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Nissan's next Leaf is cheaper and can almost drive itself


Nissan unveiled the 2018 Leaf at events in Las Vegas and Tokyo with an aggressive new design for the four-door hatchback. With a 150 mile range (the current model has a 107 mile range), it doesn’t quite compete with the Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt. But it has a price tag that’s $5,000 cheaper than those two vehicles which may have some potential customers debating the if 100 miles is worth the extra cash.

Nissan is well aware of the market though. “Competition makes everyone stronger and we welcome the competition,” said Brian Maragno, Nissan EV marketing and sales strategy North America at the Las Vegas launch event.

What’s interesting is Nissan plans on introducing a more powerful Leaf with more battery capacity in 2019 with the launch of its new EV platform. Cautious consumers might end up waiting a year to see just what the automaker has its sleeve before committing to the 2018 model.

Nissan Leaf

One way the automaker to get folks to purchase its transition vehicle is the inclusion of ProPilot. The semi-autonomous heavy traffic feature keeps the car in its lane while tracking the vehicle in front of it. The feature does require the drive keep their hands on the wheel at all times and if the car some to a complete stop, the drive needs to press a button for the Leaf to enable adaptive cruise control. But if you’re constantly stuck in traffic, anything that reduces the monotony of constantly swapping back and forth from the brake and accelerator helps.

The company also introduced e-Pedal, it’s one-pedal driving solution with the Leaf. It’s a straightforward system, depress the accelerator to speed up and release to come to a full stop. Nissan says with the feature enabled, the car will stop and stay put even on a hill.