A Nissan executive said miles per charge will increase dramatically on the next edition of the Leaf launched this year and even farther on a 2020 new electric vehicle launch.

Kazuo Yajima, alliance global director of EV – HEV technology development, told Nikkei Automotive that the next Leaf that’s expected to be introduced this year will extend range from the current 280 kilometers (173.98 miles) for the Leaf out to somewhere between 350 km to 400 km (217.48 miles to 248.54 miles).

However those figures are based on the JC08 test cycle, which was adopted by the Japanese auto industry as the standard in 2011. Like the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) standard, it’s much farther than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s measure of per-charge range.

The current version of the Leaf sold in the U.S. gets 107 miles per charge. Nissan hasn’t announced the range of the next-generation Leaf in the U.S. and overseas, but it could be similar to sister brand Renault’s Zoe, which Renault says gets a “real-world” range of 186 miles.

As for the 2020 launch of another new EV model, Yajima said it will be able to go 550 km (341.75 miles) by 2020. Once again, that’s likely to be based on the test standard in Japan, which would have far fewer miles per charge in the U.S.

That 2020 vehicle could very well be based on the IDS electric concept car introduced at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. Nikkei Automotive made reference to that prototype, which has a 60 kWh battery pack and cruising distance assumed to be 550 km under the JC08 standard.

Yajima said that increased range will come from a new battery cell with increased energy density, along with increasing the packing density of the cell to be mounted on the battery pack.

The 2020 concept EV will be the same size as the current Leaf.

“We have developed a prototype vehicle that can run 550 km while keeping the cargo capacity with the same external dimension as the current Leaf,” he said.

SEE ALSO:  Nissan CEO Confirms Next Leaf At CES; No Specifics On Range Or Debut Date

In the Nikkei Automotive, Yajima was asked for his opinion on Nissan’s strategy to stay with all-electric vehicles and not follow rival Toyota tipping its hat to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles as the company’s “favorite of eco cars.”

PHEVs use the electric motor in “daily movements,” Yajima said (in Japanese with a Google translation to English). It uses its gasoline engine when driving long distances.

If the travel distance of the electric vehicle is extended, it’s not necessary to charge the car when traveling a long distance. At that point, the value of the PHEV is reduced, he said.

The question will be, what is the actual driving range of the next-gen Leaf– and the 2020 EV to be launched?

Nikkei Automotive