By on April 10, 2017

2017 Nissan LEAF
Consumer demand may be the driving force behind automakers shifting assembly line production toward crossover vehicles, but there is another trend that has nothing to do with modern-day sales. Electric vehicles have a small but loyal consumer base and the majority of carmakers seem poised to ensure the next decade caters directly to them — whether it be through pure BEVs or hybridized powertrains.

However, not every manufacturer has its electrified ducks in a row. Despite hitting its mark with the Leaf EV, Nissan has been resting on its laurels since 2010 and hasn’t made the same sort of technological promises that Volkswagen Group or Ford cannot help but keep repeating… over and over again. Nissan’s chief planning officer Philippe Klein even admitted in January that his company’s EV prospects are dim and something needs to be done.  

“Five or six years ago, we were looked at as a kind of adventurous company, moving into an area where nobody was expecting us to move,” Klein told Automotive News. “And now you have a lot of players making big announcements, and we are looked at like laggards.”

Fortunately, Nissan’s new CEO Hiroto Saikawa says the business has started taking steps to ensure it is not left behind in the next decade — starting with the alleviation of range anxiety. Saikawa says automakers, including Nissan, should have something to calm Leaf owners’ nerves before 2020. However, he admitted that may only apply to customers in Japan and Europe, who usually put fewer miles on the odometer.

When we asked Nissan to confirm whether or not the next-generation Leaf would make it to North America, it responded with, “As a matter of policy, we do not discuss future product plans.”

However, we have it on good authority that the Leaf will continue to persist in Canada and the United States. It just might not possess the range required to appease our vehicular sensibilities. But Saikawa says something electric is coming with a range above 300 miles within the next couple of years — and it should be joined by an array of hybrid and all-electric models between 2020 and 2025.

“The real evolution will come when we have a serious plan for the substitution of existing powertrains, say in our major models: the Rogue, Qashqai, X-Trail. A major part of it will be EV. This is the time I’m talking about. Maybe 2025,” Saikawa explained.

“But the period of differentiating ourselves by technology is almost over. Then, [it] will be a competition of how aggressively you can deploy the portfolio across the models. We would like to be on the aggressive side, the leading side.”

[Image: Nissan]

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37 Comments on “Nissan Prepares to Rejoin the Competition With Next Wave of Electric Vehicles...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Leaf 2.0 will arrive around September.

    It looks as dorky as Leaf 1.0, and I don’t need to repeat that again. Nissan has alienated the majority of its US EV customer base for a variety of reasons, and most of them will not purchase another Leaf. Many are going to the Bolt or Model 3 for their next EV, if they want one.

    Chevy produced its Bolt in seemingly record time as promised, and it’s been well-received. Tesla is soon to release its 4th EV, and may actually do so on time.

    But Nissan? They’ve been a one-hit EV wonder for almost 7 years, with either silence or vague hints for the last 2 years. And so their new EV is going to be a me-too product, and they can’t even give it a new look or a new name.

    I knew Nissan didn’t care the day I returned my lease, and they wouldn’t even accept above-market value for me to keep the car.

    • 0 avatar
      Asdf

      There’s nothing special about Nissan in particular not caring. In fact, none of the EV manufacturers seems to care, or the fundamental shortcomings of EVs would have been addressed before the cars were launched in the marketplace.

      It’s sad, really, how hordes of EV fanbois in places like this repeatedly make excuses for the poor performance of today’s EVs. Perhaps if people instead demanded that the shortcomings be addressed, then automakers would have listened and made an effort, and EVs would actually have become viable automobiles, instead of the pathetic loony greenie toys they are today (and seemingly will remain for the foreseeable future…)

      • 0 avatar
        OldManPants

        SCE has an opinion worth hearing; he leased an EV.

        How ’bout you?

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          The thing that shocks me is that the P100DL’s 0 to 60 time of 2.28 seconds is now considered “poor performance”. Seems like only yesterday that was considered fast. I suppose it’s getting tougher and tougher to accelerate onto a freeway these days.

