Nissan has announced the addition of a new longer range version of the Leaf EV that will see the budget-friendly zero tailpipe emission vehicle travel up to 384kms on a single charge and will arrive in Australian early next year.
Known as the Leaf e+, the five-door hatch has been available overseas since it launched in 2019 but Nissan decided to add a second variant to the local lineup due to customer demand.
“There has been demand for a longer range version and the Leaf e+ will serve as an additional offering to the range which will give customers more choice in how they want to buy,” a spokesperson from Nissan Australia told Chasing Cars.
The Leaf e+ is powered by a 62kWh battery that is a whopping 22kWh bigger than the existing model in Australia, and will enable the new range topper to travel 114kms further, boosting range from 270km to 384km.
Nissan, who celebrated the production of its 500,000th Leaf globally in September, has not yet released local pricing for the Leaf e+, but according to Nissan the new long range variant is expected to cost ‘just under $10,000’ more than the current model that starts at $53,190 driveaway.
The increase in range will put it in close competition with the Tesla Model 3, which starts at $73,900 before on-roads with a range of 460kms, and the Hyundai Kona Electric, with an entry price of $64,490 before on-roads with 450kms of range.
With a bigger battery comes more performance – with the Leaf e+ putting out 160kW and 340Nm that cuts acceleration from 0 to 100kph to 7.3sec – compared to 7.9sec for the base model using the standard motor making 110kW and 320Nm.
Perhaps more importantly is the e+ is able to offer DC fast-charging at speeds of up to 100kW, a significant increase over the base 40kWh Leaf that is only able to be charged at 50kW.
With the larger battery, both models should take around an hour to charge up to 80 per cent within an hour.
Both models are fitted with Nissan’s CHAdeMO system that allows any unused energy in your Leaf to flow back into the grid to power your home during a blackout or help cut down on electricity bills overnight.
The bigger under-floor battery has increased the physical height of the Leaf by 5mm with all other physical measurements remaining identical.
Despite the bigger battery, Nissan have left the cooling system untouched in the new model, relying on a passive cooling system that uses air passing under the car – whereas rivals such as Tesla use liquid systems to bring down temperatures.
The up-specced Nissan Leaf is expected to carry over the equipment fitted to the base model which is fitted with tech such as a collision-detecting 360-degree camera, one-pedal driving, heated steering wheel, active cruise control, auto high beam lights and an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display with GPS.
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We test five electric cars until they die in an Australian EV range test: Model 3, Kona, Leaf, ZS EV and e-tron tested