Nissan’s new LEAF will be in Australian showrooms from August, priced from $49,990.

The previous model failed to ignite buyer interest, but the company has high hopes for the latest version of its electric car which now boasts a range of up to 270km.

But it’s still a lot of money for what is in reality little more than a five-seat hatch — albeit an electric one.

Nissan claims 11,000 people have already registered their interest in the LEAF.

Interestingly, it’s the last hatch in the local Nissan lineup which now consists entirely of SUVs and sports cars.

It begs the question: in that case why isn’t the LEAF an SUV too?

“With strong interest in the new Nissan LEAF we see great potential for the vehicle and at this price we are giving it every chance to succeed,” said Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester.

“It’s certainly an exciting time for EV buyers. With a contemporary design, increased range and long list of standard features, this incredibly fun to drive car presents Australian electric vehicle buyers with a stylish, affordable option.”

The new Nissan LEAF comes in a single, highly spec’d model, with a 40kWh battery, 110kW of power and 320Nm of torque, up 38 and 14 per cent over the first generation model and adding “a degree of exhilaration” for the driver thanks to the instant acceleration.

Nissan says the new model has a range of up to 270km — up from 170km on a good day — which it claims makes it perfect for city-based Australians who drive an average of 38km a day.

While you can fully charge LEAF within 24 hours, the time drops to 7.5 hours if the household has the latest 7kW home charger.

You can also plug your LEAF into a CHAdeMO rapid charger and get from 20 per cent to 80 per cent charge in around 60 minutes depending on charging conditions.

Read the fine print however and it becomes clear that range and charge times are not set in concrete.

The new LEAF also has bi-directional charging capabilities.

This allows owners to use the charge from their car to power their home or business, or return electricity to the grid (these features are still a work in progress as far as Australia is concerned).

Customers can register to pre-order their new Nissan LEAF and select their preferred Nissan Dealer by visiting nissan.com.au/leafpreorder.

Deliveries are expected to commence from August.

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.