The Renault-Nissan Alliance is serious about regaining the electric mobility leadership.
Later this year, around November you’ll be able to choose the Leaf in three trims. The entry level with 30 kWh battery and the mid and high level with 40 kWh battery. The 24 kWh will be discontinued.
In the Portuguese Nissan website the entry level trim was only available with the 24 kWh battery, now it has the 30 kWh option. Currently the Nissan Leaf Visia 30 kWh (battery included) is priced at 26.015 € while the Visia 24 kWh is more expensive and still show the old price of 27.215 €. This is another sign that the 24 kWh will be discontinued.
I wrote on this blog that if Nissan couldn’t introduce the second generation before the Bolt, they would release a bigger battery for the current Leaf to gain time. I think that the second generation Leaf is being delayed because Nissan wants to have a stable/safe autonomous system working, even more now that Tesla Motors is having bad publicity about their own Autopilot system. But I thought that Nissan would release a 48 kWh battery not 40 kWh. Yet the 40 kWh battery is great news and means that the energy density of the cells improved from 317 Wh/L to 528 Wh/L since the first 24 kWh battery. Not yet in Tesla Motors territory but not far… The second generation NMC cells are making this possible.
If Nissan and Renault start sharing components as Carlos Ghosn suggested, the 40 kWh battery makes sense, since the Renault Zoe will also have one with the same capacity. Both Zoe and Leaf will probably have the same 192 cells but in a different package.
It’s still unknown if Nissan will do a minor facelift for the 2017 MY. I hope they will make one similar to what Tesla did with the Model S. The Leaf nose and those froggy eyes need a makeover, Nissan should also make some aerodynamic tweaks to further improve efficiency like they did in the Aero Style model only available in Japan.
Now with the current generation Leaf getting a 40 kWh battery, the second generation shouldn’t arrive before late 2017 or early 2018.
The 40 kWh Leaf also suggest that Nissan will compete with the Bolt by having a lower price. Since Nissan now produces the Leaf in 4 factories around the world (counting with the Venucia E30 clone in China), they have the mass production advantage over the competition to drop prices fairly easy. I truly believe that the Renault-Nissan Alliance will be the first automaker to sell electric cars with similar prices to gas cars.