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Nissan throws down gauntlet to Hyundai with launch of radical new Leaf with 239-mile range

By Paul Connolly

Nissan has unveiled a slick new Leaf electric car with a 239-mile range - in a direct challenge to Hyundai.

The more powerful new Leaf with much longer range follows the launch of an all-electric Hyundai Kona with an official range of 279 miles.

The new model is called the Leaf e+ - or to give it its full title the Nissan Leaf 3.Zero e+ Limited Edition.

The model’s importance is that it shows continuing evolution of battery power in the sector, raising the possibility of eliminating so-called driver range anxiety and increasing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

Surveys show that a 300 mile range between charges is a trigger point that would make most drivers consider switching to electric.

The Leaf e+ will be the flagship of the Leaf range, with a cost of £36,795 including the Government electric car grant.

It features a new battery pack with a 62kWh capacity, 22kWh bigger than the 40kWh unit in the standard version of the car which was launched last year. There’s also an uprated electric motor to add even more oomph.

Nissan this week also launched another 3.Zero model, which is less powerful than the e+. Both models sit at the top of the Leaf range, with the limited edition e+ at the very pinnacle.

Both cars are based on the second generation Leaf, which arrived in 2017, but get substantial enhancements to justify their elevated status - and price - within the range.

Given the car’s technology and likely customer demographic, both models were debuted at the big Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

The e+  powerplant features a higher output capable of delivering 160 kW (217 PS) of power; 340Nm of torque; and a longer official driving range expected to be up to 239 miles from a single charge of the 62 kWh capacity battery. 

(Official ranges usually do not accurately reflect real world usage, however tougher new tests are now making them more realistic than before and observers say they are becoming more trust-worthy.)

Both 3.Zero launch versions are flagship models for the 2019 Nissan Leaf, sitting at the top of their respective ranges.

At the centre of the Leaf 3.Zero e+ Limited Edition is an Intelligent Power-enhanced high-capacity battery and more powerful motor.

On the road, Nissan says the Leaf 3.Zero e+ Limited Edition will deliver a 40% range increase over the Leaf 3.Zero which is equipped with a 40 kWh battery. This represents more than 62 miles additional range.

The e+ can manage this due to a new higher-power battery contains 288 cells compared to the 192 found in the 40 kWh equivalent. Even with a 25% increase in energy density and 55% increase in energy storage capacity, the Nissan Leaf e+ battery pack is almost the same size and configuration as the pack in the Nissan Leaf 40kWh.

Other than a 5-millimetre increase in the car’s overall height (based on 16-inch wheels), the car’s exterior and interior dimensions are unchanged, says Nissan.

With the more powerful motor, acceleration from 50mph to 75mph is nearly 13% quicker.. The top speed (97mph) has also increased from the 40kWh version by approximately 10%.

The Leaf 3.Zero models will feature both e-Pedal and ProPILOT, which are Intelligent Driving technologies that take the car further down the path of autonomous driving.

The e-Pedal allows  the driver to start, accelerate, decelerate and stop using only the accelerator pedal.

Inside both models, there’s a new 8-inch infotainment screen enabling additional connectivity services such as door-to-door navigation.  An all-new and improved NissanConnect EV app is also available.

Both the Nissan Leaf 3.Zero and 3.Zero e+ are now available to order in the UK and Ireland.

Sales of electric vehicles remain on an upwards curve. The Leaf was the highest selling EV in Europe last year, with over 40,000 cars shipped.

It remains the world’s best-selling EV, with more than 380,000 units sold globally since the original car launched in 2010.

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