Nissan is going all-out with its next-generation Leaf to ensure the all-electric vehicle can match it with the industry’s best for maximum range, according to reports out of Europe.
Due in 2018, the next-gen Leaf could be offered with a choice of battery packs giving owners up to 540km of range.
Such a range would see the Leaf go head-to-head with the larger but more expensive Tesla Model S, while Tesla’s Leaf rival - the Model 3 - is expected to offer up around 250km of range when it arrives in showrooms.
The Leaf will reportedly match the Model S’s current smallest battery pack at 60kWh with at least one of its battery options. This pack featured in the Nissan IDS concept (pictured, below), which has a range of between 490 and 540km.
Nissan’s Gareth Dunsmore hinted at the new Leaf battery packs, but stopped short of confirming the packs were destined for Leaf models.
Should the new battery packs prove to be unreliable or prohibitively expensive however, the 2018 Leaf may not be the first Nissan model (of any description) to see them.
“We have two battery options now, and will grow options, making it more accessible with a longer range and a price to match,” Dunsmore said, speaking with the UK’s Autocar.
Dunsmore said he hoped the next-gen Leaf would see a significant increase in sales, with the EV predicted to make up as much as 20 percent of Nissan’s European sales by 2020.
The Nissan zero emissions representative also stated that the carmaker is focused on all-electric models, rather than plug-in hybrids.
“When you are driving a plug-in, you have an electric motor and an internal combustion engine,” Dunsmore said.
“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.”
In Europe, the Leaf is now offered with either 24kWh or 30kWh battery packs, offering up to 170km and 250km of range respectively.
Speaking with TMR, Nissan Australia’s Peter Fadeyev said the Australian-spec Leaf would continue with the 24kWh battery pack for now.
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