The reboot of Nissan’s 100% electric vehicle goes on sale in the US next year
Nissan is turning over a new leaf.
In Tokyo on Wednesday, Nissan unveiled the update to its 100% electric sedan, the Leaf. Since the car’s original launch back in 2010, over 300,000 units have been sold.
With this new update, Nissan seems to be taking aim at rival Tesla, Elon Musk’s high-end brand which has long been emblematic of the electric-powered automobile sector. But, the new Leaf is more affordable than corresponding Tesla models: Nissan’s electric car will retail for $30,680, versus $35,000 for the most basic Tesla Model 3 (the Leaf’s closest Tesla equivalent).
Even the Chevrolet Bolt outpaces the Nissan Leaf in terms of cost. A basic Bolt runs consumers about $36,600 and up.
“The price range should be affordable — this is a fundamental point,” said Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa in an interview with CNBC. “Of course, you can do the Tesla type of pricing as well, but we [focused] more on our customer portfolio,” he added.
That said, Nissan’s competitors in the electric market boast other virtues which the Leaf does not. On a full charge, the Leaf can only drive up to 107 consecutive miles, compared to 220 miles for the Tesla Model 3, and 238 miles for the Chevy Bolt. For its part, Nissan notes that: “The average American drives fewer than 37 miles per day,” Nissan claims, citing US Department of Transportation figures from 2015. “[The] Nissan Leaf can take you nearly three times that distance on a single charge.”
The car runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and plenty of other safety- and energy-focused perks. Plus, from energy-efficient LED lights that use “half the energy of traditional ones,” to a “regenerative braking system” that captures energy while the car is coasting braking, and recycles it into usable power, the Leaf is outfitted with plenty of eco-friendly features. It also has a rear spoiler crowned with a solar panel which traps sunlight and turns it into energy to keep the headlights, stereo, and climate control systems running strong. And for safety, the car’s four cameras assist in parking, so that drivers can simultaneously see what’s around them in all directions.
Reports show that there’s a growing market for electric cars, and, soon, even more Nissan Leaf sedans may join them on the road. Data from earlier this summer placed the number of electric cars in operation worldwide at two million. More than 750,000 of them were sold in 2016 alone, according to the International Energy Agency.
As far as the 2017 Leaf’s availability, the sedan will go on sale in Japan next month, and will be hit the market in the US, Canada, and Europe starting in January 2018.
That’s welcome news for environmentalists: Research has shown that electric vehicles could cut back on 18 million tons of carbon pollution in the US by 2025 — the equivalent of more than two billion gallons of gasoline per year.
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