The name “Tesla” may be synonymous with electric cars, but since the end of 2010, Nissan’s been quietly selling the fully electric Leaf hatchback. It was even popular enough to earn a second generation. But from the sound of it, Nissan thinks sales of its next electric car will blow Leaf sales out of the water. That’s because it’s reportedly planning to turn the Leaf into an SUV.
According to Autocar, Nissan’s developing an electric SUV that looks a lot like the IMx concept we saw last year. Despite being larger and offering more ground clearance, Autocar believes this electric crossover will be built on the Leaf’s platform. And when it finally goes into production, Nissan expects the electric crossover to be extremely popular.
“Of course, we have the new Leaf, but I think the [production version of the] IMx concept will become a breakthrough model.” Mamoru Aoki, Nissan’s head of European design, told Autocar. “The IMx is not just a concept car. In a few years, it will appear.”
According to Aoki, removing the engine will make the production IMx much more spacious than its gas-powered competition. “The interior is notably bigger than with a conventional vehicle and there’s much more usable space, thanks to the totally flat floor allowed by the battery pack,” said Aoki. “The dashboard is also pushed right back because the HVAC unit is under the bonnet.”
So far, there’s no word on how much Nissan’s electric SUV will cost or what kind of range it will actually offer. But Hyundai’s Kona Electric may soon face some serious competition.