          I even remember way back when the Bolt’s 0-60 time of 6.4 seconds might have been considered fast. Times change I suppose.

        • 0 avatar
          Asdf

          The same applies to me, except I didn’t lease an EV.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Asdf – the problem is there are no solutions to the EV problems. Range can be addressed by installing a bigger denser battery, but this increases cost, weight, and recharging time. Faster recharging can be done, but only by rewiring the entire country for higher capacity throughput, and with possible negative consequences on battery life. Promises of super-duper new battery technology always seems to be “just around the corner”, but either the corner never arrives or the batteries end up being explosive fire bombs. Fundamentally, modern EVs have the same problems that led to their demise 100 years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        “pathetic loony greenie toys they are today (and seemingly will remain for the foreseeable future…)”

        You forgot “Golf Cart” in there somewhere.

        I think people are afraid of EV’s because they make sense as daily drivers; the success of EV’s will somehow eliminate manual-transmission 500hp rear-drive brown wagons or something.

        • 0 avatar
          Asdf

          No, EVs in their current form don’t make sense as daily drivers, but the loony greenies in charge of politics don’t care about that, and want people to adopt EVs despite their fundamental shortcomings.

          • 0 avatar
            hgrunt

            It depends on what your daily driving use case is.

            If you have an all highway, low-traffic commute, and live someplace where everything is pretty spread out, EVs with anything less than 200 mile range, basically makes zero sense. Lack of charging stations compound that problem even more.

            If you live in a dense urban area (and remember that quite a few people do) where everything is close by, a 100 mile EV can cover nearly all driving needs because you’re usually crawling traffic and not covering long distances, and for something like $30-40 a month in electricity.

            The “loony greenies” probably care more about EV adoption in dense urban areas because it’ll reduce the carbon footprint faster than trying to ban 2-stroke weedwhackers in Iowa.

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            @Asdf: My 12 Leaf with its short range “didn’t make sense as a daily driver” for 26k miles over three years’ time. The $20/month in electricity didn’t make sense, either.

            Craziest thing I ever did.

        • 0 avatar
          hgrunt

          I think it’s also that people let perfect get in the way of better, while refusing to consider driving situations and scenarios that are not their own.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            No, it’s pure political hater-ade, repeated robotically.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            Good morning, Pizza!

            What the knobs like Asdf don’t appear to comprehend is that a fellah can enjoy all kinds of hateful, racist and revanchist impulses while *still* preferring a nice, clean, quiet form of motor vehicle.

            Dumb diddley nuts!

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            OMP: Well, you can, but you can’t park it at the club without a MAGA bumper sticker! :-)

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    An earlier article referenced an analysis by Edmunds how EV sales in Georgia tanked after the $5000 state credit was eliminated. Without that bulge, Leaf volume would have been significantly lower. Sounds like Georgia will be THE place to pick up your massively depreciated, never seen road salt, off-lease Leaf for your hs or college student.

  • avatar
    George B

    The problem for Nissan is that the new Nissan Leaf will look like the old Nissan Leaf and a used Leaf is amazingly low.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    So Nissan is also going to have to figure out how to make half decent hybrids.

  • avatar
    mcs

    “Despite hitting its mark with the Leaf EV, Nissan has been resting on its laurels since 2010”

    That’s not really true. There have been quite a few significant improvements in the Leaf since 2010. There have been several improvements in the battery. Range has been bumped up to 100+ miles and performance in extreme temps has improved. They’ve also made the battery more durable. I have 46k miles and no noticeable range loss. All twelve bars despite 200+ quick charges. Another improvement was replacing the original HVAC system with a heat pump. Much less range loss. Another lesser known improvement is the “B” mode aggressive regen. It gives you “one-pedal” capability in heavy traffic. My other vehicles are manuals and it feels a lot like engine braking in those vehicles. They’ve also improved the range estimation by taking into account the temperature. Some other critical features that I have that I’ve been told wasn’t on earlier versions is the ability to lock in the charging plug to prevent theft of your charger. I also get notifications via text and email of the charging status.

