Nissan LEAF Range Could Triple — Carlos Ghosn Electric Car Comments From Nissan Annual Meeting −


100% Electric Vehicles

Published on June 26th, 2015 | by Zach

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Nissan LEAF Range Could Triple — Carlos Ghosn Electric Car Comments From Nissan Annual Meeting

GM has done with, unveiling the Chevy Bolt electric car concept, and Tesla’s well known aim is to produce an affordable electric car with over 200 miles of range. Outside of those two companies, we’ve heard tantalizing talk from Nissan and Volkswagen regarding long-range electric cars… but without much detail. The exciting news is that we’re not far off from another big unveiling in this field, and we have some strong words from Nissan CEO & Chairman Carlos Ghosn to give plenty of confidence.

At Nissan’s annual meeting the other day, Ghosn made several statements about a long-range electric car. Additionally, he had two cars on stage with him: the “Advanced R&D” Nissan LEAF pictured and discussed below, and a white Nissan LEAF fitted with “the latest versions of [autonomous driving] hardware and software that Nissan is developing.” And he played the video that follows the picture of the Advanced R&D LEAF.

nissan-leaf-advanced-rd-electric-vehicle-shown-at-company-annual-meeting-yokohama

As you can see, in the video, the LEAF shows a range of 544 kilometers (338 miles) at one point. Naturally, based in Japan, Nissan can show the range based on Japan’s overly generous system, but even adjusted to the US system, that probably means 220–260 miles of range, according to Green Car Reports. But anyhow, that crushes the current LEAF’s 135 kilometers (84 miles) of range. The video highlights that a longer range is achieved through “increasing battery capacity, reducing weight, [and] improving aerodynamics.”

Quotes From Carlos Ghosn & Hideyuki Sakamoto Regarding A Long-Range Electric Car From Nissan

Increased range is, of course, the biggie, but here are some more quotes from Ghosn that are worth brooding over:

  • “The vehicle that stands to my right is another advanced technology breakthrough. It explores how far we can extend electric vehicle range by making changes to the battery…. Nissan is exploring new materials and chemistry solutions in order to make thinner, lighter weight and less costly batteries”
  • “We foresee the day when you leave your home with a full charge, and are able to go about your day with no concerns…then return home with ample charge.”
  • “Later this year, you will hear more about our initial steps to increase EV range.”
  • A coming electric vehicle (whether it is an updated Nissan LEAF or new vehicle) will offer “comparative mobility to today’s conventional vehicles” and “peace of mind” with regards to range.

Another thing to highlight is that Nissan seems to be rushing this project forward, as Ghosn said, “But we will not wait for … completion [of advanced battery research] to move forward.”

Nissan’s head of technology, Hideyuki Sakamoto, also later talked about the work, noting that the Advanced R&D LEAF on display had “a driving range equivalent to that of an ICE” and adding: “The charging time also will be much shorter.”

As a link at the top shows, this is not the first time Carlos Ghosn has highlighted work on a long-range electric vehicle. Toward the end of last year, he noted on television that Nissan would introduce an electric vehicle with over 400 kilometers of range within a few years.

The statements this week also follow Nissan Chief Planning Officer Philippe Klein’s comments earlier this year that Nissan would be introducing a long-range EV “relatively quickly,” so there have been several hints up till now.


 

What About Price?

One of the big remaining questions is whether or not a long-range LEAF or other electric car model from Nissan would be affordable, or if it would be in the upper price range of mass-produced cars, like the Tesla Model S is. Of course, Tesla and GM aim to put their Model 3 and Bolt offerings in the price range of $35,000 to $37,500 (before the US federal tax credit for EVs), making them affordable for hundreds of thousands of people (though, GM only intends to produce about 30,000 Bolts a year… presumably because of battery supply constraints, but perhaps also out of a conservative estimate of demand). But that doesn’t mean Nissan is prepared to match them.

Ghosn in the annual meeting this week noted that, “there are only two reliable ways to increase range of an EV…. First is to have a massive network of EV chargers. The other option is to put a larger battery pack into the vehicle.” However, Ghosn also stated the obvious: “adding more battery means adding more cost.” This was apparently a lead-in to the vague announcements of a battery breakthrough at Nissan, but it still makes me wonder, “Will Nissan’s long-range electric car be in the $30,000 to $40,000 range? The $40,000 to $50,000 range? The $50,000 to $60,000 range?” I am presuming it will also be in the $30,000 to $40,000 range, but Ghosn’s lack of comments on price do make me worry that it won’t be as competitive as the Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt aim to be. Or maybe Ghosn and crew are just being cautious about their statements for now?

Effect On Nissan LEAF Sales?

Presumably, the earlier vague hints of a long-range electric Nissan arriving “relatively quickly” and being just around the corner have hurt current Nissan LEAF sales. Many people who have caught word of this and aren’t in urgent need of a new car would probably opt to wait a bit longer for a long-range LEAF (or other model) than drop down $29,010 on a Nissan LEAF with a range of 84 miles… even if we don’t yet know how a long-range EV from Nissan will compare price-wise.

As such, I think it would be wise of Nissan to not just provide exciting statements like those above, but also give some more details on how the long-range EV will compare to the current LEAF on price. Well… unless doing so would really hurt LEAF sales. Of course, Nissan does need to get a solid idea of cost before throwing numbers around — something I may be taking too lightly.

The Future Of Cars?

