Believe it or not, the Nissan LEAF is the best-selling electric car on the market today, and it's been largely unchanged in the first-generation car for eight years now. That's almost a lifetime in car years, and devotees have been waiting for a replacement for a while now. Nissan's been teasing them for months, and now the veil has been pulled off the second-gen car. The 2018 LEAF is not just refreshed but totally redesigned and ready to take on the likes of the BMW i3, Chevy Bolt, and the upcoming Tesla Model 3.
Here are the important details on the new LEAF:
- The design appears a bit more conventional than before and eschews the strange headlights and taillights that had been criticized. The rear has more Murano-like taillights, and there's a partial floating roof with blacked out pillars.
- The new LEAF gets more power in the form of 147 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. That's a jump of 40 horsepower and 49 lb-ft compared to the current model.
- The LEAF contains a 40-kWh battery pack that provides a range of 150 miles on a single charge (up from the current 30 kWh and 107 miles of range).
- Nissan will eventually release an "
e-Plus" version of the LEAF with more power and a higher battery capacity, with more than 225 miles of range on a single charge.
- The LEAF gets ProPilot Assist, a hands-on, single-lane semi-autonomous driving system that combines stop-and-go dynamic cruise control with lane-keeping technology that does most of the acceleration, braking, and steering without driver input.
- E-Pedal is a system that allows you to turn on one-pedal driving. It greatly increases the regenerative braking, and will even hold the car on a steep incline, so conventional braking is rarely required when E-Pedal is engaged. Nissan will introduce ProPilot Park, an autonomous parking system, later after production kicks in.
- The cost of the new LEAF will actually be $690 cheaper than before, with a starting MSRP of $30,875 (including destination charges). Then there's the federal tax rebate of $7,500, plus any local incentives.
- The 2018 Nissan LEAF will go on sale in Japan on Oct. 2, 2017. It goes on sale in the U.S. in early 2018.