Next Nissan Leaf to get more conservative look, 250-mile range?

The next Leaf will benefit from recent advances in battery technology.

Nissan will launch the next generation of the all-electric Leaf before the end of the decade, and a new report gives us a better idea of what to expect from it.

Likely arriving in 2017, the next Leaf will feature a more capable battery pack in order to quell range anxiety, the biggest concern that buyers have when shopping for an electric car. Company executives have pointed out that EVs must offer at least 185 miles - 100 more than the current Leaf - in order to be considered a viable alternative to gas- and diesel-powered cars.

Speaking in a recent interview with a Japanese television station, Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn revealed that the the top-of-the-range Leaf could offer as much as 250 miles thanks to recent breakthroughs in battery technology. This hints that Nissan could follow Tesla's business model and ask its customers to choose from one of two battery packs.

What will it look like? Nissan explained that making the Leaf stand out visually was necessary a few years ago because EVs were still few and far between on American roads. Four years later an eccentric design is no longer a must and the next Leaf will feature a more conventional front-end inspired by Nissan's latest design language. It will retain the current model's hatchback configuration and boast a floating roof thanks to blacked out door pillars.

Designers credit Tesla for proving EVs don't need to be characterized by an atypical design.

"The current Leaf is aiming too much [for] an EV-like appearance. Tesla doesn't look EV at all. The Tesla S just looks nice, very sporty, sleek, but very authentic,” explained Mamoru Aoki, Nissan brand's global design chief, in an earlier interview with trade journal Automotive News.

Additional details about the next Nissan Leaf will emerge in the months leading up to its debut. Until then, Nissan will continue to update the current model with an improved battery pack that lasts longer in hotter climates and other minor tweaks inside and out.

Infiniti's LeafThe technology that is being developed for the next Leaf will also be found under the skin of an Infiniti-badged EV scheduled to debut well before its Nissan-badged sibling. Details are scarce, but the yet-unnamed car will eschew Leaf's hatchback design in favor of a more conventional three-box body style that will enable it to offer a generous range thanks to a larger battery pack. The EV will also inaugurate Nissan's wireless inductive charging system.

Infiniti hopes its upcoming EV will enable it to gain a foothold in key markets outside of the United States such as China.

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