being that Nissan hasn’t shared much about the upcoming model thus far, we’ll take anything we can get.
Along with one solitary image of the new EV’s primary gauge cluster comes news about a single new feature, ProPilot Assist, which is the Japanese brand’s proprietary driver-assistance technology designed to reduce “the hassle of stop-and-go highway driving,” says Nissan in a June 22, 2017 press release.
Reportedly, ProPilot Assist will benefit 2018 Leaf drivers by controlling acceleration, braking and steering during single-lane highway driving. Along with the announcement, Nissan included a short explanatory video that we’ve attached within this report, which clearly shows how the state-of-the-art technology will assist drivers.
Nissan was clear in its release that ProPilot Assist will evolve to include “increasing levels of autonomy” in coming generations, with the ability to also “navigate city intersections”.
ProPilot Assist is part of the Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite of technologies, which is the automaker’s “blueprint for transforming how cars are driven, powered and integrated into society.”
Nissan has sold more than 270,000 Leafs globally since it became the world’s first mass-market electric vehicle in 2010. The next-generation 2018 Leaf will debut in Tokyo on September 6th (Sept 5 here in Canada).