While Tesla and General Motors have already made public strides towards the seemingly magic 200-mile range electric vehicle for under $40,000, Nissan has been quiet. The bug-like LEAF, the leading electric vehicle on the road, has been out for five years, yet has had no redesign and little improvement, other than the option to buy a slightly bigger battery pack to get 105-mile range.
Per Green Car Reports, now a Nissan engineer has finally come forward to confirm that the next generation LEAF will have a 60 kwh battery pack — enough to achieve a 200-mile plus range. Of course there’s no timetable for when it will be released, but one would hope that it will happen by 2018.
While the delay is frustrating, in a few years there will be at least three EVs that can go 200 miles for less than $40,000: the Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt, and new Nissan. By 2030, we could see a dramatically different market for these vehicles, with significant effects on gas consumption, as Forbes reports on a new Wood Mackenzie study:
The U.S. currently uses more than nine million barrels of gasoline a day. According to the report, if electric cars gain more than 35% market shares by 2035, the U.S. could see a cut from nine million to two million barrels used a day.
This outcome is hardly out of the question, and it underscores how critical electric vehicles are to our environmental future. If Nissan can get its 200-mile act together, it will be a major part of the solution.