As electric vehicles continue to improve, consumers move further and further away from the dreaded state of “range anxiety.” Upgrades to battery technology have pushed the majority of “affordable” EVs past the 100-mile-per-charge mark, and some considerably further (like the 238-mile Chevrolet Bolt EV).
However, there are still a few cars on sale with limited ranges and therefore limited appeal — especially for people who can only afford one vehicle. The worst offenders are the Fiat 500e (87 miles), Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric (87 miles), Kia Soul EV (90 miles), the Nissan Leaf (107 miles), and Ford Focus Electric (115 miles).
While upgrading a battery is a high-cost initiative, automakers have begun to realize that they will never sell EVs in desirable numbers until major improvements have been made. Hyundai, VW, and Chevrolet have gotten serious about their electric car game, and it appears Nissan is ready to buckle down, too.
Nikkei Automotive, as reported by LeftLaneNews, learned that Nissan’s next-generation Leaf should get a 43-percent bump in range to 150 miles per charge. This increase would move the Leaf ahead of Hyundai’s Ioniq and Volkswagen’s e-Golf in total travel. The news gets better, too — Nissan is preparing an all-new EV model, which might be based on the 2015 IDS Concept, with a significantly higher range.
A prototype of the new model can travel for 342 miles on a charge. Assuming the new vehicle will be priced below $40,000 when it goes on sale in 2020, it would be the longest-range EV at that price point. Only Tesla’s Model S and Fisker’s Emotion EV will have more juice, but both cars are well out of the realm of affordability for most consumers.
We expect the competition to only increase from here. If Nissan can build an affordable electric vehicle with over 340 miles of range, you can be sure other brands will follow suit.
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