With a focus on having 25 electrified models in its lineup as early as next year, half of which will be fully electric, BMW is wasting no time putting its plans into action. Before we get too excited,…
With a focus on having 25 electrified models in its lineup as early as next year, half of which will be fully electric, BMW is wasting no time putting its plans into action. Before we get too excited, however, not all of these BEVs will be sold into the Canadian market, evidenced by the German brand’s Chinese-made iX3 crossover SUV only being offered in China and Europe for the immediate future.
The i4, which utilizes the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s four-door liftback body style and starts at $54,990 (not including incentives or destination fees), will be available in two different trims, including the eDrive40 and M50 xDrive. The former uses a single rear-wheel drive (RWD) electric motor good for 335 horsepower, while the latter, which starts at $72,990, combines both front and rear motors for all-wheel drive (AWD) and makes a total of 516 horsepower. Both models come fitted with the same 83.9-kWh battery.
As for performance and range, BMW claims the i4 eDrive40 is capable of 340 km on a single full charge, but not if you’re constantly testing its 5.7-second zero to 100 km/h sprint time, while the M50 xDrive will zip from standstill to 100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds and can drive for approximately 510 km after completely recharging. That latter number gets the i4 close to the Tesla Model 3’s 576 km maximum range, a car the i4 has clearly in its sights.
Likewise, BMW Canada also offers the X3 xDrive30e PHEV, but unfortunately, as noted above, the iX3 won’t be giving Tesla’s Model Y a run for its money in Canada anytime soon. Moving up a size category, BMW also makes its 389-horsepower X5 xDrive45e PHEV available for 2022, once again offering an electrified alternative not available from Tesla.
The new iX targets Tesla’s Model X directly, however, and while it doesn’t offer gullwing doors for rear passengers, it does provide a similarly mid-sized two-row layout for up to five passengers and their gear. A total of three iX trims are dubbed xDrive40, xDrive50 and M60, each of which incorporate standard front and rear motors for AWD.
To be clear, the iX xDrive50 is the only trim available for 2022, which means the xDrive40 and M60 will arrive later this year as 2023 models. The iX xDrive40, which will start at $79,990, makes 322 horsepower, can sprint to 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds, and has a range of 340 km, whereas the current $89,990 xDrive50 makes 516 horsepower, can hit 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds, and can be driven for up to 521 km before requiring a recharge. Lastly, the 610-horsepower M60 starts at $121,750, can scoot to 100 km/h from standstill in a scant 3.8 seconds, and can cover up to 450 km of ground before recharging.
What’s more, unlike smartphones, tablets, laptops and plenty of EVs that have been on the market over the past few years, BMW’s new BEVs don’t suffer from much if any battery degradation, which means the various claimed range estimates mentioned above will still hold up after years and even a decade’s use. In other words, the batteries in these new BMW EVs are designed to last the life of the vehicle, or more specifically up to 1,500 full charge cycles, which is enough for more than 500,000 km of driving.
CarCostCanada has full pricing and trim information for the 2022 i4 as well as 2022 and 2023 iX models, including all options that you can build out in their car configurator. On top of this, you’ll receive any available information regarding manufacturer rebates, factory financing and lease rate deals (both i4 and iX models currently have in-house financing/lease rates from 4.49 percent), plus you’ll receive dealer invoice pricing that can help you negotiate a better deal on any new vehicle. Find out how the CarCostCanada membership can benefit you, and be sure to download their free app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.
Speaking of money, BMW Canada is also claiming that both i4 trims are eligible for provincial zero-emission incentives in BC, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, plus the base i4 eDrive40 qualifies for the federal iZEV rebate. Unfortunately, the iX’ higher base price disqualifies it from any provincial or national government rebates.
The new i4 and iX will start arriving at Canadian BMW dealerships next month.
