Opinion | Nissan Leaf 2018 : A Leap to the Future?
Those following the automobile tech industry are well aware that the battle among electric cars giants is about to become increasingly competitive. This is primarily due to the shift towards greener yet environment-friendly world that has opened up new avenues for automobile manufacturers.
One such automobile company that is tapping into the potential offered by electric cars is Nissan.
Few days ago Nissan launched a longer-range version of its best-selling Leaf electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf 2018. The piece of automobile is something that can change the way people see, feel and think about cars. The new Nissan Leaf 2018 is loaded with some serious tech, something you and me cannot ignore. Here are a few of them –
ProPILOT Assistance Technology
Driverless cars are a thing now and Nissan’s ProPILOT driving assistance system might just make it better. The technology is being said to be one of the most advanced auto assist system the industry has seen yet.
It even works with the Traffic Aware Cruise Control technology that allows the driver to set the cruise control speed and adjust it to traffic conditions as they change around the vehicle. If the driver decides to make a sudden stop, ProPILOT will accordingly decrease the speed of the vehicle to maintain a preset buffer distance set by the driver. ProPILOT’s intelligent cruise system will keep the car always at the centre between two vehicles, courtesy front and rear sonar sensors.
Nissan has partnered with both Apple and Google for their Apple CarPlay and Android Auto platforms.
Not only this, but ProPILOT has the ability to control the speed of the car without driver’s intervention, reducing the stress. Nissan says that with ProPILOT you will also get several other active safety features, like Intelligent Lane Intervention, Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Intelligent Around View Monitor with moving object detection.
The Nissan Leaf 2018 will also come equipped with an auto parking feature which will make parking a hassle free experience. The tech behind this function includes 12 sonar sensors and four cameras, all of which when teamed together, help slot the car in the tightest of gaps.
Single pedal driving with e-pedal
The Electronic pedal or E-Pedal as it is popularly known is a system that allows the driver to turn on one-pedal driving. This increases the regenerative braking, and can hold the car steady on a steep incline, and would hardly require the brake.
This is something that we have seen in Tesla cars already. However, that tech is a tad bit different when compared to the Leaf 2018. One-pedal technology allows the combination of speeding up, slowing down and braking, all with stepping on the one-pedal function.
There’s been quite a change in the dashboard section which now comes equipped with a large screen display. Nissan has partnered with both Apple and Google for their Apple CarPlay and Android Auto platforms. These take over the infotainment system and aim to become a hub from where you can handle everything from your smartphone functionalities to GPS and music. The all rear spoiler comes with a built in solar panel that somewhat makes it a desired package. Other unique features include no cornering headlamps, heads-up display and even wireless phone charging.
What we think
Nissan has smartly blended all the ‘must have’ elements in modern a car like technology, power, comfort and luxury while retaining zero emissions in its vehicles, factors that are perfect for the demands of the future.
The Nissan Leaf 2018 can be pitted against the likes of Tesla, the US-based electric car manufacturer led by Elon Musk. But at a price that is $5000 dollars cheaper than the Tesla Model 3, Leaf seems to have the edge.
On the other hand, the Leaf 2018’s US test results, as mentioned by TechCrunch show a 150km coverage on a single charge. This is less than what it scored while being tested on the European roads. Nonetheless, Nissan has reportedly confirmed to launch a high battery capacity version, boasting a range of over 362km (225 miles), surpassing that of the Tesla model 3’s 321km record.
Also, features like ProPILOT require rigorous testing before reaching the end consumers because even a single accident could tarnish not only the vehicle’s image but Nissan’s as well. Something similar happened with Tesla’s case last year wherein the autopilot feature reportedly failed and was involved in a fatal crash.
Region-wise, Nissan may face a challenge for ProPILOT specially in developing countries like India. This may be due to several factors such as the quality of roads, usage pattern of people, charging stations and concrete regulations in place for electric vehicles.
All said and done, Nissan seems to have created a positive hype in the market. The company has already captured a good market share, which could prove to be a plus point for the company. Will the Leaf 2018 prove to be a success for the automobile manufacturer or not, only time will tell. However, what we can definitely bank upon is that the Leaf 2018 will prove a handful for cars like Tesla Model 3 or the Chevrolet Bolt.