Next Leaf Will Go 200-Plus Miles On a Charge: Nissan Exec
Nissan doesn’t want its aging Leaf electric hatchback to be left in the dust when the long-legged Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3 hit the market.
To counter the threat, Nissan will double the size of the Leaf’s battery, giving it a range of more than 200 miles, the automaker’s green chief told Autoblog. Exactly when the upgraded EV will show up remains a mystery.
Kazuo Yajima, Nissan’s global director of EV and HEV engineering, confirmed that the next-generation Leaf’s battery will grow to 60 kWh. The Leaf, which first showed up in late 2010, currently makes do with a 24 or 30 kWh pack, depending on the trim level.
“It’s coming,” Yajima told Autoblog at an electric vehicle symposium in Montreal. “In the near future, I believe, we can produce an electric vehicle that doesn’t have any driving range problem.”
The addition of a slightly larger battery for the 2016 model year saw the Leaf’s maximum range grow from 84 miles to 107 miles, but that pales in comparison to the Bolt and Model 3, both of which offer ranges of more than 200 miles. Doing the wildly simple math, a 60 kWh battery should boost the Leaf’s range to more than 210 miles.
Hybrids and EVs are a tough sell these days, and competition is fierce for that tiny slice of market share. Lately, Nissan isn’t winning the battle. Leaf sales are falling fast, and big changes need to happen if the automaker wants to regain ground.
Yajima didn’t provide any details on a launch date, but the second-generation model is expected to bow in 2018. Expect to see design cues from last year’s Nissan IDS concept vehicle when the next Leaf arrives.