Michael Bunce, that is the vice president, Product Planning at Nissan North America confirmed yesterday in an interview that the automaker is revamping its Nissan Leaf with a new design and battery options. The new redesigned Leaf will be unveiled soon.
While the initial information I got, months ago, pointed to November as the production start and December for first deliveries, now it seems that there is a delay, since the Los Angeles Auto Show was the best opportunity to make the unveil and Nissan missed it.
Considering that the new batteries are already in production at Nissan’s Sunderland plant, this delay may be related to Nissan making the latest tweaks to the redesigned Leaf to get more range from the batteries. I’m thinking of mostly aerodynamic tweaks like a completely flat underbody or different wheels.
Nissan was first surprised with the Chevrolet Bolt EV’s range and more recently with the Hyundai IONIQ electric’s efficiency. The redesigned Nissan Leaf to succeed, should be placed between these two electric cars – regarding range and efficiency. With a 160 miles (257 km) EPA range if it’s considerably cheaper and more efficient than the Chevrolet Bolt EV it does has its place in the electric car market.
I really hope that Nissan learned something with the Hyundai IONIQ electric and makes efficiency a priority. There are so many simple and inexpensive things that can be done to improve the efficiency and range, that when ignored I feel that automakers really want electric cars to fail.
If it takes a few more weeks to make the redesigned Leaf better, then go ahead and do it. Safety features like Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) shouldn’t be forgotten and a Head Up Display (HUD) would be a nice distinguishing feature to keep the driver’s eyes on the road.
In a worst case scenario we’ll have to wait for January 5 to see the new Leaf variant. This is when the Nissan’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn will be at the Keynote Stage in CES 2017. But this seems to be too late, since the sister automaker Renault, will be delivering the smaller Zoe with 41 kWh batteries by January.
What do you think? Do latest tweaks justify the redesigned Leaf’s delay? Or do you want it now, no matter what?