For many more people than realize it, electric cars are already adequate for their needs and better than a gasmobile for their bank account and quality of life. However, it often isn’t good enough for disruptive technology to be better than the incumbents. It has to be much better. The target for electric cars, in order to meet that challenge, is a very long-range and affordable electric car. That would bring electric car convenience to another level, and leave gasmobiles with not a single actual advantage over electric cars, compared to nearly 10 for electric cars.
Tesla is aiming to bring an affordable electric car to market in 2017, the Tesla Model ≡ (aka Tesla Model 3). GM has been talking about it for years as well. Volkswagen has said we’ll have affordable electric cars with 300+ miles of range soon. The conspicuous outsider in these projections has been Nissan. Conspicuous because it is the world’s leader in electric car sales. But everyone has assumed Nissan is in the game as well, and recent comments from Renault-Nissan Chairman & CEO Carlos Ghosn have confirmed that.
Reportedly, Nissan will “very soon take the issue of range off of the table.” Jeff Cobb of Hybrid Cars adds: “The company is otherwise still being vague, not ready to show what it has, but Ghosn suggested a near-ready battery to enable affordable electric cars good for as many 250 miles (400 km) depending on configuration, and how it’s tested.” Update: Note that the “250 miles” follows the reference to “400 kilometers” made by Ghosn, which is based on the New European Driving Cycle, not the more rigorous (and realistic) rating provided by the EPA. Nonetheless, the point is still that the LEAF’s range could be doubled in an upcoming, affordable electric car. Or perhaps we are reading too far into it.
Chris DeMorro of GAS2 provides a bit more context: “as recently as last year, Nissan was caught testing a 48 kWh battery pack on a LEAF, which is double the size of the current production LEAF. With a new model pegged to debut next year, more range is almost certainly in the cards…the question is, how much? 150 miles seems to be the most reasonable guess, but could Nissan roll out a 200+ mile option for the next-gen LEAF?”
What are the facts of the present story? Well, as Jeff notes, they’re largely unknown, but this is the transcript of a conversation between a Tokyo Business News Channel and Ghosn from a recent TV interview:
Host: Is Nissan working on new batteries?
Host: Can you tell us more?
Host: Will the range double?
Host: That means more than 400 kilometers?
Andy Palmer of Nissan has recently stated that the company has “game changing technology” in the works regarding electric car batteries.
“We continue our R&D efforts because we believe that we can do more with battery electric, and very soon take the issue of range off of the table,” said Nissan’s Jeff Kuhlman in a follow-up interview. “In other words, cars with a comparable range to today’s petrol vehicles.”
The next few years look like they could be even more exciting than the last few in the electric car world. We’ll have to see if the talk is premature or a sign of technology that’s “one model cycle away,” as one Japanese engineer told Daily Kanban.
Aside from the links at the top, here’s more on the already-existing convenience of electric cars over gasmobiles: