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Car and Driver: Report: Next Nissan Leaf to Offer More Battery Options, Up to 200-Plus Miles of Range


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Nissan IDS concept


Expectations are rapidly changing in the affordable-EV market, and Nissan is working to ready its next-generation Leaf that’s scheduled to arrive in 2018. Increased driving range will certainly be on the menu, and AutoCar is reporting that the Leaf will follow in Tesla’s footsteps with a strategy to offer several different battery-pack options providing higher levels of range for those willing to shell out more money.


The Nissan Leaf is currently offered with two battery packs: a standard 24-kWh unit that provides 84 miles of range, according to the EPA, and a larger 30-kWh battery pack added for 2016 that offers an EPA-rated 107 miles of range. Those sorts of numbers won’t cut it when the Chevrolet Bolt arrives later this year, with its significantly larger 60-kWh battery that’s said to provide at least 200 miles of driving on a full charge.


So it’s no coincidence that Nissan’s IDS concept from last year (pictured), essentially a preview for the next Leaf, also used a 60-kWh battery. Although larger batteries weigh more than smaller batteries, the higher-capacity pack, along with a more aerodynamic shape and other efficiency improvements, should bump the next Leaf’s driving range to at least 200 miles. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn also said in 2014 that the next Leaf would offer a 400-kilometer (249-mile) driving range, though it’s unclear which testing parameters this estimate falls under.


We don’t know at this point if 60-kWh is the upper limit, but price and packaging limitations will be significant factors. As for other battery options, the idea is that customers not looking for a long-range EV would be able to pay less for a lower-capacity battery pack. The Tesla Model S currently follows this logic, with 60-kWh, 75-kWh, and 90-kWh models available all at different price points.


The IDS concept’s advanced autonomous driving features and futuristic styling provide an indication of what else Nissan has up its sleeve for the second-generation EV. Look for more news on the new Leaf as we near its scheduled start of production sometime in 2018.


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