Electric Cars

2018 Nissan Leaf enters US production amid big demand overseas

The automaker has already racked up a significant amount of orders in Japan.

Nissan

If you've been holding off buying an electric car to see what the 2018 Nissan Leaf is all about, you're one step closer to the finish line.

Nissan announced this week that the 2018 Leaf is now in production at its plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. The electric hatchback goes on sale in the US in early 2018.

So fresh and so clean.

Nissan

In its home market of Japan, however, the 2018 Leaf has been on sale since early October, and it's proven quite successful thus far. According to InsideEVs, in its first month on sale, Nissan received approximately 19,000 orders for the electric hatchback. Throw European demand into the mix, and that number rises to about 23,000.

Nissan also recently launched a website for its Drive and Discover program, which allows potential owners to take a test drive that starts and finishes at home. All a prospective buyer needs to do is log onto Nissan's site, fill out a form and wait for Nissan to reach out. A Leaf specialist will arrive with a 2018 Leaf for a half-hour walkthrough and a half-hour test drive.

There's no specific route in mind, which means buyers can take the Leaf for a spin just about anywhere, as they would their own cars. All the test driver needs is a valid license and insurance. Up to three passengers are welcome, so long as they're 13 or older. That program runs until early next year.

The 2018 Nissan Leaf builds on the original in a big way. A new 40-kWh battery offers a range of up to 150 miles, although a second, larger battery will enable a range in excess of 225 miles later on down the road. Performance should be better, as well, thanks to a new electric motor output of 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, big improvements over the last generation's 107 hp and 187 lb-ft.

Buyers can also equip the 2018 Leaf with ProPilot, Nissan's semi-autonomous highway system that holds the vehicle in a single lane at highway speeds without driver input. This same tech appears on the 2018 Rogue crossover.