Currently reading: Next-gen Nissan Leaf aims for 340-mile range
New electric hatch will be offered with a choice of battery pack sizes for a longer range; due in 2018

Nissan’s next-generation Nissan 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.

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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

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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5wheels 23 June 2016

Decent looking too

This, if it makes the street looking as close as possible, would come into my consideration. Whilst fuel is nice and cheap here in Russia (less than 40p a litre) electricity is even cheaper :-)) That kind of car with that kind of range would become an excellent choice. Our friends dacha is 250km r/t (ours is only 70km r/t) and we alternate weekends so this would be great and might even swallow building materials and garden materials and plants/shrubs etc we carry constantly (The Outlander is gone now and we look to replace it within the next 15 days) pity this isnt available immediately, but hopefully worth the wait.
fadyady 21 June 2016

Thinking future

If Nissan offers 340 mpc at a reasonable price then the sales can really take off at a rate broadly similar to internal combustion engines. How such a potential uptake of electric cars affects the grid is another matter?
kelcos 21 June 2016

Post March

"In March this year 6% of its total European sales were EVs",obviously no figures available for Post-Model 3 orders in April .