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Nissan Leaf Likely To Offer Larger Battery For Longer Range

Every electric-car owner wants more range; it’s practically an immutable law.

Now Nissan executive Andy Palmer has come close to confirming that a longer-range Nissan Leaf is in the cards, though likely not until 2016 or even 2017.

In an interview at last week’s New York Auto Show with Palmer, who is Nissan’s product chief, he said offering multiple battery-pack options with different ranges in the Leaf was being debated internally.

MORE: How Many Miles Are Enough To Kill Electric-Car Range Anxiety?

In general, auto executives rarely discuss future powertrain offerings unless the technology being described is already on the way.

And it’s notable that Nissan surveyed Leaf owners early this year, asking them how much more they would pay for a Leaf with a 150-mile range.
2014 Nissan Leaf

2014 Nissan Leaf

Multiple packs

Palmer noted that the Leaf electric car would be on a standard Nissan model cycle of updates every five or six years.

But he said the timing of updates was somewhat complicated by the significant updates made to the Leaf for 2013–just two years into its run–when production for the U.S. market shifted from Japan to Tennessee.

He called the idea of a longer-range Leaf the subject of “intense internal debate,” with some parties feeling that the 2014 Leaf’s rated range of 84 miles was enough for the vast majority of users–and others feeling that more U.S. buyers could be captured with a range in the triple digits.

In the end, Palmer suggested, there could be “two or even three” battery-pack options offered in future Leaf models–“varying by market” where the demand was strongest.
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