The all-new, all-electric Nissan Leaf has been officially launched in Malaysia by Edaran Tan Chong Motor with improved range, technology and practicality. And there now different ways with which to own this fully electric hatchback.
First things first, the specs; specifically the battery capacity and range. Edaran Tan Chong Motor has chosen the 40 kWh version of the Leaf for Malaysia, it offers a range of 311 km per full charge, according to the NEDC combined cycle, or 270 km based on the stricter WLTP combined cycle for the variant fitted with 17-inch alloys. The first-generation Leaf came with a battery capacity of 24 kWh.
Before you dismiss the Leaf and say that’s not enough to reach Penang, please bear in mind that an EV isn’t for everyone. If you travel over 200 km every day, you will be better off with a petrol- or even better, a diesel-powered car. But if you are like the majority of car owners around the world who clock no more than 100 km a day, you may choose to read on.
Styling wise, the all-new Leaf is easily discernible over the previous one which divided opinions. It is altogether a much better effort this time around, looking sufficiently futuristic, even sporty from some angles with the two-tone roofline, integrated rear spoiler and boomerang-shaped LED taillights. The charging port remains on the bonnet, just aft of the V-motion grille. Otherwise, the Leaf is a C-segment, Golf-sized 5-door hatch with a roomy cabin and a surprisingly spacious boot that measures 435 litres (a Golf has 380 litres by the way).
To back up the sportier new look is a more powerful electric motor driving the front wheels, rated at 150 hp and 320 Nm and worthy of a respectable time of 7.9 seconds for the 0-100km/h benchmark, along with a limited top speed of 155km/h. EVs consume energy far quicker at higher speeds than in city crawls, hence the limiter.
There are two ways to top up the 40 kWh lithium-ion battery pack; either through ‘Normal’ 6.6 kW AC charging (utilising a SAE J1772 plug) or through the ‘Quick’ 50 kW DC charging. Nissan is throwing in an AC wall box charger capable of 30-ampere delivery, so the Leaf would take around 7 hours for a full charge from a depleted battery, though in reality, charging times are usually shorter as there will likely be residue charge left in the car. DC quick charging takes 50 minutes, though there are currently only three locations in Peninsula Malaysia with this facility.
The new Nissan Leaf offers a total of four different drive modes to govern the level of energy to be recovered – D, ECO, B and B-ECO. In short, ‘D’ offers the highest level of performance and energy usage, ‘ECO’ consumes 10% less by managing energy-intensive functions, ‘B’ maximises regen braking while ‘B-ECO’ combines B and ECO energy savings.
On top of all that, there’s a new feature called the ‘e-Pedal’. When engaged, backing off from the accelerator actually slows the car down (the rear brake lights will illuminate), and this helps in regenerating energy instead of using the brakes. By anticipating the traffic, the Leaf can be driven by just using the accelerator pedal and you can come to a stop with it, even on a slope. Of course, the brake pedal should be preferred when the situation warrants.
The Malaysian-spec Leaf gets leather and suede seats with blue accents, the latest flat-bottom steering wheel as seen in the Serena and facelifted X-Trail and a display head-unit. Electronic park brake, keyless entry and ignition, automatic climate control and cruise control are standard as well. The Leaf also comes with the new-generation part digital, part analogue (speedometer) driver’s display which is expected to be featured in the forthcoming Kicks crossover and the next generation Almera.
In the safety department, the Leaf is keeping with Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility initiative and it is equipped with a range of active and passive safety functions including Intelligent Forward Collision and Emergency Braking, Around View Monitor (360-degree view) with Motion Object Detection and Driver Alert warning, this is on top of the usual servings of 6 airbags and electronic stability.
The Japan-made, fully imported Nissan Leaf is available in only one grade but you can choose from six different body colours, two of which have dual-tone paintwork and two interior hues – black or grey. The price for the new Leaf starts from RM188,888, prices includes a 3-year/100,000 km vehicle warranty, 3-year/100,000 km maintenance, with the high voltage battery pack covered for 8 years or 160,000 km.
To allay fears on residue values of an EV, you can also ‘own’ the Leaf via a subscription model (like Netflix) at RM3,500 per month, over a 3-year contract period.