When it launched back in late 2010, the Nissan LEAF electric car was given an EPA-approved range of 73 miles per charge — more than enough for most daily commutes to and from work without needing to recharge away from home.
Yet while the range appears enough on paper, Nissan and other automakers of sub 100-mile electric cars have learned the hard way that those who drive electric cars with 80-100 miles of all electric range still suffer range anxiety from time to time. In fact, for many would-be owners, seeing a sub 100-mile range on the window sticker is enough to put them off an electric car altogether, despite the massive disparity between their actual and perceived range requirements.
But, hints Nissan,its next-generation electric car battery pack will be large enough that it will eliminate range anxiety for most drivers.
Talking with Automotive News (subscription required) at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Nissan’s Chief Planning Officer Philippe Klein — who replaced Brit Andy Palmer at the company after Palmer left to become CEO of Aston Martin — said that the Japanese automaker is developing a next-generation battery pack which could eliminate range anxiety in all but the most extreme of cases.
“We don’t need that much to get out from the basic range anxiety,” he told reporters. “We’re going to be there relatively quickly.”
While Klein wouldn’t specify the vehicle the new battery pack would be used in, he did hint the new battery chemistry would likely debut some time in 2017 or 2018. That would place it in the same time frame as the suspected second-generation Nissan LEAF, which is expected to arrive as a 2017 or 2018 model-year car.
Before you get too excited however, it’s unlikely we’ll see a Nissan electric car any time soon with a range that exceeds that of the Tesla Model S or the promised aftermarket 400-mile Tesla Roadster battery pack.
That’s because Nissan believes it isn’t all that far from reaching a battery pack capacity and range that really will eliminate range anxiety for most.
“It’s fair to recognise we are a bit short,” Klein said in regard to the 2015 Nissan LEAF’s official 84-mile EPA rating. “But for commuting purposes, we are not very far from getting out from range anxiety.”
In terms of information, there’s nothing new given away by this latest interview concerning Nissan battery technology and future LEAF range. Yet it does act to provide further evidence to confirm the long-held belief among most in the plug-in world that the next-generation Nissan LEAF will have at least a 150-mile battery pack.
The real unanswered question — and one we’re unsure of the answer to — is this: will 150-miles of all-electric range really eliminate range anxiety, or will it simply become the new baseline?
Humans have an uncanny habit of always wanting more, regardless of how much they already have. Will 150 miles really be enough, or will the consensus among the buying public always demand more range than is truly needed?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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