If you’re about to do something big, a guaranteed way to coax failure would be to not take half measures. Is that what Nissan is doing with the second-gen Leaf? Based on the latest spy shots of the new electric hatch, it’s quite likely.
The vehicle has been spotted heavily disguised out in the streets doing its thing, but no matter how much Nissan has tried to hide its shape, the Leaf’s proportions still show. And what does it show? More of the same, sadly.
Its outline doesn’t deviate much from the first-gen model, which is why it’s so easily identifiable. But that’s not the whole story – there are improvements to speak of, which are mostly concentrated around its face.
For one, the new Leaf has a grille. Not just any grille, it’s the one plucked from the Nissan IDS Concept. The same can be said for its sharper front lights. They no longer protrude out awkwardly but instead look straight ahead with purpose. No more bug’s eyes.
All in all, the Leaf actually looks alright, at least as far as its test mule goes. Having said that, Nissan wasted a fantastic opportunity to make the most of its 60kWh battery for its beloved EV. By the time it’s released, the Chevy Bolt would already have a major head-start.
And let’s not forget that the Tesla Model 3 is going into production this July, which means that by the time the Leaf rolls out, Tesla would be hogging all of its spotlight regardless of whether its publicity is good or bad. Nissan could be filling the current lull in the plug-in market and probably even steal some sales from the Chevy Bolt.
Besides, by the time it debuts, its 200-mile+ range would be less of a novelty than it is now, a novelty that’s being exploited by the Chevy Bolt because no other EV in its class can compare. In fact, there have been reports claiming that the Bolt is capable of wringing 300 miles from a single charge of its battery.