Slow. Boring. Practical. The Nissan Leaf is all of these things, though the true performance potential of this Japanese EV has yet to be tapped. But a rumored NISMO version of the Nissan Leaf could inject some much-needed excitement into the Leaf lineup…but only if you live in Japan.
Nissan has already demonstrated what the Leaf’s drivetrain is capable of in the rear-drive, lightweight racing version known as the Leaf NISMO Competizone RC. Could this track-only racer serve as inspiration for a production Leaf NISMO model? Perhaps, though we won’t hold our breath for a sub-3000 lbs rear-drive version of the Leaf…yet
But NISMO will work its magic in other ways, including an aerodynamic body kit inspired by the race car, new alloy wheels, and some interior improvements to set it apart from the crowd. Alas, actual performance will remain unchanged, which is a real shame; there are probably people who would dish out a few extra bucks for some extra power out of their Leaf.
As Tesla has demonstrated, the market for sporty EVs is out there. As a Japanese-market product though, the Nissan Leaf NISMO won’t be coming to America or Europe anytime soon. That said, the huge price cut on the Nissan Leaf will free up a lot of money for DIY-types to make their own modifications.
For now though, Nissan seems intent on plucking the low-hanging fruit of performance looks, rather than power. Maybe one day though we’ll get the Nissan Leaf sports car we all deserve.