Nissan has confirmed that it will bring the 62kWh Nissan Leaf e+ into Australia in the first half of 2021, extending its electric lineup to compliment its 40kWh stablemate.
The confirmation from Nissan Australia comes just a few weeks after the longer range Nissan Leaf was approved for “grey import” into Australia, and days after The Driven published a review outlining one couple’s “game changing” experience owning what is thought to be the first privately imported Leaf e+ in Australia.
While at first the news that Nissan had finally made the decision to add the Leaf e+, which has a 385km driving range compared to the 40kWh Leaf’s 270km (WLTP), seemed like a reaction to the vehicle’s addition to the grey import list, a spokesperson for Nissan Australia has told The Driven this is not in fact the case.
According to Nissan’s spokesperson, the addition of the Nissan Leaf e+ is to “compliment the line up” and “bring extended range and capability” to the car maker’s offerings in Australia.
No more specific timing can be given as yet, but when it arrives the Leaf e+ will join the 40kWh Leaf which was introduced in Australia in mid-2019.
The introduction of the 62kWh Leaf will also mean added energy storage capacity for those wanting to use its bidirectional charging ability, otherwise known as vehicle-to-grid (V2G) or vehicle-to-home (V2H).
“The extra storage capacity will be great for anyone who does take that up as part of their home,” said Nissan’s spokesperson.
Both the 40kWh Leaf and 62kWh Leaf use the CHAdeMO charging plug standard, which allows the car’s battery to both store and discharge energy. The two-way capability has proven useful in Japan in providing power to communities after natural disasters and emergencies.
Nissan is a partner in the ACT-based REVS ( Realising Electric Vehicle Services) trial that will be conducted by AGL and local utility ActewAGL, and will see 51 Nissan Leaf owners try out their vehicles’ two-way charging capability.
The addition of the Leaf e+ will not only offer drivers more oomph from its electric motor (160kW compared to the previous 110kW), it will also offer more energy storage capability.
The Japanese car maker is also supporting the Origin smart charging trial to give 150 electric car drivers the opportunity to join its “Virtual Power Plant” platform to better understand how AI can bring improvements in charging costs and efficiencies across the grid.
In Nissan’s upcoming all-electric Ariya SUV, slated for production in 2020, the car maker has bucked CHAdeMO and chosen instead to go with the more common CCS.
But with no word from the company on whether it will in the future demonstrate V2G or V2H using the CCS standard, it may well be wise to grab the Leaf e+ instead of waiting to see if the Ariya also includes two-way charging (when it eventually makes it to Australia).
It is understood that 62kWh Leafs will still be eligible for grey import after a local launch by Nissan in Australia, as long as any particular vehicle was built before the car maker starts selling it new 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.