But doesn't Nissan know Americans want sporty EVs too?
The second generation Nissan Leaf took a massive styling leap over its predecessor. Rather than use distinct styling to announce to the world that it is powered by electricity like the first generation car, the new Leaf looks much more like a conventional hatchback. This was a step in the right direction, but the Leaf still lacks the sex appeal of a Tesla.
Nissan has teased us with a sportier Leaf Nismo concept and even developed a Leaf-based race car, but so far none have been available for purchase. Now Nissan has announced a new customized model called the Leaf Autech, which will go on sale in Japan next month.
Those who live outside of Japan may not be familiar with the name Autec,h but it is an important one to note. Like Nismo, Autech runs as a sub-brand of Nissan and sells customized versions of JDM Nissan models with increased attention to detail and a sportier flavor. They aren't quite as aggressive as Nismo models but they do have more flare than a standard Nissan car.
The Leaf Autech will be available in a variety of colors, including Autech's signature Aurora Flare Blue Pearl (pictured here). To alert passersby that this is no ordinary Leaf, the car's custom exterior components have a metallic finish and the headlights feature Autech's signature dot pattern.
The interior has been spruced up using crystal suede and soft leatherette seats with a diamond stitch pattern. Autech has also matched the exterior with blue leather, so we assume other interior color options may also be available to match other paint schemes. Faux-rosewood grain panels adorn the instrument panel to give the feel of genuine wood and other surfaces have been swapped for higher quality materials to evoke a sense of luxury.
We doubt the Leaf Autech will make it to the US, but we would like to see a sportier Leaf variant like this in some capacity. For the Japanese market, the Leaf Autech upgrade will be available on the standard Leaf and Leaf E+ with a 226-mile range.