Published on May 13th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


Next Nissan Leaf To Get Longer Ranger & More Mainstream Look

May 13th, 2014 by  

Originally published on Gas2.


In a bid to broaden the appeal of the Nissan Leaf, the next-generation model will boast a longer ranger and a more mainstream look. Though it may have been first out of the gate with a mass market EV, Nissan has taken its lumps and lessons and applied them to the next model. Will these changes help make the Leaf a breakout hit?

If you’ll recall, Nissan executives aren’t exactly thrilled with the underwhelming response to the Leaf, even though it remains far-and-away the best-selling EV in the world. One of the problems is the Leaf’s relatively short range, with Nissan will likely remedy by offering different battery pack sizes, like the Tesla Model S. A recent survey all but confirms Nissan’s intent to offer more multiple battery sizes, perhaps all the way up to 150 miles of driving per charge. Following the new Leaf will be the long-delayed Infiniti EV, sometime around 2017 with a more premium feel.

That’s definitely the right move. But as for adopting a more mainstream look? I’m not sure. As it stands, the Leaf strikes the right balance between looking different and blending in, and you can tell pretty far out that it’s an electric vehicle. I like that, and I think a lot of owners do too. Buyers have the option of “mainstream” electric vehicles like the Ford Focus Electric, but they aren’t biting. There’s a reason for that, and it isn’t just Ford’s lack of marketing. People want to be seen in an electric car, same way they want to be seen in a Prius or any other hybrid.

The Nissan Leaf’s looks aren’t out there by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s still different enough to be noticed. I hope Nissan keeps it that way.

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • Matt

    It’s not that the Leaf has “distinctive” styling – it’s that it’s geeky. (Don’t get me wrong – I’m a computer engineer, a.k.a “a geek”) but I don’t want my car to look like that. I definitely prefer the Ford Focus styling – the problem with the Ford Focus EV is the price, much higher than a Leaf and nearly identical specs.

    I think the next generation Leaf can look distinctive, but not so geeky, maybe actually kind of cool in it’s own way.

    Just my opinion.

    • Zoey

      I’m about to lease a ’15 Leaf S. I’ve had to work hard to get used to the “styling.” Close to a year ago I was driving on the Interstate and a car passes me. I looked at its backside and think, “Man… that is an ugly car!” Then I sped up to see what it was; A Leaf. That was the first one I’d ever actually seen (pictures just don’t tell the picture). I’ve tought about a Leaf on and off and over the past few years, and after actually seeing one, disappointed, I thought to myself, “I’ll never buy that one of those.” Now, here we are about to lease one – it should be in this week… and I’m excitedly looking forward to it!

  • Tekkenfighter123

    Man, I really hope they up the miles in the next few years. I’ve been saving up for a Leaf, and for me I would pay extra for the extra miles. I just love to drive around (long distances) that with 150m I should have zero issues with finding a charging station.

  • Green Globe

    I think the car doesn’t sell as hoped because it is ugly and cheap looking. Looks are everything for a car… especially an electric car to encourage people to leave behind a gasoline car.

  • Sam

    I just leased a 2014 Leaf SL after a lengthy analysis and test drives. I love the car look, feel, and performance. I am 6’3″ and the interior has plenty of room for me and whoever sits behind me. The price and the incentives are very attractive. Although I usually purchase not lease, the expectation for longer range in the future led me to a lease this time so I can switch to the longer range when it comes out. The extensive and friendly yet sophisticated technology is more than I ever seen in any car at any price which makes it even more fun to own and drive.

  • llaumann

    You can easily modify the look of the LEAF. Larger, wider wheels and tires with some spacers can make a difference. I shipped in some new shocks from Japan and lowered it a few inches. Now there are body kits available that give it an even more sporty look. I love my 2011 LEAF and I am absolutely delighted with it.

