It’s curious how Nissan has kept tight-lipped on the most anticipated electric vehicle next to the Tesla Model 3 for 2017. While the automaker has outlined two key technologies that are set to arrive, it seems to have neglected to mention how they would fit in the Nissan Leaf.
The first tech system is the ProPilot semi-autonomous driving technology that’s debuting in Japan on the Serena minivan before heading to the US; second is the e-Power plug-in hybrid powertrain that would make the Leaf gas-dependent for the first time.
A little different from its rivals’ systems, the purpose of ProPilot is to operate effectively and safely within heavy traffic situations in complex urban road designs. However, that’s the end goal that’s still years away – for next year, it would be confined to single-lane features.
The e-Power PHEV drivetrain would have the Leaf operating similarly to the Chevrolet Volt, as a series-parallel hybrid that can flexibly use its gas engine as a battery-recharging range extender or a direct source of power to the axles to move the vehicle.
Nissan, after announcing these significant upgrades, didn’t say that they are meant for the Leaf, leaving plenty of room for doubt.
Its name hasn’t been mentioned at all, and there’s not even an estimated reveal date for the next-gen electric hatch. Perhaps another new EV nameplate would emerge from the brand as a surprise. It’s all anyone’s guess.