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A NISMO Leaf could go the Ludicrous mode route but we think it needs more than just power

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Exciting electric cars are a recent development. Tesla has the market mostly to itself for now, with companies like Porsche and BMW trying to get up to speed. Nissan is showing signs that it could liven things up, though. First, there's the BladeGlider, and now there might be a hotter Leaf on the way.

Nissan European EV boss Gareth Dunsmore hinted at something brewing, saying that the low-slung Leaf NISMO RC Concept "shows where the [Leaf's] spirit could go." Car thinks that means something like a sporty new mode – think Ludicrous Mode on a Tesla – rather than a wholesale rethink of the Leaf's shape and chassis. That could mean a larger, more powerful electric motor; a way to get power to the Leaf's 107-hp motor more quickly; or just a different powertrain calibration.

"If you jumped into a Nissan Leaf and you'd never driven an electric vehicle before, I would challenge anyone to get out and say the car doesn't have a sporty feel to it," Dunsmore told Car. "The second you touch the accelerator, the instant torque and smoothness of acceleration, that is exciting, and well-suited to link up with things like NISMO."

But if Nissan is trying to build an electrified hot hatchback out of a Leaf, it needs to do more than just bump the output. Sure, the Leaf feels sporty...until you attempt to turn the wheel. That's when you're reminded it's a tall, heavy, softly sprung hatchback with comfort-oriented steering. The handling needs an upgrade, which could include lowering the car, tightening the suspension, and putting sportier rubber on wider wheels, along with a NISMO body. Dunsmore claims Nissan wants to "challenge perceptions" about what EVs can be, using stuff like the BladeGlider. But if that's really the goal, the company needs to take a comprehensive approach to building a hotter Leaf.

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