With the arrival of the next generation of Nissan's all-electric LEAF, we get a pleasant surprise as for the first time ever, customers are able to lease batteries for the 100% electric car and select from three trim levels. There’s a new pricing structure in place. Cars with leased batteries will be identified as 'Flex' models.
For £15,990 (after considering the Government's £5,000 plug-in grant), buyers can get the entry-level Visia LEAF. The cost of the separate battery lease payment depends on the contract length of and mileage covered but it starts at only £70 per month and go to as high as £25,490 for the range-topping Tekna LEAF, with the battery purchased outright. The new LEAF has over 100 improvements compared to its predecessor.
Many of these changes were made as a result of feedback from LEAF owners. The range was extended from 109 miles to 124 miles and the recharging time for its battery has been cut in half compared to the first-generation LEAF. Nissan achieved the longer range by enhancing the LEAF's aerodynamics and its regenerative braking system and giving it a more efficient E-powertrain.
Nissan also gave it a new heating system that’s 70% more efficient via the use of a heat pump in the system. This improved its real world range. It also received a new interior trim, Nissan’s Around View Monitor technology and new suspension settings intended for European roads.
UK buyers can choose from the three trim levels: Visia, Acenta and Tekna. All the models offer a bigger boot space due to the repositioning of the charging point and an improved interior trim. Both front seats have a height adjust facility and bigger foot space for passengers. The top-most trim level, Tekna, gets a BOSE energy-efficient sound system with a subwoofer and seven speaker as well as a set of 17-inch alloys and LED headlamps.
Every single Nissan LEAF produced at Sunderland for the European market includes a chassis package fine-tuned by the hardworking engineers at Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) in Cranfield in the U.K.
The modifications have been created for the LEAF to comply with Europe’s higher average speeds and to hurdle more challenging roads. The product is a vehicle that’s more captivating to drive and yet is just as relaxed over substandard road surfaces.
Brake performance, steering weight, and damper settings have all been enhanced for Europe. The renovated dampers lessen float and help furnish a more dynamic drive without inauspiciously affecting ride comfortability while providing a significant feel and weight at speed with the recalibration of the electric power steering system. The work benefited from the LEAF’s customized EV packaging, which positions the battery pack in the middle, thus creating an extreme low center of gravity in the chassis.
The brakes are now more dynamic in use and the re-energizing feature has been enhanced for the maximum use of braking energy. The system efficiency has been significantly enhanced by 6 percent to 94 percent and the minimum speed at which energy is restored was lowered to 3 km/h from 7 km/h.
There have also been some modifications made to the Eco driving mode with an all-new ‘B’ setting on the transmission. B-mode enhances restorative braking during deceleration while a different ‘Eco’ button on the steering wheel changes the throttle mapping to avoid harsh acceleration and expand the driving range.