The IDS concept unveiled at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show might have been a sign of things to come, which is why the attached speculative render is based on Nissan's zero-emissions concept.
It proposes a sharper body featuring a significantly more aggressive front fascia than the current Leaf. Seeing as how the new Micra has been completely transformed, expect a similar design revolution from the EV. Hopefully, the styling improvements brought by the supermini's next generation will be just as nice in the overhauled Leaf.
Entering its seventh year on the market, the Leaf will soldier on for a while taking into account Nissan isn't willing just yet to replace the compact EV just yet. Indeed, the current model is due for a facelift in 2018, according to senior vice president of Renault-Nissan BV, Arnaud Deboeuf. We do know that when it will arrive, the second-gen Leaf will share its platform with the next Renault Zoe. With the existing Leaf bound to be refreshed next year, it means the all-new model is highly unlikely to arrive before the end of the decade.
Nissan's head honcho Carlos Ghosn revealed at the beginning of the year during the Consumer Electronics Show a very interesting detail about the next Leaf. He said the EV is going to be available with the company's ProPilot, a semi-autonomous driving system. The technology made its debut in the JDM-spec Serena minivan last year and is expected to be implemented in the upcoming Qashqai facelift for Europe.
The aforementioned Serena can effectively drive itself on a highway in single-lane traffic at speeds of up to 81 mph (130 kph) and it can maintain that velocity and brake (up to a full stop) in order to keep a safe distance from the vehicle up ahead. Nissan is perfecting the system and it will be able to handle multi-lane driving as early as next year, with further evolutions to enable autonomous city driving as well towards the end of the decade when it will be smart enough to navigate intersections.
While the current Leaf has a 30-kWh battery with enough juice for 107 miles, its successor will use a 60-kWh battery and is going to provide at least double the range.