You need to pay attention to what Nissan is up to.
A month ago we learned that Nissan was dead serious about launching a performance version of its second generation Leaf. This so-called Leaf Nismo is now officially happening, at least as a concept. Auto Express was at a Nissan presentation and managed to snap an image of what was on the big screen, which quickly found its way to Twitter. That image is the Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept, which will debut later this month at the Tokyo Motor Show. Only hours after that image went up, Nissan released official images of its own.
What's evident here is that the concept is nearly production ready, and this is of potentially huge importance for many reasons. First of all, in light of GM’s announcement that it’ll ditch internal combustion entirely in favor of an all-electric future, Nissan’s sole mass market EV also has to prove it can be more than just a hatchback. An all-electric hot hatch hasn’t been done before and Nissan could very well be the first to have one. Second, compared to the first-gen Leaf, Nissan desperately needs to inject some performance cred into the new model, both design and performance wise.
While the first Leaf proved a mainstream automaker could build and sell an affordable EV of high quality, the next stage is to build on that with greater platform capabilities. The first Leaf was dull, the second one can’t afford to share that image. Just look at the Chevrolet Bolt compared to the Tesla Model 3. No additional Leaf Nismo details are available yet but rest assured we’ll have them shortly. One last note: if Nissan can successfully pull this off, then rivals such as VW will be next in line. After all, VW invented the hot hatch segment in the first place and it’s not about to let anyone steal its thunder.