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Nissan EV SUV previewed to US dealers

The Nissan EV family tree is expanding with a new crossover that’s been shown to US dealers.
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Nissan’s electric vehicle range is branching out from the Leaf, with US dealers getting a preview of a new electric crossover last month.

Automotive News reports the unnamed two-row crossover has been described by dealers as being the size of an X-Trail but as spacious as the larger Murano.

It uses a new electric vehicle platform that may be used for the other seven new EVs Nissan says it wants to release by 2022. A concept version of the new crossover is tipped to debut at next month’s Tokyo motor show.

The crossover reportedly has a range of 482km, up considerably from the Leaf’s 270km range and exceeding the Tesla Model Y Standard Range’s claimed 390km figure. Though details of the battery size or output aren’t yet known, the crossover is said to hit 100km/h in under five seconds.

Styling is said to be inspired by the IMx concept, albeit with a shorter bonnet. The IMx used plenty of familiar Nissan design cues but the interior of the new SUV is said to be a radical departure from anything the company has offered before.

Like Tesla, Porsche and Volkswagen electric vehicles, the report says it features uses a digital dashboard. A pulsating start button switches on the display, according to the report, but drivers will find no other buttons to press on the dash.

The next generation of Nissan’s ProPilot semi-autonomous technology should appear on the new crossover. ProPilot 2.0 debuted earlier this year on the Japanese-market Skyline (their version of the Infiniti Q50), introducing hands-off highway driving from on-ramp to off-ramp.

To deliver this, the system employs seven cameras, five radar sensors and 12 sonar sensors and relies on high-definition 3D maps of highways.

The new crossover will reach US dealers in the second half of 2021. That means Ford and Volkswagen will pip it to the post with their upcoming electric crossovers, both scheduled for release next year.

Chevrolet, too, is expected to introduce a Bolt-based electric crossover next year. Hyundai and Kia already offer electric versions of the Kona and Niro crossovers, respectively.

Nissan may have had the first-mover advantage in the US mass-market EV segment but, while EV sales have continued to grow, Leaf sales have tumbled.

Nissan shifted more than 30,000 examples of their electric hatchback in 2014 but just under half that number last year. Though Nissan released a restyled Leaf in 2018, the Chevrolet Bolt continues to outsell it in the US market while media-savvy Tesla takes all the oxygen out of the room with its regular updates and periodic new vehicle introductions.