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"Electric vehicle technology is advancing rapidly - costs are falling quickly and range is improving", said Professor David Bailey, an automobile expert at Aston Business School.

It's not as autonomous as what Tesla is offering - or indeed the fully autonomous Leaf we tried in March - but ProPilot is a level two technology that promises "less stressful and more relaxing" driving.

The new model is a huge jump forward with electric range boosted by more than 50 per cent to 235-miles.

Due to go on sale in Europe from January 2018, the new EV brings 40% increased range, now 378 km/235miles on a single charge, which the company claims should last city users around a week based on average use. It does 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds and tops out at 130 miles per hour. The base model S comes standard with automatic emergency braking, and more expensive model lines have an optional semi-autonomous driving feature that keeps the auto centered in its lane and stops it from hitting objects in front of it. The new Nissan Leaf takes on a sportier design compared to its predecessor and as a result, it offers a significant improvement in looks.

The other semi-autonomous feature we sampled was the ProPilot Assist system, which is Nissan's intelligent adaptive cruise control.

The system can handle parallel parking, according to the firm, and can deal with up to seven-point turns.

Blue stitching is used in the seats, dashboard and steering wheel.

There's also a new feature which is meant to make urban driving easier, called the e-Pedal. "That's a lower price than the Leaf in market today and it includes more power, range and technology, all wrapped in a lovely new exterior and interior design", Muñoz said at the reveal event Tuesday night.

Nissan has revealed the first details of the next-generation of its all-electric Leaf hatchback ahead of its premiere at the Frankfurt motor show next week. That will have enough juice to make range anxiety a memory in North America as well, Saikawa said.

The Model 3 in comparison runs for a maximum 350kms before asking for a recharge while the Chevrolet Bolt has a range of 410kms.

On the day of the Leaf rollout, General Motors announced that the Bolt is now available in all 50 US states. "The value equation for the new LEAF is even stronger than ever before - beginning with a starting MSRP under $30,000".

Therefore, since 2010, the only mainstream company flying the flag for affordable electrification has been the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and while uptake of its cars has been slow, it is still the world's leaving EV maker in terms of sales.

Nissan engineers and designers have teamed up to rework the interior as well so that it offers a cleaner, stress-free operation, with a 7.0-inch TFT display for the instrument cluster.

Despite heavy investment, electric vehicles still represent only a fraction of conventional vehicle sales.

Nissan design executives admitted several years ago that the first-generation electric car's lines were polarizing, and that perhaps the next generation might not be quite as extreme.

One big opportunity is China. While EV sales remain under 1 percent of the USA market, the Leaf aims to capitalize on increasing government mandates for zero-emission cars.


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