Electric vehicle technology is improving on a tremendous scale. Ushered along by the successes of startups like Tesla, Fisker, and Lucid Motors, the entire automotive industry is rushing to eliminate the concept of “range anxiety.” This term refers to the fear of running out of electric range while driving and being stranded.
There are two ways to combat range anxiety: improve charging infrastructure and improve battery technology to deliver enough range to accomplish any daily driving tasks.
The first method takes the combined effort of governmental and private organizations to, in effect, put a charger on every block.
The second method comes down to research and development by each automaker to upgrade battery technology without making the end product too expensive for consumers. Of course, if money isn’t an issue, Tesla will happily sell you a Model S with over 300 miles of range for $90K. However, most of us must operate with far tighter budgets. Thanks to vehicles like the Chevrolet Bolt EV, we’ve seen that an affordable EV with good range is possible.
So where do other affordable EVs fall into place? The majority of electric cars on sale hover around the 100-mile range mark, including the Fiat 500e (87 miles), Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric (87 miles), Kia Soul EV (90 miles), Nissan Leaf (107 miles), and Ford Focus Electric (115 miles). Hyundai and Volkswagen have transcended this threshold with 124 and 125 miles of range, respectively. Then there’s the Bolt and its 238 miles of range.
If this is the status quo, Nissan is tired of being grouped in the middle. Nikkei Automotive, as reported by LeftLaneNews, has learned that Nissan’s next generation Leaf will receive a 43-percent bump in range to 150 miles per charge. This cap still puts the Leaf behind Chevy’s Bolt, but it’s a considerable jump nonetheless.
Nissan is thinking beyond the Leaf, too. The Japanese automaker is reportedly working on an all-new EV model with a range of 342 miles per charge. This vehicle will be based on the IDS Concept from 2015 and will be priced within reach for most EV buyers. We won’t see the long-range EV in showrooms until 2020, but if Nissan can build an electric car with range to match gas-powered offerings, expect other brands to do the same.