The new Nissan Leaf 2016 model is expected to feature a more heavy-duty battery pack that will deliver a longer driving range than the current model.
The much-anticipated boost for the battery pack is estimated to take the driving range, for every charge, to 107 miles.
The current battery pack has a driving range of 70-85 miles for every charge, depending on various factors, including weather conditions, driving conditions and the status of the battery charge. While this range is enough for people commuting short distances, it is inadequate for most Nissan Leaf users who have been exhorting the company to enhance both the battery power and range.
The 2016 models that will feature the new upgraded 30 kWH battery are only the mid-end and the top-spec SV and SL models respectively. These models will also see a price rise. The base model, Leaf S at a base price of $29,010, will continue to feature the 24kWH battery pack with a computed driving range of up to 84 miles.
The SV model featuring the new battery will be priced at $34,200 as against the 2015 price of $32,100. However, this model will be available with the fast-charging port as a standard fitment. The fast-charging port, enables the batteries to be charged in 30 minutes, was an optional fitting in the 2015 model and carried an additional cost of $1,630. In the absence of the fast-charger, the car takes about 7 hours at 240 V, or 20-24 hours at 110V, to recharge.
The top-spec SL model will be priced at $36,790 as against its 2015 price of $35,120. This model also features the fast-charging port and a bigger battery as standard fittings. Nissan CEO, Charles Ghosn, however confirmed that the upgraded battery in the 2016 models is only a temporary relief as the company is working on the 2nd generation Leaf with a driving range of over 240 miles, more in line with what Tesla’s luxury vehicles offer.
All models of Nissan Leaf are eligible for federal tax credit of $7500 and, in some states, including Tennessee, state tax credits of $2500 is also available. The battery pack and the Nissan Leaf vehicles are manufactured in the Smyrna production plant in Tennessee.
While Nissan North America, based in Nashville, confirmed that the new 30kWH battery delivers the best driving range and power in that league, there is no comparison to Tesla’s luxury models which deliver far better driving ranges, but also cost twice as much. The new 2016 model will also feature a more improved IT system that offers better vehicle connectivity and is more user-friendly.