Nissan is about to launch its next generation all-electric Leaf and aside from a design refresh, a longer range is expected to be the biggest upgrade.

The range was expected to be over 200 miles in order to compete with the Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt EV, but the sighting of a next-gen prototype is now casting some doubts.

‎A Nissan Leaf owner in France, Nicolas Dufresne‎, spotted a next-gen right-hand-drive Leaf prototype charging at a charging station near Carcassonne in Southern France. 

He posted a few pictures of the sighting on a Leaf fan Facebook group (Ma LEAF… une passion !).

Despite the fact that the vehicle was heavily camouflaged, and I mean heavily, we learned a few interesting things from the sighting.

Most important of which by far, Dufresne‎ managed to grab a shot of the next generation Leaf’s interior with the instrument cluster visible and displaying the range of the vehicle: 265 km (~165 miles) on what appears to be a full charge:

It’s signficantly shorter than the expected 200 miles and that’s without accounting for the type of displayed range.

The current EPA-rated range of the 2017 Nissan Leaf with a 30 kWh battery pack is 172 km (107 miles), but the NEDC-rated European range is listed at 250 km (155 miles), which would represent only a slight increase.

There could be a few explanations for the disappointing range.

The particular prototype could have been using the same battery pack as the current Leaf, or a slightly larger one, with better efficiency or other battery options could be made available.

Nissan has been testing a 60 kWh battery pack over the last few years and that would undoubtedly result in a much longer range in a Leaf than what is seen here, but they never confirmed that it would actually make it to the new Leaf.

Ahead of the September launch of its next generation all-electric Leaf, Nissan has been gradually teasing images and features of the vehicle, most recently the ‘e-Pedal’ feature, but never about the range.

Here are a few more pictures from Dufresne‎’s sightings (all picture credits to Nicolas Dufresne):

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