Plans for a Nissan Leaf with a larger battery and longer range are facing delays in the wake of the sudden firing of its CEO Carlos Ghosn, according to comments made by a spokesperson for the Japanese carmaker.
It now appears that possible unveilings of the longer range 60kWh model will now have to wait until the fallout over the scandal settles.
This is to ensure “that this important product unveiling could receive the coverage it merits”, according to a statement made by Nissan’s spokesman to Reuters.
Confirmations of the 60kWh model have been light on the ground, with one official mention in a press release from the company in September 2018 and mentions in May 2017 via InsideEVs that “Nissan Motor started investigating to introduce EV (Electric Vehicle) reaching the range of about 550km per charge per charge.”
Other than that, it’s business as usual, Nissan’s spokesperson said – but they are clearly keen to make sure the launch of a high performance Leaf, which it is believed will have a 60kWh battery, gets the attention the carmaker feels it deserves.
The flagship electric vehicle is currently available overseas with a 40kWh battery, that gives the popular EV about 240km of real world range. That makes a 550km range for the 60kWh look optimistic, with more conservative estimates putting the likely range in the 400skm.
It was confirmed in early October that Australians would be able to buy the 40kWh model but not until at least June 2019 – and there is no word as yet on pricing in Australia although in the US it goes from $US29,990 MSRP (about $A42,000). But most expect the car to cost $A50,000 in Australia.
Despite this wait, and the lack of any models for purchase in Australia, the shorter range model was recently awarded Drive Car of the Year’s “Green Innovation” award for its innovative V2G technology.
It is unclear as yet whether the 60kWh version, when and if it does make it to market, will make it to Australia, despite hopes that the longer range battery may feature thermal management and therefore be better suited to the Australian climate.
Nissan Australia has been contacted for comment on whether the news of delays from its overseas office will equate to further delays for the 40kWh version in Australia, and we will keep you updated as info comes to hand.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.