Autonomous Nissan LEAF Testing in London Begins In February, More “New” LEAF Talk

3 months ago by Mark Kane 31

Nissan announces first on-road autonomous vehicle tests in Europe

Nissan announces first on-road autonomous vehicle tests in Europe

Nissan intends to test and demonstrate its autonomous driving technology in Europe.

Nissan announces first on-road autonomous vehicle tests in Europe

Nissan announces first on-road autonomous vehicle tests in Europe

The first opportunity for on-road autonomous will come via the LEAF (and Qashqai), starting from next month in London.

And once again, the announcement also speaks of a new LEAF that is “coming soon”.  This new LEAF will have the capability of single lane autonomous driving on motorways.

“Showcasing next-generation technology through the world’s best-selling electric vehicle, the on-road demonstrations will take place in London, enabling the vehicles and their passengers to cover a diverse city environment.

Passengers, including government officials and technical and safety experts, will be given the opportunity to experience and test the technology in a live environment in a modified Nissan LEAF.

These will be the first demonstrations of Nissan’s autonomous drive technology on public roads in Europe, representing the next step in Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility blueprint for transforming how cars are driven, powered, and integrated into wider society.

It follows recent announcements that both the refreshed Qashqai and the new LEAF, both coming soon, will be equipped with autonomous drive technology to enable single lane autonomous driving on motorways.”

Nissan Intelligent Mobility Autonomous LEAF - Starts on road testing in February in London

Nissan Intelligent Mobility Autonomous LEAF – Starts on road testing in February in London

Paul Willcox, Chairman, Nissan Europe, said

“In just a few weeks’ time, there will be Nissan LEAFs driving on the streets of London using our autonomous driving technology. Nissan Intelligent Mobility is happening right now, right here in the UK and across Europe.”

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40 responses to "Autonomous Nissan LEAF Testing in London Begins In February, More “New” LEAF Talk"

  1. Just_Chris says:

    go on Nissan make my day, I’ve been waiting for something new for 18 months now. What would rock would be an electric version of the Qashqai, announced at the same time as a 60 kWh leaf.

    1. Andrew S says:

      OMG YES! I would love a PHEV or BEV Rogue Sport

      1. Rich says:

        BEV Rogue with 220+ EPA miles range. Thermally managed batteries. I’ll take one tomorrow.

  2. Someone out there says:

    The “coming soon” LEAF have to be something special if Nissan wants to retain their lead in the market. Competition is stiffening in the EV market.

  3. Another (Euro) industrial point of view says:

    Don’t want to be a wet blanket here but to me “coming soon” or “in a near future” that would be new Nissan leaf coming in less than a year but not as soon as “next month” (otherwise they would just say “next month”). I would not be surprised to see the new leaf being distributed like the Bolt in 2016. That is first ones sold in December 2017. Just a WAG.

    1. James says:

      Even though, contrary to opinions of some here – I classify Bolt EV as a “class 2 compliance car”. It set a challenge for Tesla to come through with Model 3 faster than they want to. Pressure on Musk could produce a Model 3 that is more beta than polished – which could literally sink them in the long run. Bolt EV is as much propaganda tool as it is a green car alternative in GM’s lineup. GM is simultaneously bad-mouthing Tesla for not having service centers in all states – saying Bolt EV is superior in that regard – AND funding auto dealer association lawsuits nationwide to insure this remains the case!

      And it was worth it for GM to align themselves correctly just in case Democrats won the White House and majority in Congress. As it is, they have a platform they can run with for other vehicles just in case gas prices soar due to world conflict or any other scenario.

      Nissan – it seems, is in a bind. Ghosn looked like he had swallowed a prickly pear whole when he first looked over the Bolt EV when it was on display last year. Did you see the photos/video?

      Here was an EV set for production in less than a year with twice the effective EV range as his stalwart LEAF!

      With LEAF sales placid already and Bolt EV out there – the pressure is on them to spend expensive development money on a 2nd generation of a car that really has no large market potential at it’s pricepoint. I had even speculated that there would be no gen 2 LEAF, but perhaps more plug in hybrid options over at Nissan.

