Nissan Australia has launched the second generation all-electric Nissan Leaf in Melbourne this Wednesday morning, introducing what is now the second pure battery electric vehicle priced under $50,000 onto the Australian market.
While the latest Nissan Leaf has been available for sale in overseas markets for a year, the introduction of the second generation of Nissan’s flagship electric vehicle – with a 40kWh battery and a real world range of 240km (270km under the Euro WLTP testing cycle) – is a welcome addition to Australia’s limited choice of battery electric vehicles.
Available from a starting price of $49,990 before on-road costs – a cost that is likely to put making the switch to electric vehicles within reach of more Australians – the new Nissan Leaf will be released on the Australian auto market from August 2019.
With Australia’s transport emissions continuing on an upward trajectory with no signs of slowing down, the introduction of the new Leaf, which has at least double the driving range of its first generation predecessor, presents another step towards making EVs more affordable.
Speaking to media at the event in Melbourne today, Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester outlined the Leaf’s leading role in Nissan’s vision for the future of mobility, which it calls Nissan Intelligent Mobility.
“We are at a moment in time that is undergoing a tremendous amount of change,” said Lester.
“We’ve got increases in air pollution, noise pollution, traffic congestion and global warming…and of course fatalities on our roads.
“What’s also changing is the way we connect and integrate with the world around us – that’s where Nissan is really starting to shape our future.
Nissan Intelligent Mobility allows us to foster some of these changes and enables us to tackle challenges head on. We want zero emissions and zero fatalities.”
The Nissan Leaf is the icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility – technology has progressed through this vehicle and its recent incarnation is a second generation vehicle, [and Nissan is] the only manufacturer with a second generation electric vehicle on the market.”
The first generation Leaf was introduced by Nissan in 2010 becoming one of the world’s best selling electric vehicles, passing 400,000 units sold worldwide in March 2019.
While the modest range (compared to other, higher specc’d models such as Tesla vehicles and the Hyundai Kona electric) of the second generation Leaf may not be quite enough to alleviate “range anxiety” for those keen to traverse long distances, it is more than enough to service an average daily commute of 40km.
A maximum charging rate of 50kW allows the vehicle to charge from 0-100% in under 50 minutes on a DC fast charger, using the CHAdeMO plug that comes with all Leaf vehicles.
All new Leafs to be sold in Australia will also come standard with what could also be a game-changer not only for the automotive industry but the energy sector – bidirectional charging capability.
More on that later – enough to say for now that it was confirmed by Nissan’s global head of electric vehicles Nic Thomas that testing of specially designed chargeboxes to meet local grid requirements and regulations is underway.
Jetcharge CEO Tim Washington, who also spoke at the event, said he expects that bidirectional residential charging – otherwise known as V2H (vehicle to home) charging – could be available in Australia by the end of the year.
EV charging network provider Chargefox, which last week opened the southern hemisphere’s largest DC fast-charging site in Melbourne, has also inked a deal with Nissan that will see new Leaf owners able to recharge their vehicles at a discounted rate.
According to Nissan Australia’s corporate communications manager Tony Mee, the exact nature of this discount has not yet been decided and will be announced in the near future.
Thanks to another recent deal that will see Chargefox oversee management of the Queensland Electric Super Highway, new Nissan Leaf drivers will be able to access discounted charging all along the eastern seaboard, across Victoria and over to South Australia
With 22 EV ultra-fast charging sites sites slated for completion later in 2019, the Chargefox network will soon extend all the way from Cairns to Adelaide with secondary networks in the Perth surrounds and Tasmania.
“Nissan is considering every aspect of electric vehicle ownership, and reducing the cost of charging makes Nissan LEAF even more enticing,” said Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester in a note by email regarding the deal.
“We are delighted to partner with Chargefox – which has a considerable network and impressive infrastructure plans – so we can keep Nissan LEAF owners on the road for longer for less.”
Receiving a five-star rating from the Australian car safety assessment body ANCAP in May, the Leaf received a top score for side and oblique impacts, resulting in a 95% overall rating.
A boosted Leaf with 62kWh battery and up to 363km real world driving range was announced for US markets in March 2019, however there is no word yet from Nissan Australia on its introduction locally.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.