Nissan has released the first images of the second-generation Leaf, ahead of its imminent physical reveal at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
The all-electric hatchback marked a breakthrough for purely battery-powered cars when it became the world’s first mass-produced electric car in 2010.
Since then, mainstream car makers including Volkswagen, Ford and Kia have followed Nissan’s lead by releasing their own electric efforts to varying success. Now though, Nissan hopes to rewrite the EV rulebook with the all-new Leaf.
As you’ll have spotted from these pictures, its quirky looks – which stemmed from the equally divisive Juke compact SUV – have been dialled back and looking at it flat and front-on, styling is as conservative as the previous-gen Micra.
It may have pinched the Juke’s rear lights but the overall profile is distinctly reminiscent of the meh-a-minute Pulsar. The boot lid also reminds us of the ever-inoffensive Skoda Rapid Spaceback.
In the original Leaf, the unconventionally styled steering wheel left no doubt that you were driving something truly groundbreaking and special. But now, it has been switched out for something with a much more drab layout and look.
The same can be said for the centre console, so throw in a more subtle letterbox-shaped touchscreen and characterless black leather seats and you’ve got an interior that looks as anonymous as any other mainstream hatchback. Only the magic 8-ball-esque transmission control retains the Leaf’s sense of occasion.
Away from styling, the Leaf’s mileage range has been extended to 235 miles, thanks to a revised electric powertrain that can produce a power output of 110kW – the equivalent of 147bhp – and up to 320Nm of torque.
This extra power should mean a quicker 0-62mph time but there’s no official word on that yet, although we do know top speed will be pinned at 90mph.
Recharging the car on a normal three-pin hole-in-the-wall plug, it would take 16 hours to refill the battery, but on a quick charge, it can gain up to 80 per cent of its battery capacity in 40 minutes.
A high-power version with more battery capacity – and thus an even longer range – will become available at the end of 2018.
Three main new intelligent driving technologies debut in the new Leaf.
The first is the ProPILOT advanced driver assistance system, which aims to make the drive easier, less stressful and more relaxing in single-lane highway driving.
Parking should be a doddle with ProPILOT Park which takes control of all steering, acceleration, braking and gear selection to automatically guide the car into a parking spot. It makes parking stress-free and more precise for all drivers.
Finally, e-Pedal allows drivers to start, accelerate, decelerate and stop simply by how much they depress the accelerator pedal. When the accelerator is fully released, regenerative and friction brakes are applied automatically, and gradually, the car will come to a complete stop.
It will hold this position – even on steep uphill slopes – until the accelerator is pressed again. Nissan warns that the normal brake pedal should still be used in aggressive braking situations, with e-Pedal being reserved for casual driving when the road opens up.
The new Nissan Leaf will go on sale from January 2018.
What do you think of the new-style Leaf? Are its dialled-back looks a success? Tell us down there in the comments…