Nissan Leaf to get sharp new look and range boost

Exclusive images show better look for new Nissan Leaf, while new battery tech boosts range to 186 miles

Nissan is hard at work developing the next-generation Leaf, focusing on improving the range with new battery tech and – as our exclusive images show – a more conventional look. The new car is expected to be on sale late in 2016, with prices starting around £17,000.

Clearly, the introduction of Tesla’s Model S – and its claimed 312-mile range – has changed the electric car market, making the current Leaf’s real-world range of 85 miles seem a bit old-hat. 

Nissan bosses are promising new battery technology is on the way, with better energy density for a more usable pure electric vehicle. A figure of about 186 miles is likely to be the target. 

There’s a good chance Nissan will offer smaller battery packs with less range, like Tesla does with its 60kWh and 85kWh packs. The new battery technology and motor will be shared with Nissan’s luxury brand, Infiniti, too. 

The premium brand has already made steps towards developing an all-electric saloon – at April’s New York Motor Show, it unveiled the LE concept, which used the current Leaf’s underpinnings. This new model is now thought to be on track for a release in mid-2016. 

It also seems that Nissan’s designers have realised that an electric car doesn’t need to look unusual, as they’re targeting a more conventional style. 

Our images give you a good idea of how it’s shaping up, with bosses keen that the large chrome ‘V’ in the grille and the blacked out pillars become recognisable design features of the next generation of Nissan cars. The angular lights and creased bodywork are developed from the brand’s latest concept cars, including the Friend ME.

However, a more usable range and fresh styling can only go so far towards boosting the Leaf’s sales appeal; a much improved charging infrastructure will play a key role, too.

To that end, Tesla’s new range of Supercharger stations – promising 30-minute fast charges to all EVs – will help, as the network should have the majority of the UK covered by next year. Tesla boss Elon Musk has said he’ll let other manufacturers use it, so long as they keep charging free for their customers.

Nissan’s chief planning officer, Andy Palmer, has previously told us the new battery technology should debut by 2017, so we expect to see the Leaf and the Infiniti EV debut in 2016. Providing the £5,000 Government grant for low-emissions vehicles remains in place, prices should start at around £17,000.

Read about our top 10 best electric cars here.

Recommended

Nissan Leaf prices trimmed to suit new plug-in car grant
Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf prices trimmed to suit new plug-in car grant

Nissan has dropped the Leaf’s prices by as much as £5,265, allowing buyers to reap the benefits of the government’s new plug-in car grant
6 Apr 2021
Nissan Leaf review
Nissan Leaf - front
Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf review

The all-electric Nissan Leaf is a practical and efficient family hatch, but it faces a growing number of appealing EV rivals
25 Mar 2021
Nissan Re-Leaf: the electric car with an emergency power bank
Nissan Re-Leaf - header
Nissan Leaf

Nissan Re-Leaf: the electric car with an emergency power bank

The Nissan Re-Leaf concept shows how a family EV could power disaster-relief operations
1 Mar 2021
Special edition Nissan Leaf10 marks big selling EV’s 10th anniversary
Nissan Leaf10 - main
Nissan Leaf

Special edition Nissan Leaf10 marks big selling EV’s 10th anniversary

The commemorative Nissan Leaf10 features a new paint finish and comes with some added inspiration from the new Ariya SUV
1 Feb 2021

Most Popular

'Nissan has been quietly building an advantage over electric car rivals'
Opinion Nissan EV
Nissan

'Nissan has been quietly building an advantage over electric car rivals'

Steve Fowler thinks Nissan is in a great position to build on the Leaf's success
8 Apr 2021
New 2021 Volkswagen Transporter T7 van teased
New 2021 Volkswagen Transporter T7 van teased
Volkswagen Transporter

New 2021 Volkswagen Transporter T7 van teased

Next-generation Volkswagen Transporter T7 will break cover later this year with a new plug-in hybrid powertrain
14 Apr 2021
New 2021 Audi Q4 e-tron on sale now, priced from £40,750
Audi Q4 e-tron - front
Audi Q4 e-tron

New 2021 Audi Q4 e-tron on sale now, priced from £40,750

Two body styles, three powertrains and four trim-levels confirmed for Audi’s compact Q4 EV, including a 295bhp quattro option
15 Apr 2021