Sydney, Australia: The second generation all-electric Nissan LEAF was launched in Sydney on October 4 heralding Australia’s new era of mass electrification.
Nissan has sold 360,000 units, making the LEAF the world’s best-selling and most popular electric vehicle (EV). However, Australian EV sales have been sluggish compared to United States and Europe given the lack of funding in EV infrastructure and legislation to encourage consumption of low-carbon emitting vehicles.
This is set to change with increased awareness of sustainability issues and consumer education into the environmental and economic benefits of EV ownership. According to a commissioned study, 63 percent feel that the move to EVs is inevitable, with 29 percent considering buying one.
Nissan is prepared, rolling out a strategy that will capitalise on the trends. It will have the largest EV sales network in the country. Its EV is sold at 89 dealerships and will be supported by Nissan’s preferred charger installer JET Charge that will enable customers to custom fit their homes with EV charging equipment nationwide. This is a far cry from the 12 dealerships when the LEAF was first introduced to the Australian market in 2012.
“Electrified vehicles will represent a third of Nissan volume in Australia during our mid-term plan,” said Nissan Australia Managing Director, Stephen Lester. “By introducing more electric alternatives on several of our key models, we will make mass market electrification a reality. I have no doubt electric vehicles will be a success here, and sooner than many think, and Nissan is planning for this now to ensure we meet the future needs of the buyer.
“But strong electric vehicle policy is also important. Countries with higher electric vehicle take up have more charging points and offer tax cuts, toll discounts, parking concessions and more to inspire consideration and purchase.”
Addressing range anxiety is key to customer buy-in. To overcome this barrier to EV ownership, Nissan has installed a larger, more powerful 40kWh battery pack so that drivers can stay on the road for longer without the need for daily recharging. Drivers can expect to travel up to 270 kilometres on a single charge.
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“A study by Zero Carbon Australia tells us that, on average, city-based drivers have a 38-kilometre daily commute, so daily re-charging is not necessary,” said Lester. “Also, with a conscious mindset of overnight charging well in place thanks to mobile phones, most Australians are unlikely to have range issues.”
Charging times may range from an hour to 24 hours depending on charging connection, charger type and condition and battery temperature.
The new LEAF has a contemporary design, has an eight-inch touchscreen display, push-start button and room for five adults. It also features a range of Nissan Intelligent Mobility active safety technologies such as 360-degree Intelligent Around-View Monitor, High Beam Assist, Intelligent Cruise Control, Intelligent Emergency Braking and Intelligent Lane Intervention. Its e-Pedal also impresses, allowing drivers to start, accelerate, decelerate, stop and hold the car with just the accelerator pedal alone – without needing to use the brake pedal.
Author, podcaster, Network TEN host of The Bachelor and Nissan LEAF owner, Osher Günsberg, is a LEAF enthusiast and early adopter of EVs driving a LEAF before it was even released in Australia in 2012. Günsberg has owned three of them since 2011, including two while living and working in Los Angeles.
“My brother worked for the auto industry – we all have that one person we call when we’re buying our next car – and I call him and he says, mate are you kidding? Get a LEAF,” shares Günsberg.
Passionate about clean, environmentally-friendly living, Günsberg – who has been eating a plant-based diet since 2002 – road-tested his first electric vehicle back in 2009. His decision to get a LEAF was based on a number of factors; that the EV was produced by a mainstream company with engineering pedigree with huge service infrastructure; its strong driving performance, affordability, and environmental benefits.
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“Driving the new Nissan LEAF was incredible,” said Osher Günsberg. “This is the fourth version of Nissan LEAF that I’ve driven, so I am well aware of the package, but the developments on this are amazing.”
“What’s incredible is that the battery pack is the same size battery pack as the one in my car. In the same size, my car has 24kWh battery and this [new generation LEAF] has a 40kWh battery. In less than five years, look at how much energy density they have packed into that battery size. What’s going to be five years from now? What’s going to be three years from now?
“The amount of battery power you’ll be able to carry around in a vehicle will make the electrification of the majority of passenger fleet vehicles in Australia so inevitable.”
To Günsberg, it is clear that the electrification of ground transport is the future and given his passion for sustainability, he is keen to do everything he can to support Australia’s move to a low carbon future.
“I also want government to commit to the infrastructure to support this and for more people to get behind LEAF and electrification. As far as air quality goes it’s the right choice for the community. As far as noise pollution goes it’s the right choice for the community. I’ve been overseas and seen the extraordinary EV infrastructure and it’s not hard to do.”
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Given his enthusiasm for the LEAF, Günsberg was the perfect person to play host at the Nissan LEAF launch at Carriageworks in Sydney.
“It’s rare to find someone with a profile who is so believing of a product and is desperate to align themselves with it,” said Lester.
“Osher’s passion for Nissan LEAF and electric vehicles is obvious, as too is his desire to not only influence government infrastructure policy and support, but to inspire more Australians to consider this product, is commendable. I didn’t think we could find someone that is more excited about LEAF then we were, but we did in Osher.”
Nissan hasn’t revealed local pricing for the new generation LEAF just yet. It will be announced when the car is released in mid-2019. Customers in the US pay $29,990, equivalent of $42,000 Australian dollars. Currently, the EV market is inaccessible to most Australians, with a starting price for a Tesla Model S at over $100,000 and BMW i3 at roughly $69,000.
The new generation Nissan LEAF is expected to be one of the most affordable electric vehicles on the market when it arrives in Australia next year.
For more information, visit nissanleaf.com.au.
Disclosure: Eco Warrior Princess attended the event on invitation and Nissan covered flights and accommodation. For further information about our policies, click here. All images courtesy of Nissan.