Ghosn scandal causes Nissan to postpone launch of next-gen LEAF

For the last couple of years, EV fans have been eagerly awaiting a new version of the LEAF with a 200-mile range to match that of the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3. Nissan did launch a redesigned 2018 LEAF, with a 40 kWh battery pack and 150 miles of range, early this year, but said the company’s entry into the 200-mile club would take another year.

There were rumors that the new LEAF would be introduced at the recent LA Auto Show, but that didn’t happen, and InsideEVs reports that planned events in Yokohama and Amsterdam were cancelled. It seems the company has decided to delay the coming-out party because of the scandal surrounding deposed CEO Carlos Ghosn.

A Nissan spokesman told Reuters that the company has postponed the launch of the new LEAF in order “to ensure that this important product unveiling could receive the coverage it merits.”

It’s understandable that Nissan would want to wait until the media coverage of Ghosn’s misfortunes has died down. However, some have speculated that the ouster of long-time leader Ghosn, the “father of the LEAF,” and one of the auto industry’s leading proponents of electrification, was a hit job orchestrated by internal political enemies, and that the postponement of the LEAF launch is a case of adding insult to injury.

Electrek’s Fred Lambert believes that it’s only the launch festivities that have been delayed – as far as anyone knows, production of the new LEAF will proceed as scheduled. Leaked documents indicate that the new version will feature a 60 kWh battery pack, over 225 miles of range, 100 kW fast charging, and a starting price of only $36,000. It’s also rumored that Nissan will be replacing its own battery cells with LG Chem cells, and has added an active battery temperature management system.

 

Sources: Electrek, InsideEVs, Reuters

  • freedomev

    They need to keep it on track as done right and with V2G, V2H systems they have in Europe, Japan would be a game changer, putting them ahead of Tesla in ways and with a better wagon body type for most people.
    Doing that they would sell as many as they ordered LG cells for, likely a far too low number.

    Sadly they should have brought out this 60kwh model 3 yrs ago, blowing their lead by barely improving the Leaf for 7 yrs, letting it get stale.
    GM the same with the Volt not switching to a skateboard chassis, etc and not making a pickup, CUV and van from it too.

  • dogphlap dogphlap

    It would be nice to know the truth behind the accusations against Mr Ghosn.
    The UK has seen its iconic brands like Jaguar, Mini (BMC Leyland) etc be taken over by foreign companies (in the above two cases Indian and German) and swallowed their national pride but the Japanese are not so laid back about a threat to a brand like Nissan being absorbed by Renault. So the Japanese board at Nissan had motivation to stitch Mr Ghosn up but that does not mean he was not guilty. From their point of view it was certainly a fortuitous occurrence as a full takeover was about to take place spearheaded by Ghosn and Renault had the clout to do it. But there are plenty of examples of a CEO playing fast and loose with company finances and reluctance to come clean on their true remuneration including perks. His huge salary has not won him a lot of friends.
    As to V2G Nissan has been behind that for years but Tesla say it is a bad idea because their Panasonic cells as employed in their traction batteries are optimised for energy density while V2G needs to be optimised for a large number of charge/discharge cycles. They produce both types of cell, one is used in their cars the other is used in their Power Walls and Power Pack products. Personally I’d rather not take the risk of shortening the life of my traction battery to prop up the grid (and history has not been kind to Nissan traction batteries reputation, they don’t even have rudimentary thermal management yet and the new LG cells which do have a good reputation and good thermal management for use in the 60kWh Leaf have now been put on indefinite hold).