► New 30kWh battery pack
► Increases range to 155 miles
► Part of 2016 model year updates
Nissan will fit its Leaf electric car with a new battery pack for 2016, boosting the hatchback’s range by as much as 25%. The newly created 30kWh battery unit is claimed to allow a 155-mile driving range from a full charge.
‘This is a big milestone, a big change,’ Jean-Pierre Diernaz, director of electric vehicles for Nissan Europe, told CAR. ‘The new battery unit offers the highest range of the Leaf’s EV (electric vehicle) category.’
The Leaf’s closest competitor in range, the similar-sized Renault Zoe offers a full-charge range of up to 149 miles from a 100% charge, and the smaller BMW i3 around 100 miles.
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Nissan Leaf’s new 30kWh battery: the details
‘The new battery is the same size,’ explains Diernaz. ‘The weight is slightly higher, by around 21kg. That’s a very good trade-off for the extra performance. [To achieve the gains] the chemistry inside the battery has changed, along with the architecture of the cells, and the electronics.’
The new 30kWh unit will be sold alongside the established 24kWh pack that’s served in the Leaf since the car’s introduction in 2010. It’s charged in the same way, from a home charging point, via public chargers or by the increasing number of 400V rapid chargers being rolled out across Europe. The new battery’s covered by an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
Batteries for UK-spec Leaf’s will be built at Britain, in a separate facility at Nissan’s Sunderland plant.
Anything else new for the Leaf?
As part of a wider range of updates for the 2016 model year, the Leaf’s 7in touchscreen multimedia system gets a new interface and extra functions. There’s a new smartphone app too, dubbed ‘NissanConnect EV’ and replacing the old ‘CarWings’ system. Designed to be easier to use, new features include a charging map that tells owners the location of available charging points, and which ones are already occupied. As before, it’s possible to pre-heat or cool the Leaf’s cabin before climbing in, helping to eke out the battery’s life a little further.
2016 Nissan Leaf 30kWh prices
Sales begin in the UK from December 2015, starting at £24,490 for a base Acenta model (with the current £5000 plug-in car grant factored in). Plusher Tekna trims start from £26,490. Buyers can still purchase the Leaf with the old 24kWh battery, with prices starting from £20,790 for basic Visia versions.
Back when the Leaf first entered the market it was one of only two production EVs available to the public, the other being the Mitsubishi i-MiEV city car. Now there’s a dozen, and that number’s expected to double by 2020.
‘Perception of the car with the public is very strong,’ says Diernaz. ‘With a car that’s already three to four years old, we’ve made a big change, reached a big milestone.’
Click here to read more about Nissan’s future plans for the Leaf.