2018 Nissan Leaf – all the basics for future Leaf owners in Australia

Even though it’s only 2017 Nissan is already announcing their new 2018 Nissan Leaf. Nissan has been teasing the release of the new Leaf for a while now drumming up a lot of hype. There’s also been some spy shots as well as official glimpses from Nissan itself. Now though they have finally taken the wraps off it all and also confirmed that it will be coming to Australia too.

The original Nissan Leaf is the most popular electric car ever produced. Since it was released in 2010 they’ve sold more than 250,000 worldwide (as of Dec 2016). With Nissan selling it in Australia since 2011 it’s quite likely you’ve seen a few of them silently rolling around at some point. However with a range of only 100-130 km’s, it’s always been seen as a short range inner city car.

It’s taken them over seven years but they’re finally releasing the all new 2018 model. This next generation version has double the energy density with a 40 kWh battery. This brings the car firmly into every day driving territory with a real world EPA rated range of 240 km. They’re even promising a 60 kWh version which will be released latter on. If you extrapolate those figures out it should allow for around 350 km of real world range.

When will Nissan Leaf deliveries to Australia begin?

Unfortunately Nissan Australia is being quite tight lipped about these details. While they have officially announced the car and all it’s details like range and features, sale date is still MIA.

The American version of the website gives a “coming early 2018” sale date. It’s unclear whether Australia will get it before or after they do but given they already have pricing information and a “build your own” screen it’s most likely going to be after. If you’d like to be notified by Nissan as soon as it’s released in Australia you can sign up on the Australian Nissan website for updates here.

How much will the Nissan Leaf cost in Australia?

Once again we don’t have any official Australian prices just yet but they have given USD prices. The 2018 Nissan Leaf will come in 3 variants: “S”, “SV” and “SL” all with the 40 kWh battery. The S model starts at $29,990 USD while the SV and SL models are $32,490 USD and $36,200 USD respectively.

Who knows what Nissan will price the new Leaf at in Australia but doing a simple USD to AUD conversion gives around $38,000 AUD for the S model. No doubt there will be a lot of on road costs, GST and the standard “Australian Tax” added as well.

I wouldn’t be shocked to see it with a starting price of $45,000+ but we’ll just have to wait and see as it’s all speculation at this point.

How will Aussies charge their Nissan Leaf?

Nissan Leaf
Source: nissanusa.com

Along with range, charging is one of the biggest points of concern for would be owners. Here the Nissan Leaf keeps its familiar charging point with the plug being hidden up front. You simply pop open the hood section and plug in as per before.

The Nissan Leaf US website also lists two charging examples as shown below.

240V – FAST CHARGING (HOME AND PUBLIC)
1 HOUR CHARGE = UP TO 35 km OF RANGE

50KW – FASTEST CHARGING (PUBLIC)
30 MINUTE CHARGE = UP TO 140 km OF RANGE

While the 50 kW charging isn’t as good as other new EV’s, it’s great to see charging power rates increasing and charging times decreasing. Being able to add 140 km of range in only 30 minutes means you can have a quick bite to eat and be on your way with a good amount of range added.

What colour and wheel options are available?

Nissan Leaf
Source: nissanusa.com

Assuming the same variants and features come to Australia as they are being shown in the US there’s lots of info here. Nissan has completely revamped the exterior and it should come in 8 different colours including Glacier White, Deep Blue Pearl and Scarlet Ember Red.

Nissan Leaf
Source: nissanusa.com

The Pearl White, Scarlet Ember Red and Two-Tone Pearl White/Super Black options will only be available on the SV and SL trims according to the website. The unique black back section also adds an interesting flare to the overall design.

Inside you have Black Cloth as standard as well as Light Grey or Black Leather on the higher trims.

Nissan Leaf
Light Grey Leather Interior. Source: nissanusa.com

Regarding the wheel options it looks like there’s only two versions. The first is the ones on the standard “S” version which look to be 15″ or 16″ hub cap wheels. On the higher priced SV and SL models though you get 17″ Machine-finished aluminium-alloy wheels.

What are the specs and features?