BMW Ultimate – Reserve the BMW iX and i4 now! (0:15):
The Power of Action: Meet The First-Ever BMW iX & BMW i4 | BMW USA (0:06):
The Power of Action: Meet The First-Ever BMW iX & BMW i4 | BMW USA (0:15):
The Power of Action: Meet The First-Ever BMW iX & BMW i4 | BMW USA (0:30):
[ SPACE ] by BMW: BMW iX & i4 | BMW USA (1:12):
Introducing the BMW i4 M50: The All-Electric BMW M | BMW USA (2:54):
The First-Ever BMW i4 | The All-Electric Car | BMW USA (0:44):
The BMW Concept i4: New Electric Car | BMW USA (2:01):
The 2022 BMW i4 Models: BMW Review & Walk-Around | BMW USA (2:07):
Introducing the BMW iX | The All-Electric SAV | BMW USA (1:15):
The Electric Mood of the 2022 BMW iX | BMW USA (3:35):
Creating the BMW iX: Behind the Scenes, Episode 1 | BMW USA (2:11):
Creating the BMW iX: Behind the Scenes, Episode 2 | BMW USA (2:11):
Creating the BMW iX: Behind the Scenes, Episode 3 | BMW USA (2:25):
The All-Electric SAV: 2022 BMW iX Walk Around & Review | BMW USA (2:22):
Pioneer of a New Age: The Panoramic Eclipse Roof: The 2022 BMW iX | BMW USA (0:54):
Story credit: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: BMW
Those who follow the electric vehicle industry have been excited about the upcoming 2020 Taycan since the Mission E concept arrived on the 2015 Frankfurt auto show stage, and thanks to the first two stints…
Those who follow the electric vehicle industry have been excited about the upcoming 2020 Taycan since the Mission E concept arrived on the 2015 Frankfurt auto show stage, and thanks to the first two stints of a three-continent “Triple Demo Run” the low-slung four-door coupe appears to be almost ready for prime time.
The first event was held at the beginning of this month on a handling track at the Porsche Experience Centre (PEC) in Shanghai, China, while just last weekend the new Taycan silently whisked up the hay bale-lined “Hill Run” as part of the UK’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Soon, on July 13th, the automotive tripleheader will wrap up at the season finale of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in New York City.
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia driver Li Chao took to the wheel around the 1.4-km Shanghai racetrack in a road-ready albeit pre-production Taycan, this version wearing a red dragon on its rooftop, which was the least camouflaged version of the car seen up to that point.
“The exceptional performance typical for Porsche was a clear development objective for the Taycan. You can sense that right from the start,” commented Li Chao, particularly impressed by the Taycan’s handling. “From uncompromisingly sporty to surprisingly comfortable, the chassis of the new Taycan covers a wide range and successfully combines the precise handling of a sports car and the long-distance comfort of a saloon. In addition to its low centre of gravity, the rear-axle steering also plays a crucial role. The Taycan steers into corners very directly and has plenty of grip.”
The Taycan incorporates a fast-charging 800-volt architecture and a 90-kWh lithium-ion battery, combining for 592 horsepower (600 PS) and a terminal velocity of 250 km/h-plus, while possibly even more impressive the new four-place sport sedan sprints from zero to 100 km/h in under 3.5 seconds before achieving 200 km/h in less than 12 seconds.
Videos (below) of the Taycan touring through Shanghai, and another bearing a blue and grey Union Jack on its rooftop as it charges up the Goodwood Festival of Speed hill climb help verify the new car’s ultra-quick acceleration.
“The Taycan’s power delivery is awesome,” said multiple racing winning past-F1 driver and LMP1/Porsche 919 Hybrid World Endurance Championship (WEC) contender Mark Webber, who was piloting the Taycan for the Goodwood event. “I took part in this event in a Porsche 911 GT2 RS two years ago, so I already knew that it all comes down to power and traction. But, even for a thoroughbred racing driver like me, it is amazing how the Taycan – even though it’s still a prototype – accelerates off the start and out of the corners.”
This upcoming weekend’s New York City demo run will have current ABB FIA Formula E Championship driver and 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans winner (at the wheel of a WEC Porsche LMP1 car) Neel Jani in the driver’s seat, so make sure to check that one out on your favourite video streaming website.
