The new Nissan Leaf
By 2025 one in six vehicles bought in Ireland will be electric, and by 2030 it is expected that around half a million electric vehicles will be on the roads here.
The revolution towards zero emissions, all electric driving has begun, and Nissan insisted there was no holding it back when they officially launched the latest version of their EV, the Leaf.
The latest Leaf has a more powerful 40kWh battery which offers a greater range (378km) on one charge, and Nissan executives insist fuel savings of up to €1,200 a year over your average petrol car plus cheaper motor tax (€120 per annum) will help tilt the balance towards EVs'.
The new family size Leaf offers a 33% increase in power. It has a maximum speed of 144kmh, and it can blast from zero to 100kph in 7.9 seconds.
The centre of gravity has been improved with the battery set lower, while European engineers have designed the chassis for European roads. The Leaf has always been a silent runner, but Nissan have improved sound proofing on Leaf and lowered wind noise even further.
Leaf can be plugged into a domestic socket for an over night charge, but there is a quicker (up to 80% in 40 to 60 minutes at 50KW charge point) option.
Diesel driving continues to be the most affordable, but Nissan are sure electric powered vehicles will become king in the years ahead. One of the biggest swing areas is with those who currently view an EV as the second family car.
New Leaf retails from €26,290, with the top of the range version costing €32,600. Prices include the €5,000 Government purchase grant offered to electric vehicles and excludes dealer delivery and metallic paint. There are four grades - XE, SV, SV Premium and SVE.
According to Nissan, demand for EVs is now at a record high in Ireland. Hundreds of consumers apparently put down deposits for new Leaf without seeing or driving the car.
Nissan confirmed it has taken over 200 online deposits for the new car in just four weeks, while a staggering 2,500 Irish consumers have registered their online interest in buying the car over the past 12 weeks.
In terms of sales, the best Leaf did up to this was 406 unit sales one year. Nissan expect to hit that figure in April, and the target for 2018 is over 1,000 unit sales.
Supply could be a problem, because new Leaf has taken off right across the world.
“The demand for this car is simply phenomenal," insisted James McCarthy, CEO of Nissan Ireland. "We are selling it before it has even hit the showroom floor."
Nissan said the unprecedented demand for the new Leaf is being driven by the fact the range has been increased by 50% to 378 kilometres (NEDC), and by a growing awareness amongst Irish householders that switching to the car can save them at least €1,350 per annum in fuel and road tax costs.
Government incentives including the SEAI purchase grant of €5,000, the additional €7,000 SEAI grant for taxi drivers, the introduction of 0% BIK on company vehicles and the environmental benefits of switching to a 100% electric car are also influencing consumers, according to Nissan.
“Consumers are conscientiously weighing up whether the car can save them money. The facts are driving demand. They are at least €1,350 a year better off for driving the 100% electric Nissan LEAF,” said Mr McCarthy.
"The increased range of the new Leaf and the fact that it does not require petrol or diesel to run it has given consumers the confidence to look beyond driving a conventional car or hybrid.
“Consumers seeking a 100% electric solution now recognise that an average hybrid consumes 3.4 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, which is about the same as a typical mid-range diesel car,” he added.
The all new Nissan Leaf offers a significant update over the previous models with a higher battery capacity, dynamic new styling and advanced technologies, including ProPILOT and the Nissan e-Pedal function, which allows drivers to start from a standstill, accelerate and brake and even bring the car to a controlled stop by using the throttle pedal.
ProPILOT is a revolutionary driver assistance technology designed for motorway use. It combines steering assist, acceleration and braking that can help the driver workload in heavy motorway traffic and long commutes.
The ProPILOT system uses a radar sensor that detects the vehicle ahead and a forward-facing camera that detects lane markers.
ProPILOT Park is a hands off, feet off automatic parking function that works with parallel and bay parking (forwards or backwards entry).
It will park the new Nissan Leaf when the driver selects one of the spots proposed by the system. By pressing the ProPILOT Park button, the car will fully manage the parking actions and automatically apply the parking brake when the manoeuvre is complete.
Options - Nissan connect €800; parking sensors €400; cold pack (heated seats front and back) and heated steering wheel €400; Bose €600; ProPilot €1,000; ProPilot Park €1,700; part leather seats €960; two tone metallic paint €900.