Spy shots reveal some styling cues
On Friday Nissan finally threw us a bone on their official Twitter account – the 2018 Nissan LEAF will be revealed sometime in September with sales starting likely in December. The “globally revealed” comment in the Tweet could refer to the upcoming Frankfurt International Auto Show. Although the Oklahoma State Fair Auto Show also falls in September, I don’t really think it’s going to be Oklahoma. One other interesting alternative exists though – the Altcar Expo to be held in Santa Monica, California on September 15-16. A statement directly from their website homepage states “Given that 52% of all Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) purchases are happening in California, this event is critical to build upon the momentum for the emerging marketplace.” Where better to launch the next gen 2018 LEAF? Perhaps I’ll schedule a drive up there later this year.
Since early February, 2018 Nissan LEAF spy shots have been popping up all over the internet. As I don’t know who originated the photos, and I don’t want to misappropriate someone else’s work, here’s a link to the Autoblog site, that has all of them and they can be easily viewed full screen. Looking at the first photo, it’s easy to see that the current LEAF’s hideous headlight design has finally been relegated to the dustbin of doom. It looks like a more conventionally designed projector beam style headlight will take its place, perhaps a variation on what is found on the Rogue Sport below. The hoodline gets the aggressive V-Motion front-end treatment, which is a continuation up the hood of the V-Motion grille treatment which you can see more clearly in photos 15 through 17. Here is a look at that execution on the upcoming Rogue Sport:
As I’ve mentioned before, it appears that the new car will pick up the floating roof design, similar to what is found on the more upscale Murano. This can be seen most easily on photos 7 through 12. Also, as you cycle through the photos, looking at the driver’s side rear (14/22), there is a very clear outline of the boomerang-style taillights Nissan is incorporating in many of their more progressive designs.
Unsaid thus far is that the middle of the car seems to be virtually unchanged. In the industry, this is referred to as a major-minor change. Kind of like jumbo shrimp. In essence, the chassis is essentially unchanged from the prior model, but the front-end and rear-end are revised while the passenger compartment remains much as before. That’s not to say that there will not be an interior redesign, as it will definitely be updated. But rather than coming up with an entirely new car, it seems as if Nissan is updating their current LEAF. Considering that the LEAF is still the best selling EV in the world, that’s probably not a bad thing.
I’ve already gone over the 60 kWh battery coming late this year with its 200-mile plus range. I’ve been seeing rumors though of the possibility of Nissan offering two different battery sizes – a la Tesla. This could make sense from a marketing perspective. Let’s say a 40 kWh battery, priced at $30,000 with a range of roughly 140-150 EPA miles, and the 60 kWh version starting at $37,500, the same as the Chevy Bolt. There’s also a slight chance that Tesla might actually get the Model 3 out by the end of the year. Things could get interesting between now and Christmas.