The Nissan LEAF is coming, and it could be the catalyst that makes electric cars more than just a pipe dream. Nissan says orders have already exceeded expectations and the hype around this little electric car is poppin’ (to use the vernacular of our times). Reality may dampen some expectations though; the 100 mile range is under the best of conditions, and I doubt the LEAF will be a very fun car to drive in terms of speed and handling… though I’ve been wrong before [Ed. Note: Having driven one, I can say it is a fun drive].
That could all change though, as Edmunds Inside Line reports that Nissan is working on a sport car based on the LEAF. This could get interesting.
Nissan has already said it would make an upscale version of the LEAF and badge it as an Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury brand in America. There have also been rumors that Nissan’s high-end sports car, the GT-R, could get a hybrid power train in its next iteration. But a sports car based on the LEAF? The LEAF itself is based on the Versa, not exactly the ideal platform for a sports car. Front-wheel drive, awkwardly shaped, and with an economy suspension, the Versa needs a lot of upgrading to be considered anything close to “sport”.
What if Nissan instead took the LEAF’s power train, and stuck it in say, the 370 Z sports coupe? Call it the 370E. It might not be such a bad idea if you give it a few exterior modifications to differentiate it from standard 370Z’s. Plus, it would be rear wheel drive, have great handling abilities, and it could easily be tuned to be fastest than its petrol-powered cousin (though range will no doubt suffer). The extra speed could make up for the lack of range and higher price. No word on if Nissan is really going this route…but a guy can hope, can’t he?
Source: Edmunds Inside Line | Image: Nissan
Chris DeMorro is a car enthusiast, blogger, and all-around crazy man who is as passionate about hybrids as he is about Hemis. You can follow his constant misadventures at ThreeMonthsInAMustang.com.