      If the slapped-on new nose and blackout treatments of this autonomous concept car are what we will see as the “new” LEAF – it will be somewhat of a joke compared with the clean slate Bolt EV. Ghosn could go the econo route and just sell this refreshed LEAF as a budget 120-140 mile option to a more expensive Bolt EV.

      I see all this hoopla about autonomy as a smokescreen perhaps covering over this little dilemma over at Nissan. Big deal – who ISN’T working on autonomy in the auto industry at this point?!

      *In other words, one with limited production not ever planned to exceed 30,000/yr max. ).

      1. James says:

        asterisk on “class 2 compliance car” – sorry.

        *class 2 compliance car”*

        *In other words, one with limited production not ever planned to exceed 30,000/yr max.

        Hope that is clearer. 🙂

        1. R.S says:

          I’d have to disagree with you. They said the’d have a production capacity of 50k Bolts in the US, which sounds about right for the NA market, if it really takes off in Europe, as an Opel, they could still build it over there.

          Time will tell, but I wouldn’t really classify it as a compliancy vehicle. If they would actually keep it undersupplied for several years, I’d change my mind, but calling it a compliancy car, just because GM doesn’t bet on more sales isn’t really fair.

        2. wavelet says:

          James, I also have to disagree with you (that is, agree with R.S).
          There’s no indication whatsoever that the Bolt is “not ever planned to exceed 30,000/yr” Quite the contrary — by all accounts, it’s a well-engineered, ground-up car. Not as radical as the i3 body-wise, but I wouldn’t expect that from GM.
          GM is not an EV company. It’s natural that they’re not yet committing to selling 100K Bolts the 1st year of production… No EV has done that yet (and I’m pretty sure the Model 3 won’t either)
          GM is positioning themselves. If the Bolt proves successful (and that’s not just sales-wise: In terms of reliability, market perception etc.) the first year, then I expect them to move rapidly to increase volume, maybe a CUV version etc.
          (I actually don’t think a RHD version will be the highest priority… Market is pretty much limited to Australia, South Africa, UK and Ireland. Other drive-on-the-left countries either don’t buy non-local cars (Japan) or can’t afford the Bolt (India).

      2. Samwise says:

        Contrary to what everyone seems to think, most Japanese car manufacturers make cars for Japan first, then the UK, then the rest of the right hand drive countries, then Europe (becuase they are already building them in the UK at this point), then if there are any left over the US might get a look in.
        I wouldn’t expect the new LEAF in the US until quite some time after release!

    2. Mr. M says:

      My bet is April 2017

      1. In any case, they might want to beat the next Tesla Model 3 announcements, and show the ‘New LEAF’, with over 220 miles Highway Range before Tesla shows their final Model 3 reveal!

        Or, they might be holding off, for some reason, thinking Tesla will be late, and Bolt EV production is expanding slowly, waiting to see if they should just beat the Hyunda IONIQ EV range!

  4. Terawatt says:

    Nissan has, somewhat paradoxically, managed to lower my expectations of what they will do to the point where a new LEAF sporting anywhere near 50 kWh and a less ugly design than the current would be a positive surprise. On the other hand I won’t consider getting a Nissan again unless it can fly and costs under 30k…

    1. James says:

      Yeah.

      Slapping a new nose on the existing LEAF and blacking out some pillars – refreshing some bits and the interior – isn’t a “new” LEAF, it’s a refreshed 1st generation.

      Not sure why an autonomous test mule would need such a sophisticated new nose – that is expensive to make, and woudln’t be necessary just to plug your new move towards autonomy…

      It could be just a nod towards the future nose design of an all-new New LEAF. Perhps all this hoopla about autonomy ( who cares! Everybody is working on autonomy! ) is just to tide the public and us EV fans over — while waiting perhaps another 1 1/2 years or so for a fresh new design to be displayed.

      1. Mr. M says:

        If you look at the new nose it screams i am using lidar.

        1. It also says “I am not so ugly!”

      2. BenG says:

        A design exercise, I’d say. Maybe the Gen 2 will have a similar nose.

