Nissan has started taking orders for two new versions of the Leaf electric car, one of which offers higher power and a longer range between charges.
The Leaf 3.Zero adds a new infotainment system, based around an eight-inch screen and with more connectivity, to the standard specification. However its sister Leaf 3.Zero e+ model gets a power and torque hike to 217hp and 340Nm, 67hp better than the standard Leaf.
Range increases too, by 40% or 62 miles over the standard model, Nissan quoting a potential driving range between charges for the 3.Zero e+ of 239 miles.
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Behind these improvements is a new battery, with 288 cells instead of the standard 192 and rated at 62kWh instead of 40kWh. This results in a 25 per cent increase in energy density and 55 per cent better storage capacity.
Nissan says that the new battery, which sits under the car’s floor, is very similar in size to the standard unit, though the 3.Zero e+ does stand 5mm higher off the ground (on 16-inch wheels) compared to standard models.
Other benefits, according to Nissan, include a better in-gear performance. A 13% cut in the 50mph to 75mph time will make overtaking slower vehicles easier, as well as easing into fast-moving traffic, for example when joining motorways.
The 3.Zero e+ top speed of 97mph is also 10% better than the standard car.
3.Zero e+ models will be sold as a limited edition, with 5,000 allocated to European buyers. It is priced from £36,795 including the Government’s Plug-in Grant, while the 3.Zero costs from £31,095.
Both cars will be marketed as flagship models in the Leaf range, and both will include the e-Pedal and ProPilot driving technologies as standard.
The e-pedal allows drivers to start the car, accelerate, decelerate and stop using only the accelerator pedal. The ProPilot is effectively an adaptive cruise control, allowing the car to stop, restart and stay centred in its lane in higher-speed cruising and lower-speed congested traffic.
First deliveries of the 3.Zero are expected in May and the 3.Zero e+ in the summer.