Nissan Developing Better Next-Generation LEAF Despite Head Winds
Automotive News notes that Nissan is developing a more capable next-generation LEAF, despite the current sales slow down (in U.S. and Japan) and cheaper gasoline.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn hopes that electric cars sales will improve due to environmental reasons:
“In discussing the Leaf’s future, Ghosn also hints at a shift in marketing strategy. He acknowledges that U.S. consumers have focused mainly on the economics of owning a battery-powered car. Their equation is how much of the monthly household budget can be saved by not filling up a gasoline tank — a math equation that loses its excitement when gasoline drops to $1.95 a gallon, as it is in some areas today.
Ghosn says that the marketing focus instead should be environmental.”
“Thinking that you’re going to sell electric cars for economic reasons is somewhat of an illusion. You’re going to sell them more on emissions and incentives.”
The sales decreased in part because consumers were waiting on the 2016 model year prices, and the longer range version, which turned out to be a 30 kWh LEAF with 107 miles of EPA-rated range.
The next-generation LEAF could get up to a 60-kWh battery pack (as poorly disguised inside the recent IDS Concept debut in Japan), which would translate to a true 200-mile range.
The prototypes of 60 kWh packs are ready, so now the Japanese manufacturer just needs to prepare for production.
On the other hand, new batteries will accept more power, while charging – like 100 kW, and are more durable.
Nissan is working on lighter materials (CFRP, like in the BMW i3), better aerodynamics, autonomous drive, wireless charging and more.
Source: Nissan, Automotive News