        I’m going with August-Sept. for the new Leaf. We had a story a couple months ago about a special edition Leaf being available until August. So, they stop taking orders and roll out Gen 2.

    2. William says:

      Also, check your insurance rates before purchasing a $ 30K Flying Nissan EV. Your carriers rate increase, may also dissuade your intent to jump back on the Nissan Airial Bandwagon!

      1. James says:

        In following EV websites with fervor – lol – I had read 2-3 years back that Nissan engineers claimed a gen 2 LEAF would still be air-cooled.

        This was a major surprise as Nissan had outwardly admitted the decision to air cool the battery pack was an effort to economize it’s development. Also due to the fact they faced more than one class-action lawsuit over the premature depletion of the battery capacity of LEAFs in hot climates.

        1. William says:

          That air cooling issue will be interesting to watch, as Nissan has to now play catch up from behind with the GM Bolt set to overtake the Leaf in sales, by no later than the end of this year.

        2. BenG says:

          Why not air-cooled, if the lizard batteries are doing well?

          I haven’t been hearing any horror stories about lizard batteries failing, so as far as I know they are doing fine.

      2. William says:

        “Nissan, Innovation that excites”! – – (Your lower expectations, that is.)

        1. Now, what would be your thoughts on Nissan offering a new LEAF with a 40 kWh pack, and a 65 kWh pack, both liquid cooled? You get to choose: Better, but just OK Range, or, Much Better Range!

          While such moves would be a nod to Tesla, offering the 40, as a 30 at lower initial cost, that can be software upgraded to the 40 later for a reasonable fee ($3,000?), even if you had to stop at a dealers shop, would be a bigger nod to Tesla!

          The real treat, would be, offering all that, while making a Tesla Level 2 port instead of a J1772 port, with an option to upgrade to Supercharger Capability, on the 65 kWh pack!
          (Including, of course, a J1772 to Tesla adapter with the car!)

          1. William says:

            That “real treat” thinking of yours, involving a Tesla charging port, on a 2018+ Nissan Leaf 2.0 (65kWh), with upgradeable Tesla “Supercharger Capability”, seems like a bridge too far. It would be a bit of a stretch, for “Corporate Nissan Culture” to adopt The Superior Tesla charging protocol. The next generation of CHAdeMO fast charging is on its way. Chargepoint is starting to install next generation Fast Chargers for the coming larger battery packs, that are coming soon.

            It would be a great adoption victory, if Tesla had a major ICE OEM like Nissan climb aboard the US Tesla Supercharger Network! Just can’t get see Carlos Goshen and Elon Musk getting on the same page when it comes to Supercharging EV Protocol. Hope I am wrong!

  5. Murrysville EV says:

    I want the new Leaf to be a nice-looking 60+ kWh car for $35k.

    I don’t car about autonomous driving, and I think Nissan’s obsession with it is slowing their release of a new product.

    But I’m turned off to the Leaf after my first one. They’d have to show me less depreciation, better gas-gauging, and better cold weather performance for me to be interested. Tesla has all this licked, and Nissan will be hard-pressed to talk me out of my Model 3 reservation.

  6. John in AA says:

    I keep seeing “single lane” to modify “autonomous driving”. What’s that supposed to mean, anyway? It keeps getting reported as though it’s a well-known term, but AFAIK it isn’t.

    1. William says:

      Maybe the term “lane keeping” has something to do with it? Seems a bit confusing to me as well.

      1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        Single-lane autonomous driving is just adaptive cruise + lane keep.

        Think Autopilot 1.0.

        1. mx says:

          And I want automatic collision prevention, predestrian alert and automatic cruise control First, before autonomous driving.

          Why doesn’t the Leaf have these features???

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Apparently it means the semi-autonomous driving software will always keep the car in the same lane of traffic, no matter how many lanes there are. In other words, it’s not sophisticated enough to take the initiative in changing lanes under any circumstances.

      A quote:

      Nissan declares that “ProPilot is a revolutionary autonomous drive technology designed for highway use in single-lane traffic,” meaning the car stays within a single lane no matter how many travel lanes there are.

      https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/231642-first-self-driving-japanese-car-2017-nissan-serena-with-propilot

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