On Nissan’s 2018 Bangkok Motor Show stage sat two icons that represent the extreme ends of the carmaker’s range – the Nissan GT-R and the Nissan Leaf. The latest version of the R35 is now officially on sale in Thailand, and the second-generation Leaf is set to follow suit.

Nissan has earlier confirmed that the Leaf will go on sale in seven markets in Asia and Oceania this year – including Malaysia in Q4 2018 – and Nissan Motor Thailand president Antoine Barthes confirmed it. “We will sell the Leaf locally sometime in the next fiscal year (starting in April 2018) after teaming up with Frost & Sullivan to conduct a survey about the perception of EVs among buyers in South-East Asia,” he told the Bangkok Post.

“In Thailand, we found 44% of 300 buyers are looking to buy pure electric cars and are willing to buy them at a 50% premium of the price of regular vehicles,” he added.

Would Malaysians be so willing? The Leaf would have to be locally assembled in order to qualify for incentives under our Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV) scheme, so Edaran Tan Chong Motor would either have to invest in its assembly plants to build the car as a CKD, or work out a deal with the government to avoid a hefty price tag that a CBU EV would be burdened with.

The new Leaf, which looks significantly more dynamic than the rotund original, features significant gains in performance and range. The electric motor now produces 38% more power and 26% more torque at 110 kW (148 hp) and 320 Nm, while a higher-capacity 40 kWh lithium-ion battery increases its operating range on the European cycle to 378 km from the 250 km of the late model first-gen.

Domestic Japanese deliveries of the Leaf, which was unveiled in September 2017, began in October last year, followed by the US and Canada in January and Europe in February.


GALLERY: Nissan Leaf at the Singapore Motor Show