Nissan today unveiled the latest version of its electric car, the LEAF.

The vehicle has been upgraded so that it can now travel 378km on a single charge. It will be on sale in Europe from January.

Nissan said that a new battery design “adds energy storage capacity without increasing the size. The battery pack occupies the exact same dimensions as that of the previous-generation Nissan LEAF. It’s the individual cell structure of the laminated lithium-ion battery cells that’s been improved, representing a 67 per cent increase in energy density versus the 2010 model.”New Nissan EV launch prompts call to boost grid

Nissan said a further engineering improvement for the lithium-ion battery pack is enhanced electrode materials with revised chemistry, which it said results “in higher power density while contributing to greater battery durability upon charge and discharge”.

The launch of the car has been warmly welcomed by clean energy advocates, however some have cautioned that the roll-out of such improved vehicles increases the need for grid upgrade improvements to accommodate the rise of EVs.

Matthew Trevaskis, head of electric vehicles at the UK’s Renewable Energy Association said: “The launch of this new LEAF, together with other recent announcements from MINI, Volvo, Aston Martin and others, is an important step towards the mass take-up of electric vehicles in the UK and beyond.”

But he added: If the UK is serious in maintaining and growing battery and electric vehicle manufacturing post-Brexit, it will need to create the conditions for a large domestic market, which means delivering a network of strategically placed charge points.

“There is urgency to upgrade building regulations to ensure three-phase power is standard in all new homes and new retail sites are equipped to be able to charge large numbers of vehicles. Developing common minimum charging performance of vehicles and charging points will also advance this transition.”