Next-generation Nissan Leaf will arrive with a more mainstream design, better range

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 9, 2014

The next-generation Nissan Leaf electric vehicles should be more mainstream and powered by a better battery that could last longer. Nissan launched its Leaf EV in December 2010 and has since improved its performance. Nissan, however, has been seeking a solution to get better EV range, believing that it is key to higher sales.

It engineers are currently working on a new battery chemistry that will debut in 2017 in an all-new Infiniti EV. Andy Palmer, executive vice president in charge of Nissan’s zero emissions and Infiniti businesses, has remarked to Automotive News at the Beijing auto show that the battery chemistry is all about range and energy density.

He said that the new battery chemistry is the “game-changing technology.” While he declined to state a range figure, he said that the battery should be able to last up to 300 kilometers or 186 miles, to enable its EVs to compete against the hydrogen fuel cell cars that Nissan’s rivals are developing.

The 2014 Leaf has an EPA-rated range of 84 miles on a full charge, thanks to tweaks like a more efficient heating system. Nissan is aiming for further more improvements in the current Leaf with a battery tuned for longer life in hot climates, which should arrive “soon,” Palmer said.

Palmer remarked that the leaf is on a normal product cadence, from a full global launch in 2013. That should mean that the next-generation Leaf would arrive just after Nissan’s Power 88 business plan, which ends March 31, 2017, Palmer added.

He noted that the Infiniti EV will be rolled out “close enough to be counted” as part of Power 88. He added that the EV should arrive before Infiniti launches its top-shelf halo car.

The new Nissan LEAF promises a fun, highly responsive driving experience. It is powered by innovative compact lithium-ion batteries that deliver over 90kW of power output and an electric motor that can generate 80kW/280Nm. These make the LEAD at par with gasoline-powered vehicles.

Unlike vehicles that are equipped with internal combustion engine (ICE), the Nissan LEAF’s power train is without a tail pipe and has therefore zero greenhouse gas emissions. It is also equipped with a regenerative braking system that, when combined with its lithium-ion batteries, gives the car a driving range of over 100 miles on one full charge. According to consumer research, this range achieves the daily driving requirement of 70 percent of the world’s driving consumers.

The Nissan LEAF is very easy to charge. You can charge the LEAF at home using a 200V outlet for about eight hours. You can also use a quick charger and the car will charge up to 80 percent of its total capacity in nearly 30 minutes.

Nissan’s team of designers and engineers have undoubtedly come up with a competitively priced vehicle, one that has placed the company at the top when it comes to zero-emissions mobility.

The Nissan LEAF also achieved spaciousness, cargo capacity, as well as comfort, through its new body layout and chassis.

According to Masato Inoue, product chief designer at Nissan, the LEAF is the first ever medium-sized, practical EV that is affordable and that motorists would be eager to drive on a daily basis. He says that the car’s styling identifies not only the LEAF itself but also the driver as a participant and supporter in this age of zero-emission mobility.

When it comes to the LEAF’s distinctive design, even the smallest of details can achieve a tremendous effect. Its frontal style is characterized by long, up-slanting and light-emitting diode or LED headlights in a sharp and upright V-shaped position. These headlights have a blue internal reflective design conveying that the car is special. They are also designed to split or redirect the airflow away from the car’s door mirrors, reducing drag and wind noise. Lastly, they use up only 10 percent of the electricity that conventional lamps normally consume, therefore helping the LEAF achieve world-class range autonomy.

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