All in all, I was very excited to see that Nissan’s leadership didn’t just make these positive comments and video about long-range electric vehicles, but also that it chose to feature on stage at its annual shareholder meeting two all-electric Nissan LEAFs — and no other cars. To me, that is an indication that Nissan sees electric cars as the future of transport.

And let’s be honest: Once electric cars in the $30,000–40,000 price range have a driving range on a full charge comparable to a gasmobile with a full tank of gas (or at least good enough to drive practically all day without recharging), what do gasmobiles have left to stop the revolution? Electric cars can recharge at night while you sleep. Electric cars cost much less to operate and maintain, and require a ton less of your time for “refilling” and going to the auto shop. Electric cars have instant torque and, thus, far superior performance. Electric cars offer a much smoother and quieter drive. Electric cars offer energy independence, and end to oil wars, clean air, clean water, and a livable climate. What do gasmobiles offer?

The future is electric — I can’t see it any other way.


 

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009.

Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity.

Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, SCTY, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB. After years of covering solar and EVs, he simply had a lot of faith in these companies and felt like they were good companies to invest in as a portion of his retirement strategy.

To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • Mike Dill

    What do gasmobiles offer? Right now, i can get in my gasmobile, and go a thousand miles in less than two days. It is unfortunate that I cannot do that yet with a car that I an afford and not wait for hours for the energy level to get me going again.

    I do look forward to being able to go from San Diego to Seattle in a vehicle that will not create more pollution than a hydro-power generation station. I hope this day comes soon.

    • But honest question: You really prefer to drive for ~2 days than hop on a flight?

      • Mike Dill

        I would like to use a transportation scheme that did not pollute (much). If time is critical then I fly. Getting somewhere nearly instantly would be nice. I never flew on the Concorde, as my time was never worth the costs.

        Being able to stop when I want and walk around has significant value for my sanity. When three or more of us are traveling together, driving can use less fossil fuels (and cost less) than flying.

        There are times that I like to drive, and sometimes i need a vehicle at the end of the trip and may prefer not to rent.

        • ToddFlach

          Spain has now a network of high-speed electric trains that allows one to travel to the main cities of Spain in about as much time, or less, door-to-door, compared to the time use use the most comparable flight.

          • HSR is wonderful. Unfortunately, the US is too far beyond its adventurous years to build a nationwide HSR network.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m not sure that’s true. The first one will be the hardest because most people in the US are unable to learn from what other countries achieve.

            My impression right now is that everyone is holding back to see if the Hyperloop works.

            IF the Hyperloop works then HSR is likely to die off.

            The Hyperloop, if it works as suggested, would be considerably faster as well as faster and cheaper to build. It should be fairly cheap to ride. It wouldn’t compete with air travel, it would replace air travel.

          • Okay, I agree with that. Since the US could be #1 again, it would also be more viable. Playing catchup with Europe, Japan, and others doesn’t fly well with much of the US. 😛

          • freethinker

            We could have easily afforded it but we went bombing for a couple decades instead.

    • Mujtahidul Haque

      Why don’t you just get a Prius?

      • j johnson

        Prius doesn’t last very long. You start off at 51mpg and it starts dropping…by the time its 5 years old you might as well have a regular car. Also the headlights burn out and each bulb is $140 and labor $150 to replace. You have to do that every couple of years. The body of car is great, interior and fit and finish were superb. Too bad the mechanics of the thing never lived up to the hype. I am hoping mine will last until Tesla3 or another long range EV is available at less than $50k. My daily commute is 110 miles. I have serviced EVERY 5k miles, followed all recs and now using at of oil a week, battery is failing. Does anyone know if only weak cells can be replaced or would I have to replace entire hybrid battery for big bucks at dealer?

        • RobertM

          You have to replace all the Battery’s. 1 Bad battery will spoil the entire pack.

          • j johnson

            Thanks RobertM, I had heard that just the weak cells could be replaced to bring the power back up. Bummer, the whole battery is very expensive Thousands instead of hundreds for cells.

          • RobertM

            If you have 1 bad cell and the rest are showing good it might be worth replacing the 1. The new 1 lifetime will be limited. It depends of if you think you got 1 defective cell or it is normal wear and tear and you just have some cells in worse shape than others. 1 defective cell can be replaced. The replacement cell will come down to the average of all the rest of the cells so it lifetime will be the same as the rest of the array. If it is wear and tear then all the new cells will be worn down by the older cells and will limit the new cells lifetime to that of the old cells. I hope that makes since.

    • freethinker

      Everyone is a hard core road tripper as soon as EV range is mentioned. Even those who haven’t drive outside their city for years.

  • Kyle Field

    I’m with you man. Can’t wait!

  • EVcine

    Advanced R&D my ass…my friend builds EVs in his garage with double LEAF range.

  • Bob_Wallace

    $35k (Mod3) and $37.5k (Bolt).

    Getting down to $27,500 and $30,000 requires the federal subsidy.

    • Thanks. I (like many) was under the impression for a long time the Bolt was $30,000 before the credit. This must have been before I got it cleared up.

  • Rolan Volante

    Looks like Mr Ghosn got a bit scared by the upcoming Bolt, not being sure whether it is 200 or 300+ miles in the GM cards. Typos can happen, much better to double-check .

  • Sean

    I look forward to a 200 mile car or, better, a 300 mile car that is in a mid range, like $24,999. This would make it comfortable for the vast majority of Americans including younger and retired citizens.

    • Bob_Wallace

      A 300 mile range EV for $25k would blow the car world up.

      But it will be a few more years before batteries get that cheap.

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