Nissan is on the verge of revealing an all-new generation of their fully electric hatch, the Leaf. But before that happens, the Japanese automaker is taking their time to indulge in the art of the tease. Here we see a light cluster. The end, right?
Well, dissecting the finer points of this single image yields some interesting predictions. The cluster itself looks to be unique to the new Leaf, but the shape and swept back curvature of the housing indicate a similar front fascia design to the 2017 Nissan Micra (Mk5).
It’s a full LED illumination set that, from how it’s set within the enclosure, indicates the possibility that it’s also adaptive, able to illuminate the inside of the corner by swivelling and projecting its beam based on the direction of the steering wheel.
In the photo, how light reflects off of the bonnet just above the headlight housing also corroborates the idea that the new Leaf will have much more of an emphasis on being attractively styled in addition to being aerodynamically efficient and even a little futuristic.
In terms of its powertrain, though, there could be a big step in terms of the amount of lithium ion cells that Nissan is now able to squeeze in between the axles. The previous generation Leaf had a maximum specifiable battery capacity of 30kWh, good for an EPA-certified claimed range of 172km (or 250km according to NEDC estimations).
Recent reports, though, relay that the cell density has been dramatically improved thanks to a more efficient cooling method resulting in double the old Leaf’s capacity at 60kWh. Thanks to some aerodynamic optimisations, kinetic energy regeneration, as well as more use of lightweight materials, Nissan’s 2018 Leaf is predicted to have a range of beyond 400km per charge.
That combination of looks, range, and affordability should prime Nissan for a leadership position in a market that’s increasingly warming to the prospect of owning an EV as their primary car. Next year is also when Tesla is to be manufacturing their smaller Model 3 for delivery into customer hands, and should this play out like this new information suggests, the Nissan EV hatch could more popular.