Nissan Leaf S:

  • Range: 240 km (EPA estimated)
  • 40 kWh Lithium Ion Battery, 60 kWh to come later
  • 0-100 km/h: 8.9 seconds
  • 110 kW AC synchronous electric motor
  • e-Pedal
  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • 7.0″ Advanced Drive-Assist® Display
  • Automatic Temperature Control
  • Kerb Weight: 2,020 kg

Nissan Leaf SV:

  • 17″ Machine-finished aluminium-alloy wheels
  • Intelligent Cruise Control
  • Quick Charge Port
  • Nissan Navigation System
  • Apple Carplay
  • Android Auto

Nissan Leaf SL:

  • Intelligent Around View® Monitor
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Leather-appointed seats
  • Bose® Energy Efficient Series premium audio system with seven speakers
  • Portable charge cable (120 V/240 V)
  • LED headlights with LED signature Daytime Running Lights

Nissan are also introducing their new ProPILOT Assist system. Similar to other car companies Level 2 partially autonomous systems, they describe it below.

With ProPILOT™ Assist, LEAF helps you take care of the little things, like following the car ahead at a preset distance or helping keep you centred in your lane. It can even bring your LEAF to a full stop based on the traffic flow, and hold you there.

It should be interesting to see how all the various systems compare to each other. While they don’t go into too much detail regarding sensors or cameras it seems to be a decently advanced system.

Going through all the features and various different trim levels it also seems like all models have access to ProPILOT Assist. This could be a great feature if it works well and doesn’t cost thousands more to add onto the base cost.

What does the Nissan Leaf look like inside?

While some may prefer the more futuristic and spartan look of the Tesla Model 3, Nissan’s Leaf interior does a great job of bringing a familiar interior to an EV. With it’s traditional buttons, knobs and smaller display it doesn’t scream “different” which is a good thing sometimes.

Australians buy their cars because they like how the look and operate. A car that has an electric motor should look just as nice and operate just as well.

Nissan Leaf
Source: nissanusa.com

If you opt for the more expensive version you also get access to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support too. There’s also on steering wheel buttons an LCD dash and 7″ centre console screen. That centre screen is also used for reversing camera and navigation.

What other great features does it have?

Nissan Leaf
Source: nissanusa.com

One of the best things about the new Nissan Leaf is its companion app. As you can see, the interface is gorgeous and very useful, allowing you see immediate data as well as easily access many cool features.

You can remotely monitor the cars temperature and charge status. You can turn on the heater or AC before you get to your car. It even allows you to lock or unlock it similar to the new Tesla Model 3’s phone based system.

Being an EV, you can even turn the car on and heat/cool it while it’s in a garage. It’s fantastic to see Nissan offering these very advanced and modern day features in a non-luxury car. There’s even the ability to flash the cars lights or find near by charging stations.

Nissan Leaf
Source: nissanusa.com

Nissan has also introduced what it calls the “e-Pedal”. Their take on regenerative breaking. With it you can use just one foot/pedal to make the car accelerate, slow down to a stop and even stay still on a hill.

Not only does it make driving easier, it should encourage people to use regen more often which will help prolong the life of their breaks.

Summing up!

Nissan Leaf
Source: nissanusa.com

The 2018 Nissan Leaf looks like it’ll be a fantastic EV. It has a good range that many will find more than adequate and it looks like a stylish, normal car. It also has a very normal and reasonably modern interior.

There are quite advanced extra’s like the smart phone app, lots of good colour and feature options and a decent charging rate. If Nissan can give this new Leaf a proper marketing campaign and make sure supply isn’t constrained (ie. treat like all their other cars) I can see it doing quite well here in Australia.

The big determining factor though is still the price. It’ll be a tough sell paying $45,000+ for something that’s got a similar build quality as their $26,000 Nissan Juke. Hopefully Nissan price it very competitively and finally bring EV’s into the realm of affordable cars.

So what do you think, can you see yourself in a new Scarlet Red Leaf? Or are you going to shell out a few thousand more for the Tesla Model 3? Let us know in the comments below!

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