THE next iteration of Nissan's Leaf electric vehicle can drive itself, be charged to 80% of capacity within 40 minutes and have a range of 400km.
Its new e-powertrain has 110kW of power output and 320Nm of torque, which Nissan says improves acceleration and driver enjoyment.
There will also be ProPILOT autonomous drive technology, used only for single-lane driving on the highway.
The ProPILOT Park technology takes control of steering, acceleration, braking, shift changing and the parking brake to automatically guide it into a parking spots (including parallel).
Its e-Pedal technology lets drivers start, accelerate, decelerate and stop by increasing or decreasing the pressure applied to the accelerator. When the accelerator is fully released, regenerative and friction brakes are applied automatically, bringing the car to a complete stop. The car holds its position, even on steep uphill slopes, until the accelerator is pressed again.
That essentially means the brake pedal is not required.
Withdrawn from sale in Australia due to a lack of interest, the previous model had a range of about 135km with outputs of 80kW/280Nm.
Originally listed for $51,500 when launched in July 2012, the Leaf failed to spark sales even when the drive-away price was reduced to $39,990 less than 12 months after its arrival.
But manufacturers are beginning to focus on electric technology, and vehicles like the BMW i3 have begun to change perceptions.
"The new Nissan Leaf drives Nissan Intelligent Mobility, which is the core brand strategy for Nissan's future," said Hiroto Saikawa, president and chief executive officer of Nissan.
"The new Nissan Leaf, with its improved autonomy range, combined with the evolution of autonomous drive technology, such as ProPILOT Park, and the simple operation of the e-Pedal, strengthens Nissan's EV leadership, as well as the expansion of EVs globally. It also has core strengths that will be embodied by future Nissan models."
The design is new, with a lower, sleeker profile. Nissan says along with excellent aerodynamics, the styling - from the sleek silhouette to the car's "advanced expression" - evokes the exhilaration of driving an EV.
Inside, the new Leaf's completely redesigned cabin is focused on the driver, featuring a front panel in the form of a "gliding wing." It combines an excellent use of space with functionality.
Blue stitching is used in the seats, dashboard and steering wheel. The seven-inch, full-color (TFT) display has been redesigned to highlight key features, such as the Safety Shield technology power gauge and audio and navigation system information. Apple CarPlay has also been added.
For customers who want more excitement and performance, Nissan will also offer a higher power, longer range version at a higher price in 2018.
It will go sale in Japan from October 2. It will reach the US, Canada and Europe by January next year.
When the Leaf with Australia is yet to be confirmed, but expect it to arrive late 2018.
DIMENSIONS 4480mm (L), 1790mm (W), 1540mm (H), 2700mm (WB), 150mm (ground clearance).
COEFFICIENT OF DRAG (Cd) 0.28
TYRES 205/55R16 or 215/50R17
CARGO AREA 435 L
WEIGHT/CAPACITY 1,490-1,520, five passengers
BATTERY Li-ion 40 kWh
ELECTRIC MOTOR EM57 maximum output 110kW/3283-9795rpm, maximum torque 320Nm
CRUISING RANGE 400km
CHARGING TIME 16 hours (3 kW), 8 hours (6 kW), charging time from alert to 80% (quick charging) 40 minutes