Here’s some big news – within the day of the unveiling of the new Nissan Leaf, Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) has confirmed that the second-generation electric vehicle will be launched in Malaysia next year!

As a reaffirmation of the local distributor’s electric ambitions, it’s a massive one. The company did sell the original Leaf here – at its launch at the end of 2013, it carried a RM168,800 price tag. That was, before the discontinuation of import tax and excise duty exemptions for fully-imported (CBU) hybrids and EVs raised that price to RM180,566 in 2015. A limited charging network was also rolled out to support it.

It remains to be seen just how much the new Leaf will cost. To qualify for incentives under the current Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV) scheme, it would have to be assembled locally (CKD), so ETCM would either have to invest in either of its Segambut and Serendah plants to build the car, or work out a separate deal with the government to avoid a hefty price tag that comes with a CBU electric vehicle.

As a point of reference, the new Leaf will carry a starting price of 3,150,360 yen (RM123,222) when it goes on sale in Japan next month. Malaysia will get the car not long after its international launch – it will go on sale in European and North American markets in January.

To recap, the new Nissan Leaf receives significant gains in performance and range, with the electric motor now producing 38% more power and 26% more torque, at 110 kW (148 hp) and 320 Nm respectively. Juicing it is a higher-capacity 40 kWh lithium-ion battery that increases its range on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) from 195 km on the original (later models could go up to 250 km) to 378 km.

Also new is ProPILOT semi-autonomous driving with adaptive cruise control and lane keeping, plus autonomous ProPILOT Park. There’s also an e-Pedal feature that allows you to speed up and slow down (even to a stop) solely by moderating the accelerator pedal.