NIS­SAN UNVEILS NEW LEAF CAR AFTER GHOSN’S AR­REST DE­LAYS IT

Techlife News - - SUMMARY -

Nis­san is show­ing the beefed up ver­sion of its hit Leaf elec­tric car as the Ja­panese au­tomaker seeks to dis­tance it­self from the ar­rest of its star ex­ec­u­tive Car­los Ghosn.

The un­veil­ing Wed­nes­day at Nis­san Mo­tor Co.’s Yoko­hama head­quar­ters, south­west of Tokyo, had been post­poned when Ghosn was ar­rested Nov. 19.

Ghosn has been charged with un­der­re­port­ing his in­come. Tokyo prose­cu­tors have ex­tended his de­ten­tion through Fri­day, adding breach of trust al­le­ga­tions.

The Tokyo Dis­trict Court re­jected Wed­nes­day the protest filed by Ghosn’s lawyers on his pro­longed de­ten­tion. The lawyers have said they will ap­peal to a higher court.

Ghosn made his first pub­lic ap­pear­ance since his ar­rest Tues­day, and de­nied each al­le­ga­tion in the Tokyo Dis­trict Court. The Leaf was among the achieve­ments for Nis­san that Ghosn high­lighted in his state­ment to the judge.

The new 4.16 mil­lion yen ($38,000) Leaf e+ is about the same size as the model on sale, but gets more power and cruise range. The best­selling elec­tric car com­petes against Tesla mod­els and Gen­eral Mo­tors’ Bolt.

The Leaf that’s on sale now costs about 3 mil­lion yen ($28,000), ac­cord­ing to Nis­san.

The Leaf e+ gets faster ac­cel­er­a­tion and has more torque than the older model and of­fers 40 per­cent more range at 458 kilo­me­ters (285 miles) per charge, as mea­sured un­der Ja­panese regulations, com­pared with the old model’s 322 kilo­me­ters (200 miles).

It goes on sale in Ja­pan later this month, and rolls out in the U.S. in spring 2019, and in Europe by mid-2019, Nis­san said in a state­ment.

Nis­san Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent Daniele Schillaci said the new model was of­fer­ing cus­tomers more power and range, not­ing that it was “now more con­ve­nient and ap­peal­ing than ever.”

More than 380,000 Nis­san Leaf ve­hi­cles have been sold glob­ally since its 2010 de­but, a tiny frac­tion of the over­all auto mar­ket. But many na­tions such as China are bullish about elec­tric ve­hi­cle tech­nol­ogy as it al­lows new­com­ers in the in­dus­try a big chance to suc­ceed.

It is also an eco­log­i­cal tech­nol­ogy and can be greatly boosted by govern­ment poli­cies.

Al­though Nis­san as a le­gal en­tity has also been charged with the un­der­re­port­ing of in­come, no

other ex­ec­u­tive be­sides Ghosn and Greg Kelly, an Amer­i­can ac­cused of col­lab­o­rat­ing on the un­der­re­ported in­come, have been ar­rested.

Kelly is out on bail since last month. He has not been sus­pected of breach of trust.

Prose­cu­tors say Ghosn, a Brazil­ian-born French­man of Le­banese an­ces­try, is a flight risk.

Bail is harder to get for breach of trust than fal­si­fy­ing fi­nan­cial re­ports, ac­cord­ing to his lawyers. Prose­cu­tors tend to think the sus­pect may col­lude with oth­ers or tam­per with ev­i­dence, they said.

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