Nissan Leaf. Twitter
TOKYO - Nissan Motor Company anticipates its new Nissan Leaf vehicle will take its leadership of the electric vehicle market to the next level. The new second generation Nissan Leaf was launched to representatives of the world media in Tokyo in Japan yesterday.

Daniele Schillaci, the executive vice president global marketing and sales, zero emission vehicle and battery business for Nissan Motor Company, stressed the new Nissan Leaf was “a mass market” vehicle.

Schillaci said almost 300 000 first generation Nissan Leaf’s had been sold globally since 2010, but they anticipated doubling or tripling sales of the new model.

He said previous generation of the Nissan Leaf had been sold in 49 countries, including South Africa, but Nissan Motor Company anticipated selling the new model into more than 60 countries.

Schillaci said the major markets for the first generation Nissan Leaf were Japan, the US and Europe, with each selling about a third of the total volume.

But he said the new model was not a traditional model where you could take the sales of the previous model and a certain percentage to those sales. “The new Nissan Leaf with a zero emission power train is not just about EV (electric vehicle) technology. That does not tell the full story about the ingenuity of this vehicle or its magic potential.

“It’s the icon of Nissan’s intelligent mobility strategy and our vision to move people to a better world.

“When the Nissan Leaf was first perceived, our competitors said we were crazy. They are now discovering what Nissan has known for a long time - that electric vehicles will drive the future of our industry,” he said.

Asako Hoshino, the senior vice president of operations committee for Japan at Nissan Motor Company, said the new Nissan Leaf would be launched into the Japanese market next month at a price comparable with the old model.

Schillaci said the new model would be launched into the US and Europe early next year.

The new Nissan Leaf will have a range of 400km, a 40% improvement on the previous model, requires less frequent charging than the previous model and incorporates three innovations: autonomous driving, electrification and intelligent integration, which involves how the new model connects to a wider society.

Schillaci said while many of Nissan’s competitors only focused on one of these pillars, the new Nissan Leaf allowed their customers to experience intelligent driving and power integration all at once.

He said the new Nissan Leaf and Nissan’s intelligent mobility was relevant to all markets, including emerging markets, despite challenges such as the availability of charging infrastructure in these markets.

Schillaci admitted that South Africa could not be compared to Japan, which has 1700 quick e-charging stations and 28000 charging points.