By on June 23, 2017

2018 Nissan Leaf [Image: Nissan]

After hemming and hawing for what seemed like forever, Nissan will bring American electric vehicle enthusiasts a long-overdue new Leaf later this year. Say goodbye to that old, swoopy body and 107-mile range (at best), and give a cheerful hello to a not-yet-revealed body, undisclosed driving range, and these headlights.

Okay, so there’s not a whole lot known about the next Leaf except that it won’t be an ancient thing that appeared at the dawn of the electric car resurrection. You might be able to drive to a nearby city and back. However, we now know that trip doesn’t have to be as hands-on as it once was.

Announced Thursday, Nissan’s 2018 Leaf will feature the automaker’s ProPilot Assist technology, which takes away some of the driving duties under specific circumstances. This is the latest FCA-like teaser from Nissan regarding the upcoming Leaf. Expect more — summer’s just begun!

Launched last year in the Japanese-market Serena minivan, ProPilot lends vehicles a dose of self-driving capability in highway driving scenarios. This isn’t Level 5 or 4 capability, keep in mind. Not even close. Ever since last year’s Florida Tesla crash, “autonomous vehicle” braggery has seen a shot of reality, with automakers careful to say exactly when, and how, their driver assist technology should be employed.

Think of ProPilot os a combination of lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control, only on steroids. When activated, ProPilot holds the vehicle in its lane, maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of it and even braking to a stop if necessary. It’s designed to let drivers take a load off during boring commutes or on tiring Interstate slogs.

The various components utilized by ProPilot are seen below:

nissan ProPilot, Image: NissanIn a statement, Nissan claims it will flesh out ProPilot with more abilities as technologies advance.

“In the coming years, Nissan’s ProPILOT technology will offer increasing levels of autonomy, with the system eventually able to navigate city intersections,” the automaker said. So, a fairly large hop at the beginning, and baby steps afterwards.

Last year, Nissan claimed it will offer “a multiple-lane, ProPilot autonomous drive technology that allows highway lane change” by 2018. By 2020, the automaker expects the technology to be able to handle driving on urban roads, including navigating intersections.

[Images: Nissan]

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8 Comments on “Nissan’s Next-gen Leaf Will Kind of, Sort of, Drive Itself...”

  • avatar

    Most automakers wouldn’t even call that “self-driving” of any kind… That “ProPilot” looks like the utterly commonplace adaptive cruise, lane-keep assist, and probably auto emergency braking.

    The headline might as well have been “Next Gen Leaf Will Have the Same Safety Features You Can Get In a Base Corolla”

  • avatar

    In other news the Chevy Bolt just beat the Model S in overall safety rating due to a better small overlap crash test result.

    The Bolt’s headlights were rated as poor, like the Model S. Both summer from too much glare for oncoming drivers.

  • avatar

    I read rumors elsewhere that the initial versions of the 2018 Leaf won’t have 200-mile range.

  • avatar

    I would consider an electric car only if/when it is cheaper to operate than a gasoline automobile. All of this high tech so-called “safety” features hold absolutely no interest to me.

    I guess my wife and I will just keep our 2000 Corolla with 205,000 miles she bought brand new. I’d buy another Corolla just like it if they still built them. The new Corolla has all of those ridiculous features I have no interest in buying, nor having my mechanic trying to diagnose 13 years from now when the car has over 150,000 miles on it.

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