Nine things you should know about the 2018 Nissan Leaf electric car

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2018 Nissan Leaf

2018 Nissan Leaf

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The simulcasted global events are over, the cars have been driven back out of the arenas, and electric-car fans are evaluating the new 2018 Nissan Leaf that was unveiled to the world last night.

We've covered both the details of the car and our preliminary drive impressions from testing a pre-production prototype at Nissan's Tochigi proving grounds in June.

But with the volume of comments on the articles and questions coming in, we decided a cheat sheet was needed. Here are nine major points about the new 2018 Leaf.

DON'T MISS: 2018 Nissan Leaf debuts: 150 miles for $30,875, 200-plus miles next year

(1) It's new, but it's not all-new.

You can think of this car as a heavy restyle of the first-generation Leaf sold from 2011 through 2017, both inside and out. The funky styling is gone, but much of the understructure remains.

We think this car would have made a really great "mid-cycle refresh" of the Leaf for, say, 2016. As a 2018 car, it's overdue.

2018 Nissan Leaf

2018 Nissan Leaf

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(2) It's projected to get a 150-mile EPA range rating.

Full EPA ratings for the 2018 Leaf, with its 40-kilowatt-hour battery pack, haven't yet been released, but Nissan projects a combined 150-mile rating.

This puts the new Leaf into a category of its own, sort of a "mid-range EV" from, say, 130 to 200 miles: higher than the 60-to-125-mile crowd, but lower than the Chevy Bolt EV and all Teslas.

READ THIS: 2018 Nissan Leaf electric-car prototype driven: first impressions

(3) It's more powerful.

The electric motor that drives the 2018 Leaf's front wheels is the same one as in earlier Leafs, but Nissan has revised the control software to open up considerably more power.

The new model is rated at a maximum output of 110 kilowatts (147 horsepower) and 236 pound-feet of torque, while comparable figures for the 2017 Leaf were 80 kw (107 hp) and 187 lb-ft.

2018 Nissan Leaf pricing

2018 Nissan Leaf pricing

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(4) It's less expensive.

While the starting price of a 2018 Nissan Leaf S base model is now $29,990, that doesn't include the mandatory $875 delivery fee, which brings the total to $30,865.

Still, that's $690 lower than the comparable 2017 Leaf model, for a much more modern car with more standard equipment and a range of 150 miles versus last year's 107 miles.

THE CONTEXT: US electric-car market data offers reality check as 2018 Leaf arrives

(5) It's no longer weird-looking.

Nissan has been quite open about its plans to make the Leaf less polarizing and unusual-looking, both inside and out. Toyota may have doubled down on weird for its latest Prius hybrid, but not so Nissan for the new Leaf.

The 2018 model of the company's halo car could easily be a gasoline Sentra or any other small Nissan hatchback; only some badges and the mushroom-shaped drive selector inside point to its all-electric powertrain.

2018 Nissan Leaf

2018 Nissan Leaf

Enlarge Photo

(6) It's quieter inside.

Nissan has put a great deal of effort into reducing noise, vibration, and harshness inside the cabin, using everything from a stiffer structure and extensive computer modeling to acoustic windshield glass and insulation specially designed to absorb motor and electronics whine.

From our drive of a prototype vehicle last June, it worked: The 2018 Nissan Leaf is considerably quieter inside.

CHECK OUT: 2018 Nissan Leaf to have e-Pedal: here's what that means

(7) The 200-mile version is coming next year.

The company said nothing about it at last night's event in Las Vegas, but its executives told us in June that a version with a 60-kwh battery will arrive as a 2019 model.

That will give it a Leaf that can compete more readily with the 238-mile Chevrolet Bolt EV, at $37,500, and the base 220-mile Tesla Model 3, at $35,000.


 
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