Nissan LEAF 2018 – First Impressions

“LEAF” stands for Leading Environmentally-Friendly Affordable Family Car. In this spirit, the newly refreshed and updated 2018 Nissan LEAF has taken all the best bits from the original LEAF – the class-leading EV range, the smooth drive, the affordable price – and made it even better.

Outside

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The new LEAF looks great, with a fresh face sporting the new “V-Motion” grille, which continues the line across the bonnet and on to the A-pillars, splitting and pushing air around the car for maximum aerodynamic effect. The redesigned rear end now has a boot which rivals some of the biggest in the class – at 435 litres, it’s even bigger than the Qashqai!

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The LEAF itself sits slightly lower, with improved underbody slipstreaming to reduce drag. This lower, wider profile has given the new LEAF a purposeful stance – much more grown-up compared to the wide-eyed trailblazer which it replaced.

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Inside

Internally, there have been a whole raft of changes, with the dashboard being changed dramatically to accommodate a new driver-centric 8″ instrument cluster – user-configurable to show much more information than ever before.

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The look and feel is much more premium, with the navigation screen now “floating” above the centre console, and the drive mode selector now in a premium black finish rather than the previous silver.

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Under the skin

New features such as ProPILOT – with auto-adjusting cruise control, active lane keep assist, and around-view cameras with moving object detection are all just a button-press away. The new e-Pedal feature can be activated or disabled via a switch next to the drive mode selector. The e-Pedal allows the car to be driven with just the accelerator pedal – removing pressure causes the vehicle to brake, and come to a complete stop, even on a hill.

Beneath the cosmetic differences, there have been important changes to the LEAF’s EV Drivetrain. The motor output power has been increased from 80kW (109bhp) to 110kW (150bhp), and the onboard battery charger has been boosted to 6.6kW as standard across the range (previously a £1100 optional extra). The battery capacity has been increased from 30kWh to 40kWh, with the maximum range now 235 miles (up from 155 miles).

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Summary

So the new LEAF is quicker, looks better, goes further, but what about the price? Well, the special 2.Zero launch edition is priced at £26,490 after the government plug-in car grant (including metallic paint, heated seats, and ProPILOT). To compare – the previous model Acenta 30kWh 6.6kW in metallic paint would have cost £27,515. So the new model costs over £1000 less, but has more standard kit, and a bigger battery…

Win – Win.

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Nissan’s NEW Vehicle-2-Grid system enables renewable energy to go further

If you have already installed, or are thinking of installing, solar panels on your property, you’ll no doubt be interested in getting the best return on your investment.

Generating Solar power during sunshine hours is all well and good if you have one of the early feed in tariffs which reward you richly for your exported electricity; but if you’re a recent installer the export rate is significantly less, so it makes sense to consume as much of your self-generated electricity as possible.

If (like myself) you and your family are out of the house during the daytime, it can be difficult to plan your usage to match your solar generation. Recent developments in domestic battery storage such as Nissan’s xStorage have enabled customers to store their energy for consumption later in the day, helping to reduce grid demand at peak periods.

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Nissan’s newest product to be unveiled takes this a step further – combining an xStorage battery with a Type 2 socket to connect to the new 2018 Nissan LEAF. This allows bi-directional charging of both the vehicle and the battery – utilising new AC Vehicle-to-Grid technology. This extends the capacity and capability of the xStorage device, increasing the energy storage potential from 4kWh to around 40kWh (enough to run a typical household for up to 3 days).

Home Energy System xStorage

Devices like this will be even more desirable when combined with Time of Day electricity tariffs, which give much cheaper electricity overnight at times of low demand, and charge much higher rates at peak times. By using the xStorage battery and the LEAF’s 40kWh battery together, it can be used to help smooth out grid demand, exporting the electricity to support the local substation, and in return paying the homeowner for the privilege.

Grid demand fluctuates considerably throughout the average working day, and part of argument around the switch to renewable energy is that green energy production (such as Wind and Solar) doesn’t necessarily match up with the grid’s demand peaks. By utilising energy storage systems and smart chargers which can restrict (or even reverse) the flow of electricity to cars during peak periods, renewable energy can be utilised to its full.

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Nissan have entered into a trial with OVO Energy in the UK, to develop a time of day tariff with export rates for grid balancing which OVO say will save customers on average £590 a year on their electricity bills.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, chief executive of OVO, said: “Electric vehicles are fast becoming a mainstream option for drivers and solve many of the challenges facing our cities. We believe that they have an integral part to play in the twenty-first century power grid and accelerating decarbonisation and mobility. We’re delighted that we can now offer such a compelling incentive to customers who are generating their own clean power, providing a truly sustainable alternative to the traditional energy model.”

The company estimates that if all 20,000 Nissan electric vehicles in the UK were connected to the energy network, they would generate the equivalent output of a 200MW power plant with a 10kW charger.

