Nissan Leaf arrives with 150-mile range and priced at $29990

The revamped Nissan Leaf includes new features such as a semi-autonomous Pro Pilot Assist system. Courtesy of Nissan

LAS VEGAS - As the global leader in electric vehicle sales, Nissan today continues its pursuit toward a clean-energy future with the reveal of the all-new Nissan LEAF.

It will go sale in Japan from October 2.

The second-generation Nissan Leaf is ready to battle the Chevy Bolt with new styling, a better driving range, more power and updated technology. The Japanese carmaker said it would offer higher priced model, with more power and range, next year. Nissan claims the throttle response has been improved further to give instant performance.

The company is adding 43 miles to the Leaf's range, bringing it to 150 miles per charge. The new model is immeasurably more sophisticated - and, by adopting a more conventional modern vehicle appearance, Nissan hopes more buyers will consider it. That is in large part thanks to a new 40kWh lithium-ion battery, replacing a 24kWh battery in the old model. The car's 40 kWh battery can take the Nissan Leaf up to 400 km on a single charge, with a power output of 148 bhp and a torque of 320 Nm.

The company's challenge is twofold: to persuade a world still largely skeptical about electric vehicles that the technology has advantages, and to persuade electric-vehicle buyers lured by the Tesla buzz to try something else.

To improve handling engineers moved the heaviest components, like the battery pack, in the middle of the vehicle and stiffened up the suspension by 10 percent.

While it doesn't look like it from where we sit in the Antipodes, Nissan has a proper hit on its hands with the all-electric hatchback, the Leaf.

The outgoing Leaf sold moderately well with 112,000 puppies pushed out in the USA since 2010, but I can't decide if the new one is enough to boost those numbers against a growing field of competent and stylish competitors. This is highlighted with the V-grille that dominated the centre and comes treated in chrome. Sharp LED headlights are less alien-like and the charging socket has also been angled at 45 degrees so it's easier to plug the Leaf in without bending down.

The new form has a drag coefficient of 0.27.

The design is new, with a lower, sleeker profile. Even the rear has been heavily worked upon and features an edgy design. And there's a new-look of the 7-inch, full-colour (TFT) display. For the United States, this will include a partial self-driving system called ProPilot Assist. Top speed is limited to 87 miles per hour (140 km/h).

The new LEAF adapts ProPILOT autonomous drive technology, used during single-lane driving on the highway.

It's hard to believe that it's already been seven years since the first Nissan Leaf arrived in 2010.

Nissan's saving grace against the range difference may end up being the price tag. We believe it should be similar to that of the present model.

Nissan also has the proven manufacturing capacity to churn out Leafs, while those lusting over a Tesla Model 3 will face a 12 to 18 month wait for it to ship.

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