YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) – Nissan is presenting the optimized version of its famous Leaf electric car, while the Japanese automaker is looking to stand out from the arrest of its star leader Carlos Ghosn.
The unveiling Wednesday at Nissan Motor Co. headquarters in Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo, was postponed until Ghosn was arrested on November 19.
Ghosn has been accused of under-reporting his income. Tokyo attorneys extended his detention until Friday, adding allegations of breach of trust.
The Tokyo District Court rejected on Wednesday the protest filed by Ghosn's lawyers for his prolonged detention. The lawyers announced that they would appeal to a higher court.
Ghosn appeared for the first time in public since his arrest on Tuesday and denied each allegation in the Tokyo District Court. The sheet was part of Nissan's achievements that Ghosn highlighted in his statement to the judge.
The new Leaf e + at 4.16 million yen ($ 38,000) is about the same size as the model for sale, but it has more power and greater cruising range. The best-selling electric car competes with the Tesla models and the General Motors Bolt.
The sold sheet now costs about 3 million yen ($ 28,000), according to Nissan.
The Leaf e + accelerates faster and has more torque than the previous model. It offers an additional 40% range at 458 kilometers (285 miles) per charge, measured in accordance with Japanese regulations, compared to the 322 kilometers of the old model.
It will go on sale in Japan later this month and will be rolled out in the US in the spring of 2019, and in Europe by mid-2019, Nissan said in a statement.
Daniele Schillaci, Nissan's Executive Vice President, said the new model offered customers more power and scope, pointing out that it was now "more convenient and more appealing than ever".
More than 380,000 Nissan Leaf vehicles have been sold worldwide since its debut in 2010, a tiny fraction of the total automotive market. But many countries such as China are optimistic about electric vehicle technology because it offers newcomers to the industry a great chance to succeed.
It is also an environmentally friendly technology and can be greatly stimulated by government policies.
Although Nissan as a corporation was also charged with under-reporting of income, no other executive than Ghosn and Greg Kelly, an American accused of collaborating on under-reported earnings, has been stopped.
Kelly has been on bail since last month. He has not been suspected of breach of trust.
Prosecutors say that Ghosn, a Frenchman of Lebanese origin of Brazilian origin, presents a risk of flight.
It is more difficult to obtain a surety for breach of trust than to falsify financial reports, according to his lawyers. Prosecutors tend to think that the suspect may be conniving or tampering with evidence, they said.