The next-generation Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicle will look better and go farther on a single charge, company executives tell Automotive News. How much better and how much farther remains to be seen, as does the timing on when the new version will be available to the public.

Nissan executive Andy Palmer, speaking recently at the Beijing Motor Show, implied that an electric vehicle would need to have a 185-mile single-charge range to be competitive with hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, once those arrive in larger numbers. While Nissan boosted its single-charge range by about 15 percent for the 2014 model-year Leaf, the automaker would need to double it to reach that competitive threshold. This seems unlikely for the next-gen model, but we can start making our guesses as to how many more miles Nissan will put into the pack.

Regardless, the next-generation Leaf, which may come out around 2017, will at least look a bit more mainstream while it reaches for more range, Automotive News says, citing Nissan global design chief Mamoru Aoki. Indeed, the car, which will keep its hatchback layout, will likely look less angular, said Aoki, who complimented Tesla for the way it styled its Model S luxury electric sedan. Nissan's Infiniti arm could also debut its delayed luxury electric vehicle in 2017, complete with the improved battery pack.

Angular looks and all, Nissan continues to increase sales in the US. Leaf sales through April were up 33 percent from 2013, to 7,272 units after more than doubling sales last year to 22,610 vehicles.


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  • 73 Comments
      2 wheeled menace
      • 7 Months Ago
      I hope they provide a real 100mi. range at the very least. 32kw-hrs... cmon!
      chanonissan
      • 7 Months Ago
      You guys are just down voting and I am telling you what the manufacture are trying and will bring if it works. Here are the proof that Jacto is buildinga CVT for EV. Jatco also is developing a CVT for EVs that will be more efficient than the simple reduction gears used in today's EVs, such as the Nissan Leaf. http://www.autonews.com/article/20130805/OEM10/308059938/jatcos-job:-boost-cvt-efficiency-acceptance Renault have a motor with a build in three speed transmission, that can be use for both EV and PHEV applications. I wrote nissan motor can drive a manual transmission, wheather it has an ICE or not, the renault electric race car does not have a ice but is has a gearbox like the ZEOD
        Joeviocoe
        • 7 Months Ago
        @chanonissan
        Okay, fair enough. The ZOED is a racing vehicle. But tech that works well on a drag strip, rarely makes sense for a commuter car. We ARE talking about possible improvements on the Nissan Leaf after all. It is nice to see Nissan/Renault looking at racing tech... but don't expect anything but single-speed reduction gears to go into EVs any time soon... not until batteries get so big and cheap that people stop caring as much about range.
        Joeviocoe
        • 7 Months Ago
        @chanonissan
        Jacto's claims that a CVT will be a higher efficiency than a single reduction seems unsubstantial. Perhaps in a performance EV that is trying to get 130 mph on a single speed gear and spending a lot of time at or near that speed, a CVT may help keep the motor in an optimal rpm range. But with a top speed below 100 mph... and 99% of the time the driver is below 80 mph... a CVT's losses from inefficiency 99% of the time would not be worth it for a possible gain 1% of the time. You really cannot beat the simplicity and efficiency of a single reduction gear in a commuter car like the Leaf.
          Snowdog
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          EV motors aren't like gas motors. They can have high efficiency over a wider range of rpms/power. There will be additional losses from putting in a CVT It seems that net gains would be minimal at best with a CVT. Not worth the added complexity.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          It's really not difficult to imagine how a CVT that allows an electric motor to operate in its most efficient range would be an improvement over a single-speed gearbox, whether improving acceleration or increasing range. I'm not surprised that tranmission designers are looking towards CVTs for improvements - we all know that even Tesla would like to have a multi-speed transmission, and conventional automatics haven't proven acceptable to the demands that an electric motor creates. CVTs have been tested in Lightweight electric vehicles (not actual autos) with success: http://www.fallbrooktech.com/sites/default/files/videos/LEV_CVT_Whitepaperrev10.pdf "The application of the NuVinci CVP to a typical LEV system offers benefits in acceleration, hill climb, load capacity, top speed, and range. Preliminary analytical models have been developed to characterize the performance of the system equipped with a CVP and test data has confirmed analytical predictions. Substantial improvements in acceleration, hill climb, and top speed were achieved in conjunction with significant range improvements in “real world” dynamic drive cycles. These developments present a major step toward enabling LEVs to become a viable alternative as commuter vehicles."
          futurecars
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          I am not here to argue if Jatco is correct or wrong, but simple telling you what is going on differently from just nissan is improving their battery power density.
          chanonissan
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          CVT are becoming more efficient, so you can not take five years data to say they are not, when there have been significant improvement, but not to say who is right or wrong, unless somebody publish real world test results, we will not know.