    The article also seems to miss the fact that the new 200+ mile Leaf is due this fall backed by numerous spy shots cropping up on the web of the camo’d 2018.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      mcs, I don’t recall you expressing interest in the Bolt but if you were curious, would there be any near you to test? Won’t be any near me until September at the earliest.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        I might look at a Bolt as a commuter vehicle. My local chevy dealer probably has them. Although, as a commuter, my Leaf has been pretty good. It went 130 miles today with only a top-up at a charger while I chowed down on fresh muffins and coffee. Even then, it didn’t really need the extra charge. It was warm enough for me to break the 5-mile per kWh mark which would have taken me 130 miles without charging. I may be getting space just 6 miles from home soon and that would mean range overkill even if my battery went totally down the tubes.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          Thanks. I presently have a very short commute so range is vastly less a concern than 1) roof height, 2) ride comfort and 3) will the motor compartment and all its contents stay pretty and clean for ever and ever?

          Because if I ever end up with an EV I will daily pop its little hood to check for #3, mentally cursing all the BS&T I was forced in the bleak past to give to filthy old ICE compartments.

          God, I HATE the smell of Gunk.

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    I do not get where Nissan is coming from with the look of the Leaf 2.0? No normal person would be attractive to this look! It is like the Leaf and the Bolt and the i3 had the same car designer do these vehicles! Tesla Model 3 is going kick ass in sales!

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Would anyone get excited if Nissan announced a new gasoline 50 mpg commuter car with a 4 gallon tank, a refueling nozzle the diameter of a drinking straw, and a weak heater and A/C unit that cut range by 1/3 if they are actually used in hot or cold weather?

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      How tall?

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @stingray65: In real use (I’ve got 46k miles on one) it’s more like a 100 hp V-12 powered car with a valet service that comes by to fuel it every time you park it. Oh, and what about the Lamborghini Aventador? We’re only talking about 285 miles range there – maybe 50 miles more range depending on the final range numbers and driving conditions with the 18 Leaf or a Chevrolet Bolt.

      Where do you get this “weak heater” crap? The Leaf’s heat pump has no problem getting the cabin toasty hot in subzero temps. Actually, I think it’s much better than any ICE I’ve ever driven. In fact, that’s my tactic in subzero temps. I open up the interior battery compartment door and set the pre-heat to 90 degrees. Sometimes I arrive at my breakfast stop before they open and I’ll crank the heat to 90 while plugged in along with seat heat. It’s soo nice. Like snoozing under a comforter.

      As far as the 1/3 range cut in cold goes, I don’t think I’ve seen that except for maybe sub-zero, but I think I get about maybe a 20% total drop in range when it’s 20 to 30 degrees. For sub-zero temps, I’ve seen a 40% total drop in range for long distances.

      Fortunately, my worst commute is only 50 miles one way (only 50 miles!!) and breakfast for me and the car is only 40 miles, the range drop isn’t an issue. Other days, 12-mile trips are the norm with my other commute being maybe 20 miles one way to an indoor heated garage.

      In the summer, any drop in range isn’t noticeable because o the heat pump power consumption is compensated by summer range increases. I can easily get 100+ range with the cooling on. I regularly hit 5 miles per kWh with the cooling system blasting in 80-degree heat. The lizard battery seems to love the heat and is very happy in summer heat.

      I think I know the real source of the vitriol. A quick look at the zero to 60 times of a 65 Corvette and Chevrolet Bolt and you know what the real problem is. What do you do when you come to a stop light and a Bolt or an 18 Leaf (which is rumored to have improved performance) pulls next to you? You’re not going to challenge it, that’s for sure. EVs are bursting a lot of bubbles. Starting with the Bolt, even the dorky looking low-end cars can challenge older performance cars at stoplights – especially when the older car isn’t quite running right or arthritis slows down the shift times. No wonder you guys don’t like them. That’s the real problem here. If someone wants to show you the “I voted for Hillary” sticker on the back bumper of her Bolt, she can probably do it.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        MCS: I’m glad you are having a good EV experience, but I’ve been outside the Tesla dealer in Oslo Norway on a cold winter day – dead S models are towed in from all over and stacked like firewood. Stories are legion of Norwegians using their Teslas to travel to their ski cabins in the mountains, and arriving with freezing limbs and frosted windows because they had to turn the heat down to actually make it without getting stranded. I’ve also seen some serious issues in super hot places such as Arizona, where if the heat doesn’t kill the battery, the use of A/C certainly will. So yes in coastal California gridlock they might be a viable commuter, but anyplace with serious cold or heat they have a problem.

