Nissan is preparing to launch a second EV, a crossoverwith greater range and power than the Leaf, as well as updated technologies.
The EV, expected to arrive in the second half of 2021,would be one of eight battery-powered models Nissan is planning globally in thenext few years.
At a dealer meeting last month, Nissan gave its U.S. retailers their first look at the EV, which is being developed on a new platform.
According to dealers who saw the vehicle, the five-seater has a 300-mile range and can go from 0 to 60 mph in under 5 seconds.
The crossover is described as a compact, and has the exterior proportions of a compact Rogue but the interior space of a midsize Murano, according to the dealers. Nissan declined to share details of the planned model.
Nissan’s second EV will launch into a market that is getting more crowded as several automakers, including Jaguar, Audi and Tesla,are moving aggressively into electric crossovers, while Ford and General Motors have vowed to step up their EV offerings.
One dealer who saw the vehicle told Automotive News that it has a roomy passenger cabin, with a “futuristic” look that is “like nothing on the market.”
The cockpit features a digital dashboard that stays hidden until the vehicle is turned on.
“When you get in the car, all you see is a pulsating start button,” a dealer said. Pushing the start button brings the high-resolution display to life.
The design reflects an industry trend to use touch-sensitive buttons in place of traditional dials and knobs. Like the newPorsche Taycan and Tesla Model 3, the Nissan crossover has a dashboard devoid of physical buttons.
With a 300-mile range at a “mainstream price point,”Nissan’s EV will be competitive with Ford’s upcoming Mustang-inspired cross over and Tesla’s Model Y, said Ed Kim, an analyst with AutoPacific.
“The importance of range among EV buyers cannot be overstated,” Kim said. “Range is one of the top reasons people reject electric vehicles.”
Nissan was first to market a battery-powered vehicle with its Leaf hatchback in 2010. But critics say the automaker squandered its lead by failing to update the vehicle’s power train and design quickly and aggressively enough.
The Leaf, while promoted as a feasible family car, was hobbled by a range of less than 100 miles in its early years. Not until this. year did Nissan deliver a Leaf with a competitive 226-mile range.
Nissan also stuck with a single body style for most of a decade. The second generation launched in 2017 with a carryover platform wearing mostly new sheet metal and glass, but with its range bested by the Chevrolet Bolt EV that launched before it.
The specifics of its battery capacity were not disclosed at the dealer meeting. Based on the range, the crossover could have a 75 to 85kilowatt-hour battery.