Good news! Those of you who love the Nissan LEAF (whether you own/lease one or not), but still wish that it had more range, may soon be getting your wish!
Well, not that soon really… But relatively soon… While nothing has been confirmed for sure, and nothing is yet set in stone, it is looking increasingly likely that a longer-range Nissan LEAF will be released before the end of 2016 or 2017.
Most recently — in an interview last week at the New York Auto Show — Nissan executive Andy Palmer stated that the idea of offering multiple battery-pack options with different ranges was currently the subject of fierce debate internally at the company,
Green Car Reports notes:
In general, auto executives rarely discuss future powertrain offerings unless the technology being described is already on the way. And it’s notable that Nissan surveyed Leaf owners early this year, asking them how much more they would pay for a Leaf with a 150-mile range.
Palmer noted that the Leaf electric car would be on a standard Nissan model cycle of updates every five or six years. But he said the timing of updates was somewhat complicated by the significant updates made to the Leaf for 2013 — just two years into its run — when production for the US market shifted from Japan to Tennessee.
He called the idea of a longer-range Leaf the subject of “intense internal debate,” with some parties feeling that the 2014 Leaf’s rated range of 84 miles was enough for the vast majority of users — and others feeling that more US buyers could be captured with a range in the triple digits.
I’ve got to say, personally, that I tend to think an increased range would in fact be likely to boost the LEAF’s sales. But I can see the other side of the argument as well.
Palmer suggested in his interview that there may end up being “two or even three” battery-pack options available in the future — perhaps “varying by market, where the demand was strongest.”
As far as what the potential range-increases would be, it’s worth noting that, if the currently used 24 kilowatt-hours battery packs were replaced with 36 kWh ones, the max range would likely rest somewhere around 120 to 130 miles per charge. With a 42-kWh pack — which has been mentioned as a possibility casually by at least one North American Nissan executive — would likely increase range up to around 150 miles per charge.
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