        As for performance, that has never been an EV problem. The first car to hit 100kph was an electric, and the Tesla, i3, and Bolt are very quick by most standards. Your willingness to stop and have coffee and plug-in is also great if that fits you lifestyle, but a lot of people just want to get to their destination without worrying if a dead battery will strand them in the cold or heat.

        • 0 avatar
          Ugliest1

          Anecdotal stories are good… but like the cat who sat down on a hot stove and will never sit down on a hot or cold stove again, one should only take the appropriate amount of learning from a story. @stingray you mention the use of A/C in Arizona… my story is in 2014 we were stopped ½ way between Flagstaff and Kingman in 110d heat for two hours while an accident up ahead was dealt with. We were totally comfortable in the car with the A/C going for more than 1.5 hours. Once I got out to take a look ahead, and the heat hit me like a fist. The cost of the A/C? 6 miles of range. So I dispute your generalization that A/C kills an EV battery. And that brings the rest of your story into question — I’m thinking there’s less learning necessary from cold Norwegian skiers than you would prefer.

      • 0 avatar
        hgrunt

        The instant-heat feature was the first thing I noticed when I borrowed a friend’s Leaf. It’s surprising because I’m used to having to wait a minute or two before I get anything.

        Regarding the EV vs ICE performance, I just found out last night the Spark EV has 345 ft-lb of torque…in that tiny little package. I think also contributing to the vitriol is that EVs aren’t complicated in a Phillipe Patek vs Seiko Quartz sort of way, and the reputation the Prius somehow got.

        It’s very difficult hard to go back to driving an ICE car in town after doing it a bunch in an EV, that’s for sure.

    • 0 avatar
      Asdf

      You’d be surprised to see what ideology does to otherwise intelligent and rational human beings. So, yes, some people would get excited by such a Nissan if there was an ideology touting it as the solution to the imminent worldwide danger du jour.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    I do believe that given the current state of battery technology and driving conditions in the U. S., that the PHEV is a better choice than an BEV for most drivers. Having driven one for the last three years has made me a believer.

    Once you do your in-town driving in an EV, it’s tough to go back.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “the current state of battery technology ”

      I’d like to see that technology applied where it does some real good for the most people, like private solar and/or wind-charged “active storage power-banks” to supplement an office or home electrical requirement.

      But then the power companies have to get involved and they don’t like being sold back electricity at the same KW-rate they charge consumers.

      Funny how that works. The consumer always gets screwed in the end.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        Those products are coming. The needs of an automobile are somewhat different, though, weight and size are much more critical for an automobile.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        “But then the power companies have to get involved and they don’t like being sold back electricity at the same KW-rate they charge consumers.

        Funny how that works. The consumer always gets screwed in the end.”

        Which is why the government would have to get involved to keep the utility companies AND the consumer from losing out in the transition to much cleaner energy.

        The consumer wants clean, uninterrupted power, but still needs grid power 15% of the time in summer, up to 80% of the time in winter – the utility can certainly use the solar boost on high-demand summer afternoons, but can’t sustain a grid buying back power at market rates.

        So, do we call God Almighty to arbitrate this situation, or try something sensible? Like an entity trusted (more or less) by both parties without a “dog in the fight” to do what’s best to advance our society, spur innovation, and lessen the reliance on fossil fuels, which (even taking out the CO2 argument), damages the environment that we all have to live in… a not-for-profit entity that has authority to enforce the agreements made?


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