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Meet the "Super Leaf": Nissan's all-electric prototype ups the grunt with twin-motor setup

Nissan's EV prototype promises to put fun ahead of frugality

If you’re one of the people who thinks the Nissan Leaf is a little underdone on the performance front, the brand has just revealed the solution.

Dubbed the “Super Leaf” by Nissan staff, the “twin-motor all-wheel-control test car” marks the next step in Nissan’s EV journey. And happily, it’s a journey that will put the focus more on fun than frugality.

It doesn’t have a name yet, but it does have two motors, one at each axle, which combine to provide the kind of outputs that will have hearts beating just a little faster, along with sportier suspension and some clever high-tech driving aids designed to make you a better and faster driver.

While the leaf was all about eco-friendliness, this car is squarely focused on performance, with the brand promising acceleration, braking and dynamics “on par with a sports car”.

“Soon Nissan will launch a next-generation EV that will be a true breakthrough,” said Takao Asami, senior vice president for research and advanced engineering at Nissan.

“The new electric-drive four-wheel-control technology now being developed integrates Nissan’s electric propulsion and 4WD control technologies with our chassis control technology to achieve a huge leap in acceleration, cornering and braking performance, on par with the latest sports cars.”

The addition of a second electric motor does exactly what you think it will to the power outputs, with this prototype Nissan now good for 227kW and 680Nm. To put that into perspective, the second-generation Leaf produces 110kW and 320Nm, so we’re talking almost double the grunt here.

Now performance is one part of the story, but this new EV has also been designed to minimise that yo-yo driving effect that can arrive with regenerative braking. This one has a regeneration system at both axles, which helps to keep the car steady and level, stopping your head from rolling about when you take your foot off the accelerator.

Finally, an independent brake control system can apply stopping power to individual wheels, helping the “Super Leaf” stick to its line in slippery corners.

Now we should point out here that the "Super Leaf" isn’t supposed to be a window into the future of the brand's enduring EV, but rather a peek behind the curtain at Nissan’s electric tech of tomorrow.

And that’s more thank likely going to take the shape of the Ariya SUV that was just revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show, and which we know will offer a similar dual-motor setup under its sleek and stylish skin.