(Tech Xplore)—Officials with Nissan have confirmed that the next generation Leaf will be able to travel over 200 miles on a single charge. In speaking with Autoblog, Nissan VP of EV engineering Kazuo Yajima announced that the company will offer a Leaf version with a 60-kWh battery, which should allow the vehicle to travel up to 220 miles before needing a recharge.
The market for all-electric vehicles has remained slow, due in part to buyers concerns about how far they will be able to drive before having to recharge—a task much more difficult than for gas powered cars which can stop at any service station. To address that concern, some carmakers have been working towards adding batteries that can keep cars moving farther and longer. Tesla, for example, offers multiple choices of battery types (60-kWh, 75-kWh and 90-kWh) for its vehicles, some of which can carry a vehicle up to 300 miles, and Chevrolet has already announced that the next Bolt will be able to go over 200 miles.
Though it has not been confirmed, the next generation Leaf is also expected to have a host of intelligent driving system features, which should make operating the car both safer and easier to drive, though it is still not clear if some of those features might reduce battery range. Also not clear is what the new car will look like—concept cars from Nissan have of late featured "swoopy" lines giving them a classic masculine, muscle-car look. Most importantly, Nissan has not yet announced how much the cars will cost, some have suggested the company will have to keep the price increase for the larger battery sized model under $10,000 to make it competitive with all-gas or hybrid vehicles.
Nissan is also expected to offer the Leaf in two more affordable options: one with a 24 kWh battery, which should carry the car to just over 80 miles and another with a 30-kWh battery that should be good for just over 100 miles. Delivery dates for the new cars have not yet been announced, but it is expected they will debut next year as 2018 models.
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