Nissan was able to achieve this increase while using a battery pack (40 kWh) that occupies the exact same dimensions as its predecessor. The actual lithium-ion cells have 67 percent greater energy density compared to the original battery pack included in the 2010 Leaf. Enhanced electrode materials with revised battery chemistry also helps boost the range, while battery durability (during charging and discharging) has been improved.
We should note that while the 150-mile range is an improvement, it still pales in comparison to its current rivals: the Chevrolet Bolt ($37,495) and the Tesla Model 3 ($35,000). The Bolt has an EPA-rated driving range of 236 miles, while the Model 3 will give up after 220 miles. The Model 3 is also available with a larger battery, which boosts range to an impressive 310 miles, but it will cost you $44,000.
The Leaf’s battery fuels a new electric motor that generates a respectable 147 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. That power profile compares favorably to Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine (without the noxious fumes, we might add). Nissan is quick to point at that this new engine produces 38 percent more power compared to the 2017 Leaf, which should help aid in acceleration from a standstill and during passing maneuvers.
In addition, the 2018 Leaf incorporates new technology like ProPILOT Assist and e-Pedal. ProPILOT Assist can keep your vehicle centered within its lane while keeping a preset distance from the vehicle ahead at speeds ranging from 18 mph to 62 mph. If the vehicle in front of you slows down or comes to a stop, your Leaf will match those movements. E-Pedal allows you to forgo the use of the brake pedal, which means that accelerating and braking duties are handled using just the accelerator pedal.
“Studies by Nissan in Japan, Europe and the U.S. have shown that the LEAF’s e-Pedal reduces the number of times the driver must apply the brakes while commuting in heavily congested traffic,” states Nissan in a press release. “While the conventional brake pedal must still be used in aggressive braking situations, the e-Pedal lets drivers use a single pedal for more than 90 percent of their driving needs.”
As for styling, both inside and out the second-generation Leaf adopts Nissan’s current design language. It’s a thoroughly modern-looking vehicle, that can be had with a two-tone treatment for the body/roof and has plenty of sharp creases, which departs from the rather amphibious look of its predecessor. It won’t be mistaken for anything but an econobox, however. If you are disappointed by the rather minimalistic design of the Model 3’s interior, you’ll be happy to know that the new Leaf has a more conventional dashboard arrangement complete with a traditional gauge cluster, plenty of knobs/buttons and a revised shift lever.
"When we launched Leaf in 2010, it instantly became the most affordable, mass market EV in the world. We are not walking away from that proposition," said José Muñoz, Chief Performance Officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and Chairman, Nissan North America, Inc. "The value equation for the new Leaf is even stronger than ever before. That's a lower price than the LEAF in market today and it includes more power, range and technology, all wrapped in a beautiful new exterior and interior design."
As of today, Nissan has sold over 238,000 Leafs globally, with 112,000 of that tally taking residence in the United States. Nissan hopes to add greatly to that total with a price reduction for the 2018 model. The 2018 Nissan Leaf will be priced from $29,990, which is a $660 decrease compared to last year’s model. It will go on sale in “early 2018” and will be available for sale in all 50 states.