Nissan's New Electric Hatchback Will Be The Leaf's Little Brother: New Autonomous Cars Coming Soon?

Sep 26, 2016 04:03 AM EDT | Sovan Mandal

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Nissan said it is actively contemplating launching an SUV and crossover along with a new "B" segment supermini to further augment its EV range.

The above revelation has been made by Gareth Dunsmore, Nissan's head of EV division in Europe while speaking to Auto Express.

"We've invested $5.4bn (£4.1bn) in electric cars such as the Leaf, so we need to ensure we're satisfying as many types of customer as possible," said Dunsmore. "In Europe, that could mean looking towards B-segment hatches [Ford Fiesta size] and SUVs or crossovers."

Dunsmore further added the new supermini EV will slot below the Leaf, thereby allowing it to tap a segment further down the price segment. What is also likely is that the new EV might also share the same platform as the upcoming Renault Zoe that is slated for a debut at the Paris Auto Show.

Further, if that be true then the new Nissan supermini will have a range of around 200 miles as cited by Renault for its own upgraded Zoe. However, that being certified as per NEDC cycle makes one to believe the actual range in real word condition to be around half of that at best.

Nissan is already developing the next generation Leaf, which will be up against the likes of the new Chevy Bolt or the Tesla Model 3. The Bolt is already making waves with its range of around 250 miles plus and the onus will be on its competitors to better that, while still holding on to the price point.

Nissan, meanwhile, is also reported to have tested a self-driving version of the Leaf, DITCM stated. The autonomous Leaf was put to test at the Sagami Expressway in southwestern Tokyo where it drove on its own, with Kanagawa prefecture governor Yuji Kuroiwa and Nissan Vice Chairman Toshiyuki Shiga on-board.

The report further mentioned that the Leaf used to demo Nissan's autonomous driving initiatives happens to be the production version of the car, but with special cameras and laser tech built into it to allow for self-driving. However, there is no mention when autonomous driving tech will be introduced in production versions of the Leaf.

Nissan has already sold more than 200,000 Leafs since its introduction back in 2010, making it among the more popular EVs ever produced.

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