  • Benjamin Nead

    When the Leaf was unveiled to the world some 5 years ago, I had deep reservations regarding the styling. While it has grown on me to a degree since then, I’m still puzzled by the lumpiness in places and the curiously small rear hatch door/window. The latter makes loading bulky cargo and looking out via the mirror while driving a bit of a challenge. They could essentially keep the rest of the car unchanged if they addressed only this.

    The announcement “a more mainstream look” for the new Leaf could be both good and bad. I hope it doesn’t mean a big fake grill and the more white bread styling cues found on all too many economy cars these days. In much the same way the Versa served as a springboard for the 1st generation Leaf, remember that the 1st generation Prius was essentially a reworked Echo. The 2nd generation Prius broke that styling lineage quite dramatically and created an arguably iconic look without a retreat into mainstream dullness. I hope Nissan can do the same with their Leaf follow-on act.

    The 150 mile battery? That will be welcomed by everybody. As for increasing sales, all Nissan would have to do is actually advertise that it makes an electric car. From the perspective of mainstream consumers who don’t follow auto industry news regularly, EVs, in general, are almost invisible.

    • bwrandall

      There’s no need to advertise the Leaf because Nissan is selling every single one it makes. Increasing sales at this point is a function of production capacity, specifically of the Leaf’s battery module. I assume Nissan is working hard on this latter issue.

      • Kyle Field

        That’s interesting and something I don’t recall hearing in the past (either about selling out everyone they make or about being production limited). Our local dealership here in Oxnard, CA had 8 or 10 when I went by there a few weeks back…and buyers get $10k back ($7500 fed tax credit, 2500 state rebate) which is just under 1/3 of the base purchase price of $30k. Crazy town.

        • bwrandall

          Here’s a good discussion of Leaf production vis-a-vis demand.

          The fact that you have 8 or ten in Oxnard is a function of Leaf demand being highly localized (discussed in the article), making it harder than usual to allocate cars to various geographies.

        • Wintermancer

          I work for a Nissan dealership. I can confirm we sell every one of these we get in immediately. It is to the point where we are having to tell people to precontract for them when we know we have inventory coming in, because if we don’t we sell them same day anyway with walk in traffic. In my area, the S model isn’t even available anymore and won’t be again until 2015 units start shipping. It is crazy popular.

      • Benjamin Nead

        But if this is so, bwrandall, what do you make of the hyperlink in the above article, which describes Nissan COO’s frustration with the Leaf lackluster sales? . . .

        Granted, that Gas 2 article is now about a year old – and Leaf sales are generally better this year than last – but where was the ad campaign when the car’s sales really was in the dumps?

        I contend that EVs are radically under-advertised and that there are millions of people out there (specifically, ones who don’t read green technology blogs like this every day) who are completely unaware that production electric cars even exist or, if they do, they mistakenly think that all of them are in the low speed neighborhood vehicle category.

        Every time our local EV club does a public meet-and-greet event, we always surprise a goodly number of attendees with our mix of home modified and production EVs, with the largest surprise being that production EVs – the Leaf and i-MiEV especially – can be purchased or leased affordably.

        I really want to see a lot of affordable EVs being made and sold . . . cleaner air and quieter streets are the immediate result. As newer models appear, the lots will be filling up with used ones that another entire economic level of consumers will finally be able to buy into. It all starts, though, with manufacturers actually advertising that they make EVs.

  • Kyle Field

    I agree that the look of the leaf is attractive (to me) as it’s distinct. My wife is not as much of a fan and feels that it looks cheap (like the versa). I’m not excited by the fact that they’re trying to make it look more mainstream unless that means “more like tesla” but that’s just me being selfish. If they make it something that increases sales, I’ll be happy.

    • I actually love the look of the Leaf. Also not happy with the move. And not happy with the removal of its iconic blue.

      • Kyle Field

        I’m a bit torn between getting one now and waiting though with a possible price drop and possible increase in range, it’s an unfortunate no brainer to wait until the 2015 models are announced.

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