Nissan aims to address two of the most common concerns about its Leaf battery-electric vehicle, range and price, with a series of updates that will extend driving distance and lower the cost on a new, stripped-down model.
The announcement in Tokyo, earlier today, focused on versions of the Leaf sold only in the Japanese home market. But Nissan plans to take similar steps in the U.S., as well. A new entry-level version of the Leaf will reach American showrooms next year while all U.S. versions will likely also see range extended as Nissan continues to evolve the breakthrough battery-cars electric drivetrain.
“People who try out the Leaf are moved,” said Nissan Senior Vice President Masaaki Nishizawa. “But they are worried about cruise range.”
In Japanese trim, the updated Leaf will now get 142 miles per charge compared with 124 miles before. Range is a highly subjective number and depends heavily on driving conditions including weather. Operating a vehicle like the Leaf at highway speeds on a cold day significantly reduces the distance it can travel between charges.