Though a new Nissan LEAF is due out sometime this year, CEO Carlos Ghosn has said not to expect any teasers or details anytime soon. What little information we do have on the next LEAF is nearly a year old, though the new Nissan Sway Concept does remind me of a rendering purporting to show the look of the new LEAF.
Last year, AutoExpress put out renderings of what it claims was the new look of the next Nissan LEAF, which is going in a decidedly more conventional, and yet at the same time upscale look and feel. That’s the same notion behind the Nissan Sway concept, a new compact hatchback aimed at European sensibilities, and those of Millennials as well. The Sway looks strong yet techie, and comes with premium features like a glass roof and a dash-based table-like console above traditional, mechanical knobs and dials.
While the Sway Concept and the Nissan LEAF were never mentioned in the same breath by Nissan execs, there’s little doubt that this design will influence the next-gen EV. There’s also been plenty of talk surrounding a much longer range, which could be anywhere from 150 to 250 miles per charge, and Nissan has questioned current owners how much more they would pay for the ability to go twice as far per charge.
Just how much impact can looks have on a car’s success though? One need look no further than the very sexy, yet very conventional-looking Tesla Model S to see that people don’t need a funky-looking EV. They may even prefer a normal-looking car that happens to be electric. the same way many hybrids have been integrated into existing models, rather than a standalone platform (the Toyota Prius and Ford C-Max being exceptions).
From my perspective, the Nissan Sway looks good, better than the LEAF (though opinions may vary), and automakers are right to want to make EVs look as “normal” as possible. While the driving habits of electric car owners do change, like most of us, EVs just want to sort of…blend in. If you catch a glimpse and happen to know that car is electric, cool. And if not? Even cooler.
That’s the whole point.