Nissan‘s electric car, the Leaf, has been around since the auto-manufacturer launched their 2011 model in December 2010. While there have been hints of a second generation Leaf, comments by Nissan Europe’s Electric Vehicle Director suggest the company may be working on a subcompact electric car instead.
Electric Vehicle Director Gareth Dunsmore told Auto Express, “We’ve investing $5.4 billion in electric cars such as the Leaf, so we need to ensure we’re satisfying as many types of customer as possible. In Europe, that could mean looking towards B-segment hatches and SUVs or crossovers.”
Thanks to an alliance with French automobile manufacturer Renault, the company has sold over 350,000 fully electric vehicles to date, including 200,000 Leafs. Renault’s ZOE, the best-selling B-segment electric car in Europe, is a five-door hatchback, and Auto Express said a Nissan subcompact electric car may be the ZOE’s “sister car” and even draw on its battery technology and platform. A Nissan subcompact car could be manufactured at the same facility as the ZOE in France, which would enable the facility to produce nearer to capacity.
However, a subcompact electric car might not be sold in the large American market – at least not initially. Green Car Reports said the market might respond better to an electric crossover.
Dunsmore said, “The first people who bought EVs were the proud early adopters. The second people were the fleets. And the third people were families, who wanted affordability and practicality. The Leaf is well placed to deliver to those customers, and will continue to do so. If we look towards crossovers or the B-segment for the next car, those could make perfect sense.”
Nissan Corporate Vice President Roel de Vries seemed to back up Dunsmore’s statement when he said, “…we are looking at where we can add more electric cars. The next step would be in another volume sector, which probably isn’t sports cars.”