The pure-electric Nissan Leaf hatchback has been fitted with a new warning tone, which alerts pedestrians to the car’s presence.
The all-electric Nissan Leaf has received updates for the 2021 model year focusing on increased safety with a new pedestrian vehicle alert system and some extra driver assistance tech.
Nissan has dubbed the Leaf’s new pedestrian warning tone “Canto.” It was created by the brand’s team of sound engineers in Japan as the soundtrack for all of the company’s electric vehicles, before being adapted for the European market.
The tone was designed to provide a similar audible warning to pedestrians as a combustion engine. It’s automatically activated at up to 18mph and varies in pitch depending on whether the Leaf is accelerating, braking or reversing.
To complement the new pedestrian alert tone, Nissan has also fitted its intelligent blind spot intervention system as standard on the updated Leaf. The technology monitors nearby traffic on the motorway and, if the driver starts to stray into the path of a vehicle in their blind spot, it will automatically steer the car back into its lane.
The technology has been a mandatory feature on electric vehicles since 2019, after it was pointed out that the near-silent nature of EVs posed a safety risk.
“Customer safety is paramount, not only for those behind the wheel but those surrounding the car as well,” said Marco Fioravanti, Nissan Europe’s vice-president for product planning.
“As the world becomes more and more electrified, this sound will soon become part of the soundscape of our roads as Nissan’s signature EV sound, moving us closer to our goal of a zero-fatality driving experience.”
There are two powertrains available. The cheapest model comes with a 40kWh battery and a 110kW electric motor, which provide a maximum range of 270km. Support for 50kW DC rapid charging also comes as standard, meaning the Leaf’s battery can take on an 80 per cent recharge in around 60 minutes.
The more powerful Leaf e+ features a 62kWh battery and a more potent 160kW electric motor, which increases the hatchback’s maximum range to 385km. It also offers a 0-100kph time of 6.9 seconds, while an 80 per cent charge takes around 90 minutes when connected to a 50kW DC feed.