In a bid to broaden the appeal of the Nissan Leaf, the next-generation model will boast a longer ranger and a more mainstream look. Though it may have been first out of the gate with a mass market EV, Nissan has taken its lumps and lessons and applied them to the next model. Will these changes help make the Leaf a breakout hit?
If you’ll recall, Nissan executives aren’t exactly thrilled with the underwhelming response to the Leaf, even though it remains far-and-away the best-selling EV in the world. One of the problems is the Leaf’s relatively short range, with Nissan will likely remedy by offering different battery pack sizes, like the Tesla Model S. A recent survey all but confirms Nissan’s intent to offer more multiple battery sizes, perhaps all the way up to 150 miles of driving per charge. Following the new Leaf will be the long-delayed Infiniti EV, sometime around 2017 with a more premium feel.
That’s definitely the right move. But as for adopting a more mainstream look? I’m not sure. As it stands, the Leaf strikes the right balance between looking different and blending in, and you can tell pretty far out that it’s an electric vehicle. I like that, and I think a lot of owners do too. Buyers have the option of “mainstream” electric vehicles like the Ford Focus Electric, but they aren’t biting. There’s a reason for that, and it isn’t just Ford’s lack of marketing. People want to be seen in an electric car, same way they want to be seen in a Prius or any other hybrid.
The Nissan Leaf’s looks aren’t out there by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s still different enough to be noticed. I hope Nissan keeps it that way.
Source: Automotive News