Speaking with industry paper Automotive News at the Beijing Auto Show, Nissan’s Andy Palmer reportedly pointed to an improved range as the key to expanding current EV sales, setting a deadline of 2017 for the upgraded technology.
“The battery chemistry is all about range and energy density,” Mr Palmer said,
“That’s where you see the technology moving very, very fast; this really is the game-changing technology.”
Mr Palmer declined to reveal a target range for the 2017 Leaf, saying only that he believed a battery should deliver up to 300km between charges to be viable as an alternative to hydrogen fuel-cell cars being developed by rivals.
Nissan’s global design chief, Mamoru Aoki, suggested the next Leaf could feature more mainstream styling as EVs no longer need to look ‘different’ in the eyes of consumers.
The next Leaf is expected to retain its five-door hatch body with no grille at the front, while moving towards the current Nissan styling language seen in such models as the Pulsar, Altima and Almera.
The planned Infiniti EV will reportedly be delayed until early 2017 to ensure the new model hits showrooms with the improved battery technology from day one, while potentially offering a larger battery pack to the Leaf, and therefore, a better range.
Meanwhile, development for the current Leaf is ongoing, with an improved battery pack designed to offer longer life in hot climates said to be arriving soon.
The current Nissan Leaf in Australia has a claimed maximum range of 170km, priced from $51,490 plus on-roads.
MORE: Nissan news and reviews