At a question-and-answer session at CES 2017 with Takao Asami, a Nissan senior vice president of research and advanced engineering, there were a number of interesting things revealed … including a confirmation that the refreshed LEAF would be available with a range “at or above 200 miles.” There will apparently be a number of options with lower ranges as well.
Asami noted that there was still some debate in the company about whether different ranges should be offered in different markets (Japan, the US, Europe, etc.). A longer-range version should be widely available, though, because of the necessity for one in certain uses, such as taxi services, etc.
Green Car Reports provides more: “Asked directly about GM’s statement that it was paying only $145 per kilowatt-hour for the LG Chem cells in its 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, Asami said that figure ‘would not surprise me at all.’ And, he added with a smile, GM ‘probably has some safety margin’ on that figure as well.”
Continuing: “And he echoed earlier comments by Nissan executives that for heavier electrified vehicles, the cost equation made far more sense with a smaller battery pack and some form of range extender. He expected that electric cars would be competitive in total cost of ownership with internal-combustion vehicles within 10 years, though potentially purchase prices would still be higher.”
A couple of other interesting points made by Asami:
- The company is gearing up for charging rates of up to 150 kW, but it questions whether higher rates are practical for mass-market offerings.
- The next LEAF will feature an air-cooled battery pack, and battery cell chemistry changes have “significantly reduced” worries about battery-pack lifespan/durability. He stated: “I am not concerned any more.”
Not quite what some of us were expecting from Nissan at CES 2017. And still no release dates for the new LEAF, whether tentative or not. Though, maybe the company will simply release it without a warning, as Renault did with the new Zoe as soon as it was ready to sell.
Nissan-Renault Alliance head Carlos Ghosn gave an interesting presentation on Nissan’s self-driving vehicle tech plans as well.
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