Tesla is planning to introduce a much cheaper electric car aimed at mainstream consumers. So far Tesla has focused on upmarket designs, like the sporty Roadster and Model S. However, with the upcoming quasi-hatch Model X it tried to tap a lower end market.
Nissan has revamped the Leaf for the UK market, and the updates aren’t just skin deep. The new Leaf boasts more than 100 improvements over the first generation, including spiced up trim levels, new battery warranty programme and perhaps most importantly, the option of leasing a battery.
The battery pack is the single most expensive component in any fully electric car, and concerns about battery life and the cost of a replacement battery have plagued electric cars since their inception. However, by simply leasing the battery for £70 to £109 per month, Nissan is practically eliminating the risk altogether.
Leafs with leased batteries will bear the “Flex” moniker and they will end up cheaper than previous models. The cheapest Flex model with the Visia trim level starts at £15,990, which is pretty competitive for an all-electric car. Then again, buyers will have to spend at least £840 per year on the battery lease.
Consumers who opt for the more traditional approach and buy their own battery stand to benefit from Nissan’s new warranty protection. Nissan is now covering capacity loss under its 5-year warranty. A battery that loses 25 percent of its capacity over the first five years of 60,000 miles will be eligible for repair or replacement, which should put some minds at ease. The cheapest Leaf with a battery starts at £20,990.
In addition to cosmetic improvements, ranging from new alloys to LED headlamps and a Bose audio system, the new Leaf also promises to deliver a bit more range. Nissan claims the car’s range has been extended from 109 miles to 124 miles and the battery is now capable of recharging in about half the time of the first-gen Leaf, provided a 32 amp charger is used.