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.

Staff Reporter

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RobSez · July 25, 2016 at 4:53 am

I’ve heard the PHEV drivetrain is slated for the Juke & Cube. It would be an awful misstep to ruin the Leaf with an ICE unless there is no trade-off in current range. Even then I’d hate to see the Leaf become another hybrid. Hybrids just don’t make any sense to me. I’ve been driving a Leaf since 2011. I never want to go back to paying for gas, or oil changes, or transmissions, or tune-ups, or waiting in line for emissions testing. The several times a year I’m forced into driving an ICE vehicle the noise, vibration, heat, smell and lousy performance leaves me frustrated and disappointed. The last I heard online was the 2018 Leaf would be the last model year and there will be a new modular system used across several BEV cars in Nissan’s fleet. If Nissan goes the route of PHEVs only, I guess I’ll be forced to find a way to get a Tesla.

    LEO CONWAY · July 26, 2016 at 8:39 am

    If I could get a tesla I’d get rid of my leaf like a shot!!!

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