Nissan will roll out a concept car this year showing a new direction in electrification.

That new electric car is likely to be a crossover model, and it will be separate from the Nissan Leaf’s platform design.

Automotive News revealed more about Nissan’s plans from discussions with executives last month at the Shanghai auto show.

Now being called Vmotion 3.0 by Nissan designers, the concept car is slated to unveiled later this year. It will show the automaker’s commitment to its new Intelligent Mobility strategy that includes electrification, autonomous driving, and the latest in connectivity.

Vmotion 3.0  follows a showpiece from January at the Detroit auto show of Nissan’s Vmotion 2.0, a futuristic family sedan, featured in the photo above.

“We are now working on 3.0 for the future direction,” said Nissan’s executive design director, Mamoru Aoki.

While the Japanese automaker has big plans for a refreshed Nissan Leaf to be launched this year, Vmotion 3.0 will depart in certain design elements.

Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan Motor Co. global design chief, called the 3.0 concept a blueprint for the company’s next wave of electric vehicles. The company is looking into possible changes including flat flooring and a new aerodynamic design.

“Why not try something new?” Albaisa said. “In the future, we’re not going to have just one EV. So we’re starting to map out what is the DNA that can go across different genres.”

Nissan is looking for a win-win scenario by adding EVs to its lineup and tapping into consumer demand for crossovers and SUVs.

The company forecasts that light truck segments will make up 60 percent of U.S. sales volume in the larger market. Daniele Schillaci, Nissan executive vice president for zero emissions and global marketing and sales, said that is playing out for Nissan by seeing strong demand for its Rogue crossover.

The Japanese automaker is focusing on moving its EV technology over to crossovers, said Schillaci.

“We are clearly focusing our attention on a crossover EV, because it’s our DNA,” Schillaci said. “The crossover will really embody the latest Nissan Intelligent Mobility features.”

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As inquiries over the all-new Leaf attest to, there will be concern over the electric crossover’s driving range as an all-electric vehicle. With the current Leaf only getting 107 miles per charge, the company is ready to bring out a longer range version.

One executive, Kazuo Yajima, alliance global director of EV – HEV technology development, recently 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).

Comparing that roughly 174 mile mark to the U.S. rating of 107, it’s hard to get a realistic assessment of how far the next Leaf will go on a charge, with the same being true for the upcoming electric crossover concept. Yajima’s figures were based on the JC08 test cycle, the Japanese auto industry standard. It will be much lower in the U.S. rating.

There’s speculation that the next-generation Leaf could be similar to sister brand Renault’s Zoe, which gets a “real-world” range of 186 miles.

Tesla says that its Model X crossover can go 237 to 289 miles on a charge, depending on which configuration you purchase.

Nissan’s interest in adding to its electrified vehicle lineup is also likely influenced by popularity of its Note e-Power hybrid. The company said it will go to global markets after beating the Toyota Prius in Japanese market sales for the first time earlier this year.

Automotive News