Nissan set to regain EV leadership

Hiroto Saikawa, Nissan CEO

Hiroto Saikawa, Nissan CEO, recently gave two interviews for Automotive News where he identifies two of his biggest concerns. One is regaining electric car leadership for Nissan and the other is creating more synergy with all partners, especially with the most recent, Mitsubishi.


Saikawa believes that range anxiety, which he considers as one major obstacle for electric car’s adoption, will be overcome with the new generation Nissan Leaf starting this year. At least in Europe and Japan.


“In Japan, already our 30 kilowatt-hour [battery] is almost erasing anxiety. The new Leaf coming will almost completely kill anxiety for specific countries — Japan and a major part of Europe. I’m sure in one or two years, it is going to erase anxiety in the most difficult one: the U.S.”


This statement seems to confirm the information I got and shared in this blog since last year. The new generation Nissan Leaf will get a 40 kWh battery first, then a year later (maybe two) the 60 kWh battery will come.

The launch of the 60 kWh battery for the new Nissan Leaf will probably be synchronized with the introduction of the Nissan Micra EV (40 kWh battery), which Gareth Dunsmore (Electric Vehicle Divisional General Manager at Nissan Europe SAS) envisions. The release of the Nissan Micra EV before a bigger battery capacity being available for the Nissan Leaf, would cannibalize the sales.

Unlike what many might think, it will be the Nissan Micra EV the first Nissan to share components with the Renault Zoe, not a future Nissan Leaf.


While there aren’t many doubts that the new Nissan Leaf will be considerably cheaper and have less range than the Chevrolet Bolt EV, there are still many uncertainties about performance, efficiency and charging. Can Nissan surprise us with a powerful electric motor, an efficient powertrain or a faster AC/DC charging?! If Nissan can’t overachieve in at least one of these fields, the automaker will have to compensate even more with a lower price tag.

I don’t mind the small 40 kWh battery capacity, – I even think that in most cases carrying a costlier, bigger and heavier battery all the time is counter-productive – but I do expect some things:

  • At least a 100 kW motor (3-digit power figure is psychologically important).
  • More efficient than the Chevrolet Bolt EV (unfortunately I don’t believe it can surpass the Hyundai IONIQ Electric’s efficiency).
  • A 3-phase internal charger (11-22 kW) in Europe and at least 80 kW charging rate at DC fast chargers. This last one definitely requires a TMS (thermal management system) to be possible…


All in all, knowing past behavior of Nissan and GM, I think that the new Nissan Leaf will be more successful than the Chevrolet Bolt EV, even if the latter reveals to be a more refined product.


What do you expect from Nissan? Especially from the new generation Nissan Leaf?



More info:

Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

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4 years ago

I need a AWD 7-seater, so I’m hoping for a X-Trail, with at least a 80 kWh battery. I agree they need a 3-phase AC charger, and I would hope they would go up to 100 kW CCS on the DC side. Also, I’d like 1500 kg towing capacity.

Such a vehicle would find a good market here in Norway, a lot of people are waiting for such a vehicle. I’m pretty sure they would sell multiple tens of thousands of them a year.

4 years ago

Style and performance that’s lacking at present with Leaf. Need a sexy futuristic look not a gawky frog eyed look please. Needs to cruise at 100 mph.

4 years ago

I don’t expect anything good from Nissan. My 2011 Leaf battery failed me! Then Nissan would not honor the Capacity Warranty because they claim I showed my face at dealer 4 working days after the 5 year deadline! Even though the battery dropped to 8 bars of power 15 days earlier! I fought with Nissan for a year on this. And had to file claims with the BBB to finally even get a response from Lakisha Benedict, Nissan Arbitration Specialist at 1 (615) 725-7000. We agreed that I pay $3,020 for a new 30 kw battery. But then they installed a 24 kw because the BMS was not compatible! I even confirmed with Eric Freitas of Autocom Nissan in Walnut Creek, CA. that they had a 30 kw battery on the pallet in their shop waiting to be installed in my car PRIOR to the battery swap, and they lied to me and instead installed a 24 kw battery! Nissan has failed me. I loved my Leaf Mr. Saikawa, but your employees lied to me after they denied my free batttery that was covered under warranty! My car only had 34,000 miles when it dropped to 8 out 12 bars of power! I could only drive 40 miles round trip! Why should anyone buy a new Leaf, when they betray us first owners?

