TOKYO - Nissan Motor Co. unveiled Wednesday a new Leaf electric vehicle which can drive up to 400 kilometers on a single charge.
The new model, to be launched on Oct. 2 in Japan and in January in the United States and Europe, has improved acceleration and performance, according to the automaker.
Tesla Inc. of the United States has been at the forefront of all-electric vehicle sales with Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. also racing to develop vehicles for the sector. The introduction of the new Leaf is likely to further intensify competition in the EV market.
The latest Leaf is the first full redesign since the company released the model in 2010. With a large capacity lithium-ion battery, the car's 400-kilometer range sees it able to travel about 1.4 times further than its predecessor.
Nissan President Hiroto Saikawa said at an unveiling event at Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba, "Our spirits have been lifted as we were able to deliver a Leaf model full of technology at a time when the world has begun moving towards a full-blown era of electric vehicles."
Using a rapid charger, the vehicle can be powered to 80 percent of its capacity in 40 minutes. It will be priced from around 3.15 million yen ($29,000).
Consumers will also be able to choose an optional extra self-driving mode, branded by Nissan as ProPilot autonomous driving technology, which can be used on a single-lane expressway. The technology, which also assists in parking, is already available in Nissan's Serena minivan.
The car has also added a "revolutionary" feature called the e-Pedal, allowing the driver to accelerate, decelerate and stop with a single pedal.
Leaf vehicles to be sold in Japan will be produced at the company's Oppama plant in Kanagawa Prefecture near Tokyo. The automaker targets sales of 3,000 units per month in Japan, three times more than sales it achieved with the former model.