A top-level executive has said that the next-generation Nissan Leaf may not be restricted to a five-door hatchback body style.
As to what body styles an expanded Leaf range may include, Mann didn’t want to speculate openly. He did note that the company had successfully launched an electric version of the company’s NV200 van, which uses a drivetrain shared largely with the electric hatchback.
Mann added: “We’re still studying other opportunities. What we’ve got to do is to make sure the market is right. We want to make sure that when we do the next one or we expand the line-up, we’re really taking the market intelligence that we’re gathering and using it.”
Given the global market’s seemingly insatiable appetite for SUVs, as well as the success of the company’s crossovers, a Leaf-based crossover would seem to be the next logical step.
As to when a next-generation Leaf might appear, Mann simply replied that “the product life [of the Leaf] could change slightly because it’s an EV”. Most modern vehicles are replaced by around the seven-year mark. While the current Leaf was launched globally in late 2010, the next-gen car reportedly falls outside of the scope of the Nissan’s Power 88 plan plan that concludes on March 31, 2017.
Andy Palmer, formerly Nissan’s chief planning officer, said last year that the company’s next-generation electric vehicles would feature a “game changing” new chemistry for its batteries that would almost double an EV’s driving range. In its current incarnation, the Leaf has a range of around 170km.