          futurecars
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          renault and nissan will bring the tech called ZEOD in 2015 on the nissan qashqai and the renault megane, which are PHEV. you can plug in and drive on pure electric city, when the battery deplete the ICe will run and the battery will charge, after charge , you can either switch to pure electric drive or continue with the ICE. http://www.whatcar.com/car-news/nissan-qashqai-plug-in-hybrid-confirmed/1211420 http://www.carscoops.com/2013/12/renault-to-debut-new-2l100km-phev-study.html
          Joeviocoe
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Also, you seem to be confuse about WHY Tesla wanted a multi-speed transmission. It was NOT for better efficiency. It was because they wanted a top speed of 125+ mph. The Roadster NEEDED to be a performance killer that could beat Porsche, Ferrari, etc. Otherwise Tesla would just be another Econobox putting efficiency above performance.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 7 Months Ago
        @chanonissan
        Eh. I don't think a CVT will present any gain at all. You can design a motor that is 90% efficient over 70% of it's powerband. Add a CVT transmission, and you are losing some efficiency there to friction.. i don't believe that there is any way to gain it back, except in the other 30% of the powerband that is rarely used, if at all.
      Joeviocoe
      • 7 Months Ago
      Riiight. Well, it still has nothing to do with the Leaf or any other commuter EV. For a PHEV, that changes the reasons for a transmission completely. CVT would be great, because a single speed doesn't work for an ICE.
      harryb2378
      • 7 Months Ago
      Looks like I was right. You early adopters got hoodwinked, especially with the limited mileage!
        Doug S
        • 7 Months Ago
        @harryb2378
        Yeah, we got hoodwinked alright. My Zero SR does my daily 45-mile commute with plenty of range to spare, and costs me about a buck to do it. AND it does 0-60 in 3.3 seconds and eats Ferraris for lunch. Try to find another vehicle that can do that....I triple-dog dare you. Oh, and, with all the money I'm saving on gas, it'll pay for itself inside of four years.
        BraveLil'Toaster
        • 7 Months Ago
        @harryb2378
        http://green.autoblog.com/2014/05/08/next-gen-nissan-leaf-will-look-more-mainstream-have-more-range/#aol-comments
        • 7 Months Ago
        @harryb2378
        Think about what you said... How could I have been hoodwinked when I knew exactly what the mileage would be. It is also pretty safe to say the mileage will only get better and better on new models. I could say more about your comment but I will be nice
        BB91103
        • 7 Months Ago
        @harryb2378
        Huh? People who but these things know exactly what they were getting. Technology will always improve. Third gen Prius are way more efficient that the first. Just like today's Ford F-150 is far more efficient than 5 years ago. Early adopters are the ones making this model possible.
      BraveLil'Toaster
      • 7 Months Ago
      Another EV site, another article exploding with speculation about the upcoming 2017 Leaf. Here's a hint, guys. The phrase "we need to" doesn't mean "we can", "we will", or "we are". Nor does it even mean "we are planning to". It's simply a statement of fact, that, if they are to stay competitive around the year 2017, they will need to have a battery greater than or equal to 48Kwh. But they certainly don't have any plans to do so at the present time, nor any future plans as of yet. But I guess if you want to sell an article, you're just going to say "In 2017, Nissan is building an all-new Leaf with a 60Kwh battery that looks different on the outside!"
        • 7 Months Ago
        @BraveLil'Toaster
        I guess everyone has their own interpretation. I read that nissan engineers are working on a big jump with a revamped battery for around 2017. "Battery chemistry is all about range and energy density. That's were you see the technology moving very very fast" says Andy Palmer, exec vp of nissan. They will have a much improved battery in the next gen vehicle, you are a fool if you think otherwise.
      • 7 Months Ago
      Making the car less randomly bumpy like a potato would go a long way in improving the look. This was my attempt using image manipulation: http://imgur.com/AP3iE
        Mart
        • 7 Months Ago
        Getting rid of the "frog eyes" helps appearances if not aerodynamics. Please get rid of the rounded bustle on the butt-end.
        Joeviocoe
        • 7 Months Ago
        I like the looks that you've given. Quick, send to Nissan. :) But remember, those frog-eyes were designed to channel air away from the side view mirrors, and reduce wind noise.
      Larz
      • 7 Months Ago
      Yeah, I wasn't too keen on the gaping frog look, or is it the gasping catfish look? I think the range needs to be at least 150m to be viable.
      RC
      • 7 Months Ago
      Its odd design has always been its weakest trait.
        Spec
        • 7 Months Ago
        @RC
        I think the weakest trait was when they bumped price up to the $35K range . . . sales dropped like a rock. But the odd design and even the "Leaf" name have probably been things that reduce sales. Stop pushing it as a car only for tree-huggers. Tesla realized that was the wrong strategy.
        owenrec
        • 7 Months Ago
        @RC
        When it comes to a car like this I really don't care what it looks like as long as it has decent range. As it is, this is useless for anyone who leaves the city. Give me a 200 mile range and I would buy one in a heartbeat. Hell, my office even has free charging stations out front.
