With the new e+ model, the Nissan Leaf is finally catching up with the competition.
The Nissan Leaf may be the world's best-selling electric car thanks to its affordable asking price, but its range leaves a lot to be desired when compared to the competition. Thankfully, the long-rumored Nissan Leaf e+ has been revealed with a new powertrain delivering more power and a significantly longer range. The long-range Leaf was originally supposed to debut at the LA Auto Show last November, but the arrest of former Nissan CEO Carlos delayed its debut until the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
While the current Leaf delivers a driving range of an EPA-estimated 150 miles, the new version of Nissan's electric powertrain offers an EPA-estimated range of up to 226 miles, an increase of around 40 percent. In addition, the high-capacity battery and more powerful 160 kW motor in the Leaf e+ combine to produce 45 percent more power and 250 lb-ft of torque for faster acceleration when driving at high speeds, meaning it has around 213 hp.
Nissan says acceleration from 50 mph to 75 mph is nearly 13 percent quicker, which is ideal for overtaking, exiting corners faster, and merging lanes. Top speed has increased by around 10 percent compared to the standard model, which has a top speed of 87 mph.
Thanks to the available new 70 kW Quick Charging system, the 2019 Nissan LEAF e+ can charge more efficiently than ever. Despite a 55 percent larger battery storage capacity, Nissan says owners of the Leaf e+ can expect similar charging times when hooked up to a 100 kW charger as current Leaf owners do with a 50 kW charger. The battery pack is also almost the same size and configuration as the pack in the standard Nissan Leaf.
Like the standard model, the Leaf e+ features Nissan's ProPilot Assist technology, which automatically adjusts the distance to the vehicle ahead using a preset speed, offers assisted steering and keeps the vehicle centered in the lane. It also features Nissan's revolutionary e-Pedal, which allows the driver to start, accelerate, decelerate and stop using only the accelerator pedal. The e-Pedal's software has been reprogrammed for the Leaf e+ for "smoother operation and enhanced pedal feedback," allowing for smoother and more rapid deceleration and easier operation in reverse.
Inside, the Leaf e+ gets a larger eight-inch display with an updated navigation system that can link to smartphones. The display features smartphone-like operation including swiping, scrolling and tapping. Applications, maps and firmware can be updated over the air with the touch of a button.
Aesthetically, the Leaf e+ retains the sleeker look of the second-generation model but features a revised front fascia with blue highlights and an "e+" logo on the underside of the charge port lid to distinguish it from the standard model. In the US, the Leaf Plus Series will be sold under S Plus, SV Plus, and SL Plus trims, but specific details are being kept under wraps for now.
The 2019 Nissan Leaf e+ is expected to arrive in US showrooms in spring 2019, with pricing to be announced closer to the sale date. Expect to pay a premium over the current Leaf's $29,990 starting price.