Asle H
4 years ago

I hope this will lead to a bigger battery for the e-NV200 ASAP. The 24 kWh battery and the temperature management already present makes it possible to travel long distances as long as there are DC chargers available, and all your travels are A to B style trips and there is DC present at B or between A-B. Problems arise when you drive from A to B and then back to A without any DC chargers present. In these scenarios you have a very limited radius and a battery pack of 35 kWh or more would have cured those problems.

Mark Thompson
4 years ago

Great leadership and passion for this agenda. Congrats to Nissan for being so bold with the first Leaf and following through with what looks like a great second generation car.

4 years ago

When will the Micra EV be available in Europe? In 2018?

4 years ago

I really would like a bigger battery than 40kWh. It is going to be once in a lifetime that I buy a new car so it has to do for a long time.

The model 3 is going to be completely unpractical as it is transpiring now that the trunk has not changed and it is a real sedan. If the Ioniq and Niro EV don’t get enough battery (40+ kWh) then the only option is an Ampera-e.

I want at least 250km EPA.

4 years ago

If Nissan won’t upgrade the battery on the old LEAF’s, they should do one of two things- Open up the software to third party developers so we can get improved batteries, or- sell me the new LEAF at cost with a trade in of my old one.

4 years ago
Reply to  John

I don’t want a third party battery to burn my house down…

4 years ago

Finally! After all, the current Nissan Leaf, even with a 30kWh battery, even with the LeafBox range extender will not travel more than 250 km. Leaf does not have the slightest chance of competing with Bolt / Ampera, even ZOE

4 years ago

“I don’t expect anything good from Nissan. My 2011 Leaf battery failed me! Then Nissan would not honor the Capacity Warranty because they claim I showed my face at dealer 4 working days after the 5 year deadline! Even though the battery dropped to 8 bars of power 15 days earlier!”

Jeff, nobody to blame but yourself. If I was at 59,996 miles and my bars dropped to 8 I would have pulled over and had it towed or truck to my Nissan dealership. Why did you wait until after the deadline?

Marcel Guldemond
4 years ago

I also agree that ~40-45 kwh is a great battery size for most EVs, as long as the DC charger is powerful enough. The 250-300km range allows for pretty long day trips without recharging, and for road trips it allows for ~2 hours at a time while giving you a bit of a buffer when figuring out which DCFC to charge at.

This also makes the car a lot lighter and cheaper than a 60kwh EV.

Asle H
4 years ago

I agree about the 40 kWh battery size as long as topping up is fast. <25 mins from 0-80% on a 40 kWh would be sweet.

4 years ago

If Nissan really won’t offer more than 40 kWh in the new LEAF I think it’s clear they are definitely not taking back the lead. To follow the ZOE so much later and not even better it is shameful.

Of course almost any shortcoming can be compensated with a low price, but I’m still going to be disappointed.

Hopefully the Model 3 will deliver the goods. And the Ampera-e give it some real competition, doubtful though that seems.

40 kWh makes for a superb daily driver with plenty of headroom energy-wise, but it’s not enough to make it practical as the only car, at least not in Norway where a lot of people want to go to their mountain cabins in winter and be sure they’ve got enough even if it’s minus twenty C. Even 60 kWh is barely sufficient considering that some capacity loss over the years is inevitable.

On the other hand Nissan may be judging the market correctly. The LEAF still, inexplicably, outsells the Bolt by a huge margin. Except it’s maybe not so inexplicable when we learn that US dealers often sell the LEAF at a deep discount. Brand new ones, in entry level trim, can be had for less than $20k. So I’m not saying Nissan is making a stupid choice here, I really don’t know, but merely that for me personally 40 kWh would be a big let-down.

4 years ago

There seems to be a misconception here by some. Nissan is going to offer the next gen LEAF with a 60 kWh battery. It’s been confirmed already last summer: