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2018 Nissan Leaf: 10 things you need to know

The 2018 Nissan Leaf has been unveiled in Oslo, Norway, where electric cars are taken seriously. We take a look at 10 of the more interesting things you should know about the all-electric car.

As electric cars go, the Nissan Leaf has been one of the most successful, which is why the announcement of a new model is a big deal. Even more so, in fact, now we know the Government has a plan to phase out the combustion engine from 2040.

The old Nissan Leaf was a solid family runaround, but it was never going to convert engine fans in the same way Tesla has. So people at Nissan who can draw set about making it nicer to look at, while engineers worked on enhancing the range and making it easier to drive.

We attended the Nissan Futures event, now in its third year, in Oslo, Norway, to learn what the new Leaf is all about. These are the 10 most important things we could dig up ahead of the press drives, which are said to be taking place in the not-so-distant future.

1) The new stuff

Pretty standard attack in terms of what Nissan has done to the new Leaf. Exterior revisions make it look meaner and bring it in line with other new models such as the latest Micra. That includes the V-motion front end and the same sleek 0.28Cd aerodynamic profile.

It also gets a revised interior, the focus of which, Nissan says, has been on ‘the clever use of space and optimum functionality’. Highlights include a new seven-inch TFT display and an infotainment system that is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

2) The performance

The 2018 Nissan Leaf is powered by an electric motor that develops 110kW (150PS) and 320Nm of torque. Unfortunately, there is no word on the 0-62mph time, but we expect it to take around nine seconds because of the time it took the older model.

3) The range

By increasing the battery capacity to 40kWh, the 2018 Nissan Leaf offers a 235-mile (NEDC) range, making range anxiety less prominent and capable of competing withs rivals, including the BMW i3, although it still lags behind the admittedly pricier Teslas.

4) The lack of pedals

Electric cars are some of the easiest cars to drive, but Nissan has tried to make life even easier with a clever one-pedal ‘e-Pedal’ system for the 2018 Nissan Leaf.

You still have a brake, but a combination of strong energy regen (the electric car equivalent of mechanical braking) and the fact the handbrake is automatically applied when you come to a halt means you could get away with never using the brakes again.

5) The bi-directional charging ability

The 2018 Nissan features the ability to operate as a giant battery. Energy stored within can be given back to a home or office using bi-directional charging – or even sold back to the grid

The system is currently available in Denmark and will be introduced to the UK, thanks to a partnership with energy provider Ovo.

Ovo claims around £350 a year could be saved in electric costs although the specific figures – such as the buyback price per unit of energy – are currently unclear. What we do know is that it will make solar panels more useful and will, in theory, reduce your Leaf running costs.

6) The dimensions and practicality

Time for some numbers. The 2018 Leaf is 4,480mm long, 1,790mm wide and 1,540mm tall and has a gross vehicle weight of between 1,765kg to 1,795kg, depending on the model.

As for boot space, expect 435 litres. The new Nissan Leaf also has Pro Pilot, which lets it drive and park itself. So fewer embarassing attempts at parallel parking, then.

7) The wall chargers

Charging the 2018 Nissan Leaf takes 16 hours using a standard plug socket, so you are better off getting the new 7kW wall charger, which lowers the time from empty to full to 5.5 hours – 2.5 hours faster than the old 6kW output.

A commercial 22kW will also be available – and not just for businesses. It is capable of a full charge in around two hours and will be available in 2018. As with any fast charging system, it will put extra strain on the battery and that could affect the long-term longevitry.

8) There will be a European launch edition

Those who live in Europe and take the plunge on a new Nissan Leaf early will have access to to the Leaf 2.Zero edition, which comes with a more generous roster of goodies, including all the Pro Pilot self-driving stuff.

9) The UK price and on-sale date

The 2018 Nissan Leaf 2.Zero edition will cost from £26,490, which includes the UK government grant of £4,500. Nissan says first deliveries will arrive in ‘early 2018’. You can order your very own Leaf right this second.

10) What about a Leaf Nismo version?

Nissan has announced a Leaf Nismo is coming. Not even joking. More details will be announced in the coming weeks (it is set for a Tokyo Motor Show unveiling), but we know it will be a performance-focussed version with a higher power output and improved handling credentials.

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