FOCUS ON: NISSAN
Having led the EV push with the Leaf, Nissan is now preparing for its next big step
Nissan was at the forefront of the electric vehicle, with the Leaf having launched more than 10 years ago as the first mainstream pure EV.
The second-generation Leaf, launched before most manufacturers had got their first EV into the marketplace, came in 2018, and was enhanced the following year with a larger 62kWh battery on the Leaf e+ models, taking range out to an official 239 miles.
The firm announced price cuts to the Leaf line-up in April to ensure all models still get under the £35,000 threshold for the Government’s £2500 plug-in car grant.
Nissan has also offered the e-NV200 vans and people-carriers since 2014, but those will cease production by the end of 2021 with the closure of the company’s Barcelona factory. A new electric and diesel light van is confirmed, based on the same platform as Renault’s new Kangoo.
Nissan recently announced that it has passed 250,000 electric vehicle sales in Europe, with 208,000 of those being the Leaf, plus around 42,000 e-NV200s.
NEW ELECTRIC SUVS
✪ STAR CAR ✪
WHAT IS IT?
The Leaf was the first serious electric car to hit the market back in 2010, and the second-generation is now firmly established in the market, having arrived in 2018
WHAT’S THE LINE-UP LIKE
There are two battery options – the 40kWh, which kicks off from £28,440 before the Government grant, and the 62kWh, from £32,890.
HOW QUICK IS IT?
The larger battery is attached to a 217hp motor, while the smaller gets 150hp, which equate to 0-62mph times of 6.9 and 7.9 seconds respectively.
WHATS THE RANGE?
The larger-battery car can do up to 239 miles, while the official maximum for the smaller battery is 168.
IS IT TAX-EFFICIENT?
Drivers in the 40% BiK bracket will pay up to £12 per month this year, then £23 a month to the end of the 2024/25 tax year.
The price realignment after the Government changed the grant regime in March means that even the top-spec e+ Tekna model is now less than £35,000.
The next phase of Nissan’s electric vehicle development is the Ariya, which is due to arrive in the UK in the first half of 2022 (see Coming Next, below). But the brand has also confirmed that another electric crossover, likely to be a smaller model, will be built at the Sunderland plant as part of a £1bn investment in creating “an electric vehicle manufacturing ecosystem”.
Although no timescale has yet been discussed, according to Nissan the new crossover “promises next-generation vehicle styling, efficiency and battery technology, making the switch to electric driving even more accessible.”
Nissan is also about to delve into the ‘self-charging’ hybrid powertrain, where a small battery will run the car for short periods. The e-Power system will arrive on both the Qashqai and new X-Trail in the first half of next year, and deploys a system that uses the petrol engine to generate electricity rather than to power the car. That, says Nissan, means the engine is always operating at optimum efficiency.
“It is a powertrain for customers who are not ready to embrace a full electric vehicle, but want to enjoy the advantages of an electrified powertrain,” said the company.
Nissan has also announced it is the first Japanese car manufacturer to join the United Nations’ Race to Zero campaign, accelerating its carbon neutrality and full electrification goals.
The long-awaited second electric car from Nissan arrives in the first half of 2022, with a pair of battery options that offer a range figure of up to 310 miles.
The Ariya will launch with two- or four-wheel drive and 63kWh or 87kWh batteries, and Nissan claims its new model offers excellent interior space thanks in part to repackaging the climate control system under the bonnet.
It is 190mm longer than a Qashqai but 70mm lower and 44mm narrower, and has 0-62mph times of between 5.1 and 7.6 seconds, depending on model.
Boot space is 468 litres for the two-wheel drive models, dropping to 415 litres on the 4×4.