New email subscription feature added

by Ernie Hernandez on January 8, 2017

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If you’ve followed Living LEAF for any length of time, you know that I don’t update frequently. There are many media sites that will give you all of the day-to-day breaking news in the EV segment. Living LEAF is not one of those sites. I established Living LEAF in 2010 as a site to help others learn about this still new and rapidly changing segment of the auto industry. From looking at how visitors view this site, and which pages they read, the vast majority of my readership comes from people doing research about buying a LEAF or other electric car, or researching some aspect of its ownership experience once they have one. My approach is one of analysis and opinion rather than strictly news. I have also written a primer on electric cars that is in the process of being updated. Because of this irregular update cycle I have been asked to provide an email subscription service that will allow you to be notified when I post a new article. I am pleased to announce that I now have that capability. In the right-hand sidebar is a widget titled, appropriately enough, “Subscribe for email notification of new posts!” Pop in your name, email address, hit the submit button, and you’re good to go. I’ll probably have to put some privacy page up soon, but you can be sure that I won’t sell your data, or use it for anything other than this intended purpose.


Nissan finally announces new LEAF

by Ernie Hernandez on January 8, 2017

Self-driving and 200 mile plus range!

Carlos Ghosn at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) finally announced that the new Nissan LEAF will be coming soon. In automotive parlance that means sometime this year, which is what I’ve been saying all along, as a 2018 model. Look for it late summer at the earliest, more likely this fall. One thing that I didn’t anticipate is the inclusion of ProPILOT autonomous technology. This self-driving technology was introduced in Japan last year on the Serena minivan and is designed to provide single lane driving assistance. In other words, when you’re commuting on the freeway, it will keep you in your lane, speed up and slow down as appropriate, stop if the vehicle in front of you stops, take off when that vehicle resumes, and that’s about it. It won’t change lanes for you, nor will it drive you around town while you read your emails and texts on your phone. We’ll have to wait until 2020 or beyond for that level of autonomy. Here’s a video¬†of this ProPILOT system.

Nissan has a plan to incorporate more self-driving technology into the cars we drive for the next several years, progressing from single lane management to total vehicle control. Another new technology that was revealed at the CES was Seamless Autonomous Mobility, which Nissan also refers to as SAM.

As the world transitions to vehicles that can drive themselves, there are always those irregular circumstances that can not only trip up self-driving cars, but cars with real humans behind the wheel. A sinkhole opening up with traffic being re-routed would be one such example. Nissan’s response to this is to have humans interact with the vehicle as these situations arise. The vehicle will send data to be viewed by SAM controllers who will then return instructions to the vehicle after reviewing the data. While this may seem to be a cumbersome way to manage a vehicle, Nissan presents their view in the following video.

Prior to Ghosn’s keynote speech Takeo Asami, Nissan’s Senior V.P. of Research and Development stated that the new LEAF would have a range of more than 200 miles. This is the news that all current LEAF owners have been waiting to hear, but Nissan had been reluctant to confirm until now. Having worked in the automotive industry for over 25 years, I can attest to the fact that every manufacturer is all about selling cars now – today. As soon as Nissan says that the next LEAF will go 200 miles or more, there are those that might be considering a LEAF that will say “I’ll just wait until that one comes out.” Not what Nissan – or any carmaker – wants to hear. But with the recently released 238 mile Chevy Bolt and the eventual launch of the Tesla Model 3, Nissan apparently felt that it was time to confirm this eventuality. Really, it’s not been a closely held secret for anyone that’s been paying attention, but there was no official confirmation – until now. Look for 30 kWh 2017 LEAF sales to start slowing as more Bolts become available, and the launch date of the next generation LEAF nears. What that next LEAF will look like is open to speculation, so let me provide you with mine.

I have already presented several articles about Nissan’s current styling themes. A few years back Nissan made a move to globalize their design language with some brand characteristics so that anyone, anywhere in the world could see a Nissan and recognize it as such. These include features such as boomerang-shaped headlights and taillights (first implemented on the 370Z seen below), floating roof as seen now on the Maxima and Murano, and the V-Motion front end as represented on all recently designed Nissans. Here are some examples of those themes.

