Twin-Motor Nissan Leaf Has Electric Hot Hatch Dreams
Test car with 501 lb-ft of torque highlights upcoming EV tech from the marque.
Nissan revealed a prototype Leaf electric vehicle that showcases technology that will arrive in its next generation of EVs. Based on the Leaf Plus, which has a larger battery than the standard Leaf and an EPA-estimated range of 215 to 226 miles, depending on trim level, this demo vehicle packs two electric motors, one mounted on each axle, and 17-inch wheels shod with staggered-width tires. The prototype even gets wider fenders that hint at its performance aspirations.
Takao Asami, Nissan senior vice president for research and advanced engineering, says the company's upcoming electric all-wheel-drive system will be "a true breakthrough" and will allow the automaker's future EVs to match sports cars when combined with its latest chassis tech. Combined, the front and rear electric motors make 227 kilowatts and 680 nm of torque, or 304 hp and 501 lb-ft. That's less power than a Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor Performance, but a good deal more torque. Pitch and dive are minimized thanks to regenerative braking in both axles. Having an electric motor at each axle also allows for independent brake control on all four corners, allowing the car to slow down a wheel to improve handling and traction when driving during severe weather conditions. Inside, this two-motor Nissan Leaf Plus sports a customizable 12.3-inch display that shows what the vehicle's powertrain and all-wheel-drive system are doing.
As part of its Intelligent Mobility initiative, the two-motor Leaf Plus previews what's in store for future Nissan models. Although the debut of this particular Leaf doesn't guarantee that we're getting a hotter version, it does hint that Nissan's future EVs could get more power and better handling to better compete with the rest of the segment.
This story originally appeared on MotorTrend.