New electric hatch will be offered with a choice of battery pack sizes for a longer range; due in 2018

Nissan’s next-generation Leaf electric hatchback, due in 2018, will be offered with a series of different battery pack options, one of which could provide a range of up to 340 miles.

Such a range figure would make the Leaf a much more mainstream option and reduce, if not eradicate, range anxiety for those who have so far been put off by the limited range of electric cars.

The next Leaf has been confirmed with autonomous tech - read more here

Nissan heavily previewed the next Leaf with the IDS concept at the Tokyo motor show last November. That concept car featured a 60kWh battery pack, which was said to offer a range of between 310 and 340 miles.

Nissan’s Gareth Dunsmore, director of the company’s zero-emission business unit, revealed that such a range should be viable for production in 2018, provided the larger battery meets Nissan’s price and durability targets.

He didn’t refer directly to the Leaf, but with the replacement due in 2018, it seems likely that 340 miles could be the headline figure for the range-topping model in the next-generation Leaf line-up.

The recently revised current Leaf is now offered with a larger, 30kWh lithium ion battery pack, which is good for a claimed 155-mile range, up from the 124 miles of the standard 24kWh battery.

This strategy is set to continue with the next-gen Leaf, with Nissan set to offer several different batteries to give buyers the option of different ranges — and with an increased price to match.

It’s a strategy similar to that of Tesla. Offering larger battery packs allows Nissan to give the Leaf a longer range even though there hasn’t been a significant chemical or technological breakthrough in battery technology, which is understood to still be a decade or so away.

While the Leaf has a higher list price versus its more conventional rivals, the majority of models are bought on three-year lease deals. This is where Nissan is able to compete with petrol and diesel models, with the Leaf costing around £200-£250 per month at present. Each higher-capacity battery pack would attract a premium on the lease price.

“We have two battery options now, and will grow options, making it more accessible with a longer range and a price to match,” said Dunsmore.

Nissan is seeing interest in the current Leaf increase all the time, and in March this year 6% of its total European sales were EVs. Dunsmore hopes that figure will rise to 20% by 2020, something the 2018 Leaf, with its greater range, should help to achieve.

Nissan does not yet have a plug-in hybrid model in its range, despite it being a technology many other manufacturers are adopting in order to reduce their fleet CO2 emissions. Dunsmore believes plug-ins to be a compromise.

He said: “When you are driving a plug-in, you have an electric motor and an internal combustion engine. You use the engine most of the time and it makes emissions worse. I see their relevance, but there is a compromise. I’m glad we took the step and built up a leadership in electric vehicles.”

Dunsmore also welcomes competition from other brands, as it helps to boost consumer acceptance of EVs.

“Nissan showed bravery 10 years ago to invest $4 billion (£2.77bn) in electric vehicles, and all that bravery has built up expertise that’s unparalleled,” he said. “Other brands are now fellow pioneers. EVs are a real and viable alternative, and we’re now heading towards tangible benefits in cities and for the climate.

“We’ve been the leader for five years. Sales and volume is important for business, but driving Nissan as experts in the tech is important, too.”

He also said Tesla had helped Nissan’s cause by increasing the visibility of electric technology. “Having Tesla, the visibility for the technology is a massive benefit,” he said. “Go to Google, type in ‘EV’ and we’re there. We have expertise in the tech and in making it accessible. We will continue to do that, and the more people that catch up the more visibility there is for us.”

Read more: Nissan Juke and Qashqai to go electric

Read more: Autocar's Top 10 best electric hatchbacks

Our Verdict

Nissan Leaf

The electric Nissan Leaf has its work cut out competing with cheaper mainstream cars - but it does make a case for itself

Join the debate


21 June 2016
I bet it will be easier to get one of these on your drive than a Tesla Model 3. I bet it will be a whole lot more reliable to boot considering that Nissan actually know how to build cars.

21 June 2016
Ok so car makers can deliver on range. But what about recharge times?

If they can recharge a car to 50% in 15 mins and 100% in 30 then they will be onto something that kills the ICE

21 June 2016
For a 2 car family having one EV with a range of over 200 miles is more than enough. Now all the luddites, and 5WEHEELS, will have to find some other way of knocking EV's. Recharge time - next to irrelevant for cars doing over 300 miles on a charge, especially for 2 car families. Other car companies must seriously sit up and do something now the success of the Leaf puts it firmly in the list of cars that changed the world of motoring.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

21 June 2016
The recharge times are already good enough for me. There are already thousands of high power points that will top up your EV to 80% full in 30mins. If your EV has a 350 mile range like the Nissan, you are realistically going to get 2/3rds of this range, say 220 miles. I wouldn't want to drive more than that without a break or meal anyway. Once the range starts to correspond with human endurance, it will be good enough to hit the mainstream.

21 June 2016
Recharge times would be horrendous, current rapid chargers can do 10kW in 20 minutes so 2 hours? as there are only one or two chargers at most locations this is really going to pee off other users by tying them up for so long - assuming you want to spend 2 hours at a grotty UK services. A 16A home charger does about 3.5kW per hour so 16 hours on charge.. your going to be late for work then! -- Of course most people will only be 'topping' up so charge times will be more normal but what is the point of a super long range if you can't use it due to the impractically long charge time?

21 June 2016
The Apprentice wrote:

Recharge times would be horrendous, ....but what is the point of a super long range if you can't use it due to the impractically long charge time?

A telsa cna give a range of 250 miles for a 10 hour charge from a garage mounted charger, I'm asleep for 8 of those 10 hours, what's so impractically about that?

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

21 June 2016
In the UK already accessible to the public: 629 Rapid AC charge points typically rated at 42KW. 1455 Rapid DC charge points typically rated at 50KW. That's charge points (like petrol pumps) so there will be far fewer locations, but still a start.

21 June 2016
Autocar - "He didn’t refer directly to the Leaf, but with the replacement due in 2018, it seems likely that 340 miles could be the headline figure for the range-topping model in the next-generation Leaf line-up".

Whilst it will probably be an option on the Leaf, I guess this is more aimed at the EV Qashqai that they are also discussing.



It's all about the twisties........

21 June 2016
More range, wider choice of vehicles. All sounds good. People have limited EV choice at the moment. There's much focus on range, but does EV make sense for low mileage users, say someone doing 3,000 miles a year and not in a "congestion zone"?

21 June 2016
Scratch wrote:

. There's much focus on range, but does EV make sense for low mileage users, say someone doing 3,000 miles a year and not in a "congestion zone"?

The NEW car market for sub 3000 miles a year cars is so small manufacturers wouldn't base their plans on it.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion


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