Nissan LEAF returning to Australia mid-2019

Drive Zero was invited to Nissan’s Australian “launch” of the 2nd generation (ZE1) LEAF in Sydney last week. There was unfortunately not much to report on, as no pricing nor a firm release date was announced. Disappointing for a car that’s been available in other markets for almost 9 months. Everything you possibly want to know about the ZE1 LEAF has been covered to death by UK & American YouTubers and bloggers already, so I’ll stick to what’s pertinent to the Australian launch.

The LEAF will arrive in Australia around “mid-2019” and will be offered in a single trim level with all the options. Check out the spec list below from Nissan’s press-kit for the goodies that’ll come with the Aussie-spec LEAF.

Other details of note:

  • 270km range on the relatively realistic WLTP testing cycle.
  • AU version will have type-2 AC (6.6kW) & CHAdeMO (50kW) charging ports.
  • Just like LEAFs overseas, the AU version will not have a thermal management system for the battery.
  • A total of 89 Nissan dealers will offer the LEAF across Australia
  • JET Charge will be installing chargers at all those dealers & offer home installs for LEAF owners.

Of interest to me personally was that the Australian LEAF has “bi-directional charge capability”. This feature basically adds the equivalent of a Tesla Powerwall on wheels to your house. Instead of buying a dedicated battery to compliment your home’s solar panels, plug the LEAF into your home and use the energy contained in its 40kWh battery instead of drawing power from the grid. It sounds like an excellent feature and would be an excellent way to further extract value from your EV purchase, saving money not only on petrol, but electricity too.

Unfortunately, Nissan did not provide much info on the practicalities of how bi-directional charging will be implemented in Australia. The feature requires extra hardware installed in your home to control how electricity goes in and out of your LEAF – Nissan calls this a “Power Control System”. Right now the technology is mostly a series of trials and pilots. The most advanced seems to be a program by OVO Energy in the UK, which is offering the vehicle-to-grid equipment for free. Perhaps by the time the LEAF launches in Australia, there will be a local energy company working with Nissan to make use of the vehicle’s bi-directional charge capability.

As soon as there’s more concrete information regarding the Nissan LEAF’s Australian launch, Drive Zero will fill you in! Enjoy this massive gallery of local Australian LEAF press shots:

Anthony also produces The Sizzle - a daily email newsletter covering all aspects of technology with an Australian point of view.