As exciting as the multi-continent debut of the Taycan has been so far, and despite its obviously quick acceleration, extreme handling prowess, arguable good looks, and the highly respected Porsche name on its backside, much talk about the Taycan has centered on whether or not this newcomer will find sales traction, at least to the levels of EV darling Tesla.
Tesla has owned the electrified sport-luxury sedan market since the Model S arrived in 2012, the shapely albeit somewhat dated looking mid-size model doing so well on the sales charts that it’s beaten all but BMW’s 5 Series and the mighty Mercedes-Benz E-Class in recent years. Canadian Model S sales were off by 6.3 percent last year and a whopping 56 percent during Q1 of 2019, but thanks to all the Germans spiraling in the same downward trajectory but Audi, the American brand has still managed to hang on to third in the rankings.
I shouldn’t say all Germans, because Porsche saw 40.1 percent growth from its Panamera last year, a car that was also only flat over the first three months of 2019 with a fractional loss of 0.8 percent, and while Tesla’s Model S outsold the Panamera by nearly three to one throughout 2018, and 2.5 to one during Q1 this year, the success of both models bode well for the new four-door Taycan.
In case you were wondering, the Panamera (which is currently available with various conventional gasoline internal combustion engines as well as two plug-in hybrid powertrains) is nearly identical in key dimensions to the Model S, other than being slightly longer from nose to tail, while the Taycan’s dimensions have yet to be disclosed. If the final production model comes close to the Mission E concept, however, it will be a bit shorter albeit substantially wider and dramatically lower than both, but nevertheless fit within the same mid-size E-segment category.
So here’s the question: As good as the Porsche Taycan appears to be, can it somehow manage make a real dent in Tesla’s very real sales leadership? It makes sense that luxury competitors such as Jaguar might have trouble luring in EV buyers, even with their potentially more appealing crossover-style I-Pace offering, being that the British brand already struggles to sell significant numbers of its conventionally powered models, but Audi, one of the hottest luxury brands, recently brought an all-electric crossover SUV to market too, and the E-Tron hasn’t exactly lit up the sales charts either.
Specifically, electric vehicle sales in the U.S. increased by a whopping 120 percent in June, but almost all the credit goes to Tesla that accounted for 83 percent of market share thanks to 20,550 Model 3 (a compact D-segment sedan), 2,725 Model X (a crossover SUV), and 1,750 Model S deliveries. Not including Tesla, EV sales were up 30 percent in June, which is good, but the numbers of each model were small by comparison.
Out of a total 29,632 EV sales, 23,914 were Teslas and 4,718 were from other brands. Those other brands weren’t exactly reaping in the rewards of their efforts either, with Nissan merely finding 1,156 new Leaf buyers, Chevy luring in just 1,190 new Bolt owners (its poorest result so far this year), Honda surprisingly finding 1,092 Clarity FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle) leasers, previously-noted Audi actually slipping to 726 new E-Tron customers (after 253 sales in its first month of April, and 856 in May), BMW enjoying its best month of the year with 473 i3 sales, Jaguar achieving its second-best month with 236 I-Pace deliveries, Toyota leasing out 166 units of its Mirai FCV, Hyundai selling 127 Kona EVs, and the deliveries of models such as the Kia Soul EV, Volkswagen E-Golf, etcetera, unaccounted for due to being lumped in with the conventionally powered models that bear the same name.
With such low sales it makes sense that the manufacturers listed aren’t profiting from their multi-billion investments in battery-electric models, while even Tesla has struggled to make any sustained profits in this burgeoning EV market sector. Will the Taycan finally break into the mainstream like Tesla’s Model S? Of course, we’ll need to wait and see how the luxury market responds after the final production version arrives on the auto show circuit in September, and goes on sale later this year.
Until then, make sure to check out our full photo gallery above and the three videos below showing the new 2020 Porsche Taycan in action:
Kicking off in China: the Porsche Taycan prototype visits Shanghai (1:00):
Porsche Taycan prototype visits Goodwood Festival of Speed 2019 (1:41):
Hey Porsche, watch this video. Love, Electricity (1:03):
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.
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.