In just over a week’s time, Nissan’s first all-electric car, the five-seat LEAF hatchback, will turn four. Since its launch in late 2010, more than 147,000 LEAFs have been sold worldwide, making it the highest-selling electric car anywhere in the world to date. But while the Nissan LEAF is certainly the world’s best-selling electric car, its limited all-electric range — a real-world 70-90 miles per charge depending on weather, terrain and driver skill — is something that both current and prospective LEAF owners have been calling on Nissan to improve for the second-generation LEAF.
Improving the range of its electric vehicles is something that Nissan has been working hard on for several years, with both Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn and former Nissan Vice-President Andy Palmer admitting that Nissan was debating the merits of offering longer-range battery packs for the next-generation LEAF.
Now it appears that Nissan has made up its mind and is close to bringing a new battery chemistry to market that will increase the range of the humble Nissan LEAF from the official 75 miles listed on the EPA test cycle to double that, presumably replacing the 24 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack in today’s LEAF with a 48 kilowatt-hour model.
As The Daily Kanban (via InsideEvs) reports, the revelation comes courtesy of Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, confirmed that Nissan’s future battery technology would double the range of the current LEAF in a few years’ time during a late-night interview on the Tokyo Business News channel. But while Ghosn admitted Nissan’s future battery technology would give future LEAFs a major improvement in range, he wasn’t exactly forthcoming about specifics.
Instead, the information was painfully pulled out of Ghosn through a series of one-word answers to the host’s probing questions — and the exchange on battery technology wasn’t exactly lengthy.
“Is Nissan working on new batteries?” asked the host.
“Yes,” confirmed Ghosn.
“Can you tell us more?” the host continues.
“No,” said Ghosn.
“Will the range double?” the host presses.
“Yes,” said Ghosn.
“That means more than 400 kilometres?” the host enquires.
“Yes,” came the answer.
As the transcript of the segment shows, Ghosn’s monosyllabic answers didn’t exactly reveal anything we weren’t already expecting, especially since Nissan pretty much let the cat out of the metaphorical bag earlier this year when it asked existing LEAF owners if they’d like a 150-mile range for the next-generation LEAF model.
But it’s also worth noting that neither Nissan nor Ghosn were keen to give any more detailed answers on future LEAF range, or timescale, leaving us in the dark in terms of exactly what we should expect for range on the second-generation LEAF.
It’s worth noting too that while some news outlets have picked up on the headline 400 kilometre range Ghosn answered “Yes” to in the television interview — a range which would directly translate to 248 miles on paper — we’re being far more cautious in our range expectations.
That’s because the 400 kilometre figure was taken by simply doubling the current Japanese and NEDC test cycle mileage ratings for the current-generation 2015 Nissan LEAF. Sadly however, both JC08 and NEDC test cycles are known for being overly optimistic and bear little resemblance to real-world mileage figures.
If we had to guess, we’d pick a figure nearer to 150 miles per charge, double the wholly-achievable EPA rating of 75 miles per charge for the 2015 model year LEAF.
Naturally, real-world range depends greatly on how the car is driven and the circumstances in which it is being driven, but with this latest single-world confirmation by Ghosn, we’re think a 150-mile 2016 Nissan LEAF is now a foregone conclusion.
Want to keep up with the latest news in evolving transport? Don’t forget to follow Transport Evolved on Twitter, like us on Facebook and G+, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.
You can also support us directly as a monthly supporting member by visiting Patreon.com.