          Aaron
          • 7 Months Ago
          @owenrec
          You drive 200 miles to and from work -- 400 miles a day? C'mon. We need to be a little more realistic. Now, if you want a car that can do a road trip, and that's why you want 200 miles range, then just say so.
      NL
      • 7 Months Ago
      150 miles range would do it for me. Then the Leaf would be the daily driver, and the 2nd car would do for road trips. With 150 miles range, all our regional travel would be covered without having to worry about charging anywhere but in our garage.
      chanonissan
      • 7 Months Ago
      NEC the company that have the Joint venture with nissan in 2012 got a 30% improvement in battery storage capacity, that was two years ago, nissan electric motor can drive a gear box (see nissan ZEOD) hence the motor will turn slowly deliver more range, Jatco a transmission manufacture partly own by nissan is also working on a CVT for electric vehicle. http://paultan.org/2012/10/10/nec-develops-tech-to-improve-li-ion-capacity-by-30/ With all these in their pocket they can make a 150 miles real world EV.
        Neil Blanchard
        • 7 Months Ago
        @chanonissan
        If they can lower the aero drag, then it will look better and have better range, even with the same pack. Changing gears improves the efficiency only 1-2%, which is something, but much greater savings can be had other ways; like better BMS and controller and motor, free-wheel coasting by default with driver adjustable regen rates, and better aero.
          Warren
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Neil Blanchard
          Aerodynamics don't sell. Remember the first generation Insights, and the EV1. People want conestoga wagons and big blocks...make that big batteries. We will never learn.
        Joeviocoe
        • 7 Months Ago
        @chanonissan
        We should be clear about when you say "transmission".. which can technically be either a single reduction gear, or a multi-speed. Nissan already has a reduction gear to get, "the motor will turn slowly deliver more range" http://livingleaf.info/2010/11/nissan-leaf-electric-motor-and-transmission/ The Leaf doesn't need to hit top speeds to warrant a multi-speed transmission like the original Roadster wanted. The Loss going through a multi-speed transmission is really not worth any gain you think will be achieved.
          chanonissan
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          while you might think that nissan is using a multi speed , no it is a Five speed gear box, no multi or single, the motor or the ICE can drive the gear box, that is how the ZEOD will get help with it range from the five speed gear box. renault havea three speed auto gear box integrated with motor already.
          Joeviocoe
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Okay, fair enough. The ZOED is a racing vehicle. But tech that works well on a drag strip, rarely makes sense for a commuter car. We ARE talking about possible improvements on the Nissan Leaf after all.
          chanonissan
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          No renault not a a singe gear reduction but a transmission , renault have a patent with a motor with three speed transmission build inside it, also mitsubishi have one also patent.
          chanonissan
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          sorry for the double post, but the gear box is called clutchless transmission because it has no clutch.
        Aaron
        • 7 Months Ago
        @chanonissan
        I don't want a transmission in my EV. I love my EV because it is simple. Motor --> reduction gear --> wheels. The first-gen Tesla Roadster had a two-speed transmission. It kept blowing up so they removed it, going with a straight reduction gear.
          chanonissan
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Aaron
          that is telsa problem, and nissan is not telsa, nissan have been making reliable manual transmission for a long time, and one is in the ZEOD that suppose to run a LE MANS, you my not like it but it is a solution to cost and range.
        JakeY
        • 7 Months Ago
        @chanonissan
        The ZOED is not an EV, it's a hybrid. A transmission makes sense there because it has an ICE in it. A transmission is an unnecessary complexity/cost for EVs for negligible efficiency gains (if at all, once you consider the average efficiency and parasitic losses).
          chanonissan
          • 7 Months Ago
          @JakeY
          Jatco said the range could improve by 20%, that is no losses.
          chanonissan
          • 7 Months Ago
          @JakeY
          The renault electric racer have no ICE and it have a motor and a gear box, just like the ZEOD.
          Joeviocoe
          • 7 Months Ago
          @JakeY
          I read what Jacto wrote on the autonews.com page... but they were NOT referring to a single reduction gear when they mentioned such optimistic benefits like "20%". In fact, I don't think 20% range is even recoverable if there were 0 transmission or non-optimal rpm losses. So I know that is not right. 20% better range may be possible in a vehicle with ridiculous losses already. But Jacto, and you, are barking up the wrong tree.. if you want to address serious areas of inefficiency.
          chanonissan
          • 7 Months Ago
          @JakeY
          http://green.autoblog.com/2014/03/25/all-electric-formula-e-spark-renault-srt_01e-sound-like-podracers/
      kballs
      • 7 Months Ago
      I guess the subtle creases count as "angular". Does this mean "more mainstream" will look like a creaseless jelly bean (as opposed to creased jelly bean)?
      Doug S
      • 7 Months Ago
      @chanonissan: My bike (a Zero SR, feel free to Google it) has no transmission at all -- it's a fixed gear. It'll do 0-60 in 3.3 seconds and has a top speed of over 100 mph, certainly enough for me. There's just no need for a transmission with that kind of performance.
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