The spy shots, teaser photos, rumors, and feverish speculation can all be put behind us.
The 2018 Nissan Leaf hatchback has debuted, and we can now see every facet of the second generation of the world's best-selling electric car.
The compact five-door's 40-kilowatt-hour battery is projected to get a 150-mile combined U.S. range rating, Nissan says, and the starting price is $30,875 including delivery.
The new 2018 Leaf electric car will go on sale in Japan on October 2, though deliveries in North America won't start until "early 2018."
In 2019, the Leaf range will gain a second battery option, a larger 60-kwh pack, according to Nissan executives during a technical briefing held in Japan in June.
That should give the second model a range of 200 miles or more, and it will also offer higher power, Nissan said, at a higher price. The company provided no further details.
2018 Nissan LeafEnlarge Photo
The 2018 Leaf introduced today has a more powerful electric motor driving its front wheels than the outgoing first-generation car. It's rated at a maximum output of 110 kilowatts (147 horsepower) and 236 pound-feet of torque. Comparable figures for the 2017 Leaf are 80 kw (107 hp), and 187 lb-ft.
The onboard charger remains at 6.6 kw, with CHAdeMO DC fast charging available. Nissan says the 40-kwh battery takes 16 hours for a full recharge using conventional 120-volt household current, and 8 hours using a 240-volt Level 2 charging station. Fast charging to 80 percent takes about 40 minutes.
Specs aside, by far the biggest change in the 2018 Leaf is a complete restyling inside and out, making the Leaf a recognizable part of the Nissan global small-car lineup.
Nissan design executives admitted several years ago that the first-generation electric car's lines were polarizing, and that perhaps the next generation might not be quite as extreme.
Indeed, aside from badges, there's little to indicate that the 2018 Leaf is an electric car at all.
Even the signature front-center charging port is now hidden under a door that adopts the shape of Nissan's "V-Motion" grille, although it's actually a blanking plate with a grid pattern that Nissan calls "Flash Motion" embedded into it.
2018 Nissan LeafEnlarge Photo
The company's recent "floating roof" design is indicated by a glossy black division on the rear pillar, and the vertical taillights flanking the tailgate have given way to chevron-shaped horizontal units that wrap around the corners of the car.
Inside the 2018 Leaf electric car, Nissan has provided a new interior design that's both more conventional and more pleasant, aiming for what it calls a "relaxed ambience and premium ... feel."
Some of the previous model's hard plastic has given way to more pleasant materials and soft-touch surfaces, and blue stitching in the seats, steering wheel, and instrument-panel top subtly underscore the electric drivetrain.
A 7.0-inch touchscreen in the center of the dash has redesigned and streamlined graphics, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are now standard.
The 2018 Leaf also comes standard with what Nissan calls "e-Pedal," which allows the driver to select a mode that increases regenerative braking and permits what experienced EV drivers call "one-pedal driving."
The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV offers a very similar feature, as well as a "regen paddle" behind the steering wheel, while the BMW i3 uses strong regeneration and largely one-pedal driving as its default behavior.
2018 Nissan Leaf ProPilot AssistEnlarge Photo
The electric Leaf for 2018 will also be the first car in the Nissan lineup to offer ProPilot Assist, a feature that combines adaptive cruise control with lane centering for single-lane highway driving.
Drivers have to keep their hands on the steering wheel, but it reduces the need to make slight corrections when lane markings are suitable visible on the road surface.
Hidden in the specifications sheet, however, there's a bit of a secret to the 2018 Leaf.