One of the biggest reasons why people tend to shy away from electric vehicles is range anxiety – the fear of running out of energy prematurely. That’s exactly what Japanese manufacturer Nissan plans to end, or so we are told by the company’s Chief Planning Officer Philippe Klein.
The brand’s current all-electric LEAF has an EPA-approved range of 84 miles (roughly 135 km) – a number that Klein expects to grow. “We don’t need that much to get out from the basic range anxiety,” he told Automotive News at the Detroit Auto Show. “We’re going to be there relatively quickly.”
Klein did not specify when the new range will debut, but he did hint that the next-generation Nissan LEAF might the first one to get there. The next version of the electric hatchback is prepped for a reveal in either 2017 or 2018.
The average consensus among drivers is that a car with less than 100 miles of driving range is likely to be overlooked in favour something a little more long-lasting. As a result, the battery of the upcoming next-gen LEAF is expected to last between 150 and 200 miles per single charge. The Nissan execs and Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn have confirmed this figure.
Given the onslaught of new electric vehicles from automakers like Chevrolet, Tesla and BMW, it’s no wonder that Nissan has plans to jump on the bandwagon as well. Chevy actually managed to surpass Nissan this year by promising a driving range of 200 miles on its upcoming Bolt vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show. Nissan is keenly aware of the fact that it’s a little bit behind.
“It’s fair to recognise we are a bit short,” Klein said when discussing the 2015 Nissan LEAF’s driving range. “But for commuting purposes, we are not very far from getting out from range anxiety.”