Although the rivalry between the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt has died off a bit since the cars were introduced in 2010, you can expect things to heat up again when both cars get full redesigns next year.
For the all-electric Leaf, Nissan is modeling the Tesla Model S in that customers of the zero-emission hatchback will have a choice of battery pack sizes. Nissan product chief Andy Palmer told Green Car Reports that he could envision two or even three battery choices, which could give the next-gen Leaf more driving range than the current car's 84 miles. How far? Possibly between 120 and 150 miles.
Giving the car a longer range will surely attract more customers to the Leaf, especially if the price could remain in the $35,000 range. That would give the Nissan Leaf about three-quarters the range of a low-end Model S at about half the cost.
2014 Chevrolet VoltEnlarge Photo
As for the Volt, its advancements will likely be in cost reduction that focuses on a smaller battery pack. Such a plan could drop the price or increase profit margin, but it isn’t expected to improve the car’s all-electric driving range too much past its current rating of 38 miles. The second-generation Volt will ride on an all-new platform shared with the recently introduced 2016 Cruze in China, while recent spy shots show the car sticking to the same basic shape as the current design.
With the smaller battery, it will be interesting to see whether or not Chevy will be able to add an extra seat into the Volt to make it a more mainstream and family friendly five-seater. Expect to see the 2016 Chevy Volt launch at next January's Detroit Auto Show, but there's no word as to when we'll be seeing an all-new Leaf.