Nissan Leaf Nismo sexes up the bestselling EV line

Published: 25 October 2017

► Faster Leaf is on the way for 2019
► Nismo not confirmed for production… officially
► More powerful battery; beefier motor in the works  

Nissan unveiled the Leaf Nismo concept at the 2017 Tokyo motor show, and has been all-but confirmed for production by the company’s top brass, which says that the Leaf’s sales will ‘significantly’ improve from 2018.

Although Nissan hasn’t released performance figures for its concept, it confirmed at a technical seminar earlier in the week, that there would be a more powerful 60kWh Leaf in production by the end of 2019. With a denser battery pack and beefier electric motor, the Leaf’s already perky performance would be usefully improved.

What? A real electric Nissan Leaf by Nismo?

One is definitely in the pipeline, and it has all of the kit of second-generation Leaf including the ProPilot autonomy tech and e-Pedal, plus a load of performance-spec Nismo parts. Sports suspension, high-performance tyres and ‘a custom-tuned computer that delivers instant acceleration at all times.’

Inside, little has changed compared to the regular Leaf, apart from some choice red accents. The body modifications are said to have not affected the Leaf’s low-ish 0.28cd drag coefficient, so top-end performance will be usefully improved.

Gareth Dunsmore, director of EV Nissan Europe, said: ‘We had the Leaf Nismo RC as a one-off prototype and it shows where the vehicle’s spirit could go. I was part of the team that brought Nismo to Europe on Juke and I was very proud to do that – we learnt a lot working very closely with our Nismo colleagues.’

He added: ‘In Japan we have a special-edition Leaf called the Leaf Aero Style, which is a more sporty package. One thing we certainly need to do is challenge perceptions and that’s also what Bladeglider is here to do – to challenge those perceptions.’

Electric cars: ripe for tuning

Dunsmore said that the company’s EVs were already quite sporty, with their electric take-off and maximum torque from standstill.

‘If you jumped into a Nissan Leaf and you’d never driven an electric vehicle before, I would challenge anyone to get out and say the car doesn’t have a sporty feel to it. The second you touch the accelerator, the instant torque and smoothness of acceleration, that is exciting, and well-suited to link up with things like Nismo.’

More strange Nissan Leafs: remember the Leaf pick-up EV?

Nissan Leaf Nismo

By Keith Adams

Devout classic Citroen enthusiast, walking car encyclopedia, and long-time contributor to CAR