Before bringing out its all-new second-generation Leaf a year from now, Nissan may be preparing to reveal a 30-kilowatt-hour battery this fall for its otherwise-current-spec 2016 Leaf to refortify its market competitiveness.
Launched December 2010 and refreshed for 2013, the present 24-kwh, 84-mile EPA rated Leaf is the cumulative global best seller and U.S.’ best selling plug-in vehicle but other EVs in its sub $45,000 class have been taking share, and Nissan sales have slumped a bit.
The Japanese automaker has not confirmed rumors that have been circulating since last week on the MyNissanLeaf forum and reported today by InsideEVs which has previously reported the possibility it is now stating as near certain.
InsideEVs’ Editor Jay Cole says he has been sitting on the story posted today for two weeks deliberating over whether to publish it. He has also been in communication with Nissan during that time – although the automaker has stayed silent on the report.
“We have made no public announcement about the 2016 Nissan Leaf,” goes the only on-the-record comment by Nissan’s Senior Manager of Communications Brian Brockman, “We do not comment on future product details.”
Cole himself is supportive of the Leaf, and is even concerned about hurting Leaf sales further once the news of a superior Leaf comes out.
The term is cannibalizing sales, and this is something Chevrolet is now feeling with the 2016 Volt sapping 2015 Volt sales. Indeed, the prospect of the new 50-mile extended-range Volt is also causing some would-be Leaf buyers to take pause.
The psychology is pretty simple: When buyers hear that the newest product around the corner substantially beats the present one, that does nothing positive for sales of the present car – and this is the dilemma given Nissan ended an 18-month record streak early this year.
As it is, two Nissan dealers have explicitly told InsideEVs they’ve seen information supplied by Nissan for the 2016 Leaf with the base S model retaining 24 kwh, and the SV and SL trims getting 30-kwh.
Of course EPA rated range is not available, but a reasonable estimate might be 105-110 miles EV range for the uprated Leaf.
Pricing may be comparable to present levels and so these would be altogether superior offerings effectively as a stopgap for the Leaf which has a rather long product life cycle from 2010 to 2017.
By contrast, the Volt was launched the exact same month but is already all-but done with gen-one, and gen-two is being readied while Nissan has said it will have 180-200 miles range, maybe more for the fully revised next gen Leaf.
That fully revised car may be here by the second quarter of 2017. It may also tone down the look-at-me-I’m-ecofriendly look the present Leaf now enjoys and merge more toward mainstream-appearing while retaining some distinguishing Leaf legacy design language.
Meanwhile, InsideEVs reports even new colors for the present generation’s not-insignificant potential upgrade suggesting it really has solid info unless the dealers who’ve spilled these beans are somehow in error.
“Thankfully, Nissan’s take on ‘Robin’s Egg Blue’ (Morningsky Blue) that seems to have
plagued been a required color for almost all plug-ins in the past, has been deleted along with Cayenne Red. In its place 3 new colors – Forged Bronze, Coulis Red and Deep Blue Pearl,” says InsideEVs.
Other off-the-record hints we cannot here mention have also been observed suggesting a high degree of probability that this rumor will in due time be verified. But if and until that happens, this news is not official.