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.
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.