As the number of EVs on UK roads grows in the coming years, V2G technology could create a virtual power plant of up to 200GW – more than double the peak requirement on the UK grid.

The partnership between the companies will also see them collaborate in an attempt to boost residential stationary storage deployment.

The collaboration will result in an offer combining OVO’s intelligent energy technology VNet and Nissan’s xStorage home system, which uses second life batteries from the manufacturer’s range of EVs.

Building from this collaboration, OVO plans to launch OVO SolarStore (beta), the company’s first battery storage offering for qualifying customers. Those with solar households will be able to purchase an xStorage Home system direct from OVO for £4,800 plus installation and benefit from a £350 annual credit and estimated average £240 savings on their energy bills.

LEAF 2.ZERO Launch Edition goes on sale

Nissan have today unveiled their new 2018 LEAF in Oslo for the European market. The special Launch Edition is called LEAF 2.ZERO, and will go on sale for £26,490 (after the £4,500 UK Government Grant has been applied).

The LEAF 2.ZERO specification includes:

  • e-Pedal
  • ProPILOT:
    • Intelligent Cruise Control
    • Lane Keep assist
  • 40kWh battery, 235 miles NEDC
  • 50kW ChaDeMo quick charger
  • 6.6 kW on-board charger
  • 5* Euro NCAP
  • 17” alloy wheels
  • Fog Lamps
  • Privacy glass
  • Touch screen Navi with DAB and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • EV Connect telematics system
  • Interior rear view mirror with auto dimming
  • Around View Monitor with moving object detector
  • Driving attention alert with parking sensors
  • Electronic Parking Brake

There is a choice of two colours – Spring Cloud, and Black Metallic. Both have the same interior (Recycled Woven Fabric with Leather Trim).

The LEAF 2.ZERO is available to Pre-Order today from Chorley Nissan branches. Anyone placing an order prior to 31st December 2017 will receive a free Sonos Play 3 device valued at £299. Delivery is due in January 2018.

Download a brochure here: Nissan_LEAF-2018_UK

2018 Nissan LEAF Unveiled

When you ask people why they chose a Nissan LEAF as their vehicle, you get varied responses: “Because it saves me money”, “Because it’s so comfortable and easy to drive”, “Because I like technology”, “Because I want to do my bit to reduce emissions”…

2015-Nissan-LEAFIt would be very rare that someone stated that it’s because they thought it was the best looking vehicle they have ever seen. Let’s be honest, it’s “distinctive”. The bug-eyed headlights (intended to direct airflow around the wing mirrors and reduce internal wind noise), and the rounded bumpers meant that “form follows function” was very much at the forefront of the designers back in 2010 when the LEAF first launched.

So it was with much anticipation that I tuned into the live YouTube unveiling of the new 2018 Nissan LEAF at 1.30am on Wednesday morning. Obviously, we had seen quite a few teasers of the new car in the run up to the event, so the overall design wasn’t a complete shock, however it was always going to be a “fingers-crossed” does-the-Tinder-profile-pic-match-the-date-in-real-life moment to confirm that Nissan hadn’t been hiding anything untoward beneath the camouflaged vinyl wrapper.

Thankfully, when the fancy lightshow concluded, and the LEAF was thrust upon the stage, it was a pleasant surprise. The new LEAF has a more modern, cohesive and brand-centric face. The new front and rear bumpers, together with lower sideskirts and a “floating” roof effect make the LEAF seem more grown-up and streetwise.170906-01-21-source

The new features which have been bundled into the new LEAF – ProPILOT, ProPILOT Park, e-Pedal, together with new standard safety kit and tech like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, mean that the LEAF has been brought right up to the bleeding edge of automotive technology, and can hold it’s own against premium marques.

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The new e-Powertrain has been completely redesigned – utilising a new 110kW motor (up from 80kW in the previous model), and a 40kWh battery pack (up from 30kWh in the outgoing LEAF). This means that acceleration and performance has been improved considerably (0-60 now takes 8 seconds versus the 11.5 seconds previously); and range has extended up to 235 miles (on NEDC cycle).

For Europe, the LEAF will now come as standard with 6.6kW onboard charging, and a new Type 2 connection to harmonise with European standards for new EVs. ChaDeMo Rapid 50kW DC charging has been maintained, allowing 40 minutes to recharge from 0-80% on longer journeys.

The Nissan LEAF has outsold it’s nearest EV competitor by 2-to-1 in the UK during 2017, which is remarkable for a model which was 7 years old and at the run-out stage of its life-cycle. I’m sure that the new revisions and facelift will allow Nissan to continue that trend through 2018.

Deliveries are expected to start in January 2018 in the UK, with pre-orders opening in October. So watch this space for more information and pricing as soon as it gets released.