Nissan’s Next Electric Move Should Be… (Poll Results) And Could Be…

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It’s been approximately one week since I shared a poll on Nissan’s electric vehicle future. The simple question I asked was, “What Should Nissan’s Next Electric Move Be?” Here are the results:

Nissan Sway electric

So, the overwhelming response was in support of simply a longer-range Nissan LEAF. Though an electric version of the Nissan Sway and an electric crossover or SUV also got quite a lot of support. I personally went with the Sway, since I think it looks hot and would pull in a lot of new buyers. However, I actually really like the look of the LEAF, as well, and see some benefit to sticking with a model that is selling well. Of course, with the broad appeal of SUVs/CUVs, I can see the arguments there, too. As far as creating an electric, high-end sedan… well, then you’re competing the Tesla Model S (hard to do…).

I’ll admit that I messed up a bit by not indicating in two of the answer choices (the Sway & SUV/CUV options) that anyone answering should use the same assumption regarding battery cost & range as with the “updated Nissan LEAF” option. That was implied, but I later realized it wasn’t communicated clearly at all. I can only hope that people answering the poll assumed that.

I do think we can count on Nissan coming out with a much longer-range, but still affordable, electric car. Renault-Nissan Chairman & CEO Carlos Ghosn essentially indicated as much at the end of 2014, when stating that the company would “very soon take the issue of range off of the table.” In a Japanese TV interview, he replied as follows:

Host: Is Nissan working on new batteries?

Ghosn: “Yes.”

Host: Can you tell us more?

Ghosn: “No.”

Host: Will the range double?

Ghosn: “Yes.”

Host: That means more than 400 kilometers?

Ghosn: “Yes.”


200 kilometers (124 miles) is the range of the Nissan LEAF according to the New European Driving Cycle, which is known to not be realistic. So, the comments above, as general as they are, seem to be in reference to that testing standard. Anyhow, doubling the range of the LEAF would equal ~170 miles of range according to the US EPA standard.

Daily Kanban reportedly spoke with a battery engineer about the matter and had this to say:

“Commercial applications could be no more than one model cycle away,” said an engineer who is not supposed to talk to me. According to the source, the new battery delivers twice the capacity while weighing – and costing – less than the current shorter range model. In a prototype, Nissan’s Barcelona Technical Centre last year tested a 48 kWh battery, double the capacity of the Leaf’s 24kWh battery.

The 400km (250 miles) range is for a Leaf-sized vehicle, possibly even the next generation Leaf.

A LEAF-sized vehicle could obviously be a new iteration of the LEAF, or it could be an electric Sway. 😀 We’ll see. All just rumors at this point anyway.

Thanks to everyone who chimed in!

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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16 thoughts on “Nissan’s Next Electric Move Should Be… (Poll Results) And Could Be…

  • It would be awesome if they could fit the new battery in the same form factor and offer an upgrade to current owners, especially those whose batteries are getting old. I would love to be able to upgrade my 2015 Leaf in five years or so if a longer range were available. Are you listening Carlos?

    • At some point we will likely see aftermarket suppliers producing higher capacity replacement battery packs.

    • that is a cool idea. would step outside the bounds of a typical automaker and be much more inline with what you’d expect from Tesla. would be a huge, positive shift in Nissan’s favor if it did this, imho. but hard to believe Nissan would.

      • Had a chance conversation with an executive from Nissan in the uk with responsibility for the Leaf. I mentioned the range doubling rumour which he appeared to confirm. Then asked me if I would consider upgrading my Leaf with the new battery tech – I said I would.

        So they appear to be considering it.

  • I think that Nissan should make all of those. There is plenty of demand for Sway, SUV, and practical LEAF. And of course, Tesla needs some competition too. Now electric car and infrastructure development is almost all on the narrowshoulders of Tesla. High end luxury cars are after all the drivers of new technology as new innovations are first introduce into luxury category for further refining the product.

  • Double the range, double the pack size? Sure. How about reducing aero drag to 0.23 like the model s instead of the .32 measured in the wind tunnel? The claimed number is .28. The picture has no mirrors. That would help. It’s the reason highway range on many EVs is so poor. All this talk about battery cost and almost no effort to reduce drag.
    Then the battery pack could be smaller. And how about some real coast down tests from the epa so owners could compare?

    • Everybody in the U.S. keeps their cars perfectly clean and polished???

      • UncleB – You talking about aerodynamics? You do know that a rough surface produces less surface drag, yes? Thats why golf balls are dimpled. If you think you need to polish your car for better gas mileage, forget it. You don’t.

  • More Cab Forward, lighter body a la Aluminum Ford F 150, more cargo room for light, bulky, cargoes, 4 wheel electric motors. Drop the U.S. “plough-boy’ fantasies about stop light to stop light times and top speeds, as China did with the Aoxin Ibis, for improved range. Think “practicality” for a cash strapped American citizen as this nation goes through rough financial adjustments, massive social change.

  • double the capacity of battery pack will not double the range because weight addition will harm the range.

    • The article does mention the rumour that the new battery pack will have more than twice the energy density of the old one. Of course, whether or not that is the case only time will tell.

    • “According to the source, the new battery delivers twice the capacity while weighing – and costing – less than the current shorter range model.”

      The weight has also come down.

      • Sounds like a dream…where do I sign?

    • Aerodynamic drag has a much bigger influence on range than does weight. Even at lower speeds – for a typical car at just 28-30MPH, aero drag is HALF the load on the drivetrain.

  • I placed a bet on this when I bought my Leaf last year instead of leasing. I figured three to four years before I need to replace the battery, and a new one would be either better, cheaper, or both. Now, if they change the design so it does not retrofit I’ll go nuts.

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