After collaborating on some development programs over their 18-year alliance, it looks like Renault and Nissan are ready for the most important collaboration yet: a common electric vehicle platform for the next generation Renault ZOE and Nissan LEAF.
While it has some interesting implications for mass production of the platform and lowering the price, you shouldn’t hold your breath since Arnaud Deboeuf, the executive in charge of the Renault-Nissan alliance, warned of a long product cycle and media reports suggest that the next generation – not to be confused with a design refresh – shouldn’t come to market until 2020.
Deboeuf talked briefly about the new platform to reporters at a media event in Paris this week (via Auto News):
“The cars will have different exterior styling but will share underpinnings and electric motors, said Arnaud Deboeuf, senior vice president of Renault-Nissan BV, the alliance’s strategic management unit.”
It will be interesting to see how the two automakers will pull this off considering that the ZOE is significantly smaller than the LEAF.
The vehicles also use different battery cells. Nissan uses cells from its own battery venture while ZOE is using LG Chem cells in the new 41 kWh ZOE battery pack. It was reported earlier this year that Nissan could be looking into selling its battery cell manufacturing business and partner with LG for its next generation electric cars.
Deboeuf said that even with the new platform both vehicles could be using different battery cells.
With the introduction of its 41 kWh battery pack, Renault took over the lead in energy capacity for electric vehicle available in Europe. It can achieve close to 200 miles on a single charge, while Nissan still only offers a 30 kWh battery pack with a range of 107 miles.
During the first week of January, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is set to deliver a keynote speech at CES 2017. It is rumored that he will unveil an electric vehicle with a 60 kWh battery pack for over 200 miles of range. It still remains to be known whether it will be the refresh version of LEAF, which is expected to come with the 2018 model, or a brand new electric model from the Japanese automaker.