Nissan’s Leaf was a breath of fresh air when launched back in 2010; a modern-looking, compact hatch that helped bring electric motoring within reach of the average consumer. Yet despite strong sales, the competition has stepped up its game with more recent EV entries like Chevrolet’s Bolt.
Not to be left behind, the Japanese manufacturer has been hard at work developing the next generation version. What will it look like and what can we expect? Well let’s delve further:
IDS Concept-Inspired Styling
In 2015, Nissan revealed the IDS autonomous EV concept, which was said to be a strong pointer for the next Leaf. Fast forward to today, and whilst elements of the show car will make into production, the overall look is worlds apart.
Instead, the new EV will be a visual crossbreed between the latest Micra supermini and out-going Leaf. Frontal styling will be headlined by a mono-tooth, V-Motion grille, chiseled lower bumper and wedge-shaped headlamps.
The view from the side will be fairly conventional; tall and stubby proportions, floating roof and a blacked-out C-Pillar up-kink (not too different to the Chevy Bolt) are the go here. Out back, the hatch will be dominated by horizontal thin-wedge tail lamps and a subtle rear diffuser.
Under The Skin
Perhaps the biggest nuisance with the current Leaf is the limited range. At 107 miles, it lags behind Chevrolet’s Bolt (238 miles), the upcoming Tesla Model 3 (at least 215 miles), Hyundai Ioniq EV (124 miles) and BMW’s quirky i3 (114 miles).
It’s believed that Nissan will remedy this by offering both 40 kWh and 60-kilowatt-hour, lithium-ion battery packs, with the latter providing range well past the 200 mile mark. This should see an increase in performance too, perhaps with the 0-60 sprint nudging into the 7-second bracket for the larger battery version.
At January’s Consumer Electronics Show, Nissan revealed the next-generation Leaf would be equipped with its own ProPilot autonomous driving technology.
This will allow the new Leaf to be operated in self-drive mode, on single lane highway environments. Further updates over time, will extend capabilities to include multi-lane self-driving and a Seamless Autonomous Mobility command centre - for self-drive vehicles caught up in problematic situations.
On The Street
Look for a world premiere of the 2018 Leaf this fall, with pricing, features and specs to be announced at that time. Deliveries are tipped to start before Christmas.
Finally, what do you think - has Nissan done enough to lure more mainstream buyers into the electric car fold? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
By Josh Byrnes
Photo Renderings Copyright Carscoops / Josh Byrnes