Nissan set to regain EV leadership
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?