Nissan's Next Leaf EV Could Travel 550km On One Charge

Nissan's next-generation Leaf all-electric hatchback could be capable of driving well over 500km on a single charge, if indications on a recent concept car shown at the Tokyo Motor Show and an interview with Nissan's electric vehicle boss are any evidence. The IDS concept's battery is as twice as large as the current Leaf's 30kWh setup, and could push the small car to a range beating even the majority of current Tesla vehicles on Aussie roads.

In an interview with Autocar, Nissan's Gareth Dunsmore said that the company should be able to produce batteries of that capacity by 2018, as long as Nissan can ensure a low enough price and high enough long-term battery durability. The current-generation Nissan Leaf, recently refreshed, has a 30kWh battery capable of a 250km rated range, up somewhat from the original Leaf's 200km.

The IDS Concept's battery pack is simply significantly larger than the one in the Leaf due to its layout, which is the main reason that Tesla's Model S and Model X have rated all-electric battery capacities already in the 500km range -- the cars' 'skateboard' design places the large, flat battery in the floorpan to maximise the space available to it.

Like the still-in-development Tesla Model 3, the prospective future Leaf could be offered with a range of battery capacities and trim levels, making it initially price competitive with other electric cars but with the potential capacity to match current petrol vehicles for long-distance travel. We're still a little while off 2018, but this is a good look for the electric cars of the near future. [Autocar]