Nissan looks to lift Leaf with infrastructure expansion
OSLO, Norway -- Nissan said Monday it would expand its fast-charging infrastructure in Europe by 20 percent in the next 18 months. The automaker hopes that adding 1,000 quick chargers to its network of 4,600 charge points will help boost sales of the second-generation Leaf full-electric car.
The range of the new Leaf rises to 378 km under Europe NEDC homologation guidelines. That's up from 250 km for the model it replaces, which ranked second to the Renault Zoe in European electric car sales during the first half.
“We are at least 10 years ahead of our best competition,” on EVs, Nissan Europe Chairman Paul Willcox told journalists while launching the Leaf for Europe here today.
To keep that lead, Nissan Europe sales boss Philippe Saillard said that a more powerful Leaf with an even longer range would arrive in early 2019. Saillard added that Nissan has delivered 300,000 Leafs globally since the first-generation model debuted.
The first variant of the new Leaf that Nissan will offer in Europe is the limited-edition 2.ZERO, which includes the automaker's ProPILOT suite of semi-autonomous driving technologies. The Leaf 2.ZERO goes on sale Monday with a starting price of 37,490 euros in Italy. Deliveries of the cars will start in early 2018.
Nissan will start sales of a new 7 kW charger next year that cuts the time it takes to fully charge the Leaf to 5.5 hours. It currently takes 16 hours to charge the Leaf's 40 kW battery pack with a standard 3 kW domestic plug or 6 hours for those with Nissan's 6 kW home charger.
Nissan also announced it will offer a 22 kW charger, which is aimed primarily at fleet and business owners, that requires just 2 hours to fully charge a vehicle. The super-fast charger will be available to private customers as well, Nissan said.
Working with the CHAdeMO fast-charging standard, Nissan said it has already has spent 50 million euros to build Europe's most comprehensive charging network. The automaker didn't say how much more it will spend to add the 1,000 fast-charging points.
Nissan said it is working with its partners, business owners, municipalities and sector leaders across Europe to ensure the roll out plans are focused on providing maximum convenience to its drivers, with installations on highways, in towns and throughout key European cities.
Willcox said that Nissan's plans for the next decade include changing the way people access and pay for the power in their cars. With that in mind, Nissan showcased its home energy storage system, called xStorage. Created specifically for EV owners, customers can plug their electric vehicle directly into the wall box to charge. It comes with its own built-in energy storage system, giving customers the ability to better manage their energy costs and even generate their own electricity from solar panels, delivering 100 percent renewable and zero-emissions power for their car.
Nissan estimates that the xStorage home energy unit could provide owners an average of 400 euros a year from selling back energy to the grid.
Nissan's xStorage was developed in partnership with energy provider Eaton. In three months more than 1,000 units across Europe and 5,000 units are expected to be sold by the end of next March. Nissan expects to sell 100,000 home energy units by the end of 2020 in Europe.