DETROIT (Jan 12, 2016) – The Nissan IDS Concept, Nissan's vision of the future of autonomous driving and zero emission EVs, made its first U.S. appearance at the 2016 North American International Auto Show.
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Once a leader in electrification, Nissan has since become complacent with the Leaf and the refresh has been long overdue. The 2018 version of the all-electric vehicle is expected to finally change that with a much longer range and a new design.

Kazuo Yajima, head of electric vehicles for Nissan and Renault, recently discussed the electric range expectations for the new Leaf and future vehicles on the Japanese automaker’s electric platform.

Next-gen Leaf prototypes have been spotted over the past few months, while the final production version is expected in September for deliveries by the end of the year under the 2018 model year.

The vehicle is expected to feature a range of over 200 miles and now Yajima says to expect between 350 and 400 km (~215 to 250 miles) in an interview with Nikkei (via hybridcars).

Of course, that’s based on the Japanese standard which is more relaxed than the EPA cycle or less representative than real-world range. Therefore, it will be cutting it close to 200 miles if we are to believe Yajima.

The executive also added that Nissan will increase the range of its electric vehicles to “550 km” (~340 miles) by 2020. He said that they are already testing a new prototype with the range:

“We have developed a prototype vehicle that can run 550 km while keeping the cargo capacity with the same external dimension as the current Leaf,”

That’s something they have said before in reference to the IDS concept pictured above.

Yajima added that this next-gen EV relies on new more energy dense battery cells.

Back in 2007, Nissan and NEC, a Japanese tech giant, created a battery manufacturing company, Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), in order to supply the automaker’s electric vehicle programs.

The automaker has since publicly praised advancements in battery technology from other manufacturers and it has been rumored to be looking at new suppliers for its next electric vehicles.

We should have a better idea of the company’s plan once they officially announce the 2018 Nissan Leaf in September.