By modern standards, the Nissan (NSANY.PK) Leaf isn’t a polarizing car. It’s a little fun and a little quirky, but overall, it fits in rather nicely with the current automotive landscape. You want an outlier? Look at the Juke. Regardless, Nissan said on Wednesday that the next rendition of the popular electric car will be more mainstream and have a better battery pack. Moreover, the Infiniti vehicle that will be based on the Leaf’s powertrain will be arriving in 2017, Automotive News reports.
Andy Palmer, the executive vice president in charge of Nissan’s zero emissions and Infiniti businesses, told the publication that new battery chemistry will debut by then for use by Infiniti and Nissan, and that better range is key to higher sales.
“The battery chemistry is all about range and energy density. That’s where you see the technology moving very, very fast,” he said in an interview with Automotive News last month at the Beijing auto show. “This really is the game-changing technology.”
No target range was offered, but the Leaf currently offers 84 miles per full charge. That’s sufficient for most Americans’ daily commutes, but for longer hauls and the hallmark Great American Road Trip, it’s a bit of a hindrance. At minimum, the battery must be capable of delivering 186 miles or so to remain competitive with the hydrogen fuel cell cars that fellow Japanese firms are working on.