Nissan will reveal its first pre-production range-extended electric vehicle next year.
As EV fans await a 200-250 mile second-generation Leaf, the world’s highest-selling maker of electric cars says it will add to its product offerings another means to mitigate EV range anxiety – a small gasoline engine.
This news came from Australia’s Motoring, which interviewed Yoshi Shimoida, Nissan’s deputy general manager, EV and HEV engineering division, who said the all-new series hybrid with gas engine added would be similar in concept to BMW’s i3 REx.
“It’s something like that,” said Shimoida of a range-extended design a la BMW (pictured is Nissan’s IDS concept, not the new car). “But we call it a series hybrid.”
This means the gas engine will not propel the wheels, but will serve only as a generator. That it will not be a modified Leaf seems clear, as Shimoida said that EV will get “no engine” in the future.
“But in the future Nissan will add [a new vehicle] to the line-up of EV systems an engine that is only for generating energy,” said Shimoida.
Shimoida however left many more questions open, including whether the extended-range electric Nissan would offer any more range than the BMW which with small fuel tank only goes 150 miles.
Also not answered is what type and size the vehicle would be, its price range, projected production launch date, what markets it might be offered in, or even what its name will be.
“Next year we announce what it’s called,” he said.
More certain is Nissan is looking to broaden its electric vehicle stable in light of cars like the extended-range Chevy Volt, aforementioned BMW, and other plug-in hybrids.
This it’s doing even as it ups the ante in its pure battery offerings. For 2016 the Leaf will get a 30-kwh battery with 107 miles EPA-rated range, and the company’s chief executive, Carlos Ghosn, has said waiting in the wings is a battery with perhaps double this capacity.
That battery is said to be for the next-generation Leaf, which may be introduced as a fully redesigned car in 2018, or possibly 2017, although Nissan has not officially said.
The move to add on a gas engine almost seems to fly in the face of statements by Ghosn and others at the company that range anxiety for pure EVs would no longer be an issue even within this decade or early next with new battery chemistry it is testing now in mules.
The company has repeated bold predictions for pure EVs pending, but next year it says to look also for a range-extended EV unveiling, and we really know very little other than it won’t be a Leaf.