Nissan has unveiled a new version of its Leaf electric car after delaying its launch amid the shock arrest of former chairman Carlos Ghosn.
The new model, launched on Tuesday in Las Vegas, narrows the driving-range gap versus Tesla’s Model 3 and General Motors’ Chevrolet Bolt.
The Japanese car maker called off key events in the wake of the scandal involving Ghosn, who was the architect of Nissan’s electric-car vision and its pact with Renault and Mitsubishi Motors, the world’s biggest auto alliance. Ghosn was arrested on 19 November in Japan on alleged financial crimes. He remains in a Tokyo prison as prosecutors build their case.
The auto industry’s increasing focus on automation and new-energy vehicles, along with the aggressive push into both areas by Tesla and scores of start-ups from China to Germany, has added to Nissan’s challenges.
The Leaf e+ boasts a more energy-dense battery that extends its range by about 40%, to as much as 363km. That compares to the 350km to 500km range for Tesla’s Model 3, which starts at US$44 000, and the 380km range on the $36 620 Chevrolet Bolt. While the Leaf starts at about $30 000 in the US, Nissan isn’t releasing the price of the e+ until it’s closer to starting sales this spring.
Nissan has sold more than 380 000 Leaf vehicles globally since its model first went on sale in 2010. The new Leaf will be available at dealerships in Japan starting this month, followed by the US, then Europe in mid-2019, Nissan said in a statement. — Reported by Sohee Kim, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP