Nissan finally gives us a Leaf with a big battery — the Leaf e+

13 January 2019 - autoblog

Nissan finally gives us a Leaf with a big battery — the Leaf e+

Longer-range EV revealed at CES

Nissan is giving the people what they want at CES: a longer-range Leaf. Called the Leaf e+, it brings the electric car's range up to 226 miles thanks to a 62 kWh battery pack. The regular Leaf's 40 kWh pack provides 150 miles of range, so the Leaf e+ gets a 76-mile boost. The larger battery pack doesn't take up much extra room, either, adding about 0.2 inches in total overall height with the 16-inch wheels – other dimensions are unchanged.

For the larger battery pack, Nissan developed a faster 70 kW charging system that should allow quick-charge times similar to the current 40 kWh Leaf – and that's despite a 55 percent larger battery. The current Leaf can reach 60 percent charge (90 miles) in 30 minutes, so we can calculate that the Leaf e+ will replenish about 135 miles of range in 30 minutes.

To go along with your big battery, you'll also be getting more power in the Leaf e+. It isn't sports car territory, but the 160 kW electric motor makes 214 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. That's 54 horsepower and 14 pound-feet of torque more than the Leaf with the smaller battery makes. Zero to 60 mph times aren't quoted by Nissan, but the trip from 50-75 mph is done 13 percent quicker. Top speed goes to about 105 mph, too.

Nissan revamped the e-Pedal system to account for the Leaf e+'s increased mass. The system will also improve refinement and pedal modulation in reverse, a sticking point in the current Leaf. It'll also provide more regenerative braking overall, allowing the driver to stop more effectively using only the e-Pedal.

Unfortunately, this improved battery pack still uses the old air cooling system, not the liquid cooling many other manufacturers have utilized to maintain temperatures. While the air-cooled battery is lighter and simpler than a liquid-cooled unit, which is Nissan's continuing justification for the system, it will come as a disappointment to many who are frustrated by how the charging system responds to battery pack heat by turning down charging speeds. The Leaf would undoubtedly be more expensive with liquid cooling, so you'll be getting a break on those monthly payments for the compromise.

Appearance-wise, the Leaf e+ doesn't look a whole lot different than the regular Leaf. It gets a front fascia with blue highlights up front, and a "Plus" badge sits out back. An "e+" logo plate sits under the lid of the charging port. The infotainment system gets updated with a larger 8-inch screen and new software.

Everything else carries over from the recently redesigned 2018 Leaf. We're told the Leaf e+ will be rolling into dealerships come spring 2019. Pricing is unavailable for the time being, but rumors point to about a $6,600 increase over the normal Leaf. The current base price is $30,875, so this increase puts it in the realm of other cars with similar range such as the Chevy Bolt and Hyundai Kona Electric.

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