Now that we’ve taken a look at what some of Nissan’s current design themes look like in production vehicles, how might they play out in the next gen LEAF? I’ve covered many of Nissan’s recent global concepts in the past, but here I put them in one place. These images will give you a general idea of the direction that the next LEAF might go. First up is the Nissan SWAY.

Introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 2015 the SWAY integrates much of Nissan’s design language in a subcompact hatch. Of all of the concepts presented here, in my view this might be the closest to representing the next LEAF. Others worth noting though include the IDS concept.

The IDS is a much more futuristic looking EV with some very aggressive aero features, such as the sharply contoured sides of the front bumper cover. Something worth noting though, is that BMW i3 and Toyota Prius have already incorporated somewhat less aggressive variations of this theme with the Prius looking remarkably similar.

Still other vehicles could flavor the next electric Nissan hatch as well. Here’s a look at the Kicks, which was a concept that made it into production for the Brazilian market, and will expand to others as well. This is less likely to influence the LEAF I feel as it has stronger crossover looks.

So there is a look at what Nissan has to say about the next gen LEAF due to come out later this year, and my speculation as to what that LEAF might look like. Meantime, Chevy will be the sole provider of an affordable 200 mile plus electric car, and that fact likely has many Nissan executives gnashing their teeth at night as every Bolt sold is one less LEAF out the door. Which design idea represented above would you like to see in the next Nissan LEAF?


Chevrolet Bolt to gradually roll out in 2017

September 27, 2016
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Dealers told to expect the car in January According to Automotive News, at least one California Chevy dealer expects to see his first Chevrolet Bolt in January of next year. All indications though are that there will not be much initial inventory and production will ramp up slowly. That is the same approach that Nissan […]

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Nissan expands No Charge to Charge markets

September 26, 2016
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Doubles Nissan’s claim of reaching 25 initial markets July of 2014 saw Nissan introduce their No Charge to Charge program in ten markets, with a commitment to add fifteen more markets over the next twelve months. Not only have they met that initial commitment, but by expanding the program to double that number, nearly 90 […]

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Please don’t put your feet on the dash

July 15, 2016
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It’s not worth it Recently I was driving from San Diego to Yuma. These long freeway drives can be boring, especially for those driving even longer distances. In an effort to get more comfortable as a passenger sometimes it might be tempting to put your feet up on the dash. In fact, along the way […]

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Will next-gen LEAF land before Model 3?

June 27, 2016

Model 3 shows demand for affordable, high range electric cars With the introduction of the Model 3 in March and the receipt of deposits for over 250,000 in its first two days, Tesla has shown the world that there is, indeed, demand for an affordable, high range electric car. At least if its first name […]

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Fuel costs of EVs vs. gas powered cars

April 23, 2016
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EVs still cost less to drive About three years ago we wrote an article about the comparative operating costs of electric cars vs. gas powered cars (found here). Three things have happened since then – the cost of gasoline has gone down, the cost of electricity has gone up, and the average new car goes […]

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Can Nissan stay relevant in the EV space?

March 20, 2016
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Will others take the lead? When Nissan introduced the LEAF to the US market in December of 2010 I don’t know that anyone saw what this vehicle would do to the future of transportation. Certainly there were lofty goals and aspirations, but much of that was dreams and wishes with no real understanding of how […]

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LEAF owners buy more LEAFs

February 8, 2016
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LEAF receives IHS Automotive Loyalty Award There are currently well over 30 automobile brands sold in the United States, from Acura to Volvo. Each brand offers an array of models. I’m not even going to make an attempt to tally them all. 2015 saw almost 17.5 million vehicles sold in the US, the best year […]

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EV charging is getting easier

December 24, 2015
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More places to charge with easier access Currently, EV drivers must collect an assortment of charging network access cards if one is to be able to charge at the nearest charging station. This issue harkens back to the days when gas stations had their own credit cards but the idea of bank cards had not […]

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